71 Use Without Permission
April 4, 1997
Articles and book chapters may be used in university coursepacks only
with permission of the copyright owner. That's the definitive word
from the U.S. Supreme Court, which this week declined to hear a final
appeal from a Michigan copy shop, which has been arguing in court that
compiling excerpts--in one case as much as 30 percent of a book--to
sell to students for assigned reading was "fair use" and required
neither permission nor fee. The shop was sued by three publishers.
Last year, in an unusual author-publisher alliance, the Authors
Registry, the Authors Guild, the American Society of Journalists and
Authors and the Text and Academic Authors Association filed a brief in
support of the publisher plaintiffs. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals voted 8 to 5 against the copy shop, ruling that "commercial
exploitation of the copyrighted materials did not constitute fair
Now, perhaps publishers and authors can get down to settling the
question of just who should be granting permission and accepting the
fees. Authors maintain that some publishers, acting directly or
through the Copyright Clearance Center, either grant reprint
permission without authority or fail to divide reuse fees with authors
even when required to do so by contract.
See Photocopying Books, (article 60) for background.