Wednesday 6 October 2010

Georgia on my ... oh, never mind

It's not the technology that causes
the problems, but what you do with it ...
From a Jiscmail list, via the ever-vigilant Graham Titley (Subject Librarian and Copyright Advisor, Charles Seale Hayne Library, University of Plymouth), comes news that three publishers (Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage) are busily suing Georgia State University (GSU) for copyright infringement following allegations that GSU staff are letting students make electronic copies of parts of copyright works without making payment to the publishers, encouraged by GSU's new copyright policy.  This offers a "Fair Use Checklist" to assist in determining whether material in question can be copied under the "fair use" provision in US copyright law.

The Atlanta District Court judge has so far ruled that GSU cannot be sued for direct infringement of copyright since it's the students who are doing the copying. Indirect infringement is however a possibility.  It's now up to the plaintiffs to establish an "ongoing and continuous misuse" of the fair use defence following the introduction of the new GSU policy. If they can do this, the burden of proof then falls on GSU to justify each otherwise-infringing copy.

The court's ruling in Cambridge University Press and others v Becker and others on the direct infringement issue can be read on Justia here. The 1709 Blog awaits the next developments with excitement.

Georgia on my mind here
Sweet Georgia Brown here
Unfair dealing with Georgia here

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