ATLANTA, April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of publishers late
yesterday filed suit in federal court to stop widespread copyright
infringement at Georgia State University (GSU). The complaint, filed by
Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and SAGE Publications
and supported by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), charges that
GSU officials are violating the law by systematically enabling professors
to provide students with digital copies of copyrighted course readings
published by the plaintiffs and numerous other publishers without those
publishers' authorization. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief to bring an
end to such practices, but does not seek monetary damages.
The lawsuit asserts "pervasive, flagrant, and ongoing" unauthorized
distribution of copyrighted materials, despite attempts to reach an
amicable and mutually acceptable solution without the need for litigation.
GSU distributes the unauthorized materials through its electronic course
reserves service, its Blackboard/WebCT Vista electronic course management
system, and its departmental web pages and hyperlinked online syllabi
available on websites and computer servers controlled by GSU. U.S.
copyright law applies to digital course offerings as it does to paper
offerings, and does not distinguish between different methods of
While many U.S. colleges and universities work with university presses
and other publishers to ensure their uses of published materials are in
accordance with U.S. copyright law, the lawsuit states that GSU has flatly
rebuffed efforts to reach similar agreements.
"University presses are integral to the academic environment, providing
scholarly publications that fit the needs of students and professors and
serving as a launch pad from which academic ideas influence debate in the
public sphere," said Niko Pfund, Vice-President of Oxford University Press.
"Without copyright protections, it would be impossible for us to meet these
needs and provide this service."
"Publishers must protect their interests and those of their authors
when they believe that this spirit of cooperation--and the law itself--is
being willfully and blatantly violated," said Pfund. "We take this action
in sorrow, not in anger, as we consider universities, librarians, scholars,
and presses to exist in the same, mutually supportive ecosystem, and
believe librarians especially to be among our most important publishing
"Of all places, we would expect universities to respect laws protecting
intellectual property and to instill their students with such respect,"
said Frank Smith of Cambridge University Press. "One of the key values
underpinning teaching and research in colleges and universities is the
responsibility to credit academic work to its creator; and any attempt to
take credit for work that is not your own is widely viewed as unacceptable.
We think the majority of faculty would recognize that the same principles
apply in respecting copyright law and the work of fellow authors and that
these principles apply in the digital world, just as in the print world."
"Respect for copyright law is integral to the higher education
process," said Patricia Schroeder, AAP President and CEO. "It provides the
basis for publishing operations of university presses and scholarly
societies, and makes possible the contributions of innumerable other
authors and publishers to the educational process. Georgia State
University's disregard for basic copyright protections undermines this very
"AAP members and the publishing industry recognize the advantages of
making course content available electronically for students, and offer
licensing and permissions processes designed to allow such uses on a
cost-effective basis," continued Schroeder. "We are simply asking Georgia
State University to take the necessary measures to respect the law."
A copy of the complaint may be found on AAP's website,
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press, the publishing house of the University of
Cambridge, is one of the world's largest academic publishers and is
acclaimed for its list of journals, research monographs, and textbooks in
subjects from medicine and law to literature and classics. The American
branch of Cambridge, founded in 1949 and headquartered in New York,
publishes 500 academic books annually and imports more than 700 additional
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press, Inc. (OUP, Inc.) is affiliated with Oxford
University Press in the United Kingdom (OUP-UK), a department of Oxford
University. OUP, Inc. is a nonprofit publisher and the largest university
press in the U.S. OUP, Inc.'s diverse publishing program includes scholarly
works in all academic disciplines, Bibles, music, school and college
textbooks, business and economic books, online scholarly resource sites,
dictionaries and reference books, and academic journals. OUP, Inc. produces
approximately 500 new titles a year, of which about half are scholarly
research monographs, and imports close to 800 titles from OUP-UK and other
branch offices around the world.
SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and
electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since
1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars,
practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject
areas including business, humanities, social sciences and science,
technology and medicine. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices
in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore.
Association of American Publishers
The Association of American Publishers is the national trade
association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's more than 300
members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United
States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses
and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books
in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary,
postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer
software, and electronic products and services. The protection of
intellectual property rights in all media is among the Association's
SOURCE Association of American Publishers