Quick Takes: Publishers Sue Georgia State Over Digital Coursepacks, Guilty Plea in Export Case, McCain on Student Loans, Ghostwriting Seen in Journal Articles, Kentucky Governor Objects to Appointment

April 16, 2008
  • Three publishers sued Georgia State University Tuesday, charging that digitally distributed course materials were violating their copyrights, The New York Times reported. The case could be the online equivalent of litigation waged by publishers years ago against printed coursepacks -- although those suits were generally filed against copy shops. Georgia State told the Times that it hadn't seen the suit and couldn't comment, but the publishers' lawyer told the newspaper that the university had asserted its rights to use the material. The lawyer said that several other universities, contacted with similar complaints, had agreed to change policies. Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publications filed the suit.
  • Daniel Max Sherman, a physicist, on Tuesday entered a plea of guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to violate the Arms Control Export Act. The charge relates to allegations that Sherman along with J. Reece Roth, a professor emeritus at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, conspired to provide information about unmanned aerial vehicles to a graduate student from China -- without following federal guidelines restricting the sharing of such information. A statement from the Justice Department said that "the University of Tennessee was victimized by the conspirators and cooperated through with the FBI-led investigation." University officials declined to comment further, and Roth did not respond to messages.
  • Amid the major policy ideas included in the plan that Sen. (and Republican presidential nominee) John McCain unveiled Tuesday to stimulate the American economy were such dramatic measures as revamping the federal tax system and lowering Medicare premiums. Somehow worked in among the proposals that McCain described in a speech in Pittsburgh, though, was a call for a "student loan continuity plan," in case the credit crunch disrupts the availability of loans this fall (see related article). He urged state and federal governments to "expand the lender-of-last resort capabilities for each state's guarantee agency," leading some observers to speculate that McCain had included the idea at the behest of Pennsylvania's guarantee agency, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority.
  • Some journal articles about a drug apparently were written primarily by industry scientists and were published as if independent researchers has been the lead authors, according to a study published in the new issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is reviewing options, including legal action, following the decision of the state's Council on Postsecondary Education to appoint Brad Cowgill as its president, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported. Cowgill served the previous governor as budget director and Governor Beshear had called for a national search on the council position.
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