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RE: Update on Georgia State University's copyright infringement case

In my blog posting amplifying on Kevin Smith's post and found at 
I directed readers to my discussion of direct and indirect 
infringement in "Copyright & Cultural Institutions."  You might 
want to start there.

The normal standard for a contributory infringer is one who 
knows, or has reason to know, of an infringing activity, and 
induces, causes, or materially contributes to that  direct 

In the Georgia State case, there are at least two issues at play. 
First, did a direct infringement occur?  You can't have 
contributory infringement without a direct infringement.  Since 
Section 107 of the Copyright Act lists "multiple copies for 
classroom use" as one of the likely fair uses, this may be an 
uphill fight.  Second, if we assume that direct infringement did 
occur, did Georgia State contribute to that infringement?  Since 
GSU's policy is aimed at ensuring students and faculty respect 
copyright, that too may be a difficult argument.

As Kevin notes, the final decision will hinge on implementation 
issues.  Should Georgia State, for example, have played a much 
more direct role in monitoring and controlling what went on in 
the classroom?  By not doing so, did it encourage or materially 
contribute to infringement by students or faculty?  And if 
Georgia State were to inset itself into the classroom, how would 
that impact our traditional notions of academic freedom?

Peter Hirtle

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 2010 2:44 AM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Update on Georgia State University's copyright 
infringement case

Can someone on this list help non-legal readers to understand 
better the concept of "contributory infringement" as understood 
in this (Georgia State) case?  Thank you.

On Mon, 4 Oct 2010, B.G. Sloan wrote:

>> From Kevin Smith's "Scholarly Communications@Duke" blog:
> http://bit.ly/9lT6Jw
> Bernie Sloan