Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stallone did not copy screenplay for "The Expendables": judge; Reuters, 12/27/12

Jonathan Stempel, Reuters; Stallone did not copy screenplay for "The Expendables": judge: "A federal judge has reaffirmed his decision to dismiss a lawsuit accusing actor Sylvester Stallone of copying someone else's screenplay to make his popular 2010 movie "The Expendables." U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan on Thursday rejected claims of copyright infringement damages by Marcus Webb, who contended that the movie's screenplay contained 20 "striking similarities" to his own "The Cordoba Caper.""

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Game of Thrones most pirated TV show; Guardian, 12/24/12

Mark Sweney, Guardian; Game of Thrones most pirated TV show: "Game of Thrones was the most-pirated TV show of the year, with a single episode being illegally downloaded by more people than typically watch the hit programme in the US. HBO's Game of Thrones, which in the UK is aired on Sky Atlantic, knocked off last year's "winner", serial killer show Dexter to be named the most-pirated TV show of 2012. The annual report, by news site TorrentFreak, found that one episode of Game of Thrones was downloaded 4.28m times."

UK copyright laws to be freed up and parody laws relaxed; Guardian, 12/20/12

Mark Sweney, Guardian; UK copyright laws to be freed up and parody laws relaxed: "The government is to scrap an archaic law that makes it illegal for music fans to download a legally-purchased CD onto a laptop, smartphone or MP3 player, and has rejected calls from record companies for a tax to cover lost sales as a result. Vince Cable, the business secretary, unveiled the plans on Thursday in a 52-page report detailing a freeing up of the UK's intellectual property and copyright laws. Cable, responding to the Hargreaves report on the future of intellectual property published last year, proposed changes including making "format shifting" legal and relaxing parody laws to allow comedians, broadcasters and other content creators more scope."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

WIPO To Negotiate Treaty For The Blind In June; ‘Still Some Distance To Travel’ ; Intellectual Property Watch, 12/18/12

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; WIPO To Negotiate Treaty For The Blind In June; ‘Still Some Distance To Travel’ : "In a swift 15 minute session this morning delegates at the World Intellectual Property Organization extraordinary assembly agreed to convene a high-level meeting in Morocco in June to finalise a treaty on international exceptions to copyrights on books in special formats for visually impaired people."

Alicia Keys Sued Over 'Girl on Fire': Is It Based on a Blogger's Ear?; Hollywood Reporter, 12/17/12

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Alicia Keys Sued Over 'Girl on Fire': Is It Based on a Blogger's Ear? : "Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire" is featured prominently in a current American Express commercial and this week sits at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's also the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed last week in California federal court. The plaintiff is Earl Shuman, an accomplished songwriter who in 1962 co-authored the composition, "Lonely Boy," a song that reached No. 2 on Billboard's chart in 1970 after being recorded by Eddie Holman as "Hey There Lonely Girl."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Staffer axed by Republican group over retracted copyright-reform memo;, 12/6/12

Timothy B. Lee,; Staffer axed by Republican group over retracted copyright-reform memo: "The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives, has told staffer Derek Khanna that he will be out of a job when Congress re-convenes in January. The incoming chairman of the RSC, Steve Scalise (R-LA) was approached by several Republican members of Congress who were upset about a memo Khanna wrote advocating reform of copyright law. They asked that Khanna not be retained, and Scalise agreed to their request."

Feeling the Heat, Yoga Chain Bows to Bikram, Despite Federal Ruling; New York Times, 12/10/12

Andy Newman, New York Times; Feeling the Heat, Yoga Chain Bows to Bikram, Despite Federal Ruling: "A popular New York-based chain of yoga studios accused by Bikram Yoga of copyright infringement has decided to let go, despite a Copyright Office ruling that supported its position. The chain, Yoga to the People, has agreed to stop offering its high-temperature classes that are patterned after Bikram Yoga in order to settle a federal lawsuit filed by Bikram, according to a joint press release issued by both parties last week. But Yoga to the People’s founder, Greg Gumucio, said on Monday that he was not getting out of the hot-yoga business: Yoga to the People is working on a new sequence that will also be offered in a super-heated room and incorporate some poses from the sequence popularized by Bikram’s founder, Bikram Choudhury, but will also include other poses... Correction: December 10, 2012 An earlier version of this post stated erroneously that the federal Copyright Office did not specifically mention Bikram yoga in its ruling that a sequence of exercises cannot be copyrighted. In fact, the the Copyright Office did cite Bikram yoga as an example of an uncopyrightable exercise sequence."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

eBooks For Libraries Web Site Relaunches, Focus is Now Public Awareness About Issues; Library Journal,12/11/12

Gary Price, Library Journal; eBooks For Libraries Web Site Relaunches, Focus is Now Public Awareness About Issues: "The eBooks For Libraries web site, sponsored by Library Renewal and the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library in Kansas, has relaunched and will now provide public awareness and news about ebooks for libraries. David Lee King writes, “Our goal isn’t to complain, but to share information about the current ebook landscape, and how it affects libraries. We’ll explain current issues, and what they actually MEAN for libraries.”"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Richard O'Dwyer's two-year extradition ordeal ends in New York; Guardian, 12/6/12

Adam Gabbatt, Guardian; Richard O'Dwyer's two-year extradition ordeal ends in New York: "A British student's two-year fight to avoid extradition to the US ended in less than five minutes on Thursday, when Richard O'Dwyer signed an agreement in a New York court to avoid prosecution and a potential 10-year jail term for breaking copyright laws with the file-sharing website he set up as a teenager."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Publishers brace for authors to reclaim book rights in 2013; paidContent, org, 11/27/12

Jeff John Roberts,; Publishers brace for authors to reclaim book rights in 2013: "Termination rights are not a new idea and have been the subject of famous court cases involving John Steinbeck, Lassie and Superman. The difference is that these older cases are based on a pre-1978 law that often required an author to exercise renewal rights which, in many cases, the author had signed away. The new law has fewer such loopholes and will also mean that what has been a drip-drip of old copyright cases could turn into a flood as nearly every book published after 1978 becomes eligible for termination. The 1978 law also means a threat to the back list of titles that are a cash cow for many publishers."

Posting A Parody Video? Read This First.; Library Journal, 11/29/12

Meredith Schwartz, Library Journal; Posting A Parody Video? Read This First: "While Good Morning America’s film crew was at the library, the show received Sony’s statement above, which Good Morning America, the library, or both interpreted to mean that they now had permission to show the video on YouTube and other third party sites, not just the library website. While that interpretation may have been overly broad, it was apparently good enough for YouTube: according to Giannella, the library didn’t have to re-upload the video, it is now available again at the original URL. Ironically, in an instance of the Streisand Effect, the main result of the temporary blockage has been to gain a far bigger viewership for “Read It” than it ever would have had otherwise."

Beastie Boys call for sampling lawsuit to be dismissed; Guardian, 11/29/12

Sean Michaels, Guardian; Beastie Boys call for sampling lawsuit to be dismissed: "In the Beastie Boys' response to the lawsuit, filed on Monday, they questioned the two-decade gap between their albums' release and TufAmerica's complaint. "Plaintiff is attempting to sidestep the Copyright Act's three-year statute of limitations," their lawyers wrote, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Although TufAmerica argued that the samples are "concealed … [to] the casual listener" and were only detectable "after conducting a careful audio analysis", the hip-hop crew said this means their work is sufficiently different and they should be exempt from damages."

Friday, November 30, 2012

HathiTrust Verdict Could Transform University Access for the Blind; Library Journal, 11/7/12

Meredith Schwartz, Library Journal; HathiTrust Verdict Could Transform University Access for the Blind: "Now that the HathiTrust verdict has held that digitizing works for the purpose of providing access to the blind and print-disabled is not only a fair but a transformative use, schools can feel safer hanging onto those scans until the next student who needs them comes along, and can spend their efforts on improving them or scanning more books, instead of doing the same bare minimum of texts over and over. And Goldstein believes making the text available to sighted persons to crowdsource the manual work would also be fair use. Even more revolutionary than just keeping their own book scans, the Honorable Harold Baer, Jr., held that the University of Michigan libraries can be considered an authorized Chafee entity. That means the library could make digitized collections available not just to the university’s own blind and print disabled students, or even to blind and print disabled students at other colleges, but to any American who qualifies as blind or print disabled under the Chafee amendment."

Reshaping The International Copyright System To Facilitate Education In Developing Countries; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/28/12

Tiphaine Nunzia Caulier, Intellectual Property Watch; Reshaping The International Copyright System To Facilitate Education In Developing Countries: "International copyright flexibilities are ill-suited to the need of developing countries to create effective access to printed materials in schools, a new book argues. The author, whose work was presented last week at the World Intellectual Property Organization, urges a normative and institutional rethinking of the current system. The book, “International Copyright Law and Access to Education in Developing Countries: Exploring Multilateral Legal and Quasi Legal Solutions,” was authored by Susan Isiko Štrba, senior IP and development research affiliate at the University of Minnesota. It was presented alongside a meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee last week. The event was sponsored by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), and the book is available here. The author demonstrates the difficulties in applying the so-called three-step test in copyright, which allows for specific uses of the protected works without the permission of the right holder."

Google Fires a Rare Public Salvo Over Aggregators; New York Times, 11/28/12

Kevin J. O'Brien, New York Times; Google Fires a Rare Public Salvo Over Aggregators: "That all changed this week when Google fired a rare public broadside against a proposal that would force it and other online aggregators of news content to pay German newspaper and magazine publishers to display snippets of news in Web searches. The proposed ancillary copyright law, which is to have its first reading Friday in the lower house of Parliament, the Bundestag, has ignited a storm of hyperbole pitting Google and local Web advocates against powerful publishers including Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Bild and Die Welt."

[Video] How did Richard O'Dwyer strike a deal to avoid extradition?, 11/28/12

[Video: 1 min. 49 sec.] James Ball, Guardian; How did Richard O'Dwyer strike a deal to avoid extradition? : "Guardian data journalist James Ball explains how Richard O'Dwyer, the university student who created a website which linked to programmes and films online for free, has reached an agreement to avoid extradition to the US over copyright infringement allegations. In June, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched a campaign with the Guardian in defence of O'Dwyer."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Case Against UCLA For Streaming Licensed DVDs To Students Dismissed Yet Again;, 11/26/12

Mike Masnick,; Case Against UCLA For Streaming Licensed DVDs To Students Dismissed Yet Again: "A few years ago we wrote about how UCLA professors were barred from continuing an existing program in which they had streamed properly licensed DVDs to students. The lawsuit came from the Association for Information Media and Equipment (AIME). We noted that one of the key aspects of "fair use" is supposed to be that it allows for educational use, and it seemed ridiculous that any such streaming wasn't fair use. After thinking it over, UCLA decided to stand up for itself and put the videos back online. AIME sat on this for eight or nine months and finally sued, arguing that its contract with the University meant that UCLA had given up its fair use rights, and that even if it was fair use, it was a breach of contract. A year ago, the judge dismissed the case, mostly focusing on the question of whether or not AIME even had standing to sue and whether or not, as a state university, UCLA could hide behind a sovereign immunity claim. AIME filed a new (amended) complaint against UCLA... which basically restated everything it had lost over, and then added a few claims. The court apparently was not impressed. It just dismissed the case all over again with prejudice, meaning that AIME can't just refile."

After Father’s Objection, Play About Amy Winehouse Is Canceled; New York Times, 11/26/12

James C. McKinley, Jr., New York Times; After Father’s Objection, Play About Amy Winehouse Is Canceled: "The Royal Theater in Denmark has canceled a play about Amy Winehouse because Mitch Winehouse, the singer’s father, is blocking use of her music and photographs of her, The Associated Press reported."

Wikipedia founder hails extradition deal with US and calls for law reform; Guardian, 11/28/12

Lizzy Davies, James Ball, Owen Bowcott, Guardian; Wikipedia founder hails extradition deal with US and calls for law reform: "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has called for a review of Anglo-US extradition arrangements after a legal agreement struck by Sheffield Hallam student Richard O'Dwyer to avoid extradition to America on copyright charges. Wales, who launched a campaign with the Guardian against O'Dwyer's extradition that garnered more than 250,000 signatures, welcomed a settlement announced in the high court on Wednesday morning, and called for reform to prevent similar cases in future... O'Dwyer faced up to 10 years in prison in the US over copyright charges relating a website he set up,, which allowed users to share links to free places to watch TV and movies."

WIPO Committee Finishes A Step Closer To Treaty For Visually Impaired; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/24/12

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; WIPO Committee Finishes A Step Closer To Treaty For Visually Impaired: "After a long week of discussions, delegates at the World Intellectual Property Organization last night adopted a working draft text that could become a treaty or other instrument providing copyright exceptions for visually impaired people, and agreed to send the text to the WIPO extraordinary General Assembly next month. Country delegates and visually impaired representatives hailed a constructive atmosphere and progress achieved this week, but a number of delegations highlighted the fact that much more work will be needed to reach final agreement on remaining outstanding issues."

Republicans' brief flash of intellectual property insight; Guardiian, 11/23/12

Dan Gillmor, Guardian; Republicans' brief flash of intellectual property insight: "A small outburst of policy sanity broke out from Republican party circles last weekend. Even though it was stamped out immediately, it's sparking a renewed conversation about the state of what we call "intellectual property" – a concept so warped these days that it begs for reconsideration. An organization called the House Republican study committee published a policy brief, "Three Myths About Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it" – a document that called the current copyright system what it is: a grotesque abuse of corporate and government power designed to enrich a few big entertainment companies at just about everyone else's expense. Please read it and come back. As you saw, the brief, by staff member Derek S Khanna, makes a strong case that we have far too much protection for copyrighted materials, and that this protection hinders copyright's original purpose, namely to "promote the progress of science and useful arts"."

Building a Digital Public Library of America; Library Journal, 11/26/12

John Palfrey, Library Journal; Building a Digital Public Library of America: " can the DPLA provide access to knowledge in a digital era, given the restrictions of the copyright act and the related constraints of contract law and digital rights management technology? The law is often seen as a constraint to the work of libraries today. In the digital era, many librarians feel that they cannot carry out their mission under the current legal regime. The DPLA as an institution will always respect copyright interests, but it also will take on the role of advocate for libraries in terms of making the most of what the law permits. Dedicated volunteers, many of them top experts in their respective fields, have spent hundreds of hours in meetings talking about each of these questions, among others, and coming up with initial answers to inform the project’s launch. The answers to these big questions, and many others, will be addressed in part through the April, 2013 launch of the DPLA initiative. Each of these essential questions will also be the topic of a future column here in Library Journal in the months to come."

Podcast [2 hours, 3 minutes], Robert Darnton and Susan Flannery: "Digitizing the Culture of Print: The Digital Public Library of America and Other Urgent Projects", 11/2/12

Podcast [2 hours, 3 minutes], Robert Darnton and Susan Flannery: "Digitizing the Culture of Print: The Digital Public Library of America and Other Urgent Projects" : ""The role of the library in the digital age is one of the compelling questions of our era. How are libraries coping with the promise and perils of our impending digital future? What urgent initiatives are underway to assure universal access to our print inheritance and to the digital communication forms of the future? How is the very idea of the library changing? These and related questions will engage our distinguished panelists, who represent both research and public libraries and two of whom serve on the steering committee for the Digital Public Library of America. Robert Darnton is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard, Director of the Harvard University Library and one of America's most distinguished historians. He serves on the steering committee of the Digital Public Library of America and has been a trustee of the New York Public Library since 1995. In a recent essay in the New York Review of Books, Darnton defended a NYPL plan to liquidate some branches in the system while renovating the main Fifth Avenue branch. The essay sparked a number of responses. In November of last year, Darnton provided a status report on the DPLA. Darnton is the author of many influential books including The Case for Books, Past, Present, and Future and The Great Cat Massacre. Susan Flannery is director of libraries for the City of Cambridge and past president of the Massachusetts Library Association."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

University Consortium to Offer Small Online Courses for Credit; New York Times, 11/15/12

Hannah Seligson, New York Times; University Consortium to Offer Small Online Courses for Credit: "Starting next fall, 10 prominent universities, including Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Northwestern, will form a consortium called Semester Online, offering about 30 online courses to both their students — for whom the classes will be covered by their regular tuition — and to students elsewhere who would have to apply and be accepted and pay tuition of more than $4,000 a course."

On the Hobbit trail in New Zealand; Guardian, 11/16/12

Rebecca Nicholson, Guardian; On the Hobbit trail in New Zealand: "People involved with Middle Earth-related tours talk wearily of copyright back-and-forths with the Tolkien estate and with New Line Cinema; it was, initially, hard for them to market anything local as an official Lord of the Rings experience. There's very much a sense that the tourism which followed the films' release took all parties by surprise, and they're preparing for it properly this time."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

You Can’t Say That on the Internet; New York Times, 11/16/12

Evgeny Morozov, New York Times; You Can’t Say That on the Internet: "Thanks to Silicon Valley, our public life is undergoing a transformation. Accompanying this digital metamorphosis is the emergence of new, algorithmic gatekeepers, who, unlike the gatekeepers of the previous era — journalists, publishers, editors — don’t flaunt their cultural authority. They may even be unaware of it themselves, eager to deploy algorithms for fun and profit. Many of these gatekeepers remain invisible — until something goes wrong... The limitations of algorithmic gatekeeping are on full display here. How do you teach the idea of “fair use” to an algorithm? Context matters, and there’s no rule book here; that’s why we have courts."

Creation and copyright law: the case of 3D printing; Conversation, 11/8/12

Matthew Rimmer, Conversation; Creation and copyright law: the case of 3D printing: "In Australia, the developers of 3D printing face certain risks and uncertainties in respect to litigation under Australian copyright law. Australia does not have a broad, open-ended, flexible defence of fair use, like the United States. Instead, Australia has the much more narrow defence of fair dealing. The permitted purposes for fair dealing include research and study; criticism and review; reporting the news; and parody and satire. The developers of 3D printing would struggle to obtain protection under the defence of fair dealing – outside educational applications within Australian universities. As such, the developers behind 3D printing would be loath to establish their operations in Australia. They would be vulnerable to copyright law suits. Such entrepreneurs would be better off sheltering under the protection afforded by the defence of fair use in the United States. No wonder MakerBot and Solidoodle are based in Brooklyn, not Sydney. Given our comparative disadvantage in the digital economy, with our strict and draconian copyright laws, Australia would be well-advised to revise its copyright laws and adopt a defence of fair use, which is flexible enough to accommodate the emergence of 3D printing."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

YouTube videos make people money, but songwriters rarely see any of it; Guardian, 11/13/12

Helienne Lindvall, Guardian; YouTube videos make people money, but songwriters rarely see any of it: "Naturally, songwriters prefer to concentrate on creating music instead of trying to decipher why their digital royalties are so low. But I decided to enquire further, and discovered that the deeper you look into the nature of digital licensing deals, the murkier the waters and that even people working at music companies were confused about them. To begin to understand why, first of all one needs to understand that the copyrights to each record are divided into two categories: the master rights for the recording, which belong to the record label/artist, and the rights to the composition, which belong to the publisher/songwriter. As YouTube marries video and audio, it requires both a performance licence and a mechanical synch licence for each category for each song. Many record labels I spoke to were shocked by how little the songwriters in my article got paid for YouTube videos."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Google Presses Fair Use Case in Book Scanning Appeal; Library Journal, 11/12/12

Gary Price, Library Journal; Google Presses Fair Use Case in Book Scanning Appeal: "On November 9, Google asked a federal appeals court to reverse the May ruling that the Authors Guild’s long running case against Google Books could go forward as a class action. In August, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided to allow Google to appeal for decertifying the case as a class action...Since the last time Google sought dismissal of the Guild case, in July, Google’s side has been strengthened by the ruling in the Guild’s case against the HathiTrust, for allowing Google to digitize their holdings and putting them to several uses."

The Fight for Free Information: Liberate Our Cultural Assets from Economic Prisons; Library Journal, 11/12/12

John N. Berry III, Library Journal; The Fight for Free Information: Liberate Our Cultural Assets from Economic Prisons: "A huge, much more important question lurks over the entire struggle. We have to participate in the ongoing effort to decide whether the digital brave new world into which we are moving will offer people more freedom of access to information and entertainment, or confine our intellectual resources in a maze of impenetrable legal walls that could ultimately end much of the intellectual freedom we have enjoyed through the print era. Is technology liberating information, or will it allow special interests to use the law to deny access to it? Currently there are many attempts to create models for a digital information future. In most of them, the concept of a book collection is replaced by a universal online catalog of digitized works that everyone can simply tap for downloading onto their own devices. The problem is that many will not be able to afford the fees for such access. Proposed models that require us to pay for each use of our intellectual resources are far more plentiful than those that let us pay once for all of our uses of them."

Authors Guild Appeals HathiTrust Decision, Library Copyright Alliance Issues Statement; Library Journal, 11/9/12

Gary Price, Library Journal; Authors Guild Appeals HathiTrust Decision, Library Copyright Alliance Issues Statement: "On November 8, the Authors Guild appealed the verdict in its case against the HathiTrust to the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit. The Guild had filed suit against the Trust in 2011, alleging that the Trust’s digitization efforts constituted copyright infringement. However, on October 10, Judge Baer of the United States District Court Southern District of New York found overwhelmingly in favor of HathiTrust."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Could US Election Result Reverse Ever-Stronger Copyright Protection?; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/7/12

Intellectual Property Watch; Could US Election Result Reverse Ever-Stronger Copyright Protection? : "US voters returned President Obama for four more years, and kept his party’s dominance of the US Senate as well as the opposition party’s dominance of the House of Representatives. While the Obama administration has generally allied itself with copyright interests, some see the possibility of a reversal in the US Congress of a trend toward stronger copyright protection."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

US Makes New Exemptions To Digital Millennium Copyright Act Provision; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/1/12

Maricel Estavillo, Intellectual Property Watch; US Makes New Exemptions To Digital Millennium Copyright Act Provision: "The United States has made new exemptions to a provision in its copyright law that prohibits the circumvention of technological measures to gain access to protected digital works. The Federal Register notice of the new exemptions is here [pdf]. As part of the triennial review of Section 1201(a)(1)(B) of the US Copyright Act, the Librarian of Congress approved the following “classes of work” to be allowed effective 28 October..."

Artist who sued Twitter over copyright declares victory—via settlement;, 11/2/12

Jon Brodkin,; Artist who sued Twitter over copyright declares victory—via settlement: "Two months ago, an artist named Christopher Boffoli sued Twitter for copyright infringement because, he said, the company refused to take down copies of his artwork uploaded to Twitter by its users. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, sites like Twitter are granted a "safe harbor" against prosecution as long as they take copyrighted content down when they are notified of its existence. Boffoli, who made a popular series of photographs of miniature figures posed on and near food, sent Twitter numerous requests to take his artwork off the site, and many of them were ignored..."The matter was settled amicably out of court and I'm pleased to say that we had a productive conversation about copyright, and that I'm satisfied with the outcome," Boffoli told Ars via e-mail."

Friday, November 2, 2012

Aliens Have Landed, Hoping To License All Of Humanity's Music; All Songs Considered, 7/9/12

Bob Boilen, All Songs Considered; Aliens Have Landed, Hoping To License All Of Humanity's Music: "This just in: Aliens from pretty far away have been listening to music from Earth for the past 35 years. As it turns out, the planet's only redeeming quality is our music. From a legal standpoint this is great news, the biggest copyright violation since forever. That's the first thing you want to know about Rob Reid's smart and wacky novel Year Zero, out this week."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Q&A: Troubleshooting Video Problems in Facebook; New York Times, 10/26/12

J.D. Biersdorfer, New York Times; Q&A: Troubleshooting Video Problems in Facebook: "Q.I recently uploaded a video I had shot to Facebook. It took forever to finish uploading and I got a screen that said it was “processing” my file — but then the whole thing disappeared. What’s the deal? A.Check Facebook’s technical requirements for uploaded videos first to make sure your clip is in a compatible format. Although random technical difficulties on either end may have caused a problem with the file or the uploading process, Facebook does note that videos can be removed after uploading if they contain copyrighted material. This includes video clips copyrighted by other people or organizations that you may have uploaded."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Justices Weigh Case on Imported Textbooks; New York times, 10/29/12

Liptak, A., New York Times; Justices Weigh Case on Imported Textbooks: "The general rule for products made in the United States is that the owners of particular copies can do what they like with them. If you buy a book or record made in the United States, for instance, you are free to lend it or sell it as you wish. The question for the justices was whether that rule, called the first-sale doctrine, also applies when the works in question were made abroad. The answer turns on a phrase in the Copyright Act, which appears to limit the first-sale doctrine to works “lawfully made under this title.”... Much of the argument concerned what lawyers call the “parade of horribles” — the hypothetical problems that might follow a ruling in favor of one side or the other."

What You Need to Know About Kirtsaeng v. Wiley; Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/12

Chronicle of Higher Education; What You Need to Know About Kirtsaeng v. Wiley: "Many college students resell their textbooks online. But Supap Kirtsaeng turned textbooks into a profit machine, and his homegrown business is now at the center of a lawsuit that some observers call the most important copyright case in nearly a decade. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Monday. Here's a guide to what the case means, and how it could send ripples far beyond college campuses."

Supreme Court Appears Divided on Copyright Case Affecting Libraries and Publishers; Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/29/12

Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Supreme Court Appears Divided on Copyright Case Affecting Libraries and Publishers: "The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Monday morning in a key copyright-infringement case, with justices asking pointed questions about the resale and reuse of protected works. Many of the questions homed in on possible consequences for individual buyers as well as libraries and other institutions, but did not suggest which way the court was leaning. The outcome of the lawsuit, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons (No. 11-697), has significant implications for publishers, academic libraries, and almost anyone who resells, lends, or displays copyrighted material made and bought outside the United States. The case centers on a dispute over textbooks produced by Wiley for foreign markets."

Victory for HathiTrust and Fair Use; Columbia Science and Technology Law Review; 10/23/12

Rachel Bandli, Columbia Science and Technology Law Review; Victory for HathiTrust and Fair Use: "The Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust, decided earlier this month, marks the second victory this year for fair use of copyrighted works for scholarly purposes (the first being Cambridge University Press v. Becker). In an opinion issued by Judge Baer, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted HathiTrust’s motion for summary judgment, allowing HathiTrust to continue its current use of copyrighted works."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sony Sued Over William Faulkner Quote in 'Midnight in Paris'; Hollywood Reporter, 10/25/12

Alex Ben Block, Hollywood Reporter; Sony Sued Over William Faulkner Quote in 'Midnight in Paris' : "Sony Pictures Classics and a group of unnamed movie exhibitors have been sued by the owners of the rights to the literary works of the late William Faulkner because a quote from one of his books was used by Woody Allen in the hit 2011 movie Midnight In Paris... In a statement, a representative for the studio said: “This is a frivolous lawsuit and we are confident we will prevail in defending it. There is no question this brief reference (10 words) to a quote from a public speech Faulkner gave constitutes fair use and any claim to the contrary is without merit.”"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Library Associations Brace for First Sale Fight with Owners’ Rights Lobby Effort; Library Journal, 10/23/12

Meredith Schwartz, Library Journal; Library Associations Brace for First Sale Fight with Owners’ Rights Lobby Effort: "The American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) today teamed up with 17 other associations, retailers, and charities to launch a new coalition called the Owners’ Rights Initiative (ORI). ORI is an “informal alliance of stakeholders” that will defend the first sale doctrine, which allows libraries to lend books and other materials, as well as individual owners to resell them. The doctrine is under attack in the case of Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley, for which the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on October 29. Among ORI’s other members are eBay, Overstock, Powell’s Books, textbook buyer and seller Chegg, movie rental company Redbox, Goodwill, and Quality King Distributors, which is notable as the prevailing party in Quality King Distributors v. L’anza Research International, in which the Supreme Court in 1998 held that the first sale doctrine prevents copyright owners from controlling the importation of copyrighted goods sold outside the United States. (Notable for its absence is Costco, which was a party to the split decision Costco v. Omega case that raised similar issues.)"

Teachers make extra money selling materials on the Web; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/20/12

Donna Gordon Blankinship, Associated Press via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Teachers make extra money selling materials on the Web: "While most characterize these sites as an inexpensive way for teachers to supplement textbook materials, some teachers may get pushback from administrators for their entrepreneurial efforts. Seattle Public Schools recently revised its ethics policy, with the new policy prohibiting teachers from selling anything they developed on district time, district spokeswoman Teresa Wippel said. "Anything created on their own time could also cross a gray line, depending on the item and how closely tied it is to classroom work," she said. currently has about 300,000 items for sale plus more than 50,000 free items. All told, more than 1 million teachers have bought or sold items on since it began. After paying the site fees, teachers have collectively earned more than $14 million on the site since it was founded."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Start Nears on Plan to Combat Online Infringement; New York Times, 10/18/12

Ben Sisario, New York Times; Start Nears on Plan to Combat Online Infringement: "Last year, five major Internet service providers and the big entertainment trade organizations announced a joint plan to fight illegal downloading through what might be called a strategy of annoyance. Instead of suing people suspected of copyright infringement, as the record labels have in the past, they would prod and poke people into good behavior through a “six strikes” system that escalate from friendly notices in their e-mail to, ultimately, throttled Internet access. Progress has been slow on the project, called the Copyright Alert System, since it was announced 15 months ago. But in a blog post Thursday, the group created to carry out the process said it would finally begin “over the course of the next two months.”"

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Warner wins key victory in Superman battle; Los Angeles Times, 10/17/12

Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times; Warner wins key victory in Superman battle: "In a crucial legal victory for the Burbank studio, a federal judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday denied an effort by the heirs of Superman co-creator Joseph Shuster to reclaim their 50% interest in the world’s most famous superhero."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kim Dotcom plans Megaupload reboot; Sydney Morning Herald, 10/12/12

Nick Perry, Sydney Morning Herald; Kim Dotcom plans Megaupload reboot: "Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford University law school's Centre for Internet and Society, said Dotcom's case marks the first time the US has attempted to hold somebody criminally liable for copyright infringement committed by others. She said prosecutors are pushing at the boundaries of the law. "It makes the substantive underpinnings of the case highly questionable, legally," Granick said. "It's a novel case.""

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dealing fairly with freelances; Guardian, 10/11/12

Guardian; Dealing fairly with freelances: "Designed to balance the rights of individual freelances with the needs of GNM as an international, multi-platform media concern, the charter initiative stemmed mainly from the longstanding desire of GNM to achieve the highest possible ethical standards in its dealings with contributors, for example by standardising GNM commissioning practice, settling the thorny issue of copyright ownership, and improving payment times to contributors. To emphasise GNM's openness in its freelance relations, the charter is a public document available on our website. It sets out in a detailed but understandable way the terms and conditions under which GNM engages freelances, including the commissioning process, minimum fees, payment terms, rejected work, expenses policy, ethical considerations, etc. Importantly, the charter also outlines our standard copyright terms. In the majority of cases, freelances retain the copyright in their contribution and grant GNM a clearly-defined licence that enables it to undertake its publishing and commercial activities."

Immortal Images of Native Americans; New York Times, 10/12/12

Timothy Egan, New York Times; Immortal Images of Native Americans: "The great task broke Curtis. He died alone, a pauper, in a tiny apartment. He lost the copyright of his work to J.P. Morgan, and ultimately to the public domain. Today, there are fewer than 300 of the completed, intact, 20-volume sets in existence. History, as with many great artists, has been kind to him: A few days ago, a single set sold for $1.44 million in an auction at Swann Galleries — fetching more than any other single lot there in 70 years."

Judge Says Fair Use Protects Universities in Book-Scanning Project;, 10/10/12

David Kravets,; Judge Says Fair Use Protects Universities in Book-Scanning Project: "Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement and may be invoked for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research, the judge noted. He said the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) also played a major factor. “Although I recognize that the facts here may on some levels be without precedent, I am convinced that they fall safely within the protection of fair use such that there is no genuine issue of material fact,” Baer wrote... Under terms of the trust, full-text searching is only available to works in the public domain. Copyrighted works in the trust require consent from the rights holder. If consent is not granted, a search query only indicates the page number in a work on which a searched term is found."

‘U’ wins copyright lawsuit against Hathitrust digitalization project; Michigan Daily, 10/11/12

Austen Hufford, Michigan Daily; ‘U’ wins copyright lawsuit against Hathitrust digitalization project: "The judge wrote that the case may set an important precedent for future digital copyright laws, noting there are comparatively few prior standards regarding digitization and its fair use. “I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not encompass the transformative uses made by (the Hathitrust program) and would require that I terminate this invaluable contribution to the progress of science … ” Baer wrote. When someone uses the database to search a word in a copyrighted book, the full text is not available; only the page number and number of occurrences in the book is shown. The defendants claimed this does not infringe on copyright law because copyrighted books cannot be read in their entirety through the Hathitrust system. The system is also used for preserving physical texts in case the originals are somehow lost or destroyed. It already contains nearly 10 million volumes and about 73 percent of those are copyrighted, the ruling stated."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Russian Social Network vKontakte Held Liable For Copyright Infringement A Second Time; Intellectual Property Watch, 10/12/12

Daria Kim, Intellectual Property Watch; Russian Social Network vKontakte Held Liable For Copyright Infringement A Second Time: "This week, the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and Leningradskaya Oblast announced a decision holding vKontakte, the Russian largest social network, liable for copyright infringement. This is the second case between the parties in which the court sided with the right holder following a decision earlier this year."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Judge Hands HathiTrust Digital Repository a Win in Fair-Use Case; Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/10/12

Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Judge Hands HathiTrust Digital Repository a Win in Fair-Use Case: "Academic libraries’ indexing of digitized works counts as fair use. So says the federal judge overseeing a major copyright-infringement lawsuit brought last year by the Authors Guild against the HathiTrust digital repository and its university partners."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril; Market Watch, 10/7/12

Jennifer Waters, Market Watch; Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril: "At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture, as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products. Under the doctrine, which the Supreme Court has recognized since 1908, you can resell your stuff without worry because the copyright holder only had control over the first sale."

Stan Lee Media sues Disney for billions over Marvel characters;, 10/10/12

Kevin Melrose,; Stan Lee Media sues Disney for billions over Marvel characters: "Undeterred by numerous legal setbacks, failed dot-com Stan Lee Media on Tuesday filed a $5.5 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit against Disney, claiming the entertainment giant doesn’t actually own the Marvel characters featured in such blockbuster films as The Avengers, X-Men: First Class and Thor, and the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The dollar amount reflects the estimated revenue from box-office receipts, licensing and merchandising dating back three years, the statute of limitations for copyright infringement."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Man who defaced Tate Modern's Rothko canvas says he's added value; Guardian, 10/7/12

Ben Quinn, Guardian; Man who defaced Tate Modern's Rothko canvas says he's added value: "On Sunday night, a man who identified himself as Vladimir Umanets, and answering a phone number provided for an exhibition of "yellowism", said he was responsible for the incident at the Tate Modern and had done so in order to draw attention to what was going on in contemporary art. "I believe that if someone restores the [Rothko] piece and removes my signature the value of the piece would be lower but after a few years the value will go higher because of what I did," he said, comparing himself to Marcel Duchamp, the French artist who shocked the art establishment when he signed a urinal and put it on display in 1917."

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Do patent and copyright law restrict competition and creativity excessively? Posner; Becker-Posner Blog, 9/30/12

Becker-Posner Blog; Do patent and copyright law restrict competition and creativity excessively? Posner: "The most serious problem with copyright law is the length of copyright protection, which for most works is now from the creation of the work to 70 years after the author’s death. Apart from the fact that the present value of income received so far in the future is negligible, obtaining copyright licenses on very old works is difficult because not only is the author in all likelihood dead, but his heirs or other owners of the copyright may be difficult or even impossible to identify or find. The copyright term should be shorter."

Google Deal Gives Publishers a Choice: Digitize or Not; New York Times, 10/4/12

Miller, C. New York Times; Google Deal Gives Publishers a Choice: Digitize or Not: ""The settlement does not answer the question at the heart of the litigation between Google and publishers and authors — whether Google is infringing copyright by digitizing books. It essentially allows both sides to agree to disagree, and gives publishers the right to keep their books out of Google’s reach. “We’re very pleased because the settlement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright holders and publishers, and whether they’re going to make their rights available,” said Tom Allen, chief executive of the Association of American Publishers. But the bigger case, between Google and the Authors Guild, remains tied up in court. An agreement between those two parties will determine whether Google can move forward with its broader, more ambitious digitizing plan. “That’s the lawsuit with high stakes,” Mr. Grimmelmann said... The settlement also did not address the difficult issue of so-called orphan works — those that are still under copyright but whose copyright holder or author cannot be found.""

Sunday, September 30, 2012

ALA President Talks to Publishers at AAP Event in NYC; Info Docket, 9/27/12

Matt Enis and Gary Price, Info Docket; ALA President Talks to Publishers at AAP Event in NYC: "American Library Association President Maureen Sullivan spoke to about 100 publishers this week during an Association of American Publishers event in New York. The presentation struck a more placatory tone than Sullivan’s open letter to publishers regarding the current state of ebook access in libraries. Sent just days earlier, it began by arguing that “it’s a rare thing in a free market when a customer is refused the ability to buy a company’s product and is told its money is ‘no good here.’ Surprisingly, after centuries of enthusiastically supporting publishers’ products, libraries find themselves in just that position with purchasing e-books from three of the largest publishers in the world.” Instead, Sullivan began the speech by emphasizing the history of cooperation between libraries and publishers, and noting that both fields are attempting to address “a time of extensive change in how content is created, distributed, read, and used.”"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Maintaining relevance in a changing world: an interview with WIPO Director General Francis Gurry; WIPO Magazine, September 2012

WIPO Magazine; Maintaining relevance in a changing world: an interview with WIPO Director General Francis Gurry: "Ahead of WIPO's annual meeting of member states from October 1 to 9, 2012, Director General Francis Gurry shared his views with WIPO Magazine about some of the key challenges and opportunities that are likely to influence the future evolution of the international intellectual property (IP) system."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Bruce Willis dilemma? In the digital era, we own nothing; Guardian, 9/3/12

Dan Gillmor, Guardian; The Bruce Willis dilemma? In the digital era, we own nothing: "The entertainment industry is rapidly steering us all toward a stream-from-the-cloud model, in which we buy the right to watch or listen or read, but where the rights are limited in time and device. This pay-per-view world would make even Willis's dilemma moot, because he'd never own anything – which makes it the most dangerous model of all for users of digital content. I use some cloud services, but I buy and back up (legally or not) the things I want to keep. Since the publishers, record labels and movie studios are unlikely to permit sanity in the digital marketplace, and given lawmakers' propensity for following the industry's dictates in passing increasingly draconian copyright laws, it's up to the rest of us to come up with solutions."

What's so funny about Gangnam Style?; Guardian, 9/24/12

Arwa Mahdawi, Guardian; What's so funny about Gangnam Style? : "Psy has produced a video that is born to spawn and has further facilitated this by waiving his copyright. This stands in high contrast to many western hip-hop stars who have been slow to relinquish control of their "intellectual" property in the same way (take Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind, for example, which quickly generated a host of YouTube tributes that were quickly removed by EMI). Psy's relaxed attitude to his tributes has meant that Gangnam Style has already enjoyed a prolific after-life. Everyone has made their own version, which only adds to the success of the original. Nevertheless, I can't help thinking that there is a slightly odd dynamic at work in this mimicry. For one thing, Gangnam Style is itself a parody. If a spoof spoofs a spoof then what's that spoof spoofing? What, exactly, is the source of all that hilarity?"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

All the TV News Since 2009, on One Web Site; New York Times, 9/17/12

Bill Carter, New York Times; All the TV News Since 2009, on One Web Site: "The latest ambitious effort by the archive, which has already digitized millions of books and tried to collect everything published on every Web page for the last 15 years (that adds up to more than 150 billion Web pages), is intended not only for researchers, Mr. Kahle said, but also for average citizens who make up some of the site’s estimated two million visitors each day... The act of copying all this news material is protected under a federal copyright agreement signed in 1976. That was in reaction to a challenge to a news assembly project started by Vanderbilt University in 1968."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cambodia arrests Pirate Bay co-founder; Yahoo News, 9/3/12

Sopheng Cheang, Yahoo News; Cambodia arrests Pirate Bay co-founder:

"A co-founder of popular file sharing website The Pirate Bay was arrested in Cambodia at the request of Sweden, where he faces a one-year prison term for violating copyright laws, authorities said Monday.

Cambodian authorities arrested Gottfrid Svartholm Warg on Thursday at a home he had rented in the capital, Phnom Penh, said national police spokesman Kirth Chantharith."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Pop Group Tells Romney to Stop Using Its Song; New York Times, 8/16/12

James C. McKinley, Jr., New York Times; Another Pop Group Tells Romney to Stop Using Its Song:

"A publicist for the Silversun Pickups said the band does not agree that the use of the song is covered under the blanket licenses. Copyright experts say such licenses, usually bought by restaurants and other businesses that play recorded music, do protect the campaign from many copyright complaints, but a politician can still be sued under the federal trademark law for false advertising if the use of the song implies that the musician has endorsed the candidate."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Divergent Approaches To Copyright Reform Emerge In Europe; Intellectual Property Watch, 8/3/12

Dugie Standeford, Intellectual Property Watch; Divergent Approaches To Copyright Reform Emerge In Europe:

"Two very different views of copyright reform emerged this week, one from a report commissioned by the UK government, the other from a French citizens’ advocacy group. The former envisions an intricately linked system of digital rights exchanges and databases to streamline copyright licensing, the latter broad, “non-market” sharing of protected works between individuals, among other things. Whether either approach is feasible remains to be seen, and, as always, the devil’s in the details, lawyers say."

France will cut funding to its piracy police; paidContent, 8/3/12

Robert Andrews, paidContent; France will cut funding to its piracy police:

"France’s new culture minister is not yet promising to disband the country’s internet piracy enforcement agency, Hadopi. But she already is already planning to cut its budget and to dissuade it from kicking people off the internet."

With Key Filings in, Trials Loom In Google Book Cases; Publishers Weekly, 8/3/12

Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly; With Key Filings in, Trials Loom In Google Book Cases:

"With the battle lines now drawn, how is the fight shaping up? At this stage, observers say, the Authors Guild may be facing an uphill charge. “Google and HathiTrust have made a compelling case that digitization to support full-text search and long-term preservation is a fair use,” New York Law School professor James Grimmelmann told PW. On the other hand, he notes, in the HathiTrust case at least, the Authors Guild has simply not made “a convincing case” that there is harm to the copyright owners."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WIPO Still On Course For Instruments On Copyright Exceptions, Broadcasting; Intellectual Property Watch, 12

William New, Intellectual Property Watch; WIPO Still On Course For Instruments On Copyright Exceptions, Broadcasting:

"The World Intellectual Property Organization late last night reached agreement on a timeline for completing treaties – or instruments – on a range of copyright exceptions, including the possibility of a high-level negotiation for visually impaired and blind readers in 2013...

The 24th WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) met from 16-25 July.

The meeting addressed emerging instruments on broadcasters’ rights, and exceptions for visually impaired persons, libraries and archives, and educational and research institutions.

The conclusions document from the meeting shows the timelines of the different topics over the next biennium. The conclusions document is available here [pdf]."

An Upstart Free Course Provider Holds a Cookout to Meet Its Students; Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/29/12

Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education; An Upstart Free Course Provider Holds a Cookout to Meet Its Students:

"Call it a "massive open cookout." Coursera, a company that is working with more than a dozen elite universities to help them run MOOC's, or massive open online courses, held its first official "meetup" here on Saturday for students and professors to connect in person over burgers, chips, and soda.

It was a chance for even the company itself to learn more about what motivates students to take its courses, which bear no official academic credit.

With some 900,000 students registered for its courses, everything the small company does seems to get big quickly. More than 1,100 people signed up for the cookout, and in the end about 650 made the trip".

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Google Books hasn't cost authors a dime, company says;, 7/27/12

Cyrus Farivar,; Google Books hasn't cost authors a dime, company says:

"On Friday, Google filed for summary judgment in the Google Books case against the Authors' Guild, renewing its argument that the entire project constitutes fair use. That company argues therefore that it does not need permission from authors in order to scan substantial portions of their work...

More substantially, Google argues that Google Books is a transformative work, and that the company "copied no more of the books than was necessary to create a searchable index, and displays no more of the works than is necessary to allow readers to determine whether the book might be of interest to them."

Disruptions: Innovations Snuffed Out by Craigslist; New York Times, 7/29/12

Nick Bilton, New York Times; Disruptions: Innovations Snuffed Out by Craigslist:

"“The listings are already out there. We’re finding them already on the Web and organizing them so other people don’t have to do the same thing twice,” said Greg Kidd, the chief executive of 3Taps. “And we’re not breaking any laws because we are pulling in the facts from the listing; everyone knows you can’t copyright facts.” Craigslist also named 3Taps in the lawsuit filed last week.

As intellectual property lawyers will tell you, Mr. Kidd is not off base: facts, like those in classified listings, cannot be copyrighted.

So why hasn’t anyone managed to unseat Craigslist, a site that has barely changed in close to two decades?

It has dug an effective moat by cultivating an exaggerated image of “doing good” that keeps its customers loyal, while behind the scenes, it bullies any rivals that come near and it stifles innovation."

How Fair Use Can Help Solve the Orphan Works Problem; 6/18/12

Jennifer Urban, Berkeley Technology Law Journal; How Fair Use Can Help Solve the Orphan Works Problem:

"This Article argues that legislation is not necessary to enable some uses of orphan works by nonprofit libraries and archives. Instead, the fair use doctrine in United States copyright law provides a partial solution. The Article addresses three basic questions: first, does fair use provide a viable basis on which libraries might digitize orphans? Second, does fair use provide a viable basis on which to make these orphans available to patrons or the public? Third, more generally, can or should fair use do any additional work in infringement analysis where the copyrighted work in question is an orphan?

The answer to each of these questions is yes."

The World's Nicest Cease-And-Desist Letter Ever Goes Viral, Sells Books; Forbes, 7/26/12

Avi Dan, Forbes; The World's Nicest Cease-And-Desist Letter Ever Goes Viral, Sells Books:

"Companies go to great lengths to protect their trademarks. The standard response for copyright infringement is to send a letter from a lawyer and threaten to sue. But the people at Jack Daniel’s, one of America’s most iconic brands, opted for true southern hospitality toward Patrick Wensink, an obscure Louisville-based author of a new satirical novel, Broken Piano For President."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

In Sweden, Taking File Sharing to Heart. And to Church; New York Times, 7/25/12

John Tagliabue, New York Times; In Sweden, Taking File Sharing to Heart. And to Church:

"People almost everywhere are file sharing these days, using computers to download music, films, books or other materials, often ignoring copyrights. In Sweden, however, it is a religion. Really.

Even as this Scandinavian country, like other nations across Europe, bows to pressure from big media concerns to stop file sharing, a Swedish government agency this year registered as a bona fide religion a church whose central dogma is that file sharing is sacred.

“For me it is a kind of believing in deeper values than worldly values,” said Isak Gerson, a philosophy student at Uppsala University who helped found the church in 2010 and bears the title chief missionary. “You have it in your backbone.”

Kopimism — the name comes from a Swedish spelling of the words “copy me” — claims more than 8,000 faithful who have signed up on the church’s Web site. It has applied for the right to perform marriages and to receive subsidies awarded to religious organizations by the state, and it has bid, thus far unsuccessfully, to buy a church building, even though most church activities are conducted online...

“I think we see it as a theological remix,” Mr. Gerson said. “Christianity took from Judaism and turned it into something new, and the Muslims did the same. We are part of a tradition.”"

Friday, July 27, 2012

Why Do the Chinese Copy So Much?; International Herald Tribune, 7/25/12

Didi Kirsten Tatlow, International Herald Tribune; Why Do the Chinese Copy So Much? :

"As news spread in Austria and around the world that a copy of the medieval town’s market square, a church and other important buildings had been erected in Boluo, Guangdong province (part of a bigger development designed to attract wealthy buyers to expensive villas built by Minmetals Land), a debate began in media and in private conversations: Was it OK for the Chinese to do this? And why do they copy so much, anyway?

As I report in my latest Page Two column, the Chinese didn’t ask permission: five Chinese architects walked around incognito, photographing the town, then returned to Boluo where the town square was copied at high speed.

And it’s not just a question of architecture and iPads.

In China, academic journals are riddled with plagiarism."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If Three Constitutes Company, Add Lawyers to Make It a Crowd; New York Times, 7/17/12

Patrick Healy, New York Times; If Three Constitutes Company, Add Lawyers to Make It a Crowd:

"Most playwrights have jitters on opening night, but David Adjmi was in a panic amid the festivities last month for “3C,” his darkly comic deconstruction of the 1970s sitcom “Three’s Company.” That same day he learned that the copyright owner of “Three’s Company” had sent a cease-and-desist letter to the play’s producers charging that Mr. Adjmi had infringed on the copyright by borrowing so many elements from the TV series, including its premise about a man who pretends to be gay to live with two female roommates.

The show went on — but the copyright fight remains far from resolved.

At issue is whether “3C” is enough of a parody of “Three’s Company” to be protected under First Amendment exceptions to copyright law — specifically, under the legal doctrine of fair use, which allows artists to use copyrighted work to lampoon or critique the material, as the international hit “Forbidden Broadway” has done for years with its sendups of famous musicals."

Survey Shows Growing Strength of E-Books; New York Times, 7/18/12

Julie Bosman, New York Times; Survey Shows Growing Strength of E-Books:

"E-books continued their surge in 2011, surpassing hardcover books and paperbacks to become the dominant format for adult fiction last year, according to a new survey of publishers released Wednesday...

Over all, digital books kept up their explosive growth in 2011, the survey confirmed. Publishers’ net revenue from sales of e-books more than doubled last year, reaching $2.07 billion, up from $869 million in 2010. E-books accounted for 15.5 percent of publishers’ revenues."

Yes, video of Obama belting out "I'm so in love with you" is fair use;, 7/17/12

Timothy B. Lee,; Yes, video of Obama belting out "I'm so in love with you" is fair use:

"The music publisher BMG Rights Management appears to have used the DMCA takedown process to remove another video of the commander-in-chief belting out "I'm so in love with you." The video, one of many uploaded in the wake of an event at the Apollo Theater earlier this year, was made by YouTube user sNewsCast...

Unfortunately, the law doesn't give YouTube much latitude to stand up for fair use if it wants to hold onto the protection of the DMCA safe harbor. The notice-and-takedown procedure requires YouTube to leave an allegedly infringing work offline for at least 10 days, even if the uploader files a counter-notice stating that the work is not infringing."

Music publisher uses DMCA to take down Romney ad of Obama crooning; ArsTechnica, 7/16/12

Timothy B. Lee, ArsTechnica; Music publisher uses DMCA to take down Romney ad of Obama crooning:

"But YouTube chief counsel Zahavah Levine fired back with a letter pointing out that trying to assess fair use on a case-by-case basis at YouTube's scale would be extremely difficult. In many cases, YouTube doesn't even have the information it would need to assess whether a particular clip is fair use. Given that declining to take down a clip could expose the site to liability, YouTube has decided to play it safe and comply with the DMCA's takedown procedure. No exceptions, even for presidential candidates.

In 2008, YouTube expressed the hope that whichever candidate won the White House would help to reform the DMCA's takedown process to avoid this kind of problem. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Instead, Congress nearly passed the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would have given incumbent copyright holders even broader powers to take down content they didn't like."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Universities Reshaping Education on the Web; New York Times, 7/17/12

Tamar Lewin, New York Times; Universities Reshaping Education on the Web:

"As part of a seismic shift in online learning that is reshaping higher education, Coursera, a year-old company founded by two Stanford University computer scientists, will announce on Tuesday that a dozen major research universities are joining the venture. In the fall, Coursera will offer 100 or more free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, that are expected to draw millions of students and adult learners globally...

This is the tsunami,” said Richard A. DeMillo, the director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech. “It’s all so new that everyone’s feeling their way around, but the potential upside for this experiment is so big that it’s hard for me to imagine any large research university that wouldn’t want to be involved.”"

More Copyright Treaties Sprouting At WIPO; Intellectual Property Watch, 7/16/12

William New, Intellectual Property Watch; More Copyright Treaties Sprouting At WIPO:

"Flush with the success of last month’s agreement on a new treaty on audiovisual performances, World Intellectual Property Organization members this week are propagating other possible legal instruments on aspects of copyright. Mainly under consideration this week are exceptions to copyright, along with broadcasters’ rights, and on the first day of the meeting, new proposals emerged on exceptions for educational and research institutions."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Reforming Copyright Is Possible; Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/9/12

Pamela Samuelson, Chronicle of Higher Education; Reforming Copyright Is Possible:

"The failure of the Google Book settlement, however, has not killed the dream of a comprehensive digital library accessible to the public. Indeed, it has inspired an alternative that would avoid the risks of monopoly control. A coalition of nonprofit libraries, archives, and universities has formed to create a Digital Public Library of America, which is scheduled to launch its services in April 2013. The San Francisco Public Library recently sponsored a second major planning session for the DPLA, which drew 400 participants. Major foundations, as well as private donors, are providing financial support. The DPLA aims to be a portal through which the public can access vast stores of knowledge online. Free, forever."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Even at a Comics Event, You Can’t Defy Gravitas; New York Times, 7/13/12

Michael Cieply, New York Times; Even at a Comics Event, You Can’t Defy Gravitas:

"Topics for panels at this year’s conference at the San Diego Convention Center include comics and the plight of indigenous peoples, feminist writers and censorship, progressive politics in comics and of course the many financial and copyright issues created by the explosion in Hollywood’s interest.

As a certain archvillain might ask: Why so serious?

“It’s frightening,” said Lisa Vizcarra, a science teacher at Carquinez Middle School in Crockett, Calif. Ms. Vizcarra, who seemed to set the day’s tone, was speaking to a Comic-Con audience about a looming pedagogical crisis: Students, distracted by video, are no longer responding to comics as an educational tool, even as schools increasingly use them in their curriculums...

On the opposite end of the sprawling convention hall, at a seminar called “The Comic Book Law School,” Michael L. Lovitz, a copyright lawyer, was hammering away on another serious matter: the ins and outs of work for hire, the employment term that has become a critical legal issue in multimillion-dollar battles over the ownership of characters like Superman and the Fantastic Four."

Extradition Suspect Calculated the Savings From Piracy; New York Times, 7/13/12

Somini Sengupta, New York Times; Extradition Suspect Calculated the Savings From Piracy:

"Helpfully for the authorities, Mr. O’Dwyer also did the math for his users, spelling out, according to the Justice Department, exactly how much money its users were saving. It reminded users that they could have spent up to $10 on a movie ticket, $10 on “a typical US nacho-Coke or popcorn-Coke combo,” and another $5 on “typical US parking.”

Part of the Justice Department’s case against Mr. O’Dwyer seems to be show that he sought to make it as simple as possible to watch movies and shows available on other sites, including copyrighted material...

Meanwhile, Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikimedia, who has stepped up to defend Mr. O’Dwyer from extradition, was quoted by The Hill, a Washington-based news site, as offering the entertainment industry some unsolicited advice: Make it easier for consumers to buy content online."

Gay Couple Eyes Lawsuit After Finding Pic on 'Hate Group' Mailer; Good Morning America via Yahoo News, 7/12/12

Susan Donaldson James, Good Morning America via Yahoo News; Gay Couple Eyes Lawsuit After Finding Pic on 'Hate Group' Mailer:

"[Southern Poverty Law Center lawyer Christine Sun] said Public Advocate has 10 days to respond to her letter and then SPLC will make legal copyright claims for Hill and state law privacy claims and infliction of emotion distress on behalf of Edwards and Tom Privitere.

"Beyond a lawsuit ... we decided to get involved because these actions are truly reprehensible -- to take a personal photo of the happiest day in a couple's life and use it in a homophobic attack ad," said Sun. "It's demonizing, unfair and unjustifiable."

The couple learned the photo had been taken without authorization from a friend who saw it in a mailer from Sen. White and called them in June."

Rostrum defends Mac Miller; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/13/12

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Rostrum defends Mac Miller:

"Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller's record label Rostrum Records said Friday Miller did not unlawfully sample and distribute New York rapper Lord Finesse's beat, "Hip 2 Da Game," in Miller's tune "Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza.""

Lord Finesse hits Mac Miller with $10 million copyright lawsuit; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/12/12

Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Lord Finesse hits Mac Miller with $10 million copyright lawsuit:

"Mac Miller is facing a $10 million lawsuit over "Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza," a track he recorded on his way to fame two years when he was 18.

Lord Finesse, a 42-year-old rapper and producer from New York who has worked with the Notorious B.I.G., alleges that the Pittsburgh rapper unlawfully used his 1995 "Hip 2 Da Game" beat for a song that appeared on Miller's mixtape "K.I.D.S."

The complaint, filed Monday in the United States District Court Southern District of New York, claims that Miller, whose legal name is Malcolm McCormick, his label Rostrum Records and mixtape website "willfully infringed [Finesse's] exclusive copyrights." It further alleges unfair competition, unjust enrichment, interference and deceptive trade practices."

Why we are breaking the Pirate Bay ban; Guardian, 7/11/12

Loz Kaye, Guardian; Why we are breaking the Pirate Bay ban:

"If the government is unwilling to act, it falls to the rest of us. Since April the Pirate party has provided a proxy – – allowing people to connect to Pirate Bay. Initially this was in support of our sister party in the Netherlands where there is a similar crackdown. However, it has become a political protest to highlight the futility of the UK injunction and impotency of the coalition.

This proxy continues to be a legitimate route for those affected by the court orders. Not surprisingly to anyone who knows how the internet (or human nature) works, we have also experienced a huge Streisand effect. The Pirate party's website is now in the top 500 websites in the UK – above any other political party. If the aim was to change people's behaviour, the most noticeable change we have seen is an upsurge in interest in our kind of politics. I doubt this was the BPI's intention.

We must not hand courts and governments censorship powers without public debate. The Lib Dems and Conservatives need to decide where policy is headed, not just make noises about digital rights. Until that point it is left to the Pirate party to defend them."

Kim Dotcom: I'll extradite myself to US if they give my money back; Guardian, 7/11/12

Toby Manhire, Guardian; Kim Dotcom: I'll extradite myself to US if they give my money back:

"The German-born New Zealand resident's remarks, in an email interview with the Guardian, follow Tuesday's announcement that his extradition hearing, scheduled to begin in less than a month, has been put back until April next year.

On Wednesday morning Dotcom laid down the gauntlet to the US department of justice, offering to travel to the US under his own steam and faces charges – with conditions. "Hey DOJ," Dotcom said on his Twitter account, "we will go to the US. No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers and living expenses.""

U.S. Pursuing a Middleman in Web Piracy; New York Times, 7/12/12

Somini Sengupta, New York Times; U.S. Pursuing a Middleman in Web Piracy:

"Richard O’Dwyer, an enterprising 24-year-old college student from northern England, has found himself in the middle of a fierce battle between two of America’s great exports: Hollywood and the Internet.

At issue is a Web site he started that helped visitors find American movies and television shows online. Although the site did not serve up pirated content, American authorities say it provided links to sites that did. The Obama administration is seeking to extradite Mr. O’Dwyer from Britain on criminal charges of copyright infringement. The possible punishment: 10 years in a United States prison.

The case is the government’s most far-reaching effort so far to crack down on foreigners suspected of breaking American laws. It is unusual because it goes after a middleman, who the authorities say made a fair amount of money by pointing people to pirated content. Mr. O’Dwyer’s backers say the prosecution goes too far, squelching his free-speech right to publish links to other Web sites."

Home secretary upholds decision to extradite Richard O'Dwyer; Guardian, 7/9/12

James Ball and Alan Travis, Guardian; Home secretary upholds decision to extradite Richard O'Dwyer:

"The home secretary, Theresa May, has told the House of Commons that she will not revisit plans to extradite Sheffield Hallam student Richard O'Dwyer to the US on copyright charges, saying the decision had "already been taken".

O'Dwyer faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in a US jail for alleged copyright offences, for which the UK declined to press charges. The charges relate to a website,, which O'Dwyer when he was 19 and which linked to places to watch TV and films online."

Acta didn't stand a chance in the age of the social internet; Guardian, 7/5/12

Charles Arthur, Guardian; Acta didn't stand a chance in the age of the social internet:

"The dismissal of Acta, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, by the European parliament has left the treaty's opponents delighted, and its supporters – who principally work in the industries that rely on copyright and trademarks, whether virtual or physical, for their living – downhearted.

Acta's creators had the poor luck – or lack of foresight – to create their baby in what feels like the Jurassic age of the social internet. They also made the bad decision to negotiate it in secret – the sort of thing that drives conspiracy theorists wild, but which is also sure to get anyone's antennae a bit twitchy. After all, if an agreement is for everyone's good, then why do its terms have to be kept secret?"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Europe Moves to Aid Digital Music Industry; New York Times, 7/10/12

Eric Pfanner, New York Times; Europe Moves to Aid Digital Music Industry:

"The European Commission plans to introduce legislation on Wednesday to bolster the digital music market in Europe by streamlining the methods of agencies that collect royalties on behalf of copyright holders.

Michel Barnier, the internal market commissioner, is expected to propose a bill aimed at resolving problems at the 250 collecting societies that operate in the European Union, some of which are holding back growth in digital music."

Digital Notes: Grooveshark Wins a Battle, But Can It Win the War?; New York Times, 7/11/12

Ben Sisario, New York Times; Digital Notes: Grooveshark Wins a Battle, But Can It Win the War? :

"Grooveshark, an online service that streams millions of songs free, is fighting for its life in multiple lawsuits filed against it by the major powers of the business...

This week, Grooveshark’s parent company, Escape Media Group, won a glimmer of hope with a court decision that undercut one of the Universal Music Group’s two copyright infringement cases against it, and also opened the door for it to countersue the label for what could be millions of dollars in damages."

Judge Says Aereo, a TV Streaming Service, May Continue; New York Times, 7/11/12

Brian Stelter, New York Times; Judge Says Aereo, a TV Streaming Service, May Continue:

"One set of broadcasters, representing Fox, Tribune, Univision and PBS stations, said in a statement that the ruling asserted “that it is O.K. to misappropriate copyrighted material and retransmit it without compensation.” The stations said they would “continue to fight to protect our copyrights and expect to prevail on appeal.”"

Tech and Media Elite Are Likely to Debate Piracy; New York Times, 7/9/12

Amy Chozick, New York Times; Tech and Media Elite Are Likely to Debate Piracy:

"In the aftermath, Hollywood has increased its efforts to get online payment companies, cloud services and Internet service providers to voluntarily help curtail pirated movies, TV and music, particularly from foreign Web sites.

Months before the debates erupted in January, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, PayPal and Visa agreed on a set of best practices to reduce the sale of counterfeited pirated goods. In 2010, Yahoo, PayPal, GoDaddy, Google and others formed a nonprofit intended to combat the sale of illegal pharmaceuticals online, one issue SOPA and PIPA were initially meant to address.

The Sun Valley conference could provide a tranquil backdrop for the continued construction of a fence between media and technology.

“We thought about what’s in the long-term interest of the Internet ecosystem. And that’s a set of best practices that people feel comfortable with,” said Cary Sherman, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America."

Friday, July 6, 2012

European Parliament Rejects Anti-Piracy Treaty; New York Times, 7/4/12

Eric Pfanner, New York Times; European Parliament Rejects Anti-Piracy Treaty:

"European legislators on Wednesday rejected an international treaty to crack down on digital piracy, a vote that Internet freedom groups hailed as a victory for democracy but that media companies lamented as a setback for the creative industries.

Foes of the treaty said the vote, by an overwhelming margin in the European Parliament at Strasbourg, would probably end the prospects of European involvement in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, which has been signed by the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea and a number of individual E.U. members."

Megaupload Founder Goes From Arrest to Cult Hero; New York Times, 7/3/12

Jonathan Hutchison, New York Times; Megaupload Founder Goes From Arrest to Cult Hero:

"The Justice Department said the individuals and two companies — Megaupload and Vestor — had been charged with “engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.”"

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Black Keys Sue Home Depot and Pizza Hut; New York Times, 6/22/12

James C. McKinley Jr., New York Times; The Black Keys Sue Home Depot and Pizza Hut:

"The Black Keys have sued both the Home Depot and Pizza Hut for copyright infringement, saying that the companies used musical elements from the band’s recent hits without permission in commercials, The Associated Press reported."

@KimDotcom Jokes of Money ‘Laundering’ and Tennis ‘Racketeering’; New York Times, 6/22/12

Ben Sisario, New York Times; @KimDotcom Jokes of Money ‘Laundering’ and Tennis ‘Racketeering’ :

"Mr. Dotcom’s defense team has gotten judges in New Zealand to relax the bail restrictions against him and to order the Federal Bureau of Investigation. to turn over its files on Megaupload (that part is now under “urgent review” by another court). In the latest twist, Mr. Dotcom — who was not allowed access to the Internet when he was first released from jail — apparently has started a Twitter feed, posting photos that lightly mock his case, and announcing his return to the world of cloud storage."

Japan Passes Jail-for-Downloaders Anti-Piracy Law;, 6/21/12

Daniel Feit,; Japan Passes Jail-for-Downloaders Anti-Piracy Law:

"Japan’s legislature has approved a bill revising the nation’s copyright law to add criminal penalties for downloading copyrighted material or backing up content from a DVD. The penalties will come into effect in October."

Unprecedented Vote: EU Parliament Trade Committee Rejects ACTA; Intellectual Property Watch, 6/21/12

Monika Ermert, Intellectual Property Watch; Unprecedented Vote: EU Parliament Trade Committee Rejects ACTA:

"In an unprecedented move, the European Parliament Committee on International Trade (INTA) today in Brussels passed a report recommending the rejection of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Never before has INTA voted to reject a trade agreement negotiated by the Union.

With a vote of 19 to 12 (no abstentions) INTA members followed the recommendation of British MEP David Martin (S&D Party Group)."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NPR Intern Gets an Earful After Blogging About 11,000 Songs, Almost None Paid For; New York Times, 6/19/12

Ben Sisario, New York Times; NPR Intern Gets an Earful After Blogging About 11,000 Songs, Almost None Paid For:

"In the NPR post, a 20-year-old intern named Emily White wrote that despite being “an avid music listener, concertgoer and college radio D.J.,” with an iTunes library of 11,000 songs, she has bought only 15 CDs in her life. “As monumental a role as musicians and albums have played in my life,” she wrote, “I’ve never invested money in them aside from concert tickets and T-shirts.”"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fair Use, Art, Swiss Cheese and Me; New York Times, 6/16/12

Michael Rips, New York Times; Fair Use, Art, Swiss Cheese and Me:

"Patrick Cariou is not. He is an ethnographic photographer, and it is the sort of photographs he takes that have been some of the subjects of appropriation and subversion by the Pictures Generation. For this reason, the markets for Mr. Prince and Mr. Cariou are not just distinct; they are conflicting. In other words, no one heading out to purchase an ethnographic photograph by Mr. Cariou (or anyone else) was going to be diverted by the Prince show at Gagosian.

And that should be the answer to the legal question. Since Mr. Prince caused no economic injury to Mr. Cariou, despite his claims to the contrary, Mr. Prince should not be required to turn over his profits (or works)."

Friday, June 15, 2012

German court sentences founder of illegal movie downloading platform to prison term; Associated Press via Washington Post, 6/14/12

Associated Press via Washington Post; German court sentences founder of illegal movie downloading platform to prison term:

"A German court has convicted the founder of an illegal movie downloading platform of breaching copyright laws and sentenced him to four years and six months in prison."

MLA Shift on Copyright; Inside Higher Ed, 6/6/12

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed; MLA Shift on Copyright:

"Literary scholars on Twitter were offering praise Tuesday for an announcement by the Modern Language Association that it is adopting a new author agreement for its journals (including the flagship PMLA) that will leave copyright with authors, enabling them to post versions in open access repositories, or on individual or departmental websites. The reactions included "Fantastic," "Great open access news," "very cool and important" and "a watershed [for open access] in the humanities?""

French Publisher Group Strikes Deal With Google Over E-Books; New York Times, 6/11/12

Eric Pfanner, New York Times; French Publisher Group Strikes Deal With Google Over E-Books:

"The French Publishers Association and the Société des Gens de Lettres, an authors’ group, dropped lawsuits in which they contended that Google’s book scanning in France violated copyright. Google agreed to set up a “framework” agreement under which publishers would be able to offer digital versions of their works for Google to sell...

Other digital book initiatives are under way in France; the Parliament recently passed a law authorizing the French National Library to scan so-called orphan works — out-of-print books whose copyright holder cannot be found — for an openly available digital repository. Orphan works would be automatically included unless the rights holders objected within six months."

EU Negotiators Tentatively Agree On Plan For Orphan Works; Intellectual Property Watch, 6/9/12

Dugie Standeford, Intellectual Property Watch; EU Negotiators Tentatively Agree On Plan For Orphan Works:

"The measure will give European libraries, archives, film heritage institutions, public broadcasters and other organisations the appropriate legal framework to enable them to provide online, cross-border access to their collections, including orphan works, Barnier said. Greater legal security could boost funding of digitisation projects, he said."

Gershwin Shows’ Tonys Fuel Plans for a Musical; New York Times, 6/14/12

Patrick Healy, New York Times; Gershwin Shows’ Tonys Fuel Plans for a Musical:

"Over the last year the trustees — mostly nephews and grandnephews of George and Ira — have been called greedy, unsophisticated and insensitive to the artistic integrity of the brothers’ work: essentially, that they were cashing in on the music before their copyrights expired. While the famous opera songs from “Porgy and Bess” will be available in the public domain in about two decades, the musical version of “Porgy and Bess” is its own licensable property that can generate income for Gershwin relatives for decades, as will the separate license for the other new Gershwin songbook musical on Broadway, “Nice Work if You Can Get It.”"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Libraries Are Not The Same as Manga Scanlation Sites;

Robin Brenner,; Libraries Are Not The Same as Manga Scanlation Sites:

"To stop this nonsense once and for all, I asked librarian, author and blogger Robin Brenner to explain why borrowing and reading manga from a library isn't the same as reading illegal, scanned versions of the same books. Here's her breakdown on the four reasons why libraries aren't the same as scanlation websites."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lawyers in ‘Spider-Man’ Battle Spin Their Early Arguments; New York Times, 6/1/12

Patrick Healy, New York Times; Lawyers in ‘Spider-Man’ Battle Spin Their Early Arguments:

"Lawyers for the Broadway producers of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” argued in federal court on Friday that the musical’s former director, Julie Taymor, had borrowed so many ideas from Spider-Man superhero lore that she was not entitled to copyright protection for her initial three-page script outline for the musical, which features characters and subplots from Spider-Man comics and movies. Ms. Taymor’s lawyers, who regard the outline as crucial to her copyright claims and battle for more than $1 million from the producers, countered that the document reflected what they termed originality and the singular vision that she had demonstrated as the Tony Award-winning director of “The Lion King.”"

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Judge Allows Class-Action Suit Over Google’s Book Scanning; New York Times, 5/31/12

Julie Bosman, New York Times; Judge Allows Class-Action Suit Over Google’s Book Scanning:

"A federal judge in Manhattan granted class-action status on Thursday to authors suing Google over the company’s ambitious book-scanning project, allowing the long-stalled case to move forward...

James Grimmelmann, a professor at New York Law School who has studied the legal aspects of the case, said the judge’s decision “makes it very likely that we’re going to have a very high-stakes decision about Google’s book-scanning project.”"

Daddy, What Were Compact Discs?; New York Times, 5/30/12

Sam Grobart, New York Times; Daddy, What Were Compact Discs? :

"ONE day, when my children are a little older, I will gather them close and I will tell them about how I lived through the Great Format Wars.

I will recount to them a seemingly endless cycle of battles. From LP to cassette to minidisk (oh wait — not to minidisk) to CD. From Betamax to VHS to DVD to HD-DVD to Blu-ray. From punchcards to magnetic tape to floppy disks to zip drives to DVD-ROMs."

Libraries Grapple With The Downside Of E-Books; NPR's Morning Edition, 5/29/12

Ben Bradford, NPR's Morning Edition; Libraries Grapple With The Downside Of E-Books:

"BRADFORD: Another problem is that almost all U.S. libraries that offer e-books do so through an outside company called Overdrive. And libraries don't actually buy the e-books. They're in a way renting them. Here's Tom Galante, who runs the Queens Library.

GALANTE: When you license content through them, you really aren't owning the content. Every year you have to pay them to continue to have that subscription service or you lose your content that you've already paid for.

BRADFORD: If a library stops using Overdrive, it could lose all the books it's licensed through the company. Robert Wolven heads an American Library Association group that's trying to develop a new model - one that that publishers would buy into and would eliminate middlemen."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Google Publishes Data on Copyright Removal Requests;, 5/24/12

Chloe Albanesius,; Google Publishes Data on Copyright Removal Requests:

"Google today announced plans to disclose the number of copyright-related takedown requests it receives on a daily basis.

The search giant today released information dating back to July 2011 and said it will update the data every day. "The number of requests has been increasing rapidly," Fred von Lohmann, Google's senior copyright counsel, said in a blog post. "These days it's not unusual for us to receive more than 250,000 requests each week, which is more than what copyright owners asked us to remove in all of 2009.""

Saturday, May 26, 2012

UCSF Implements Policy to Make Research Papers Freely Accessible to Public; University of California San Francisco, 5/23/12

Kristen Bole, University of California San Francisco; UCSF Implements Policy to Make Research Papers Freely Accessible to Public:

"The UCSF Academic Senate has voted to make electronic versions of current and future scientific articles freely available to the public, helping to reverse decades of practice on the part of medical and scientific journal publishers to restrict access to research results.

The unanimous vote of the faculty senate makes UCSF the largest scientific institution in the nation to adopt an open-access policy and among the first public universities to do so.

“Our primary motivation is to make our research available to anyone who is interested in it, whether they are members of the general public or scientists without costly subscriptions to journals,” said Richard A. Schneider, PhD, chair of the UCSF Academic Senate Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, who spearheaded the initiative at UCSF. “The decision is a huge step forward in eliminating barriers to scientific research,” he said. “By opening the currently closed system, this policy will fuel innovation and discovery, and give the taxpaying public free access to oversee their investments in research.”"

'Canal Zone' Collages Test The Meaning Of 'Fair Use'; NPR's All Things Considered, 5/16/12

Joel Rose, NPR's All Things Considered; 'Canal Zone' Collages Test The Meaning Of 'Fair Use' :

"Richard Prince is an art world superstar. His paintings sell for millions, and many hang in the world's great museums. But one recent series of works cannot be shown in public — at least, not lawfully. Last year, a judge found Prince liable for copyright infringement for using the photographs of another artist without permission. A federal court in New York is set to hear Prince's appeal Monday, and the outcome of that appeal could have major implications for the art world and beyond."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Free Webinar by TLT Group: Cable Green, Creative Commons, Thursday, May 24, 2012 2 PM EDT

"FridayLive! ON A THURSDAY! May 24 Copyright: Cable Green, Creative Commons:

Guest: Cable Green, Director of Global Learning, Creative Commons"

Free Webcast by Association of Research Libraries (ARL) on Georgia State University e-Reserves Case: Thursday, May 24, 2012 2 PM EDT

"Register Now for ARL Webcast on GSU Decision:

Washington DC—The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is holding a webcast on Thursday, May 24, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET, on the substance and implications of the recent decision in the lawsuit over Georgia State University's (GSU) e-reserves program. Brandon Butler, ARL Director of Public Policy Initiatives, and Jonathan Band (policybandwidth) will recap the basic facts of the case and the key holdings in the decision, discuss the possible next steps in the litigation, and suggest some of the possible consequences for libraries making their own decisions about how best to implement a fair use policy in the context of course reserves.

To register for this free webcast, please visit

To read ARL's Issue Brief on the GSU decision, visit"