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Publishers sue school over E-Reserves material

Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Updated: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 23:12



Film major Jibri Morton uses Georgia State’s e-reserves website. Publishers have sued Georgia State for unauthorized copies of materials.

Georgia State is making headlines not for its new football program, but for its copyright infringement.

On April 15, 2008, three major publishers filed suit against Georgia State's former President Carl Patton, the Provost, the Provost for Informa­tion Systems and Technology and the Deans of Libraries, alleging copyright infringement.

The publishers, Cambridge Uni­versity Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications, allege that Georgia State engaged in copyright infringement by allowing the wide­spread, unauthorized use of copy­righted material on E-Reserves.

E-Reserves is the electronic ver­sion of the traditional library "reserve" model, where a professor can make a limited number of physical copies of articles or book chapters available for students to use for supplemental material for their courses. Traditionally, publishers received reproduction fees or granted permission for the use of their materials in the library "reserve" model.

However, the Internet and its in­corporation in the library system cre­ated the concept of E-Reserves.

Instead of assembling physical copies of an article or book chapter, professors scan or download sections of the texts need for the class and post the material on a server where students can access it. However, with this new system, publishers are not receiving their reproduction fees for the material used and posted by the professors, which exceeds fair use, according to the publishers.

The publishers claim that Geor­gia State made more than 6,700 works available through E-Reserves and uLearn without permission or compensation for students in more than 600 classes.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, requesting an injunctive and declaratory relief and attorney's fees.

Georgia State has done its best to keep the lawsuit quiet as it fights the allegations. According to Publisher's Weekly, the university has "admitted that some of its E-Reserves were not password protected in the past, but they attribute that to a vendor glitch, since repaired."

Georgia State has also revised and tightened its E-Reserves policy since the lawsuit was filed.

On June 22, 2009, the court is­sued a protective order that elimi­nated the 6,700 copies cited by the publishers as evidence in the case.

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