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che on fair use

Of possible interest..

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Despite Skeptics, Publishers Tout New 'Fair Use' Agreements With 


The battle line between publishers and colleges, who have been 
fighting over campus access to digital versions of books and 
journals, shifted slightly in favor of the publishers on 

The Association of American Publishers announced it had reached 
an agreement with Hofstra, Marquette, and Syracuse Universities 
to limit distribution of electronic content for students. The 
policies may be too vague, however, to actually help professors 
and librarians figure out what they can rightfully access. And 
one of the universities said the agreement was made under duress.

Each university, urged by the publishers, has produced guidelines 
governing electronic reserves, a system that libraries and 
professors use to make portions of books and journals available 
free online to students. The documents broadly state that the 
colleges will respect copyright law, will consider four factors 
in deciding whether to distribute course material, and will not 
assume that material elsewhere on the Internet can be 
redistributed without publishers' approval.

A spokesman for the publishing group said those were "easily 
understood and common-sense standards."

The four factors focus on things like whether the material will 
be used for nonprofit educational purposes, versus commercial 
uses. The factors are all part of guidelines for fair use 
published by the U.S. Copyright Office.


Georgia Harper, a copyright expert who is the scholarly 
communications adviser for the University of Texas at Austin 
libraries, is skeptical that the guidelines from the three 
universities will clear up much confusion about how to use 
electronic content.

"I find the some of the statements to be ambiguous and 
unhelpful," she said in an e-mail message, noting that the 
documents include the word "may."

copyright 2007 Chronicle of Higher Education