ALA and ACRL respond to Eleventh Circuit Court’s encouraging “fair use” decision in Georgia State University case

WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit handed down an important decision in Cambridge University Press et al. v. Carl V. Patton et al. concerning the permissible “fair use” of copyrighted works in electronic reserves for academic courses. Although publisher’s sought to bar the uncompensated excerpting of copyrighted material for “e-reserves,” the court rejected all such arguments and provided new guidance in the Eleventh Circuit for how “fair use” determinations by educators and librarians should best be made. Remanding to the lower court for further proceedings, the court ruled that fair use decisions should be based on a flexible, case-by-case analysis of the four factors of fair use rather than rigid “checklists” or “percentage-based” formulae.

Courtney Young, president of the American Library Association (ALA), responded to the ruling by issuing the following statement:

“The appellate court’s decision emphasizes what ALA, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and other library associations have always supported—thoughtful analysis of fair use and a rejection of highly restrictive fair use guidelines promoted by many publishers. Critically, this decision confirms the importance of flexible limitations on publisher’s rights, such as fair use. Additionally, the appeals court’s decision offers important guidance for reevaluating the lower courts’ ruling. The court agreed that the non-profit educational nature of the e-reserves service is inherently fair, and that that teachers’ and students’ needs should be the real measure of any limits on fair use, not any rigid mathematical model. Importantly, the court also acknowledged that educators’ use of copyrighted material would be unlikely to harm publishers financially when schools aren’t offered the chance to license excerpts of copyrighted work.

“Moving forward, educational institutions can continue to operate their e-reserve services because the appeals court rejected the publishers’ efforts to undermine those e-reserve services. Nonetheless, institutions inside and outside the appeals court’s jurisdiction—which includes George, Florida and Alabama—may wish to evaluate and ultimately fine tune their services to align with the appeals court’s guidance. In addition, institutions that employ checklists should ensure that the checklists are not applied mechanically.”

In 2008, publishers Cambridge, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publishers sued Georgia State University for copyright infringement. The publishers argued that the university’s use of copyright-protected materials in course e-reserves without a license was a violation of the copyright law. Previously, in May 2012, Judge Orinda Evans of the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the university in a lengthy 350-page decision that reviewed the 99 alleged infringements, finding all but five infringements to be fair uses.

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About the Association of College & Research Libraries
The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,500 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.

You Are Ms. Marvel!

dc smallWatch your mailbox for the latest limited edition ACRL Conference poster and be an official ACRL 2015 superhero by entering our poster contest. Simply post a pic yourself as Ms. Marvel on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #acrl2015, or share on the ACRL 2015 Facebook page, to win FREE HOTEL accommodations at the conference.

ACRL 2015 will be held March 25-28, 2015, in Portland, Oregon. Early bird registration is open now! We’ll see you next year in Portland.

Member of the Week: Sara Shutkin

Sara ShutkinSara Shutkin is Archivist/Records Manager/Reference Librarian at the Alverno College Library in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sara has been an ACRL member since 1985 and is your ACRL member of the week for October 20, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Creative, Inquisitive, Team-player.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Now that my child is almost grown, I have the time once again to juggle many reading projects at once which I love to do. I am just finishing re-reading Dune after recently reading a number of the prequels-it’s even better the second time through. I just began reading Hollow Earth (a children’s fantasy novel written by an Alverno faculty member). In the commuter bag I sometimes carry with me to work is a copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. And finally from my professional to-do list, I am making my way through The Lone Arranger: Succeeding in a Small Repository.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Responsive, Innovative, Supportive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Since I do not get to conferences very often due to budgetary and time constraints, I value ACRL’s web site and publications. It is from those that I interact with colleagues and can keep up with cutting edge developments. I also value ACRL for the continuing education it provides; I am an Information Literacy Immersion Program alumna and a participant in the first year cohort of ACRL’s Assessment in Action (AiA) project as leader of Alverno’s librarian-led team.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Since ours is a small institution, librarians, like the rest of the staff and faculty here, often wear multiple hats and I am no exception. My job title is “archivist/records manager/reference librarian.’ I love the variety that is my work. I provide traditional services such as library research assistance, and information literacy instruction; I serve as library liaison to some academic departments, and do library collection evaluation and enhancement. I also provide college historical information, do records management consultations for departments college-wide and serve on college committees and advisory groups. Nothing makes me feel better than when a student thanks me for my assistance after she successfully completes an assignment.

6. In your own words: I have worked at Alverno College for 27 years and have been a library professional for more than 30. I love being part of a profession that includes some of the last of the world’s great generalists. I am encouraged to keep learning and I learn from everything I do. All the strands of knowledge that I gather can and are used somehow in my work. Helping others get to the information they need is my highest priority both in the library and in the archives.

Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at for more information.

Keeping Up With… Learning Analytics

The latest edition of Keeping Up With…, ACRL’s online current awareness publication featuring concise briefs on trends in academic librarianship and higher education, is now available.  This month’s issue features a discussion of Learning Analytics by Steven J. Bell.

Keeping Up With… is available on the ACRL website and each issue will be send via email to ACRL members. Non-members  can visit our email subscription page to sign up to receive Keeping Up With… and a variety of other ACRL awareness publications including the ACRL Update newsletter and table of contents alerts for C&RL and C&RL News.

ACRL is currently accepting topic suggestions for future editions of Keeping Up With… . Visit the Keeping Up With…website for more information or contact David Free at with questions or to submit topics.

Introduce A Keynote Speaker At ACRL 2015

acrl2015We are looking for videos about why YOU should introduce one of the keynote speakers at the ACRL 2015 conference. Choose your favorite keynote speaker (G. Willow Wilson, Jad Abumrad, or Lawrence Lessig) and submit a video about why you would be the best choice to introduce that person. Are you a comic-book-crazed member of the Kamala core? Is your iPod jammed full of Radiolab podcasts? Do copyright restrictions make you foam at the mouth? Video entries should be no more than 3 minutes in length in any format you like. Have fun with it and be creative!  Tell us what inspires you about this person, and why you’d do their introduction justice.

lessigabumradwillowIf selected, you’ll be invited to introduce the keynote on stage at the conference in Portland, Oregon. You’ll prepare and present an introduction that is about 3 minutes in length (but absolutely no longer than 5 minutes) to an audience of approximately 3,000 of your academic peers and colleagues. You will also receive…

  • The chance to meet your idol! Imagine yourself hanging out backstage rubbing elbows…
  • An invitation to the exclusive ACRL 2015 Chairs’ reception at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry on Thursday, March 26.
  • Serious fun and laughs, glory and fame, and a great cocktail party story for years to come.

To enter, simply post your video online (using YouTube or any way that is most convenient for you), tag it with acrl2015 and complete the very brief Keynote Introduction Submission Form. The deadline for entries if 11:59 pm central on November 21, 2014. No late entries will be accepted.

Complete details, including full contest rules and regulations, are available on the ACRL 2015 website. For more information, contact ACRL Conference Supervisor Tory Ondrla at tondrla@

Also, make sure to watch your snail mail for the second limited edition ACRL Conference poster! Be an official ACRL 2015 superhero by entering our poster contest to win FREE HOTEL accommodations in Portland. More information is available on the mailing.

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