- Plaintiffs in the four-year-old Cambridge v. Patton case want a new framework for deciding when professors should be able to offer free electronic excepts of works to students.
- Publishers want Georgia State to compel professors to “investigate the availability of digital permissions before it may determine that a proposed use of an excerpt of a work is protected by the fair use doctrine.”
- The case could send ripples into other states, impacting other schools' e-reserve policies.
The Cambridge v. Patton case centers around a dispute at Georgia State University, but if publishers succeed in pushing a revision to the school's e-reserve policies, fair use could become a much more difficult issue for faculty there and elsewhere.
Last month, District Court Judge Orinda Evans rejected publishers' complaints over e-reserve practices at Georgia State, according to an Inside Higher Ed report. At stake is how freely professors may share portions of larger works via digital copies and whether or not how they share those excerpts can be considered fair use. Evans wrote that excepts of less than 10 percent of a work could probably be shared with students, but publishers would like to see certain exemptions, including when an except encompasses the "heart" of a work.