Just “copy, right”?

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Not so fast. You might want to first take a careful look at “fair use” laws and consider the implications of the recent Georgia State University (GSU) case which has brought much of this copyright business to the forefront. Contrary to what some believe, copyright laws haven’t changed but practices are coming increasingly under scrutiny with the developments of this case.

To summarize the situation briefly, George State was pitted against the publishing companies of Cambridge, Oxford and Sage for the use of materials placed in e-reserves. After lengthy consideration, the judge ordered the plaintiffs to pay Georgia State’s attorneys’ fees and ruled that fair use applied to most all of the materials in question. Specifically, the judge ruled that up to 10% of unauthorized copies were permissible. It seemed a victory on the copyright front for libraries and those of higher educational, in particular. Not quite.

In February of this year, the publishers entered an appeal claiming that the judge’s decision makes it possible for universities nationwide to sidestep legal permission to use copyrighted materials. The saga continues and could end with some important implications for higher education in the future. Among other things the publishers are requesting that:

• GSU keep records of unlicensed materials for three years after their usage

• GSU ensure that faculty are complying with the order and insist that faculty who do not face “disciplinary sanctions” and “possible legal action”

• Publishers grant “modest oversight” of GSU’s e-reserve system, i.e., GSU would allow publishers once a semester to access its e-reserve system for monitoring purposes.

Seems the fat lady has yet to sing in this case and new developments may be forthcoming. More importantly, it could have some serious implications for higher education in the future. You might wish to “stay tuned”.

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One Response to Just “copy, right”?

  1. jkincann says:

    This is a continuous conversation at every conference I attend…

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