Cambridge Nil Georgia State Nil? A Copyright Derby Analysis

Warning. This post may only make sense to English football fans. (Yes, I know this is Cambridge United logo and not Cambridge Press.)

The publishing and academic worlds are watching the clock tick down to the perhaps historic decision of federal judge Orinda Evans in Cambridge University Press et al v. Patton which alleges that “Georgia State University administrators systematically encouraged faculty members to commit copyright infringement via GSU’s electronic reserve and course content systems.”

For those of you across the pond, the case has its American peculiarities since Georgia State is claiming sovereign immunity from liability since defendants are individual collegiate officials that are employees of the State of Georgia being sued in federal court by citizens of another state in apparent violation (arguably) of our Constitution. This issue alone might create the goalless draw to which our title alludes.

Another peculiarity is that the plaintiff publishers (Cambridge, Oxford, Sage) are not seeking money damages. Injunctive relief is the only remedy sought.

In addition to the “We are Georgia” defense, defendants also play the “fair use non-profit give us a break card”, much like a football defender in the penalty box making a fair challenge on a strong opponent.

Why did British publishers travel to the wilds of Georgia to play an away game on a difficult pitch?

I can honestly state that I have no idea whatsoever as to the holdings that may be announced in the trial court’s opinion. I can guarantee, however, that the game will remain scoreless, even in the extra time of proceedings in the Court of Appeal.

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