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Re: Georgia State University electronic course reserves copyright case nearing resolution?
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- Subject: Re: Georgia State University electronic course reserves copyright case nearing resolution?
- From: Sandy Thatcher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2010 20:20:43 EST
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What would you think of a university that acted as follows: 1)adopted an extreme policy that was way more radical than anything else in place at other universities, based on a pet theory of a law professor at another school in the same state system whose views were not widely shared among fellow experts; 2)when sued, dropped that policy entirely (because evidently the state's attorney general considered it to be indefensible in court); 3)substituted in its place a policy that superficially resembles the policies adopted by many other universities; 4)hired an "expert" to prepare reports to submit to the court who had written the policies at some other universities from which the new policy was copied; 5)proceeded to do very little beyond announcing the new policy's existence to help faculty understand and apply it carefully; 6)mandated a procedure for implementing the new policy that was completely mechanical in nature and contrary to the spirit of the law it was meant to comply with; 7)petitioned the court, on sovereign immunity grounds, to quarantine all evidence from past bad behavior under the old policy from consideration by the court in determining the outcome of the suit; 8)limited the evidence admissible to just the behavior over a short span of three semesters, claiming that the new behavior revealed much more compliance with the law (without owning up to the fact that courses are rarely repeated every semester at most universities); 9)left the faculty bearing the entire responsibility for interpreting the law and entire liability for misapplying it; and 10)provided no funding at all to assist faculty in paying the costs of adopting materials for class use. This is a basic summary of the way Georgia State University has acted in this case. However good a job its legal team may have done to avoid having GSU pay any penalty for past bad behavior or allowing the university to be held liable for present irresponsibility in carrying out the new policy, I submit that GSU's example is reprehensible morally in the extreme and represents a combination of hubris, stupidity, and faulty management that no other university should emulate. Since the LJ story cites Kevin Smith's blog, please go to it and read my response: http://library.duke.edu/blogs/scholcomm/2010/03/09/summary-judgment-in-the-gsu-case/. Also, readers interested in this case may want to read my article on it in the current (February) issue of Against the Grain where I take on Ken Crews's reports preparing in support of GSU. Sandy Thatcher >"Both Sides Angle for Victory In Key E-Reserve Copyright Case" >http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6722663.html > >An excerpt: > >"In a significant development...both sides in a contentious legal >battle over electronic course reserves used in an academic >library at Georgia State University (GSU), Atlanta, have asked >the court for summary judgment in their favor." > >Bernie Sloan
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