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Books The Courts

Publishers Win On Only Five Claims In Copyright Case Against Georgia State 46

McGruber writes with news of a ruling in a copyright case brought against Georgia State by several publishers over the university's electronic reserve system: "The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that a federal judge has ruled in favor of Georgia State University on 69 of 74 copyright claims filed by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publications. In a 350-page ruling, Senior U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans found that 'fair use protected a Georgia State University professor's decision to allow students to access an excerpt online through the university's Electronic Reserves System.' While the 69 of the 74 claims were rejected, the judge also found that five violations did occur 'when the publisher lost money because a professor had provided free electronic access to selected chapters in textbooks.' SAGE Publications prevailed on four of these five claims, while Oxford University Press won the fifth claim. Cambridge University Press lost all its claims." From Inside Higher Ed: "And the judge also rejected the publishers' ideas about how to regulate e-reserves — ideas that many academic librarians said would be unworkable. At the same time, however, the judge imposed a strict limit of 10 percent on the volume of a book that may be covered by fair use (a proportion that would cover much, but by no means all, of what was in e-reserves at Georgia State, and probably at many other colleges). And the judge ruled that publishers may have more claims against college and university e-reserves if the publishers offer convenient, reasonably priced systems for getting permission (at a price) to use book excerpts online. The lack of such systems today favored Georgia State, but librarians who were anxiously going through the decision were speculating that some publishers might be prompted now to create such systems, and to charge as much as the courts would permit."
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Publishers Win On Only Five Claims In Copyright Case Against Georgia State

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  • by loufoque ( 1400831 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @08:09AM (#40003861)

    How about science publishers stop making money off of scientists? Not only do they not pay the people that write articles for their publications, they even make them pay to get a copy.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @08:37AM (#40004041)
    Why do we need academic publishing companies at all? Everything they do can be done by universities working together over the Internet, and the lower costs could help reduce tuition rates.

    Assuming, of course, that the goal universities and the professors they employ is to educate people. There are a scary number of professors who write textbooks in order to make money, rather than to communicate their knowledge to students.
  • by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @08:39AM (#40004045)

    Because they have to do science, not fight copyright problems. Also, they just want their articles to be peer reviewed, not to be put with all the internet crackpots.

    Why can't a government protect its scientists? After all, scientists are often using subsidies/grants to do their research, so they're basically giving tax money to publishers.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @09:21AM (#40004395)
    Note that the peer review process does not need to be facilitated by academic publishing companies. Universities could organize peer review, and universities could publish journals online at no cost. Universities are also in a position to give researchers incentives to participate -- tenure review, bonus pay, etc. The only reason publishing companies came about in the first place was to meet the needs of scientists to have their work distributed to other scientists; now that we have the Internet, we really do not need publishing companies at all.

    This is an issue that scientists should care about. In theory, scientists do their work to advance the state of human knowledge; this necessarily means making that new knowledge available to others. Right now, most scientific papers are unavailable to anyone who is not a scientist, with publishers demanding absurd fees for access.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer