Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Electronic Reserve, Copyright, and Fair Use

Back in January of 2007, I wrote an entry here about "Fair Use" of digital images in my teaching. At that point in my career, I did not have occasion to distribute written materials to students other than my syllabi and an occasional handout. I have subsequently taught a few classes in which I assigned readings on reserve or provided photocopies to my students. Although I definitely believe in crediting an author or photographer for original material, my primary duty is to my students. Most of them are working hard at jobs off campus to afford the materials for which they must already pay in order to pass my classes.

The "electronic reserve" was a new concept to me until I read about it yesterday morning as the subject of a lawsuit against Georgia State University by three leading academic publishers. Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and SAGE Publications charged GSU with "enabling professors to provide students with digital copies of copyrighted course readings."

1Hafner, Katie, 2008, "Publishers Sue Georgia State on Digital Reading Matter," New York Times, April 16.

2Nielsen, Brian, 2009, "Publishers Sue Georgia State U. on e-coursepack," NUL Copyright, April 16.

3Stewart, Claire, 2009, "What does the lawsuit against Georgia State mean?," NUL Copyright, April 20.

4AAP, 2009, Publishers Take Action Against Georgia State University Copyright Infringement, Association of American Publishers, Washington, D.C.

5Hirtle, Peter, 2009, "Georgia State: Don't Forget the User," Library Law Blog, May 4.

6Liebler, Raizel, 2009, "The Georgia State E-reserves lawsuit: Is Fair Use Dead? Or is it the traditional publishing model?" Library Law Blog, May 7.

7Heyward, Kerry, 2009, "(Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Copyright Law," Center for Teaching and Learning Newsletter, p. 2, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

8Board of Regents Copyright Committee,
Regents Guide to Understanding Copyright & Educational Fair Use. Atlanta, Ga.: University System of Georgia.

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At 9:49 AM , Anonymous Kari said...

Thank you for sharing this information. This topic has come up in conversation within my office regarding training of new employees and sharing of materials. This will be most helpful.

At 7:37 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

Apparently the current protocol for universities here in Georgia is to fill out an online request to use any digital version of published text. I am not clear on whether we are required to wait for approval from publishers or not, though.

My impression is that graphics are still more or less fair game as long as they are being incorporated into educational instruction. I distribute my lectures through a distance learning program which is restricted to students who are registered for my classes.


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