Ruling Issued on Georgia State University Lawsuit

The statement below was originally issued on May 18, 2012—a week after Judge Evans issued her ruling on the long-running Georgia State University copyright case. AAUP has been tracking the case from its beginning in 2008, collecting further documentation in the Policy Areas section of our website, here.

On Friday, May 11, Judge Orinda Evans issued her decision in the copyright infringement suit brought against Georgia State University by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publications.

The plaintiffs, the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) have each issued statements about the decision (see below for links).

The suit sought injunctive relief, not monetary damages. Its purpose from the outset was to try to bring some judicial clarity to the university's practice of posting large amounts of copyrighted material to e-reserves systems under a claim of fair use. The judge did find five instances in which the university had overstepped the bounds of fair use, and has asked the plaintiffs to propose the terms of an injunction. The process of developing the specific language of an injunction may take to the end of this summer; it is only when the injunction is issued that Judge Evans' role in the case ends and the clock starts ticking for the parties to decide whether or not to give notice of their intention to file an appeal. We believe it is premature and unwise for anyone to declare victory or defeat. The ruling is 347 pages long and not easy to understand, its interpretation of the law is controversial and unprecedented in several important respects, and it appears to make a number of assertions of fact that are not supported by the trial record. The parties are, as they should be, carefully analyzing the decision and evaluating their options.