Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Future Of Open Access: Why Has Academia Not Embraced The Internet Revolution?; Forbes, 4/29/16

Kalev Leetaru, Forbes; The Future Of Open Access: Why Has Academia Not Embraced The Internet Revolution? :
"One of the most remarkable aspects of the story of the web’s evolution is that the collective output of the world’s universities has remained largely absent from the open online world, even as most other forms of information have shifted to some form of open online access. In the case of encyclopedias, entirely new forms of collaborative knowledge documentation like Wikipedia have emerged, while journalism has shifted to free advertising-supported distribution and even music and videos are increasingly legally available through ad-supported streaming services or affordable licensed download services.
Academic papers, the lifeblood of the scholarly world of academia, have resisted this transition. To those outside academia it might be surprising that most universities don’t publish all of their books, papers, presentations and course materials on their websites for the world to access...
Yesterday Science published a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Sci-Hub, one of the most infamous academic pirating sites, which provides free access to more than 50 million illegally acquired papers. One of the most fascinating findings is that its download traffic comes not exclusively from the developing world for which journal subscriptions are often claimed to be inaccessible, but also extensively from major Western universities which likely have legal subscriptions to the journals already. One of the reasons for this, the article claims, is the cumbersome and difficult-to-use web portals that university libraries provide to their holdings, making it incredibly difficult to locate a paper even if the university has a legal subscription to the journal. Having spent more than a decade and a half in academia at multiple institutions from public to private, I can personally attest to just how difficult it can be to navigate library portal systems to locate a particular paper...
As the drumbeat of open access continues to grow, the fierce debate over the future of how academic research is published and distributed will only rage louder. In parallel, as the trend towards open access expands to data sharing and replication, the pressure to change how academia does business will reach a breaking point where change will become inevitable. In the end, it is a fascinating commentary that the world of academia, from which the modern web sprung, has been among the most resistant to change and one of the last to embrace the internet revolution."

A Fight Over Cheerleading Uniforms Is Heading to the Supreme Court; Fortune, 5/2/16

Chris Morris, Fortune; A Fight Over Cheerleading Uniforms Is Heading to the Supreme Court:
"The high court has agreed to hear a case over whether stripes, zigzags and colors worn on uniforms by cheerleaders can be copyrighted under federal law. While it’s a case that might sound unusual, it’s one that could have far-reaching effects.
At issue is an August 2015 ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That decision allowed Varsity Brand to pursue a copyright claim against Star Athletica, based on similar uniform designs. Justices said the stripes, chevrons, zigzags, and color blocks in the outfits were more than aesthetic touches – and, in fact, made the outfit a cheerleading uniform.
The 6th Circuit Court Justices, in a split opinion, said the original ruling, which found that the designs weren’t subject to copyright laws “would render nearly all artwork unprotectable.” Also at issue, they wrote, could be designs on laminate flooring as well as the decorative base on some lamps...
Copyright law, when it comes to clothing, is less protective than you might think. Fabric designs are covered, but aspects like sleeve styles, pockets and necklines are not copyrightable, since they’re considered inseparable from the chief purpose of the outfit – to cover your body."

‘Zappa Plays Zappa’ Pits Zappa vs. Zappa; New York Times, 4/29/16

Ben Sisario, New York Times; ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’ Pits Zappa vs. Zappa:
"This month, the Zappa Family Trust, which owns the rights to Mr. Zappa’s music, informed Dweezil that he did not have permission to tour as Zappa Plays Zappa — the name is a trademark owned by the trust — and that he risked copyright infringement damages of $150,000 each time he played a song without proper permission.
“My last name is Zappa; my father was Frank Zappa,” Dweezil said. “But I am not allowed to use the name on its own. I’m not allowed to use a picture of him. I’m not allowed to use my own connection with him without some sort of deal to be struck.”"

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Behold, a legal brief written in Klingon; Washington Post, 4/29/16

Brian Fung, Washington Post; Behold, a legal brief written in Klingon:
"A group of linguists is boldly going where no one has gone before.
In a legal brief peppered with idioms written in the original Klingon, the Language Creation Society — a California nonprofit devoted to supporting "constructed languages" — is trying to convince a court that the alien language from "Star Trek" is a real, "living" form of communication.
The made-up language is at the heart of a big copyright case involving CBS and Paramount, which own the rights to the "Star Trek" franchise, and a group of filmmakers who are trying to produce their own, original "Star Trek" film. If the studios win the fight, it would deal a major blow to the crowdfunded movie and to subsequent fan creations."

Thursday, April 28, 2016


"Fans eager to learn more about Fox's slate of X-Men films will be disappointed to learn that the studio will not be attending San Diego's Comic-Con International this year. The report comes from The Wrap, who says that a source close to the studio has said that Fox has pulled out of a Hall H presentation, which would include sneak peeks and information about upcoming Fox movies, over piracy concerns."

Celebrating American Ingenuity and Innovation on World Intellectual Property Day; The White House, 4/26/16

Danny Marti, The White House; Celebrating American Ingenuity and Innovation on World Intellectual Property Day:
"Today, on World Intellectual Property Day 2016, we join our partners around the world in celebrating the important role that the creative and innovative communities play in our cultural and economic lives.
As President Obama said in commemoration of World Intellectual Property Day, or World IP Day, today: “Whether through the music or movies that inspire us, the literature that moves us, or the technologies we rely on each day, ingenuity and innovation serve as the foundations upon which we will continue to grow our economies and bridge our cultural identities.”...
So take a moment today to join President Obama in celebrating the role of intellectual property in our world. And to all the makers out there, keep doing what you do. America’s greatest export truly is the creativity and innovation of the American people."

On IP Protection, USTR Finds Fault With China, India … And Switzerland?; Intellectual Property Watch, 4/27/16

William New, Intellectual Property Watch; On IP Protection, USTR Finds Fault With China, India … And Switzerland? :
"The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) does not hesitate to add even its closest friends to its annual list of concerns about possible inadequate protection of US intellectual property rights...
This year’s report is available here.
Other close partners on the list or facing further scrutiny include Canada, Chile, Colombia and Spain. And as an example of the breadth of the report, problems US rightsholders claim to have defending country-code internet domain names led USTR, in the report, to cite China, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The report also includes an extensive section on geographical indications, taking issue with the European Union system.
This year’s report also reflects the increasing inclusion of trade secrets in the context of intellectual property rights, despite significant differences in purpose. It singles out China and India for problems on trade secret protection."