Saturday, May 30, 2009

Potential of US Copyright Agenda to Endanger Freedom of Expression in China; IP Osgoode, 4/17/09

Julian Ho via IP Osgoode; Potential of US Copyright Agenda to Endanger Freedom of Expression in China:

"One of the most prevalent criticisms leveled against China today is the lack of human rights afforded to its citizens. This is particularly so in the area of civil and political rights, where China’s single-party unitary rule has made political prisoners of pro-democracy activists. Western advocacy groups have applied political pressure to convince the Chinese government to reduce its constraints on the human right of freedom of expression. At the same time, however, the American government has also worked hard through WTO means to toughen China’s intellectual property laws. Is this a conflicting position to take as it pertains to tougher copyright laws? Given the background of copyright law in China, it may very well be."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Company's 'ATM For Books' Prints On Demand; Podcast [4 min. 13 sec.] NPR's All Things Considered, 5/28/09

Podcast [4 min. 13 sec.]: Rob Gifford via NPR's All Things Considered; Company's 'ATM For Books' Prints On Demand:

"The company that makes the Espresso calls it "an ATM for books." On Demand Books CEO Dane Neller says it's the biggest revolution in publishing since Gutenberg started printing more than 500 years ago. He says it will help keep paper books way ahead of electronic books, such as those available on the Amazon Kindle.

"Our technology now makes it possible for the printed page to move as rapidly as the electronic page," he says. "The printed book still remains overwhelmingly the dominant way books are read. I mean, I think the last statistic I saw worldwide, the electronic book is still less than a half percent."

Boyle Web sensation: A massive missed opportunity?; Associated Press, 5/29/09

Jake Coyle via Associated Press; Boyle Web sensation: A massive missed opportunity?:

"According to rough estimates by the Times of London based on online ad rates, the first Boyle video could have earned close to $2 million with minimal advertising on YouTube.

Eliot Van Buskirk, a writer for who has covered this territory, thinks a unique opportunity was missed.

"This video of Susan Boyle is quickly becoming the most viewed video of all-time — and nobody's making money," said Van Buskirk. "It's been sort of a growing pains stage of ad-supported media."

Van Buskirk said the situation showed the need for content creators and distributors to have agreements in place for when a sensation strikes.

"We're still in the early stages — somehow — of media on the Internet," he said.

A percentage of the would-be ad revenue also would have gone to YouTube. Instead, the Google Inc.-owned company has earned little directly from what might become its biggest hit since launching four years ago."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

EFF Launches 'Teaching Copyright' to Correct Entertainment Industry Misinformation; Electronic Frontier Foundation, 5/27/09

Via Electronic Frontier Foundation; EFF Launches 'Teaching Copyright' to Correct Entertainment Industry Misinformation: New Curriculum Gives Students the Facts About Their Digital Rights and Responsibilities:

"As the entertainment industry promotes its new anti-copying educational program to the nation's teachers, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launched its own "Teaching Copyright" curriculum and website to help educators give students the real story about their digital rights and responsibilities on the Internet and beyond.

The Copyright Alliance -- backed by the recording, broadcast, and software industries -- has given its curriculum the ominous title "Think First, Copy Later." This is just the latest example of copyright-focused educational materials portraying the use of new technology as a high-risk behavior...

The website at includes guides to copyright law, including fair use and the public domain.

"Kids are bombarded with messages that using new technology is illegal," said EFF Activist Richard Esguerra. "Instead of approaching the issues from a position of fear, Teaching Copyright encourages inquiry and greater understanding. This is a balanced curriculum, asking students to think about their role in the online world and to make informed choices about their behavior."

The Teaching Copyright curriculum was developed with the input of educators from across the U.S. and has been designed to satisfy components of standards from the International Society for Technology in Education and the California State Board of Education.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Copyright Meets a New Worthy Foe: The Real-Time Web;, 5/21/09

Liz Gannes via; Copyright Meets a New Worthy Foe: The Real-Time Web:

"If you’re a copyright holder and you want to keep up with your pirated content flitting about the web — well, good luck. The way the DMCA is set up means you’re always chasing, and the real-time web is racing faster than ever before. Analytics services are only just emerging that will tell you where your views are coming from on a semi-real-time basis.

That’s especially true for live video streaming sites such as Ustream and

They’re also working to perfect and sell services so rights holders can monetize unauthorized clips that go viral, turning those views into marketing and revenue. (See our extended feature on this topic.) Adoption of such programs is moving a lot faster than the law...

Another live video company, Livestream (which until this week was called Mogulus), is trying to stand out from and Ustream by monitoring copyright more closely than DMCA requires. Livestream CEO Max Haot tells us his company has adopted aggressive copyright policies such as limiting new accounts to 50 concurrent viewers until they have been verified."

Teaching About Copyright and Fair Use for Media Literacy Education; Creative Commons, 5/26/09

Jane Park via Creative Commons; Teaching About Copyright and Fair Use for Media Literacy Education:

"Now, the Media Education Lab at Temple University has produced excellent resources based on the original guide to help teachers teach about copyright and fair use in their classrooms...

To use these resources in your classroom or study group (or for simply personal edification), check them all out here."

Music Labels Cut Friendlier Deals With Start-Ups; New York Times, 5/27/09

Brad Stone via New York Times; Music Labels Cut Friendlier Deals With Start-Ups:

"“Entrepreneurs are also realizing they need to spend as much energy on their business model as they do on technological innovation.”

The changes stem from an unavoidable and unpleasant reality facing the music business: the economics of offering music free on the Web do not work...

As a result, the online music landscape is littered with the wreckage of failed or troubled music start-ups...

“There was a generation of Web companies that signed up for deals that didn’t make sense, and unfortunately they set a precedent,” Mr. Westergren said. “Now that those deals turned out to be unsustainable, it made the labels realize that there was actually not hidden money they were missing out on. I think labels have a much better understanding of the economics of the business."...

Spotify plans to launch in the United States later this year, and its founder, Daniel Ek, claims that the music labels have given the start-up flexibility because they are attracted to a service that converts illegal downloaders into monetizable consumers of music. “This is what has been lacking for 10 years. The only way to beat piracy is by actually creating a legal service that is just as good,” Mr. Ek said."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Payoff Over a Web Sensation Is Elusive; New York Times, 5/24/09

Brian Stelter via The New York Times; Payoff Over a Web Sensation Is Elusive:

"[Susan Boyle] has already won a popularity contest on YouTube, where videos of her performances in April have been viewed an astounding 220 million times.

But until now, her runaway Web success has made little money for the program’s producers or distributors.

FremantleMedia Enterprises, a production company that owns the international digital rights to the talent show, hastily uploaded video clips to YouTube in the wake of Ms. Boyle’s debut, but the clips do not appear to be generating any advertising revenue for the company. The most popular videos of Ms. Boyle were not the official versions but rather copies of the TV show posted by individual users.

The case reflects the inability of big media companies to maximize profit from supersize Internet audiences that seem to come from nowhere. In essence, the complexities of TV production are curbing the Web possibilities. “Britain’s Got Talent” is produced jointly by three companies and distributed in Britain by a fourth, ITV, making it difficult to ascertain which of the companies can claim a video as its own...

YouTube, a unit of Google, has been keen to make money from its hulking library of online video by signing contracts with copyright owners and sharing the revenue from ads it sells before, during, after and alongside the videos. Major media companies have shown varying degrees of interest in these deals, in part because they are reticent to split much money with Google...

The broadcaster and producers allowed the copies to stay online because they created buzz for the program. The clips have received more than a half-million user comments.

The view counts continued to grow as people awaited Ms. Boyle’s next performance. Visible Measures, a company that tracks online video placements, said Ms. Boyle was responsible for the fastest-growing viral video in the roughly five-year history of Web video."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

UMich Gets Better Deal in Google’s Library of the Future Project;, 5/21/09

Ryan Singel via; UMich Gets Better Deal in Google’s Library of the Future Project:

"The new Google-UM agreement (.pdf) gives the university a digital copy of every book on its shelves, regardless of whether Google scanned its copy or another library’s. The school gets more rights to distribute its copies of the digitized works, and, most importantly for Google public relations, a way for the school to protest the pricing scheme of full-text institutional subscriptions to the millions of digitized books.

University of Michigan is one of the largest of the 29 libraries who have been digitizing public-domain and in-copyright books in conjunction with Google Book Search."

The Evolving Google Library;, 5/21/09

Via; The Evolving Google Library:

"Here's how the system would work:

Universities that have made parts of their collections available for digitization will receive deep discounts on access to the collection, or -- in Michigan's case and perhaps those of others -- will pay nothing for access to the collection, which currently has about 10 million volumes and could easily double in size. Every participating library will have full free access to digitized copies of all of the books it contributed.

For people at other institutions, a free "preview" of a book -- with about 20 percent of content -- will be available online.

Individuals will be able to purchase full access (but not download a copy) at prices that Google said would be inexpensive compared to regular purchase prices.

Colleges and university libraries could buy site licenses, with pricing based on Carnegie classification. While no scale was released, Google officials said that the goal of pricing would be both to provide appropriate recognition to copyright holders but also to ensure wide access to the collections.

Any of the universities that have provided volumes for the project will have the right to seek arbitration if they feel that the pricing does not reflect both of those principles.

Michigan was the first university to sign this expanded agreement although others among the 30-plus having books digitized are expected to follow, so the resulting offering will contain all of their collections combined...

One of the groups that has been worrying about pricing is the American Library Association. Corey Williams, associate director of the association's Washington office, said in an interview Wednesday that while many details remain unclear, the Google-Michigan agreement is "a step in the right direction with regard to pricing."...

Steven Bell, associate university librarian for research and instructional services at Temple University, said he thinks Google is trying to respond to the complaints that have been raised, and that he doesn't think the Michigan announcement will make those issues go away.

"I don't think this new agreement with the University of Michigan is going to totally mitigate the concerns of the library community about Google's monopoly ownership of these millions of digitized books."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Taking Sides in the Digital Revolution, Where Copyright Is the First Casualty; New York Times, 5/19/09

Michiko Kakutani via New York Times; Taking Sides in the Digital Revolution, Where Copyright Is the First Casualty:

"Such questions are being increasingly asked, as old and new media clash in cyberspace, and issues of copyright have become the subject of hotly contested debates. Two new books offer very different partisan takes on these arguments. In “Ripped” Greg Kot — a music critic at The Chicago Tribune since 1990 — contends that peer-to-peer file sharing and CD burning has empowered music consumers, while providing musicians with more “opportunities to be heard”: “In this world, the fringe players could more easily find and build a dedicated audience, and a musical ecosystem encompassing thousands of microcultures began to emerge.” In “Digital Barbarism” the novelist and sometimes political writer Mark Helprin argues that “copyright is important because it is one of the guarantors of the rights of authorship, and the rights of authorship are important because without them the individual voice would be subsumed in an indistinguishable and instantly malleable mass.”

The problem with both books is that the authors fail to come to terms with arguments that run counter to their own opinions."

Share a File, Lose Your Laptop?; PC World, 5/14/09

Bill Snyder via PC World; Share a File, Lose Your Laptop?:

"Called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the new plan would see the United States, Canada, members of the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, and Switzerland form an international coalition against copyright infringement. What's making groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation especially nervous is the veil of secrecy around the negotiations. In fact, it took some well-placed leaks and a Freedom of Information Act request to find out the most basic details of the plan."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Google Book-Scanning Pact to Give Libraries Input on Price; New York Times, 5/20/9

Miguel Helft via New York Times; Google Book-Scanning Pact to Give Libraries Input on Price:

"The new agreement, which Google hopes other libraries will endorse, lets the University of Michigan object if it thinks the prices Google charges libraries for access to its digital collection are too high, a major concern of some librarians. Any pricing dispute would be resolved through arbitration.

Only the institutions that lend books to Google for scanning — now 21 libraries in the United States — would be allowed to object to pricing.

The new agreement also gives the university, and any library that signs a similar agreement, a discount on its subscription proportional to the number of books it contributes to Google’s mass digitization project. Since Michigan is lending a large number of books, it will receive Google’s service free for 25 years...

The new agreement does not address other criticism, including the complaints over orphan works and worries that the agreement does not protect the privacy of readers of Google’s digital library."

Cornell Library Lifts Restrictions on Public Domain Works; Library, 5/14/09

Josh Hadro via Library; Cornell Library Lifts Restrictions on Public Domain Works: 70,000 public domain works contributed to the Internet Archive:

"Coinciding with the donation of 70,000 public domain works to the Internet Archive, the Cornell University Library has announced that it will no longer requires users to seek permission to reuse public domain materials for any purpose.

According to the library's statement, the shift in practice stems from a desire to be consistent with the library and faculty's commitment to Open Access...

Because the materials in question are already in the public domain, and because no new rights to restrict usage of the material are granted during the digitization process, researchers technically had the legal right to use and republish the materials. Indeed, the announcement acknowledges that the tension between institutional licensing policies and users rights can lead to charges of copyfraud, something Cornell hopes to avoid with the codification of this new policy."

© 2009? Wishful Thinking, Perhaps, as Backlog Mounts; Washington Post, 5/19/09

Lyndsey Layton via Washington Post; © 2009? Wishful Thinking, Perhaps, as Backlog Mounts:

"A serious logjam in the U.S. Copyright Office has created a growing mountain of paper applications, more than the staff can process. Like the marching buckets of water in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," the envelopes just keep coming, threatening to flood the operation.

The problem has tripled the processing time for a copyright from six to 18 months, and delays are expected to get worse in coming months. The library's inspector general has warned that the backlog threatens the integrity of the U.S. copyright system.

The irony is that the slowdown stems from a new $52 million electronic process that is supposed to speed the way writers and others register their literary, musical or visual work.

The delays do not appear to be hampering the business of the major publishing houses or those willing to spend $685 for a "special handling fee" that expedites registration. But the slowdown is frustrating hundreds of thousands of little-known people with big dreams."

Monday, May 18, 2009

When love is harder to show than hate; The Guardian, 5/13/09

Cory Doctorow via The Guardian; When love is harder to show than hate: Copyright law is set up to protect critics, while leaving fans of creative works out in the cold:

"But that's not what this column is about. What I want to ask is, how did we end up with a copyright law that only protects critics, while leaving fans out in the cold?"...

The upshot of this is that you're on much more solid ground if you want to quote or otherwise reference a work for the purposes of rubbishing it than if you are doing so to celebrate it. This is one of the most perverse elements of copyright law: the reality that loving something doesn't confer any right to make it a part of your creative life."

Site Lets Writers Sell Digital Copies; The New York Times, 5/18/09

Brad Stone via The New York Times; Site Lets Writers Sell Digital Copies:

"The Scribd Web site is the most popular of several document-sharing sites that take a YouTube-like approach to text, letting people upload sample chapters of books, research reports, homework, recipes and the like. Users can read documents on the site, embed them in other sites and share links over social networks and e-mail.

In the new Scribd store, authors or publishers will be able to set their own price for their work and keep 80 percent of the revenue. They can also decide whether to encode their documents with security software that will prevent their texts from being downloaded or freely copied...

Trying to address the piracy problem, Scribd is building a database of copyrighted works and using it to filter its system. If a publisher participates in the Scribd store, its books will be added to that database, the company said."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Steal This Book (for $9.99); The New York Times, 5/17/09

Motoko Rich via The New York Times; Steal This Book (for $9.99):

"Publishers are caught between authors who want to be paid high advances and consumers who believe they should pay less for a digital edition, largely because the publishers save on printing and shipping costs. But publishers argue that those costs, which generally run about 12.5 percent of the average hardcover retail list price, do not entirely disappear with e-books. What’s more, the costs of writing, editing and marketing remain the same...

The doomsday scenario for publishing is that the e-book versions cannibalize higher-price print sales...

Another possibility is that the cheaper prices for e-books entice consumers to buy more titles...

There is some precedent for that theory. When the smaller-format mass-market paperbacks that now populate airport bookstores and grocery checkout racks were introduced, publishers expressed fears that the lower-priced books might destroy the market for hardcovers. They didn’t. Instead, they expanded demand for books beyond elite readers."

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Book Author Wonders How to Fight Piracy; New York Times Bits Blog, 5/14/09

Via New York Times Bits Blog; A Book Author Wonders How to Fight Piracy:

By Peter Wayner: "The specter of piracy of my books materialized for me several weeks ago when I typed the four words “wayner data compression textbook” into Google. Five of the top 10 links pointed to sites distributing pirated copies. (And now, it’s six.)"

Is Google Waging a Public Relations Campaign on Libraries?; ALA District Dispatch, 5/14/09

Via ALA District Dispatch; Is Google Waging a Public Relations Campaign on Libraries?:

"Recently, Google representatives have initiated contact with members of the library community to explain, from their perspective, the proposed Google Book Search settlement agreement that was recently reached among Google, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild. Specifically, Google is reaching out to library leaders, likely in response to an increase in interest in the community and the press about the concerns libraries have raised in response to the proposed private settlement agreement."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unofficial Software Incurs Apple's Wrath; The New York Times, 5/13/09

Via The New York Times; Unofficial Software Incurs Apple's Wrath:

"Jailbreaking is different from unlocking an iPhone, in which users modify the software so the phone can be used on unauthorized wireless carriers...

But according to Apple, jailbreaking is illegal and a breach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act...

In a legal filing with the United States Copyright Office last year, Apple says jailbroken iPhones rely on modified versions of Apple’s operating software that infringe on its copyrights.

In addition, the company says jailbreaking encourages the piracy of approved iPhone applications and is an expensive burden...

Apple filed its brief in response to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s request that the copyright office recognize an exemption to the digital copyright act that would permit jailbreaking of iPhones and other devices. The copyright office is expected to rule on the issue by October.

Jailbreaking your own iPhone does not infringe on any copyright, and the tools that help iPhone owners modify their devices do not distribute anything that belongs to Apple, said Fred von Lohmann, a senior staff lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates more openness on the Internet. In our view, consumers are allowed to adapt software for their own personal use,” he said."

All's Fair Under Fair Use?;, 5/13/09

Via; All's Fair Under Fair Use?: A nebulous legal doctrine collides with collapsing ad revenues and explosive growth in digital news:

"On a late May morning, Srinandan R. Kasi, general counsel for the Associated Press, eyes four clusters of blue dots scattered across his computer screen as if they were a crime scene. Each dot represents a unique URL hosting content carrying a digital fingerprint of an AP-produced story.

Most dots, says Kasi, are infringers--sites who carry AP work without permission, or don't link material back to the AP...

The issue at hand: abuse of "fair use," a nebulous legal doctrine that allows use of copyrighted material without permission from the creators. The AP has been wrangling with Google and other aggregators over its definition for three years.

Now, with a collapsing ad pie and explosive growth in digital news platforms, defining fair use is suddenly critical for media companies from The New York Times and The Washington Post to conglomerates like News Corp. and Time Warner.

Yet for all its importance, it remains a tricky concept courts determine on an agonizing case-by-case basis--making it difficult to determine whether the Next Big Thing on the Web is providing a valuable public service or violating copyright law on a wholesale basis."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Print Books Are Target of Pirates on the Web; The New York Times, 5/12/09

Via The New York Times; Print Books Are Target of Pirates on the Web:

"For now, electronic piracy of books does not seem as widespread as what hit the music world, when file-sharing services like Napster threatened to take down the whole industry.

Publishers and authors say they can learn from their peers in music, who alienated fans by using the courts aggressively to go after college students and Napster before it converted to a legitimate online store.

“If iTunes started three years earlier, I’m not sure how big Napster and the subsequent piratical environments would have been, because people would have been in the habit of legitimately purchasing at pricing that wasn’t considered pernicious,” said Richard Sarnoff, a chairman of Bertelsmann, which owns Random House, the world’s largest publisher of consumer titles...

Others view digital piracy as a way for new readers to discover writers. "

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lawrence Lessig's (2008) Remix Book Freely Accessible under CC License via Bloomsbury Academic, 5/11/09

Lawrence Lessig's (2008) Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy is now freely accessible under a Creative Commons license via Bloomsbury Academic. For PDF link, see:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bootlegging Dickens: A Novel Look At 'Bookaneers'; Podcast [5 min. 18 sec.] via NPR's All Things Considered, 5/10/09

Podcast [5 min. 18 sec.] via NPR's All Things Considered; Bootlegging Dickens: A Novel Look At 'Bookaneers':

"Hollywood is constantly battling overseas bootleggers. But in the 19th century, publishers in the United States made a fortune bootlegging British authors — even the biggest, like Charles Dickens."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lawrence Lessig responds to Mark Helprin's argument; Podcast [9 min. 49 sec.] via NPR's All Things Considered, 4/26/09

Podcast [9 min. 49 sec.] via NPR's All Things Considered; Lawrence Lessig responds to Mark Helprin's argument:

'Digital Barbarism' Wages Online Copyright Battle; Podcast [7 min. 34 sec.] via NPR's All Things Considered, 4/26/09

Pocast [7 in. 34 sec.] via NPR's All Things Considered; 'Digital Barbarism' Wages Online Copyright Battle:

"Author Mark Helprin wrote the novels A Soldier of the Great War and Winter's Tale. And two years ago, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that inspired a huge online backlash [see A Great Idea Lives Forever. Shouldn’t Its Copyright?]

In the op-ed, Helprin argued that the term for copyright protection should be extended to protect the author's individual voice from the pressures of the digital age. For his boldness, he faced the digital wrath of those who feel the term of copyright protection should be reduced or eliminated altogether.

He's responded to the backlash in the form of a book, Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto.

One of the most prominent opponents to Helprin's idea to extend copyright has been Lawrence Lessig. He's a professor of law at Stanford University and the founder of Creative Commons, a system that allows creators to opt out of certain copyright protections.

Unlike Helprin, Lessig believes in the power of group collaboration to build ideas. So instead of writing a response himself, he created a wiki and asked his followers to work together to write it [see].

He says that he understands Helprin's concerns about intellectual work being altered, but that as a published author, it comes with the territory."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Online Debate on "Copyright and wrongs";, 5/5/09 -

Via; Online Debate on "Copyright and wrongs":

Noted intellectual property scholars weigh in on the motion "This house believes that existing copyright laws do more harm than good."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

E.U. to Hear Proposal for Cross-Border Net Copyright; The New York Times, 5/5/09

Via The New York Times: E.U. to Hear Proposal for Cross-Border Net Copyright:

"Two European commissioners are proposing the creation of a Europewide copyright license for online content that could clear the way for cross-border sales of digital music, games and video — and lower prices for consumers...

Cross-border sales of online film and music is rare in the E.U. because most retailers generally do not want to deal with the complexity of satisfying 27 different national copyright systems, which are administered by semi-autonomous collecting societies that levy and collect fees on each sale."

New York Law School to Launch Public Interest Book Search Initiative Project; New York Law School Press Release, 5/6/09

Via New York Law School Press Release; New York Law School to Launch Public Interest Book Search Initiative Project to Be Led by Recognized Expert on Google Book Lawsuit:

"New York Law School today announced the launch of the Public Interest Book Search Initiative, a new program developed to foster public discussion about the law and policy of digitizing books, making them searchable, and distributing them online.

The new initiative reinforces New York Law School's leading role in the academic study of the future of publishing and will be led by Professor James Grimmelmann, a recognized expert on copyright law and the Authors Guild v. Google lawsuit. Professor Grimmelmann is often quoted in the media about the lawsuit, and his article "How to Fix the Google Book Search Settlement" is the most frequently cited and discussed analysis of the proposed settlement...

The key components of the Public Interest Book Search Initiative are: a Web site for discussion of the proposed settlement, an open-source amicus brief, and a conference on the settlement."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Library groups gripe about Google Book Search; CNet News, 5/4/09

Via CNet News: Library groups gripe about Google Book Search:

"Three groups representing hundreds of libraries lodged a long series of concerns about a proposed settlement of lawsuits over Google Book Search on Monday--but refrained from objecting overall.

Specifically, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries expressed some affinity for Google's mission of sharing books with the public, but raised concerns in a legal filing that the settlement would concentrate power in Google's hands and poses pricing and privacy concerns."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wolverine': Experts Weigh In On Effects Of Leak;, 5//4/09

Via; 'Wolverine': Experts Weigh In On Effects Of Leak: 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' nabbed $90 million at the box office, but that doesn't mean online piracy is harmless:

"The general public, however, seemed to have less exposure to the leak. "I think what really helped 'Wolverine' overcome the piracy issue [was] the people who went out to see it were probably more casual moviegoers than just the comic people," said Edward Douglas of movie site "Which is why 'Wolverine' ended up opening so much bigger than 'Watchmen,' " which made $55 million during its debut weekend in March. Douglas added that a lower running time and a PG-13 benefited "Wolverine" too...

Will the remarkable $90 million opening for "Wolverine," despite its illegal online exposure, have other studio execs breathing a sigh of relief? Don't count on it, Poland said.

"If the 'Wolverine' leak is only the beginning, then the film industry has a major, major problem," he said. "Anomalies are always given too much attention, but when anything becomes standard, it has a very different impact.""

Google's Book Search Deal: 5 Pros and 5 Cons; PC World, 4/29/09

Via PC World; Google's Book Search Deal: 5 Pros and 5 Cons:

"Understanding Google's Settlement

The Book Search settlement, announced in October, followed a three-year battle over Google's right to display copyrighted books on its Web site. The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers claimed Google was violating copyrights by doing so. Google eventually agreed to pay $125 million to ensure authors and publishers could register to receive payments anytime their books were viewed within the service.

The deal is proving to be quite divisive, and now, with the Justice Department's reported antitrust investigation, things could get even more dicey. Here's a look at five key arguments from both sides of the debate."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Justice Dept. Opens Antitrust Inquiry Into Google Books Deal; The New York Times, 4/28/09

Via The New York Times: Justice Dept. Opens Antitrust Inquiry Into Google Books Deal:

"The Justice Department has begun an inquiry into the antitrust implications of Google’s settlement with authors and publishers over its Google Book Search service, two people briefed on the matter said Tuesday.

Lawyers for the Justice Department have been in conversations in recent weeks with various groups opposed to the settlement, including the Internet Archive and Consumer Watchdog. More recently, Justice Department lawyers notified the parties to the settlement, including Google, and representatives for the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild, that they were looking into various antitrust issues related to the far-reaching agreement.

The inquiry does not necessarily mean that the department will oppose the settlement, which is subject to a court review. But it suggests that some of the concerns raised by critics, who say the settlement would unfairly give Google an exclusive license to profit from millions of books, have resonated with the Justice Department."

Google seeks more time in Book Search case; CNet News, 4/27/09

Via CNet News; Google seeks more time in Book Search case:

"Google said Monday it's seeking 60 more days to find authors and persuade them of what it believes are the merits of a settlement involving its online Book Search service...

Google is facing resistance to the settlement.

Seven authors last week requested a four-month extension (PDF) of the May 5 deadline due to the complexity of the proposed settlement, among other reasons.

"First, two months' time is insufficient to understand the implications of a settlement of this scope," the appeal letter reads. "Second, substantial defects in notice of the settlement undermine authors' ability to assess their rights; and third, more time is required simply to understand the complex terms of the agreement.""

To rip or not to rip?: Is backing up a DVD fair use or piracy?;, 5/1/09

Via; To rip or not to rip?: Is backing up a DVD fair use or piracy?:

"SHOULD people who have bought DVDs legally be allowed to make digital copies of them for their own use? Any reasonable person would say yes. In copyright terms, that ought to be considered “fair use”. The law, however, presently says otherwise...

The one way you can legally copy a DVD, at least for the moment, is to buy one of the $10,000 home-server and player combos beloved by Hollywood moguls and made by a Silicon Valley firm called Kaleidescape."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

In digital age, can movie piracy be stopped?; Technology, 5/2/09

Via Technology: In digital age, can movie piracy be stopped?:

"Greg Sandoval, who covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News, said that in the digital age, thieves can gain access to near-perfect advance copies of films on DVD that have greater potential to undermine a movie's box-office prospects.

And even studios' attempts at safeguarding their products against piracy, such as by encoding DVDs with digital watermarks that allow authorities to trace individual copies, aren't enough, Sandoval said.

He said tech-savvy thieves have figured out how to strip such watermarks from DVDs.

"When you're talking about digital content ... it's impossible to lock it down completely" from theft, Sandoval said. "These hackers are very creative. Sometimes, they're one step ahead of the security experts."...

John Malcolm, director of worldwide anti-piracy operations for the Motion Picture Association of America, said digital piracy can take many forms, including peer-to-peer file sharing and streaming.

Malcolm said the association is conducting a lot of outreach to universities and Internet service providers to help them address piracy that occurs over their systems.

The issue is global, Malcolm said, as evidenced by pending litigation in France that would shut down Internet accounts of illegal downloaders."