Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Monday, October 10, 2011

UCLA Cleared of Copyright Infringement

University of California at Los Angeles recently prevailed in a copyright infringement lawsuit for streaming videos online.

According to the Chronicle, one copyright expert thinks the UCLA decision helps the HathiTrust digital-library consortium in its copyright lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild over the digitization of books from university libraries.

The Association for Information Media and Equipment (AIME) and Ambrose Video Publishing filed the lawsuit against UCLA for streaming a Shakespeare play for faculty and students to use as part of curriculum.  The plaintiffs asserted that UCLA violated copyright and breached its contract by duplicating DVD’s of the play that was acquired from Ambrose.

The judge in the case held that UCLA had not waived its constitutional “sovereign immunity,” a principle that prevents state universities from being sued without their consent in federal court.  The court also found that the association did not own the copyrights and therefore did not establish its standing to bring the case.

Chronicle interviewed James Grimmelmann, an associate professor at New York Law School who commented that “universities will have a little more breathing room for using media,” and “this decision will make the Authors Guild case against HathiTrust more of a long shot.”  “If the HathiTrust suit were to be decided tomorrow by the same court, it would be dismissed.” Mr. Grimmelmann says.

Further, Chronicle also quoted Kevin Smith, Duke University’s scholarly-communications officer, who says “because much of the dismissal hung on the sovereign-immunity question, “a major part of the decision applies only to state entities” and “does not translate to private universities.”

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