Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cambridge & Oxford Press v. Georgia State University: What it means for fair use?

Recently a judge made a ruling in what has been a  looming case for libraries in regards to e-reserve policy and most importantly what defines fair use. In what could essentially be titled Cambridge, Oxford and Sage publishers v. Georgia State University, a judge only found 5 infringements among 99 alleged instances of copyright violation . You can read the court decision here: This is important for faculty at Union University when thinking about how to distribute information to students and others using technology and yet within the bounds of copyright law. Duke University Libraries employ a J.D. and an expert on copyright law and he has written a detailed post about the decision here. I attended a workshop led by Kevin Smith in the summer before I came to Union and he is a big advocate of open access and for libraries. There is perhaps a more neutral article in the The Chronicle of Higher Education reporting on the decision and what it could mean for scholarly communications. While the decision will most likely be appealed and as Oxford University Press has stated, this is an "evolving landscape", most people feel like the decision is a win for libraries and for the freedom of information. The idea that fair use is only applicable for one semester, known as the "subsequent semester" rule was deemed by the presiding judge as "an impractical, unnecessary limitation." (Judge Evans quoted by Kevin Smith) There are a lot of great resources on this topic and this blog post attempts to aggregate many of them. Meanwhile, The Kevin Smith blog is a great resource for faculty at Union trying to understand copyright limitations as it applies to your teaching.

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