A federal judge sided with Georgia State University on a range of copyright infringement claims filed by three publishing houses in a ruling that administrators said could set an important precedent for how educational data is used by schools.
The order by Senior U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans on Friday rejected 69 copyright claims against the university filed by Oxford University Press, SAGE Publications and Cambridge University Press. The publishers claimed the school allowed "massive" copyright violations by allowing professors to download and reproduce excerpts from course materials.
The ruling by Evans found that "fair use doctrine" protected a professor's decision to allow students to access an excerpt through the university's online system. The doctrine allows the publication of material without the consent of the copyright's owner as long as the amount of the material used is limited.
She wrote that making limited excerpts freely available to students would "further the spread of knowledge."