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GSU Library Copyright Lawsuit  

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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In April 2008, three academic publishers filed suit against four officers of GSU for “pervasive, flagrant and ongoing unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials” through the library’s e-reserve system. 

In 2009, GSU revised its policies for electronic resources to address some of the publishers’ complaints, and the court ruled only instances occurring after that date would be considered.

On May 11, 2012, Judge Evans found copyright violations in only 5 of 99 excerpts and found the university’s policy had been a good faith interpretation of the fair use provision in copyright law.  She also set out specific guidelines to be used in evaluating fair use of copyrighted material. 

The judge asked the publishers to submit a proposed injunction (filed May 31st) and gave GSU 15 days to respond.  On August 10, 2012, she rejected the severe injunction proposed by the publishers for an injunction limited to keeping the copyright policy consistent with the court's ruling and training faculty and staff in its application.  The court also ordered publishers to pay GSU's attorney fees.

The case has been watched by universities around the country to see how a federal court would interpret fair use in regard to electronic copies and for educational use.  It has also spurred dialogue on problems with the current system for generating, publishing, and disseminating academic works.

The District Court of Nothern Georgia's ruling was appealed by the Oxford University Press to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Firday, October 17, 2014 the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed in remanded the District Court of Northern Georgia's decision, and found in favor of Oxford University Press.

Court Opinions


Publisher Responses to the Eleventh Circuit Ruling



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Meghan Starr

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Austin Martin Williams

Blogs - On Publishers' Proposed Injunction Filing

Blogs - On GSU Response to Proposed Injunction

Blogs - Post Final Injunction Decision

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