Selling printable coupons to others can mean giving up the right to print coupons for yourself.

That’s what a “coupon fairy” in Ohio has discovered, six months after she was sued by Coupons.com owner Quotient Technology for offering, printing and selling “unlimited printable coupons” on Instagram.

The two sides have now agreed to settle the dispute. Quotient will no longer pursue the case, if the defendant meets certain conditions. First, her “permission to access Quotient’s servers is revoked permanently.” That means she can’t print any more Coupons.com coupons, even for her own personal use. If she does, and Quotient finds out about it, the company reserves the right to reopen the case.

The next part probably goes without saying, but the defendant also agrees to “perpetually cease and desist from selling, giving away, or otherwise transferring coupons obtained through any site in the Quotient Promotions Network… for Defendant’s own commercial purposes and/or personal gain.”

Quotient notes that the defendant has already acted upon its demand that she destroy all Coupons.com coupons still in her possession. She also provided to Quotient a copy of the computer program she used to get around Coupons.com’s print limits, and disclosed from who she obtained it.

The settlement agreement makes no mention of any money changing hands, despite Quotient’s initial demands that the defendant hand over all of the profits from her illicit operation, and pay damages.

The lawsuit, which was filed last August and amended in September once Quotient learned the defendant’s identity, was the company’s most high-profile attempt to stem the burgeoning business of selling unlimited printable coupons online. Most “coupon fairies” or “IP fairies”, as they called themselves, set up shop on Instagram. Each had devised ways to circumvent Coupons.com’s two-print limit, to get as many legitimate, unique copies of Coupons.com printables as they wanted. They’d then sell them, in batches of ten or twenty or more, to willing buyers who didn’t have enough computers to print that many themselves.

It’s unclear why Quotient decided to make an example out of this particular seller, who was far from the most large-scale offender. She frequently changed user names, going by “i_slay_ips”, “i_slay_ip”, “ip_queen_”, “pdf_queen” and finally “savings.galore”, before allowing her account and her coupon-selling business to go dormant shortly after Quotient’s lawsuit was filed.

Quotient also ended up filing a second lawsuit against a second Instagram coupon seller, who not only sold coupons, but also sold the print-limit-bypassing software that she claimed to have created.

Quotient accused both sellers of violating state and federal computer fraud acts, and misappropriation, for “appropriating for (themselves) the substantial investment of time, effort, and expense that Quotient has expended.”

In an email exchange shortly after the initial lawsuit was filed, the defendant in the first case disputed the merits of Quotient’s argument. “We are only using our computers and not altering their software or hacking into their systems,” she told Coupons in the News. “I do not believe any wrong is being done by selling legitimate coupons that have unique PIN numbers.”

Quotient disagreed, and it had a legal team at the ready to help make its case – unlike the defendant, who’s a wife and mother in suburban Ohio, trying to make a buck on the side.

But that’s not to minimize her actions, and those of other IP fairies. Their efforts to print as many coupons as they could, only served to make fewer coupons available for everyone else. As coupons hit their print limits and were no longer available, the only way for shoppers to get any was to buy from the sellers, who were profiting off something that Coupons.com makes available for free.

Quotient has been working to update its systems, and plug the loopholes that the fairies exploited. So there are far fewer IP fairies than there once were, with the settlement ensuring there’s even fewer. And that means more printable coupons available for everyone else. Just as long as they’re content to get their coupons two at a time – which is two more than a certain IP fairy will be able to print from now on.

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