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Copyright Compliance
Copyright: Federal Court Cases

FEDERAL COURT CASES

<Earlier federal court cases (Michigan Document and Kinko's) were important because universities started to be mentioned in copyright cases and the Classroom Guidelines were cited as authority. As a result, a number of academic institutions assumed that the Guidelines applied to them (If you go to the copyright guidelines of a number of schools, the Classroom Guidelines are described as if they were law). The problem is that 1) these cases mainly dealt with commercial publishers making copies for profit (vs. academic institutions publishing at cost) and 2) the jurisdiction of these courts do not cover many states. More over, the courts themselves do not state that the guidelines as having the force of law.

The Georgia state case was huge because a university actually got sued in federal court and there was a judgment on the merits of the case (vs. NYU's case that ended in settlement). Although the case can still be appealed , the case illustrates that 1) the Classroom Guidelines do not always strictly apply to academic institutions but also serve to show 2) there may be other limits on the fair use exception.>

Princeton University Press v. Michigan Document, 99 F. 3d 1381 - Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit 1996 (Only binding on the 6th Circuit: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee)

Facts: Publishers sued for-profit copy service for making course packets of copyrighted material without permission and at a profit.
Ruling: In favor of the plaintiff.
Conclusions of Law:
-Classroom Guideline (1,000 words of the work): "Although the guidelines do not purport to be a complete and definitive statement of fair use law for educational copying , and although they do not have the force of law, they do provide us general guidance” and serve as a "safe harbor."
Findings of Fact:
-“Market harm (licensing):” In affidavits of 3 professors who assigned copyrighted work, 2 did not say that license was not available. All three do not say that the license fee deterred them from assigning the material. As a result, the court assumes that this was lost income.   
-Using 30% of a copyright work was too much.

Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Corp., 758 F. Supp. 1522 - Dist. Court, SD New York 1991 (Only binding on NY courts)
Facts: Publishers sued corporate copy service for making course packets of copyrighted material without permission for profit.
Ruling: In favor of the plaintiff.
Conclusions of Law:
-Classroom Guidelines (1,000 words or 10% of the work ) cited but its effect limited: "The Guidelines clearly state that notwithstanding their promulgation, fair use standards may be more or less permissive-depending upon the circumstances and based upon equitable considerations."
-“Market harm” further defined: collection of permission fees.
-”Nature of the Copyrighted Work:” Factual works receive more protection under fair use than non-factual works.
Findings of Fact
- “Commercial use:” Defendant had an intention of making a profit.
- “Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used:” 110 pages too much, even for an out-of-print book. An entire chapter was also too much.
- Defendants did not produce professors which could state why they could not seek and pay for permission.

Cambridge University Press et al v. Patton et al (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia) (Only binding on Georgia courts. Can still be appealed.)

Facts: Multiple publishers filed a claim against Georgia State University for posting copyrighted materials to their online reserve.
Claim: Copyright violations were “pervasive (13 courses and 8 professors cited), flagrant, (E.g. six chapters and 80> excerpts) and ongoing (multiple semesters, continuing after being contacted).”
Legal Basis: Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko’s Graphics Corp. & Princeton Univ. Press v. Michigan Document Servs.
Holding: Mostly in favor of the defendant. (See Library Journal Article)
Findings of Fact:
Of the 99 cases of alleged infringement, 5 were found to be violations of copyright. 4 could be accessed as digital excerpts. 1 copy was of the “heart of the work.”
Conclusions of Law:
-“Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used:” Book with less than 10 chapters: 10%. Book with more than 10 chapters: no more than 1 chapter.
-“Market harm:” “Ready market” for digital excerpts heavily favor the publisher.


 

 

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