Score one for the Good Guys

From The Digital Reader:

Back in 2008 a coalition of publishers sued the Georgia State University for copyright infringement. To be more exact, the librarians at GSU had been copying and handing out to students material that was published by these publishers. The complaint covered 99 different incidents where the GSU librarians copied and shared content that had at one point been purchased by GSU (or another library). Note that the librarians weren’t pirates; they were operating under the fair use exception to US copyright laws, namely the one covering academic uses.

I had been following this case ever since it first came across my radar last spring, but it only just now came to fruition.

Judge Orinda Evans’s decision consists of a 350 page brief which you can find here (PDF). It’s far too long for even me to read, but the short answer is that Judge Evans found that the vast majority of the 99 examples listed in the original complaint were not in fact copyright infringement. The librarians were correct in believing that their activities were allowed by the fair use exception.

I know that this is going to make a lot of librarians, reserves staff and faculty happy. I haven’t followed it as closely as I should have, but I’ve been doing reserves off and on for over 2 decades and I say hooray!

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