Court Cases

Cambridge Press v. Georgia State University (2014)

The case concerns the use at Georgia State University (GSU) of electronic course reserves and electronic course sites to make excerpts from academic books available online to students enrolled in particular courses. The named plaintiffs in the case are three academic publishers (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Sage), who argued that the unlicensed posting of digital excerpts for student access almost always exceeded fair use and should require a license.

 
 

Georgia State University E-Reserves Case: Eleventh Circuit Endorses Flexible Approach to Fair Use

Georgia State University LibraryGSU Library
image © Jason Puckett
On Friday, October 17, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued its ruling in the Georgia State University (GSU) case concerning the use of excerpts of academic books for electronic course reserves. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded the decision to the district court. In doing so, the court upheld the importance of the flexible application of fair use. Importantly, the Eleventh Circuit did not rule on whether each of the uses by GSU were fair uses or not, but instead found fault with the district court’s methodology, which used bright-line rules and an arithmetic approach (i.e., if three of the four factors favor fair use, then the use is fair). Assuming that litigation goes forward rather than the case being settled, the district court will need to revisit its fair use analysis, but could potentially again find that GSU’s uses were fair use for most of the works at issue.

For a more detailed analysis of the October 17 ruling, see “In Georgia State University E-Reserves Case, Eleventh Circuit Endorses Flexible Approach to Fair Use,” on the ARL Policy Notes blog.

 
 

Video: "Authors Guild v. HathiTrust: What It Means for Libraries"

In this 16-minute video, copyright lawyer Jonathan Band discusses the 2014 decision in the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust case and the implications for libraries.

 
 

Appeals Court Upholds Importance of Diversity in Fisher v. UT Austin

u-texas-austin-towerimage © UT AustinOn July 15, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit announced its decision (PDF) in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas [UT] at Austin, a closely watched case challenging UT Austin’s consideration of race as a part of its admission policy. In a 2-1 decision, the Appeals Court found in favor of UT Austin. The majority wrote, “It is equally settled that universities may use race as part of a holistic admissions program where it cannot otherwise achieve diversity.” The court continued, “This interest is compelled by the reality that university education is more the shaping of lives than the filling of heads with facts—the classic assertion of the humanities.”

 
 

Library Copyright Alliance Files Amici Brief in Authors Guild v. Google

screenshot of Mrs Dalloway in Google BooksGoogle BooksOn July 8, 2014, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA)—the American Library Association (ALA), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)—filed an amici brief (PDF) in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Authors Guild v. Google in favor of Google’s transformative use in creating Google Book Search (GBS). The Southern District of New York previously ruled in favor of Google, finding that GBS provided significant public benefits and constituted fair use.

 
 
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