The Association of American Publishers has issued a statement on copyright issues in education and for the visually impaired to the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property & Internet of the Committee on the Judiciary U.S. House of Representatives. It makes the following key points regarding current issues over what constitutes fair use for educational purposes:
- There is no general or per se exception for use of copyrighted material for educational purposes or by non-profit educational institutions under the U.S. Copyright Act, and such uses are not “presumptively” fair use.
- Notwithstanding clear Congressional intent and Supreme Court precedent, court rulings in pending copyright infringement litigation by academic publishers against Georgia State University (“GSU”) have exhibited troubling hallmarks of the “new jurisprudence.”
- The court rulings in the GSU litigation treated the economic implications of GSU’s changeover from licensed paper “course packs” to unlicensed digital copies of the same kind of materials used for the same purpose in a manner that distorted the fair use analysis and failed to take into account certain facts about the reasonable impact that licensing would have on GSU and other non-profit institutions of higher education.
- Continuing uncertainty over the outcome of the GSU litigation demonstrates a critical need for guidance clarifying the application of fair use in higher education to be developed through other means besides the slow, expensive and haphazard process of piecemeal litigation in the federal courts.
The AAP concludes that, for publishers to have the incentives to continue to make substantial investments in innovative digital content, technologies and services, they must have confidence that they can exercise their exclusive rights as copyright owners to sell or license certain uses of their works in primary and secondary academic markets.
Click here for full statement