Three prominent academic publishers are suing Georgia State University, contending that the school is violating copyright laws by providing course reading material to students in digital format without seeking permission from the publishers or paying licensing fees, the New York Times reports. In a complaint filed April 15 in United States District Court in Atlanta, the publishers–Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publications–sued four university officials, asserting "systematic, widespread, and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works" by Georgia State, which the university distributes through its web site. The lawsuit, which may be the first of its kind, raises questions about digital rights, which are confronting many media companies, but also about core issues such as the future of the business model for academic publishers. The case centers on so-called course packs, compilations of reading materials from various books and journals. The lawsuit contends that in many cases, professors are providing students with multiple chapters of a given work, in violation of the "fair use" provision of copyright law. The publishers are seeking an order that the defendants secure permissions and pay licensing fees to the copyright owners…

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