No fun photos today, just sobering text. But read it anyway.
An interesting news item appears this morning in Inside Higher Ed (‘Full Court Press‘, May 23, 2011). It’s an update on an ongoing legal battle being fought between two prestigious university presses (Cambridge U.P. and Oxford U.P.) and the scholarly publisher SAGE Publications, on the one side, and Georgia State University on the other. The heart of the matter is the nature and amount of excerpted material that the publishers claim can legitimately be scanned or copied for reserve reading without paying license fees to the publishers, — pushback against the “Fair Use” doctrine widely practiced in higher education.
Ready? The publishers have proposed an injunction that would prohibit professors from scanning any more than 1,000 words from a book (or 10 percent, whichever is less). If any professor ran afoul of those rules, the university could be held liable.
Hmmm, one thousand words. Just now I pulled a book off the book truck behind me (Marketing Management for Nonprofit Organizations, don’t ask.) I sampled three pages and found an average of 336 words per page (conservative! didn’t count little words or partial lines). So, three, maybe four pages you could scan for your students without paying a license fee to the Copyright Clearance Center (which, oh look, is providing partial financial backing for the lawsuit). Record keeping! Permission fees! Administrative costs! Yes, surely we need more of those …
“The new filing is part of a lawsuit brought in 2008 by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publications, with backing from the Association of American Publishers and the Copyright Clearance Center.” (Story continues here … )
- Georgia State’s policy on the Fair Use Exception (the ‘Four Factors’)
- Dartmouth’s Copyright Policy and Guidelines – explained here.
Also see Guidelines for Online Use of Course Materials, section 4.
- Inside Higher Ed’s article about the lawsuit at its outset in 2008
- ‘A nightmare scenario for higher education’ – blog post by Kevin Smith, Duke University’s Scholarly Communications Officer. (Well worth reading.)
- ‘The Missing Preface: Or, How Publishers Are Misusing 20th Century Guidelines To End Fair Use At GSU’ – another blog post, from the policy director at ARL, the Association of Research Libraries.