"A federal judge in New York has ruled against Sirius XM over an obscure copyright issue that has galvanized the music industry: royalties for recordings made before 1972. Sirius XM and Pandora Media have both been hit in the last year by a series of lawsuits over old recordings. Neither company pays record labels or performing artists on songs recorded before 1972, when federal copyright protection was first applied to recordings. (Both services, however, pay separate royalties for songwriting.)"
Monday, November 17, 2014
Ben Sisario, New York Times; Sirius XM Has Setback in Lawsuit:
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Anne L. Kim, Roll Call; Leahy Introduces Same-Sex Copyright Inheritance Bill:
"A bill introduced Wednesday would let spouses in same sex marriages inherit their each other’s copyrights regardless of whether or not the state where the copyright owner dies recognizes same-sex marriage."
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed; Open Minds, Open Access:
"What I will say is that it seems wonderfully appropriate that we are thinking through the legal implications of this practice during Open Access Week. This annual event is in its eighth year and we have seen progress made. If you're not quite sure what open access means, the best two-minute explanation was written by Peter Suber and he explains it well, if not in as much depth as in his book about it. A lot of scholars now buy into the idea that it makes sense for their research to be available to all who have an internet connection, not just to those who are lucky enough to work at a research institution or have the resources to purchase all the books and articles they might want to look at. There's a persistent misperception among many scholars that all open access publishing operations charge authors (most don't), that they are not peer reviewed (most are), and that they're run by scammers (yes, some scammers have set up faux publishing sites, but they're pretty obviously bogus. Rejecting all open access publications as a result is kind of like saying you will only accept messages that come on paper in an envelope with a stamp because email is a scam run by Spanish Prisoner crooks.) One argument against open access that has never made sense to me is that the system we have works perfectly well and anyone who needs access to research already has it. Publishers have said this to members of the US Congress with a straight face. To me, this is a startlingly anti-intellectual stance."
Research Is Just the Beginning: A Free People Must Have Open Access to the Law; Electronic Frontier Foundation, 10/23/14
Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation; Research Is Just the Beginning: A Free People Must Have Open Access to the Law:
"The bad news: the specter of copyright has raised its ugly head. A group of standards-development organizations (SDOs) have banded together to sue Public.Resource.Org, accusing the site of infringing copyright by reproducing and publishing a host of safety codes that those organizations drafted and then lobbied heavily to have incorporated into law. These include crucial national standards like the national electrical codes and fire safety codes. Public access to such codes—meaning not just the ability to read them, but to publish and re-use them—can be crucial when there is an industrial accident; when there is a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina; or when a home-buyer wants to know whether her house is code-compliant. Publishing the codes online, in a readily accessible format, makes it possible for reporters and other interested citizens to not only view them easily, but also to search, excerpt, and generate new insights. The SDOs argue that they hold a copyright on those laws because the standards began their existence in the private sector and were only later "incorporated by reference" into the law. That claim conflicts with the public interest, common sense, and the rule of law. With help from EFF and others, Public.Resource.Org is fighting back, and the outcome of this battle will have a major impact on the public interest. If any single entity owns a copyright in the law, it can sell or ration the law, as well as make all sort of rules about when, where, and how we share it."
Kerry Flynn, HuffingtonPost.com; Downloading Music Is Quickly Going Out Of Fashion:
"First records died, then cassette tapes, then CDs and now, downloads. That's right, we're all but officially in the age of streaming services. Apple might operate the largest online music store in the world, but the Apple Store's iTunes digital music sales have fallen about 13 percent this year, a source familiar with the matter tells the Wall Street Journal. The writing is on the wall."
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Joseph Storch, Inside Higher Ed; Why We Need Bright Lines:
"Frankly, the dueling decisions in these cases, and the numerous articles and statements by serious copyright scholars on both sides of this analysis, show that even those who steep themselves in the details of fair use can disagree on whether a certain use is fair or violative. When intellectual property law experts cannot agree, we should not expect our history and math faculty to do justice to the fair use analysis each time. Instead, faculty will divide into two camps. One group will “throw caution to the wind” and use whatever content they wish in whatever form they desire, hoping never to raise the ire of the publishing companies. The other, out of an abundance of caution, will self-censor, and fail to make fair use of content for fear that they might step over a line they cannot possibly identify, and can never be certain of until a judge rules one way or the other. Either way, our students and the publishers lose out.""
Louis Menand, New Yorker; Crooner in Rights Spat: Are copyright laws too strict? :
"This almost instinctive distinction between what is proper in the analog realm and what is proper in the digital realm is at the center of a global debate about the state of copyright law. Statutes protecting copyright have never been stricter; at the same time, every minute of every day, millions of people are making or using copies of material—texts, sounds, and images—that they didn’t create. According to an organization called Tru Optik, as many as ten billion files, including movies, television shows, and games, were downloaded in the second quarter of this year. Tru Optik estimates that approximately ninety-four per cent of those downloads were illegal. The law seems to be completely out of whack with the technology."