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Publishers appeal GSU copyright case -

The publisher plaintiffs in Cambridge University Press vs. Patton (known commonly as the GSU e-reserves case) have again appealed the case following their second district court loss in eight years of litigation.

In an August 26 notice of filing, the publishers confirmed that they will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta to review Judge Orinda Evans' March 30 verdict against them, as well as 'all prior orders and rulings' in the closely watched copyright case, which involves the use of digitised course readings, known as e-reserves, common on college campuses.

The appeal follows after Evans issued her final order in the case on July 27.

First filed in April 2008, by three academic publishers - Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Sage Publications - with costs paid by the AAP and the Copyright Clearance Center, the suit alleges that Georgia State University administrators systematically encouraged faculty to offer students unlicensed, infringing copies of digitised readings as a no-cost alternative to traditionally licensed coursepacks.

President and CEO of the AAP, Tom Allen, has called the suit a 'test case' that will 'inform the application of fair use' in the academic setting.

After years of legal wrangling, Evans first ruled for GSU in 2012, holding that GSU's copying was protected by fair use in all but five of 48 infringement claims presented at trial. The publishers appealed, and in October 2014, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit unanimously reversed and remanded the case to Evans, with instructions to rebalance her four-factor fair use test.

Observers, however, noted that despite reversing, the 11th Circuit's written opinion affirmed much of Evans' handling of the case. Indeed, the publishers even undertook the unusual step of petitioning the 11th Circuit for a full "en banc" review of their unanimous victory—which was denied.

Most recently, in her March 30 remand decision, Evans found only four cases of infringement—fewer than in her first ruling. Furthermore, in her July 27 final order, she rejected a number of publisher motions, including the publishers' proposal for injunctive relief, and affirmed that the publishers must pay GSU's legal fees.

Although the final amount of that fee award has not yet been determined (and that determination will likely now be delayed by the appeal), GSU attorneys have has asked the court to order the publishers to reimburse them for more than $3.3 million in fees and costs.

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Click here to read the original press release.


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