Publishers’ Statement on Injunctive and Declaratory Relief Ruling in Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
On August 10, the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia handed down a ruling on injunctive and declaratory relief in the copyright infringement lawsuit brought by academic publishers against Georgia State University. The following is a statement from the publisher plaintiffs:
“The District Court’s decision is marred by a number of serious legal errors. The fair use exception cannot be stretched beyond recognition simply because course materials are delivered in a digital format by an educational institution. The ruling excuses copyright violations by GSU and endorses unauthorized copying and distribution of academic works well beyond what the law allows and what universities across the country consider reasonable. The decision devalues academic scholarship by treating such work as ‘factual’ compilations.
“This case was brought reluctantly to curb practices that threaten publishing activities vital to institutions of higher education. Then, as now, the plaintiff publishers are of the academy — two are themselves departments of universities. As with the initial decision to bring suit, the decision regarding an appeal will be based on a considered assessment that takes into account the extent to which this ruling, which we believe to be legally vulnerable on multiple grounds, endangers the creation and dissemination of high-quality academic work.”
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represents about four hundred member organizations including major commercial, digital learning and education and professional publishers alongside independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies. We represent the industry’s priorities on policy, legislative and regulatory issues regionally, nationally and worldwide. These include the protection of intellectual property rights and worldwide copyright enforcement, digital and new technology issues, funding for education and libraries, tax and trade, censorship and literacy. Find us online at www.publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.