Thursday 14 July 2011

Copyright, education and the cost of compliance

The most recent Soapbox column in Publisher’s Weekly to come to my attention is this piece by Tom Allen (President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers). Tom's topic is the copyright infringement suit brought against Georgia State University (GSU): a brief synopsis of the background can be found here.

This post isn't interested in the liability issue as much as in the financial dimension to the case. It has been argued by some, and assumed by others, that if GSU was found liable there would be detrimental costly repercussions for content management practices at all academic institutions. Tom rejects this and argues that most academic institutions already adhere to practices that are both copyright compliant and inexpensive -- at a price which is almost trivial in per student terms (US$3.75 per student per year for a school of GSU’s size) while at the same time being a valuable source of income to rights owners.

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