Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Harvard’s Copyright First Responders to the Rescue; Library Journal, 8/13/14

Lisa Peet, Library Journal; Harvard’s Copyright First Responders to the Rescue:
"While most academic librarians are familiar with the basics of copyright law, the questions they’re asked are getting more complex. Issues of fair use and open access, MOOCs and repositories, and the push to digitize mean that students and faculty need more guidance on copyright matters than ever. This spring Kyle K. Courtney, Harvard University’s copyright advisor, brought together a pilot group of librarians known as Copyright First Responders (CFRs) to address this situation. The CFRs, who work in libraries across campus, are spending the summer in Courtney’s Copyright Immersion program studying the intricacies of copyright law. In fall 2014 they’ll begin serving as the first line of defense for copyright concerns expressed by students, staff, and faculty."

Saturday, August 9, 2014

If A Monkey Takes A Photo, Who Owns The Copyright?; NPR, 8/7/14

Bill Chappell, NPR; If A Monkey Takes A Photo, Who Owns The Copyright? :
"An argument is brewing between British photographer David Slater and the folks at Wikimedia over who owns the rights to a photo a monkey took with Slater's equipment. The website says the famous photo should be freely distributed, because it believes isn't bound by copyright law.
The dispute stems from 2011, when Slater's wildlife photography field trip to Indonesia produced a striking image of a smiling crested black macaque; another image shows it holding the camera. The story went viral, with Slater explaining that a group of macaques had taken over his equipment for a bit during the three days he spent in their company."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bill to Legalize Unlocking Cellphones Passes Congress; New York Times, 7/25/14

Nick Wingfield, New York Times; Bill to Legalize Unlocking Cellphones Passes Congress:
"On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it legal for consumers to open the digital locks on their cellphones so that they could more easily switch wireless carriers. The Senate has already passed the bill. Under a law intended to prevent copyright infringement, consumers now risk fines of up to $500,000 and five years in jail if they unlock their cellphones without the consent of their wireless carriers.
The restrictions against unlocking are deeply unpopular with the public...
Cellphone unlocking was actually legal until last year, when an earlier exemption to copyright laws granted by the Library of Congress, the overseer of the United States Copyright Office, expired...
President Obama, in a statement on Friday, said he looked forward to signing the bill, called the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, into law."

The Pirate Bay Goes Mobile With New Site; New York Times, 7/24/14

Nick Bilton, New York Times; The Pirate Bay Goes Mobile With New Site:
"People can complete all sorts of tasks with a smartphone now — order tickets, check the weather or call a taxi. Starting Thursday, people will also be able to easily steal copyrighted content on their mobile phones.
The Pirate Bay, one of the most popular sites on the web for illegally downloading copyrighted material, announced that it is releasing a mobile-centric version of its website, called The Mobile Bay...
Some media companies have acknowledged using pirating sites, including The Pirate Bay, to their benefit. Last year, a senior Netflix executive said the company used such sites to determine the genre of new shows that viewers might be interested in, and the type of shows Netflix should produce or license. Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, also said that pirated content could be “a tremendous word-of-mouth thing.”
While authorities and some entertainment companies have tried to stop The Pirate Bay from growing, the site has doubled its traffic since 2011, according to internal numbers about site use that Pirate Bay organizers released this month."

Piracy discussion paper focuses on copyright stick not content carrot; Gen Why? via ZDNet, 7/31/14

Josh Taylor, Gen Why? via ZDNet; Piracy discussion paper focuses on copyright stick not content carrot:
"If we are to understand the government's move to crack down on online copyright infringement from its now-officially-released discussion paper, the plan is to disproportionately address the symptoms without addressing the underlying causes.
Censoring websites and forcing ISPs to police their consumers' internet use seems to be the main thrust of the questions arising from the discussion paper released by Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Malcolm Turnbull yesterday...
For now, it seems like any new legislation brought in will be all about making it harder for customers and ISPs. As one executive remarked to me recently, the government is being very small government when it comes to the copyright industry, and very big government when it comes to consumers and the telecommunications industry."

SCOTUSblog Founder Joins Marvel Superhero Appeal for Jack Kirby Estate (Exclusive); Hollywood Reporter, 7/29/14

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; SCOTUSblog Founder Joins Marvel Superhero Appeal for Jack Kirby Estate (Exclusive) :
"In what might be yet another sign that Marvel should begin to fret that the U.S. Supreme Court could review a massive superhero rights dispute, the respected attorney Tom Goldstein is now co-representing Jack Kirby's family members. Goldstein is perhaps most famous for running the invaluable SCOTUSblog, which on July 21 highlighted Kirby v. Marvel Characters as its "Petition of the Day."
The dispute started when the family of comic book legend Kirby sent termination notices to Marvel and its licensees Sony, Fox and Universal over such superhero characters as Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and others. The bid fell short when the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling that the former Marvel freelancer had contributed his materials as a "work made for hire." As such, Marvel was considered the statutory author, and Kirby (and his heirs) never had any termination rights under the 1976 Copyright Act.
The high court has been asked to review the 2nd Circuit opinion, and in recent months there's been signs that it could indeed be taken up: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Marvel to respond to a cert petition after it initially declined to do so. Then Kirby's side got amicus support from the former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the former U.S. register of copyrights and various Hollywood labor guilds."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The End of ‘Genius’; New York Times, 7/19/14

Joshua Wolf Shenk, New York Times; The End of ‘Genius’ :
"WHERE does creativity come from? For centuries, we’ve had a clear answer: the lone genius. The idea of the solitary creator is such a common feature of our cultural landscape (as with Newton and the falling apple) that we easily forget it’s an idea in the first place.
But the lone genius is a myth that has outlived its usefulness. Fortunately, a more truthful model is emerging: the creative network, as with the crowd-sourced Wikipedia or the writer’s room at “The Daily Show” or — the real heart of creativity — the intimate exchange of the creative pair, such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney and myriad other examples with which we’ve yet to fully reckon...
In 1710, Britain enacted its first copyright law, establishing authors as the legal owners of their work and giving new cultural currency to the idea of authors as originators.
This is when we start to see the modern use of “genius.” In an essay published in 1711, Joseph Addison cited Shakespeare as a “remarkable instance” of “these great natural geniuses” — those lit up by an inner light and freed from dependence on previous models."