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AAP to Address Issues of Fair Use and the Needs of Students with Print Disabilities in Educational Settings at House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing Tomorrow

Testimony presented by Allan Adler, General Counsel and Vice President of Government Affairs

Washington D.C. Nov 18, 2014 -- At tomorrow’s hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet on “Copyright Issues in Education and for the Visually-Impaired,” the Association of American Publishers (AAP) will address how recent case law expanding the scope of fair use could threaten publishers’ continuing investments in innovative, digital leaning solutions to help educators engage students and improve achievement. AAP’s testimony will also address the role of copyright in advancing market availability of accessible versions of copyrighted works for students who are blind, visually-impaired or have other “print disabilities” that hinder their use of curriculum materials.

In the ongoing transition from print to digital, publishers, universities, libraries, students and faculty need clarification about how to ensure that fair use promotes the common goal of supporting a robust, modern learning environment. In support of this goal, Allan Adler, General Counsel and Vice President of Government Affairs for AAP, will urge Congress to direct the Copyright Office to study and develop guidance on key questions concerning the application of fair use to copyrighted materials in educational and other contexts.

Adler’s testimony will address the pending litigation in which three academic publishers are suing George State University (GSU) for systematic copyright infringement through its switch from providing students with curriculum materials in the form of licensed paper “course packs” to providing students with the same materials for the same purpose in the form unlicensed digital copies. GSU is asserting that its use of the publishers’ works in this manner through its “electronic reserves” system is protected fair use.

“Publishing has changed significantly since the Copyright Act was last revised; it now encompasses digital learning solutions and materials available online alongside traditional textbooks and other curriculum materials in hard-copy formats. The GSU litigation regarding fair use of academic materials in the digital environment underscores that clarification of the appropriate scope of fair use is critical not only for authors and publishers, but also for students, faculty, academic libraries and institutions of higher education to ensure that students have access to the best available learning materials into the future,” Adler said.

Adler will testify at the Rayburn House Office Building room 2141 at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19. Links to his testimony and the Subcommittee's webpage on the hearing, including participants, all testimony and video stream, are below.

AAP, the 450-member trade association, has been an active participant in the House Judiciary Committee hearings, Department of Commerce Green Paper public consultations and Copyright Office inquiries on the current state of the US Copyright Act. AAP’s priorities in the current copyright review are first sale, fair use, DMCA enforcement, unauthorized importation and specific limitations and exceptions.


Copyright Issues in Education and for the Visually-Impaired

Written Statement of Allan Adler, General Counsel and Vice President of Government Affairs for AAP


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.