Back in May, I discussed the ruling that was handed down that month in the infamous Georgia State University copyright case. The judge threw out 25 of the 99 claims brought, and ruled for the defendants in 69 of the 74 claims remaining. Despite the incredibly lopsided nature of the plaintiffs’ loss, I suggested that it was “not completely clear sailing from here for Georgia State,” given that there was “still the matter of the five claims in which the Court found for the plaintiffs.”
As it turns out, I was mistaken about that.
On August 10, Judge Orinda Evans effectively denied the plaintiffs’ requests for injunctive and declaratory relief in those five remaining claims. On the declaratory side, she simply elucidated her earlier ruling; on the injunctive side, her sole direction to the defendants is that they “maintain copyright policies . . . which are not inconsistent with the Court’s Order of May 11, 2012” and “disseminate (those policies) to faculty and relevant staff.”
Not a good day for the plaintiffs, you say? But wait, there’s more.
Both the plaintiffs and the defendants had asked the Court for an award of their attorneys’ fees. In finding that, “on balance. . . . Defendants are the prevailing party in this case,” Judge Evans “[exercised her] discretion to award the Defendants their reasonable attorneys’ fees.” That can only have added a little extra sting to the resounding thumping administered to the plaintiffs in this case.
For a more in-depth discussion of this order from the library perspective, see Kevin Smith’s always-helpful Scholarly Communications @ Duke blog.
The Association of American Publishers, which (along with the Copryight Clearance Center) substantially funded the lawsuit, responded on Monday, August 13, with a brief statement asserting that Judge Evans’ decision is “marred by a number of serious legal errors” and leaving the door open to appeal. As of this writing, the CCC does not appear to have made any public statement on the matter.