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June 27, 2008

Georgia State: Downloading Texts is Fair Use

Many of us have been following the lawsuit three publishers have brought against Georgia State University for copyright infringement with great interest. In its response to the suit, Georgia State has now asserted that its online distribution of course material is permitted under copyright law's fair-use exemption. In papers filed earlier this week, the university admitted that it was offering the material online to students through electronic reserves in the library, the Blackboard/WebCT Vista course-management system, department Web pages, and other Web sites. But, it says the practice is allowed under the fair-use doctrine of the Copyright Act.

There is no clear interpretation of "Fair Use" relating to the amount of material that can be used for such activities as scholarship, teaching, reporting, and review.

In addition to advancing its fair-use argument, the university also says it is protected from federal lawsuits by sovereign immunity protections guaranteed by the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The outcome of this lawsuit will impact the ways in which colleges and universities distribute course materials and provide access to digital materials.

Read more in today's Chronicle of Higher Education.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:50 AM

June 24, 2008

U of Illinois Signs Intent to Participate in SCOAP3

From SCOAP3 News (23/06/2008):

Five more U.S. partners have joined SCOAP3: three laboratories, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, SLAC, the Thomas Jefferson Laboratory, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - University of California, Berkeley and two universities, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Northwestern University.

SCOAP3 now counts 29 institutions in the U.S., which have pledged to redirect their current subscriptions to High-Energy Physics journals to the initiative. More U.S. partners are expected to join in the near future. SCOAP3 is also supported by partners from 15 European countries, Australia and one international organisation. In total, SCOAP3 has received pledges for about 4 million euros, over 6 million dollars, corresponding to 40% of its budget envelope.

Note: SCOAP3 = Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics

Posted by Katie Newman at 12:06 PM

University Presses Start to Sell Via Kindle

From Inside Higher Ed (June 24, 2008):

The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do About It is a promising new title from Princeton University Press. ...

The Princeton press is planning something new for the release: Two weeks before print publication the book will be available as a Kindle e-book. Kindle is Amazon.com’s portable reader that allows for downloading of complete books. Launched in November, ... Kindle has been hailed as potentially opening up a new kind of reading experience. ... Kindle’s Amazon backing has given it a market that is attractive to many publishers — including university presses.

By the beginning of the fall, Princeton plans to have several hundred books available for sale through Kindle. Yale University Press and Oxford University Press already have a similar presence there. The University of California Press recently had about 40 of its volumes placed on Kindle and is ramping up.

... The experimentation with Kindle comes at a time that many experts are urging university presses to try new business models.

Readers would save some on Kindle books, but at least now modestly, and only after recouping the costs of the reader (currently at $359). The Kindle version of an Oxford book called Punishment and Democracy: Three Strikes and You’re Out in California sells for $21.96, compared to $24.40 for the paperback through Amazon. The latter also takes two to four weeks to ship and requires shipping fees. A Yale book, Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft, is available for $25.20 via Kindle and $28 plus shipping in hardcover.

Read the full article.
Learn more about Kindle.

Posted by Katie Newman at 11:56 AM