Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Failure to Communicate

Check out this article detailing the current lawsuit with e-reserves.

A Failure to Communicate

Out of patience, in April 2008, publishers sued four individuals at Georgia State University in their "official capacities." Niko Pfund, publisher of Oxford University Press, one of the named plaintiffs in the case, along with Cambridge University Press and SAGE Publications, said the plaintiffs were reticent to sue, but had little choice. "I consider this a failure of dialogue," Pfund says of the suit. "It's a shame. We've successfully come to agreements with others over the years. But Georgia State just wouldn't talk with us."

The allegations in the complaint offer some sense of just how much material is being accessed through electronic course content systems on college campuses: publishers claim that at Georgia State, more than 6,700 works were "made available through a variety of online systems and outlets" without permission, representing "systematic, widespread, and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works" for students in more than 600 courses.

On one hand, the lawsuit has certainly served as a shot across the bow of the university library community and faculties who use course management systems, and has prompted many schools to revisit their policies and procedures. But the legal case against Georgia State itself has been a complex, uphill battle for publishers from the start.