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District Court Reaffirms Fair Use in Georgia State University E-Reserves Case

Georgia State University Library
GSU Library, image CC-BY-NC by Jason Puckett

On March 31, 2016, the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia released its opinion (PDF) on remand in Cambridge University Press v. Becker, the case in which three academic publishers argued that the use of excerpts of academic books for electronic course reserves at Georgia State University (GSU) exceeded fair use and should require a license. The district court originally determined in 2012 that 94 of the 99 instances of claimed copyright infringement were fair use and only 5 were infringing. The case appeared before the district court again after the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded the case in October 2014, directing the trial court to revisit its fair use analysis. The Eleventh Circuit’s opinion rejected an arithmetic approach to the four fair use factors (that is, the idea that if three of the factors favor fair use, but one disfavors fair use, then fair use will always apply). On remand, the district court considered 48 infringement claims, revisited the fair use assertions by Georgia State University, and found that the vast majority were fair use.

Additional analysis is available in the April 5 ARL Policy Notes blog post, “A Deeper Dive into the New Georgia State Decision.”

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