Copyright Cases Roll On

Andrew AlbaneseThe US Congress writes the copyright laws of the land, and the interpretation is left to the courts. “Fair use” is a potential defense where  copyright infringement is charged, and a judge must measure four explicit factors when assessing possible harm.

Fair use gets a fair amount of attention in the Digital Age, and this week is no exception.

“In her 220-page remand decision in Cambridge University Press v. Patton (known as the GSU e-reserves case), Judge Orinda Evans found that 41 of 48 alleged infringements considered at trial—and reconsidered on remand—were protected by fair use, and for a second time, she declared GSU the prevailing party in the case, reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.

Meanwhile, a shorthanded US Supreme Court may have signaled its own interest in another longstanding case where “fair use” is the defense – the so-called “Google Books” case.

“Last week, we talked about the case being discussed at conference, and that we would know on Monday whether the court would take the case,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “This week, we learned that the case has been re-listed for the next conference, which may be good news for the plaintiffs, the Authors Guild. Cases that are re-listed have a much higher rate of being granted a review.

“The next conference is April, 15, so, we should know by April 18.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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