The long-awaited ruling in the suit against Georgia State brought by the academic publishers came down Friday and seems to largely favor the University. Jennifer Howard writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education :
A federal judge in Atlanta has handed down a long-awaited ruling in a lawsuit brought by three scholarly publishers against Georgia State University over its use of copyrighted material in electronic reserves. The ruling, delivered on Friday, looks mostly like a victory for the university, finding that only five of 99 alleged copyright infringements did in fact violate the plaintiffs’ copyrights.
See additional coverage in Inside Higher Ed:
At the same time, however, the judge imposed a strict limit of 10 percent on the volume of a book that may be covered by fair use (a proportion that would cover much, but by no means all, of what was in e-reserves at Georgia State, and probably at many other colleges). And the judge ruled that publishers may have more claims against college and university e-reserves if the publishers offer convenient, reasonably priced systems for getting permission (at a price) to use book excerpts online. The lack of such systems today favored Georgia State, but librarians who were anxiously going through the decision were speculating that some publishers might be prompted now to create such systems, and to charge as much as the courts would permit.
For further analysis of the decision see http://laboratorium.net/archive/2012/05/13/inside_the_georgia_state_opinion by James Grimmelmann and http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/2012/05/12/the-gsu-decision-not-an-easy-road-for-anyone/ by Kevin Smith.
University of Iowa Provost Barry Butler and ten other University Provosts from Big Ten institutions have issued a public statement opposing the Research Works Act and supporting taxpayer access to federally funded research results, such as that mandated by NIH.
“Because of our strong belief in open sharing of information, we were disturbed to see that recently introduced legislation (The Research Works Act, H.R. 3699) called for a rollback of the progress being made toward opening communication channels for sharing publicly funded research findings with the American people. Were this bill to pass, it would reverse a 2008 administrative mandate by the National Institutes of Health that grantees deposit the results of their funded research in a publicly accessible archive, and prohibit other agencies from issuing similar mandates going forward. We believe that this legislation would significantly undermine access to the new ideas that result from government-funded research, access that we encourage to the public at-large, to a worldwide network of leading scholars, and to future generations of scholars who are today’s undergraduate and graduate students. In our view, ratification of the proposed legislation would represent a step backward in the ongoing enlightenment of society through research and education”
The Provosts’ call for a “local agenda” on their respective campuses is especially encouraging for those long engaged with these issues:
“In addition to our concern about the impact external entities have in shaping the research and communication agenda of our universities, we are cognizant that senior campus administrators and faculty leaders could be working more effectively to ensure that their own campus policies are aligned with professed campus norms. Some examples of how we might do more to influence campus behaviors include:
- Encouraging faculty members to retain enough rights in their published intellectual property that they can share it with colleagues and students, deposit it in open access repositories, and repurpose it for future research.
- Ensuring that promotion and tenure review are flexible enough to recognize and reward new modes of communicating research outcomes.
- Ensuring that our own university presses and scholarly societies are creating models of scholarly publishing that unequivocally serve the research and educational goals of our universities, and/or the social goals of our communities.
- Encouraging libraries and faculty to work together to assess the value of purchased or licensed content, and the appropriate terms governing its use.”
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/02/23/essay-open-access-scholarship#ixzz1nDbenvbl
Inside Higher Ed
A brief story in the Chronicle reports on the response of defendants to the Authors Guild suit against Hathi Trust and several universities for copyright infringement. See http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/hathitrust-defendants-respond-to-authors-guild-lawsuit/38805?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en for more.
Steve Kolowich, writing for Inside Higher Ed, reports on the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261), or SOPA, due to be taken up next week by the House Judiciary Committee. The Library Copyright Alliance, a group made up of the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries, has written to committee members expressing concern that the measure would leave university libraries open to prosecution for current practices considered legal under the fair use provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law.
To read the complete article, see: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/11/09/library-associations-say-legislation-could-expose-them-copyright-prosecution.
Interesting post by Rich Anderson on the balance between authors’ rights as creators and readers’ rights to make use of their creations. Additional comments on ebooks, the Authors’ Guild suit against Hathi Trust, and other matters.
Statements and observations continued through the end of last week and beyond arising from the Authors’ Guild suit against Hathi Trust. Much of the focus centered on the orphans listed by Michigan that turned out not to be. Stories in Inside Higher Education and the Chronicle provide summaries and links to the various statements. Worth noting is Kevin Smith’s open letter to one author of a work shown not to be an orphan arguing that the best chance for this book to find readers today would be exposure in digital form in HathiTrust.
From Kenneth Crews, who notes regarding orphan works:
The complaint is about much more than just the orphan work initiative at HathiTrust, but orphan works receive ample attention. Orphans seem to be emphasized in the complaint as an example of the expanded use of the digital files that HathiTrust is clearly willing to pursue. For the libraries and users, that may be a good thing. For the rightsholders in this complaint, it is far overreaching. Moreover, the complaint cites the Google Books case and the failed efforts by Congress to enact orphan works law to argue that orphans need a legislative solution—not a private innovation.
See http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/2011/09/13/authors-copyright-and-hathitrust/ for the full item.
And from James Grimmelmann, who concludes:
The Orphan Wars are upon us, I fear. We might have hoped that they would be the Orphan Discussions, or perhaps the Orphan Debates, but no. The Orphan Wars it will be.
From the September 13th Inside Higher Education:
“The Authors Guild on Monday sued the HathiTrust (a consortium of universities) as well as Cornell and Indiana Universities and the Universities of California, Michigan and Wisconsin, charging widespread copyright violations. The universities and the trust have worked with Google on its project to digitize books (a project now on hold) and on a recent effort to release to their campus communities digitized copies of “orphan works” ….”
Iowa had been poised to join Michigan and others in making available “orphan works” which we held in print form to the campus.
A decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on the First Sale doctrine could affect the right of libraries to lend (and individuals to resell) some books. See the analysis of Duke Scholarly Communications Officer Kevin Smith at http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/2011/08/24/getting-first-sale-wrong/ and