UC Law SF Communications and Entertainment Journal


In American Geophysical Union v. Texaco, the Second Circuit held that a corporate employee's unauthorized photocopying of eight journal articles for personal research and reference is not a fair use under the Copyright Act. This decision tested the legal parameters of photocopying by for-profit institutions, and established that traditional copying practices will now expose many private organizations to infringement liability. This Note examines the Texaco case, the Copyright Act, and the Copyright Clearance Center, an organization which played a pivotal role in the Second Circuit's decision. The author contends that the Texaco decision is contrary to the original purpose of the Copyright Act, dismisses important equitable considerations, and places an unjustified reliance on the Copyright Clearance Center. Nevertheless, this Note concludes that the Texaco decision will likely become powerful fair use precedent, and proposes methods to ensure that future scientific progress and corporate ingenuity is not hindered by over-zealous copyright enforcement.