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Court of Appeals Decision in Georgia State Copyright Case

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The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals released their ruling in the case of Cambridge University Press  et. al. v. Patton on Friday (10/17/2014). This case is more popularly known as the Georgia State Copyright Case or the Georgia State E-Reserves Case.

To recap the case so far on April 15, 2008 Cambridge University Press, SAGE Publications, and Oxford University Press filed suit against Georgia State University in District Court regarding the library’s e-reserve practices and instructors posting of copyrighted material to course management systems. On May 11, 2012 Judge Evans handed down her opinion which found only five of the ninety-nine cases initially brought before the court to be infringing and awarded fees and costs to Georgia State. Judge Evans analysis included a weighting of the four Fair Use factors outlined in Section 107 of the Copyright Code. She also attempted to establish a bright line rule of 10% or 1 chapter of book when determining amount. The publishers appealed the ruling to the Circuit Court.

The Circuit Court ruling vacated Judge Evans’s ruling and sent the case back to the District Court level. Their finding was that while Judge Evans was correct to analysis each infringement separately her methodology was flawed. In their opinion the judges laid out the District Court applied a mechanistic instead of holistic analysis, should not have established a bright line for amount, and did not always weight market effect equally with the other three factors.

The University Libraries will continue to monitor this case as more rulings are expected in coming years.

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