GSU Academic Author Fair Use Survey
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Background information and explanation
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This survey includes ten questions about your familiarity with and opinions about the GSU lawsuit. This lawsuit was filed in 2008 by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publishing (Publishers) against Georgia State University (GSU). The focus of the suit is on whether the use of excerpts from books used by GSU faculty infringed the Publishers’ copyrights in those books. At trial, the Publishers alleged 74 instances of infringement based on GSU faculty’s use of book excerpts in graduate courses over three semesters. GSU defended the suit by asserting that the uses made by faculty were “fair use,” which as the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals explains, permits unpaid uses that are “equitable and consonant with the purposes of copyright.” The court also explains that the purpose of copyright is “to promote the creation of new works for the public good by providing authors and other creators with an economic incentive.” The trial court found that for each work, faculty used on average 10.1% of the total work, or less than one chapter of each book on average. For the 46 uses for which the trial court conducted an in-depth fair use assessment, the court found that publishers lost a total of $3,333.80 in licensing revenue. While the total costs of the suit are not known, we do know that GSU has spent in excess of $3.5 million on its defense. As of today, the Publishers have again appealed this ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has not yet issued a ruling on this appeal.
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Q1 - Before this survey, were you aware of this lawsuit?
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#Answer%Count
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1Yes38.89%7
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2No61.11%11
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Total100%18
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Q2 - Were you consulted by the publishers before this lawsuit was filed?
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#Answer%Count
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1Yes0.00%0
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2No100.00%18
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Total100%18
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Q3 - Based on what you know about the suit, do you as an author or editor of the works used by GSU faculty support either side of the dispute?
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#Answer%Count
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1Strongly Support GSU61.11%11
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2Support GSU5.56%1
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3I am neutral27.78%5
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4Support Publishers0.00%0
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5Strongly Support Publishers5.56%1
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Total100%18
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Q4 - Do you have any opinions you would like to share about the lawsuit?
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(responses ommitted)
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Q5 - How does the use of your work in ways similar to how GSU faculty used it--unpaid excerpts available to enrolled students through a secure online course page--affect your motivation to produce new works?
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#Answer%Count
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1Strong negative effect on writing new works0.00%0
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2Negative effect on writing new works5.56%1
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3No effect61.11%11
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4Positive effect on writing new works5.56%1
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5Strong positive effect on writing new works27.78%5
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Total100%18
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Q6 - Have you ever posted (or asked a librarian or teaching assistant to post) book chapters or excerpts to course websites for your students to read?
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#Answer%Count
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1Yes66.67%12
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2No22.22%4
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3Not applicable (e.g., have not taught)11.11%2
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Total100%18
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Q7 - Was permission sought for these uses?
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#Answer%Count
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1Yes, it was sought13.33%2
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2No, it was not sought53.33%8
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4Not applicable (e.g., have not taught)33.33%5
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Total100%15
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Q8 - Have you ever received a royalty payment for the work at issue in this case?
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#Answer%Count
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Yes, I have received royalty payments for my work used in this case
33.33%6
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No, I have not received royalty payments for my work used in this case
33.33%6
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3I cannot recall33.33%6
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Total100%18
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Q9 - About what proportion of any royalty payments you have received for your work were for teaching uses like those at issue in the GSU case (licensed excerpts rather than book sales)?
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#Answer%Count
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1None54.55%6
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2About 25%45.45%5
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3About 50%0.00%0
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4About 75%0.00%0
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5About 100%0.00%0
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Total100%11
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Q10 - How important is the expectation of royalties in your motivation to write works like the one at issue in this case?
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#Answer%Count
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1Extremely important (e.g., I don't write unless I expect royalties)0.00%0
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2Very important0.00%0
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3Moderately important17.65%3
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4Slightly important23.53%4
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Not at all important (e.g., I happily write without any expectation of royalties)
58.82%10
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Total100%17
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