Publishers Dealt Another Loss in Copyright Lawsuit

April 4, 2016

A U.S. district court judge has once again taken a look at three publishers' case against Georgia State University's e-reserve and ruled that, in 41 of 48 cases, no copyright infringement took place. The ruling, a 220-page walk-through that applies the four-part fair-use test to each of the 48 cases, is seen by copyright experts as a complicated decision that won't be of much help to universities in determining fair use, as it relies on revenue data not normally available. Still, observers described it as a win for proponents of fair use and another loss for the publishers.

"This ruling, like each ruling in the case, is clearly a disaster for the plaintiff publishers," Kevin Smith, director of the office of copyright and scholarly communication at Duke University, said in a blog post. "Once again it establishes that there is significant space for fair use in higher education, even when that use is not transformative. Nevertheless, it is a difficult victory for libraries, in the sense that the analysis it uses is not one we can replicate; we simply do not have access to the extensive data about revenue, of which [U.S. District Judge Orinda D. Evans] makes such complex use."

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