Georgia State update

state map of Georgia with copyright symbol superimposed

Trial in the Georgia State case wrapped on Tuesday, but don’t expect a ruling until quite a bit later in the summer. It’s looking less and less likely that the “nightmare scenario” (see my own post, and Kevin Smith’s) will come to pass (at least in the short run), since the contributory liability claims have been more or less dismissed.

The simple fact that academic publishers were willing to request the injunction that they did, however, should remain a source of serious concern. Peggy Hoon recently said:

“this proposed injunction is so onerous, so intrusive, so far-reaching, and so incompatible with the reality of teaching and learning in the 21st century,
that simply widely publicizing the existence of and contents of the
proposed injunction may well achieve what the library community has been
trying to do for the last twenty years.

**WAKE UP THE FACULTY AND MOBILIZE THEM TO RECLAIM CONTROL
OF THEIR OWN WORKS OF AUTHORSHIP AND THEIR OWN SYSTEM OF SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION.**”

And Paul Courant recently used the requested injunction to illustrate a point about the differences between adversaries, and enemies.

“What the plaintiffs are saying is that they are quite willing impose enormous costs on academic performance and academic freedom in exchange for higher profits. This is not the request of a friendly adversary; this is the attack of an enemy.”

In the last couple of weeks, in my own interactions with faculty members, I’ve seen several individuals who were otherwise uninterested in copyright issues get fairly hot-headed once the terms of the requested injunction were described. However the legal case may play out (including in the no-doubt-lengthy appeals process), the publishers may have made some serious missteps along the way.

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