Publishers Challenge Georgia State University Copyright Case

By Dianna Dilworth Comment

Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press USA and SAGE Publications are appealing the May 11, 2012 decision in the Georgia State University (GSU) copyright case which ruled that the university did not violate copyright law by allowing its professors to give students access to selected portions of certain textbooks electronically.

In a statement, the publisher plaintiffs argue that they support academics and libraries but are looking for more “clarity around issues of copyright in the context of higher education, where current practices around fair use in a digital environment vary widely and could benefit from sound judicial guidance.”

Publisher’s Weekly has more background about the case: “The appeal is the latest move in a contentious four-year legal battle, Cambridge University Press et al v. Patton et al, in which three academic publishers, (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Sage Publications, supported by the AAP and with costs partially underwritten by the Copyright Clearance Center) alleged that GSU administrators systematically encouraged faculty to commit copyright infringement via GSU’s e-reserve systems as a no-cost alternative to traditional coursepacks.”

Here is more from the publisher’s statement challenging the decision:

Instead, the Court’s rulings, culminating in the August injunction decision, shift radically from long-accepted fair use principles and introduce, among other errors, unsustainable policies regarding the proportion of a work not readily available for digital licensing that can be digitally copied without restriction.  We have no alternative but to appeal, to protect our authors’ copyrights and advocate for a balanced and workable solution.