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SAGE Press Release - In Regards to the Georgia State Copyright Decision
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In Regard to the Georgia State Copyright Decision

Issued on behalf of the Plaintiffs:

(May 14, 2012) We are pleased that the District Court ruling recognized that Georgia State University's flawed 2009 copyright policy resulted in infringement of our works. We will work on an injunction that will reduce the chances that GSU will infringe works posted to its eReserve system in the future.

We are also pleased that the Court rejected the idea that public universities can shield themselves from allegations of copyright infringement, thus ensuring that respect for copyright is required of both public and private universities and colleges.

This case focused on GSU's takings from books used in graduate or upper-level undergraduate courses. The court did not consider the pattern and practice of GSU's infringement.

Despite our disagreement with aspects of the decision, it marks a significant first step toward addressing the need for clarity around issues of copyright in the context of higher education. We appreciate the court's acknowledgement that current practices around fair use vary widely and can use some practical guidelines. No monetary damages have been sought in the case by the publishers; our aim is to establish such practical guidelines. The decision was based on issues that arose in an interim environment, when publishers were still transitioning their materials online so as to ensure availability in multiple digital formats. As more and more of this material becomes digitally available, complying with existing copyright laws will become even easier than it is today.

High-quality learning materials are essential to higher education and require that publishers make significant scholarly, editorial, and financial investments. We hope that this decision will start us down a path where librarians, teachers, and publishers can work together to chart a course through this evolving landscape.

We will be studying the opinion further to determine our next steps.


Background Notes:

  • This lawsuit was filed jointly by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and SAGE Publications, Inc.
  • No monetary damages have been sought at any time.
  • The vast majority of US institutions have fair use guidelines that are in line with current copyright law.

SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology, and medicine. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC.

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For more information, please contact:
Ashley Loar