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 June 27, 2008 7:50 AM