AAP STATEMENT ON GSU APPEAL

Monday, 10 September 2012 | Andi Sporkin

Washington, DC — The publisher plaintiffs who brought the copyright infringement lawsuit against Georgia State University announced today they are appealing the District Court’s May 11, 2012 decision and other rulings to the 11th Circuit.

The plaintiffs in the suit are Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press USA and SAGE. All three organizations are members of the Association of American Publishers, the industry’s national trade association.

Statement from publisher plaintiffs

AAP released the following statement on the decision to appeal:

The District Court’s rulings are inconsistent with prior judicial decisions and other authority as to the scope of fair use in an educational context. There is no legal basis for according less copyright protection to printed books and articles when portions are made available in digital form rather than bound into hard-copy coursepacks. The Court misunderstood and misapplied the law.

For years, GSU permitted faculty to assemble multiple assigned readings into digital coursepacks without securing the customary permissions from authors and publishers. The Court, however, ignored this lengthy pattern and practice of widespread infringement and instead conducted a microscopic examination of a narrow selection of individual works. It ignored the forest for the trees.

If left uncorrected, these and other errors will encourage educational institutions across the country to engage in massive infringement of copyright at a great cost to the entire academic community. Publishers, authors, faculty and students are members of an educational ecosystem in which the creators and users of learning materials play complementary roles. Publishers identify outstanding authors and editors, transform manuscripts into leading scholarly works and produce, distribute and market the essential tools of teaching and learning. Publishers and authors must have the incentives to continue contributing to this ecosystem.

We are optimistic that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will provide a more balanced view of the fair use exception to copyright as applied to the use of digital content in education.

Media contact:

Andi Sporkin
Vice President, Communications
Association of American Publishers
asporkin@publishers.org and 202-220-4554