Conference on College Composition and Communication Logo

IP Reports - Previous Revision

A Ruling in the Georgia State University e-Reserve Case

A federal court decision handed down on May 11, 2012, may have an impact on what instructors can provide their students in the form of electronic reserves. The case is formally known as Cambridge University Press et al v. Patton et al. The plaintiffs, in addition to Cambridge University Press, were Oxford University Press and Sage Publications, and they were supported by the three-hundred member Association of American Publishers and the Copyright Clearance Center, which describes itself as “rights licensing experts” and “global rights broker for the world’s most sought after materials.” The respondents to the suit were representatives of Georgia State University, and the complaint was that faculty at Georgia State had—in number, length, and frequency—systematically exceeded the bounds of fair use in depositing readings in the e-reserves maintained by GSU’s library system. The judge in the case, however, found infringement of fair use in only five of the ninety-nine instances of misuse alleged by the plaintiffs. The 350-page decision not only cleared Georgia State of most of the charges of infringement but also outlined criteria for determining fair use that seem, on balance, favorable toward depositing copyrighted material in e-reserves for educational purposes. For example, it may be allowable to place on reserve up to ten percent of a text, or, alternately, up to one chapter of a book. It may also be permissible to place material on electronic reserve for more than one semester in a row.

The ninety-nine charges of infringement were whittled down to five in a three-stage process. First, the judge ruled that in some instances the publishers had failed to demonstrate that they owned the copyrights to the material in question. Second, in the legal equivalent to the no-harm, no-foul rule, the judge determined that the publishers were not injured if no students had in fact accessed material that had been placed on reserve. The judge then applied the four-pronged fair use test to the remaining instances of alleged infringement. The fact that the reserves were being used for an educational (1) purpose and that the (2) nature of the material was informative led the judge to conclude that the e-reserves were not infringing in those regards. In terms of (3) amount and substantiality of the resource posted, the judge favored the ten percent or one chapter approach mentioned above (ten percent for books consisting of nine or fewer chapters; one chapter for resources of ten or more chapters).  For the fourth factor, whether placing a resource on e-reserve would have a negative (4) impact on sales, the decision went in favor of Georgia State whenever a digital version of the resource was not available for licensing. As one commenter observed, “no digital license meant an instant win for Georgia State.” 

The full text of the Georgia State University e-reserve decision is available here:

Cambridge University Press et al v. Patton et al. Justia.com. Justia, 11 May 2012. Web. 15 May 2012.

Analyses of the decision and its implications, as well as a response from the Association of American Publishers (which includes links to statements from the three publishers who were parties to the suit) are available at the sites listed below:

Butler, Brandon C. “Issue Brief: GSU Fair Use Decision Recap and Implications.” Arl.org. Association of Research Libraries, 15 May 2012. Web. 15 May 2012.

Grimmelmann, James. “Inside the Georgia State Opinion.” Laboratorium.net. The Laboratorium, 13 May 2012. Web. 13 May 2012.

Howard, Jennifer. “Long-Awaited Ruling in Copyright Case Mostly Favors Georgia State U.” Chronicle.com. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 13 May 2012. Web. 13 May 2012.

Howard, Jennifer. “Publishers and Georgia State See Broad Implications in Copyright Ruling.” Chronicle.com. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 14 May 2012. Web. 14 May 2012.

Jaschik, Scott. “Some Leeway, Some Limits.” Insidehighered.com. Inside Higher Ed. 14 May 2012. Web. 14 May 2012.

Kolowich, Steve. “E-Reservations.” Insidehighereducation.com. Inside Higher Education. 15 May 2012. Web. 15 May 2012.

Smith, Kevin. “The GSU Decision—Not and Easy Road for Anyone.” Blogs.library.duke.edu. Scholarly Communications @ Duke, 12 May, 2012. Web. 12 May 2012.

Sporkin, Andi. “AAP Statement of on Georgia State University Lawsuit Ruling.” Publishers.org. Association of American Publishers, 14 May 2012. Web. 15 May 2012.

This column is sponsored by the Intellectual Property Committee of the CCCC and the by CCCC-Intellectual Property Caucus. The IP Caucus maintains a mailing list. If you would like to receive notices of programs sponsored by the Caucus or of opportunities to submit articles either to this column or to the annual report on intellectual property issues, please contact kgainer@radford.edu.

CCCC IP Committee Website

Previous Reports

The Lord of the Copyright: An IP Fable

The CCCC-IP Annual: Top Intellectual Property Developments of 2011

An Invitation to a Series of Discussions on Intellectual Property

Another (Short) Tale of Open Access: The HathiTrust Case

'Hacktivist' or Thief?: What the Aaron Swartz Case Means to the Open Access Movement

Making Textbooks Afforadable and Open

IP Caucus Roundtable: Students’ Rights to Their Writing and to the Writing of Others

Who Owns Your Digital Fingerprint?: Negotiating an Answer to the Question

Who Owns Your Digital Fingerprint?

Update on Google Book Settlement: What Can Your Students Access?

Report of the Meeting of the Annual CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus

IP Caucus to Meet April 6 in Atlanta

Part Two: What Teachers Can Learn about Fair Use in Remix Writing from the US Copyright Office

Celebrate the Public Domain

Think Locally, Act Globally: Taking US Copyright Reform to a World Stage

YouTube—and Educators—Win!

Fair Use for Researchers in Communication: A Resource

Part One: The New DMCA Exemption for College Teachers and Students

Understanding Fair Use in the Classroom: A Resource

What? You want to copyright your comic!!?

New Copyright “Combat” Regulations For Colleges and Universities Go Into Effect July 1

Stake Your Claim: What’s at Stake in the Ownership of Lesson Plans?

Report on the March 2010 CCCC-Intellectual Property Caucus Annual Meeting, Louisville, Kentucky

The Times, They Are Remixin’: Indaba Music, Creative Commons, and the Digital Collaboration Frontier

The Rhetoric of Intellectual Property: Copyright Law and the Regulation of Digital Culture (Routledge, 2010)

Data Privacy Day 2010 Celebrated January 28

Transforming Our Understanding of Copyright and Fair Use

CCCC’s Intellectual Property Caucus Member, Martine Courant Rife of Lansing Community College, testifies at the DMCA hearings at the Library of Congress

Plagiarism Detection Services: Unsettled Questions

New Edited Collection from IP Caucus member just published: Composition and Copyright

The Google Book Settlement: Implications for Educators and Librarians

July IP Report: “What’s Fair is Foul?”: Understanding Fair Use in the Classroom

Top Intellectual Property Development Annual Series

Introducing NCTE-CCCC's Intellectual Property Committee and Intellectual Property Caucus

Document and Site Resources

Share This On:

Page Tools:

Related Search Terms

Copyright

Copyright © 1998-2014 National Council of Teachers of English. All rights reserved in all media.

1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, Illinois 61801-1096 Phone: 217-328-3870 or 877-369-6283

Looking for information? Browse our FAQs, tour our sitemap and store sitemap, or contact NCTE

Read our Privacy Policy Statement and Links Policy. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use

Document Owner

Organization Name

NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts