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."