Several people here at Ohio State have asked me what’s going on with a few copyright issues and cases that have been in the news recently.  Some of you who follow the library press and social media closely may know all about these situations, but others may be not watch for this news as closely.

Georgia State Litigation

Cambridge v. Patton, the copyright litigation that most know as the Georgia State case, began in 2008 when Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publications sued administrators at Georgia State University.  The plaintiffs alleged copyright infringement with regard to reproductions in electronic reserves and the university’s course management system.  The trial concluded recently and all the parties are waiting for a verdict.

One of the aspects of the case that has generated the most interest lately is the plaintiffs’ proposed injunction.  This injunction would require Georgia State to implement stringent controls on every faculty and staff member’s use of copyrighted materials and submit to monitoring to show that there is compliance. For a round up of various points of view on the impact and merits of the case, see the Chronicle’s What’s at Stake in the Georgia State Copyright Case.

Google Book Search Settlement

In March, a judge rejected a proposed settlement of the class action lawsuit that publishers and authors brought against Google for the digitization and display of books as part of the Google Book Search project.  Since the rejection, the parties have been attempting to reach an alternative settlement with an opt-in arrangement.  Most recently, they appeared before a judge and asked for more time.  There is another status conference on July 19.

In the Meantime…

…After a lengthy process to try to identify and contact each book’s rights holder, the University of Michigan will start making digitized copies of orphan works available to members of the UM community.   Orphan works are works that are still in copyright, but the rights holder is now unknown or unavailable.