Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Ben Sisario, New York Times; Online Piracy Alert System to Begin This Week: "The Copyright Alert System, a program of escalating warnings and prods against people suspected of online copyright infringement, is finally going into effect this week, more than a year and a half after the plan was announced as part of an agreement between the entertainment industry and five major Internet service providers. The Center for Copyright Information, the organization created to administer the system, announced on Monday that the Internet providers would begin putting it in place “over the course of the next several days,” though it gave no specifics. The Internet companies are AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable."
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Meredith Schwartz, Library Journal; FASTR Aims to Speed Open Access to Government-Funded Research: "The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced on February 14 in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. If passed, FASTR would require government agencies with annual extramural research expenditures of more than $100 million make electronic manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles based on their research freely available on the Internet within six months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The manuscripts would be preserved in a digital archive maintained either by the agency or in another suitable repository that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation. The law is based on the National Institute of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, as well as the previously-proposed Federal Research Public Access Act, which was introduced last Congressional session (as well as in two previous Congresses), but never made it to a vote. It is co-sponsored in the Senate by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and in the House of Representatives by Reps. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). Doyle had sponsored FRPAA as well. Affected agencies would include the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health & Human Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the National Science Foundation."
Saturday, February 23, 2013
U.S. Moves to Provide Quicker Access to Publicly Financed Scientific Research; New York Times, 2/22/13
Kenneth Chang, New York Times; U.S. Moves to Provide Quicker Access to Publicly Financed Scientific Research: "In a memorandum issued on Friday, John P. Holdren, science adviser to President Obama, called for scientific papers that report the results of federally financed research to become freely accessible within a year or so after publication. The findings are typically published in scientific journals, many of which are open only to paying subscribers. The new policy would apply to federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture, that finance more than $100 million a year of research. The agencies have six months to submit plans for how they would carry out the new policy. The hope is that broad access to scientific results will encourage faster progress on research and will let anyone apply the knowledge for technological advances."
Ben Sisario, New York Times; For Music Industry, a Story of Two Googles: "One Google is represented by its suite of entertainment media services like YouTube and Google Play, which have licensing agreements with the major labels and music publishers, along with movie studios and other media companies. That side is slowly becoming integrated into the fabric of the entertainment industry, through deals like the one announced by Billboard magazine this week that it would start incorporating YouTube play counts into its chart formulas. The other side of Google is its mighty search engine, the road map to the Internet, which people use to find content of all kinds — some of it preferred by the entertainment industry, but a great deal of it not. This is the side of Google that has the most frequent and public fights with the entertainment industry (though, to be sure, media companies have had no shortage of conflict with YouTube over the years)."
Eric Pfanner, New York Times; French Publishers Forge Deal With Google, Breaking Ranks With Europe: "Publishers in France say they have struck an innovative agreement with Google on the use of their content online. Their counterparts elsewhere in Europe, however, say the French gave in too easily to the Internet giant. The deal was signed this month by President François Hollande of France and Eric E. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, who called it a breakthrough in the tense relationship between publishers and Google, and as a possible model for other countries to follow. Under the deal, Google agreed to set up a fund, worth 60 million euroes, or $80 million, over three years, to help publishers develop their digital units. The two sides also pledged to deepen business ties, using Google’s online tools, in an effort to generate more online revenue for the publishers, who have struggled to counteract dwindling print revenue. But the French group, representing newspaper and magazine publishers with an online presence, as well as a variety of other news-oriented Web sites, yielded on its most important demand: that Google and other search engines and “aggregators” of news should start paying for links to their content."
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times; Public Domain, My Dear Watson? Lawsuit Challenges Conan Doyle Copyrights: "Some 125 years after his first appearance, Sherlock Holmes remains a hot literary property, inspiring thousands of pastiches, parodies and sequels in print, to saying nothing of the hit Warner Bros. film starring Robert Downey Jr. and such television series as “Elementary” and the BBC’s “Sherlock.” But according to a civil complaint filed on Thursday in federal court in Illinois by a leading Holmes scholar, many licensing fees paid to the Arthur Conan Doyle estate have been unnecessary, since the main characters and elements of their story derived from materials published before Jan. 1, 1923, are no longer covered by United States copyright law. The complaint was filed by Leslie S. Klinger, the editor of the three-volume, nearly 3,000-page “Annotated Sherlock Holmes” and numerous other Conan Doyle-related books."
Monday, February 11, 2013
Kevin Melrose, ComicBookResources.com; DC Comics wins copyright lawsuit over Batmobile replicas: "A federal judge on Thursday dealt a crippling blow to a custom carmarker, siding with DC Comics in a ruling that declared the Batmobile isn’t merely an automobile but “a copyrightable character.” The publisher sued Gotham Garage owner Ben Towle in May 2011, accusing his California-based business of violating its trademarks and copyrights by manufacturing and selling unlicensed replicas of the 1966 and 1989 Batmobile. DC sought a permanent injunction, the destruction of all infringing products and damages of no less than $750,000 for each infringement. However, Towle countered that the U.S. Copyright Act affords no protection to “useful articles,” defined as objects that have “an intrinsic utilitarian function” — for example, clothing, household appliances or, in this case, automobile functions. He failed to persuade U.S. District Judge Ronald Lew with that argument last year in a motion to dismiss, and he was no more successful this time."
Cheryl LaGuardia, Library Journal; Copyright and Libraries – Help! : "Copyright’s an issue whose prominence has increased enormously since the long-ago days when I worked in interlibrary loan, and we were assiduously keeping track of article requests for in-copyright journal issues. In those days copyright impinged on my daily library life, but in a pretty clear-cut manner: you simply couldn’t exceed the legal number of requests for articles from journal issues under copyright. That was pretty much how I encountered issues of copyright in the old days, and I was, after all, working in interlibrary loan. Now, although I’m not working in interlibrary loan, I find that copyright raises its head at nearly every turn of my (and others’) library work, via ebooks, eresource licensing, digital preservation, course management systems, scanners, new media storage and delivery—just take a look at the ALA Store’s list of titles on Intellectual Freedom and Copyright to see a slice of what’s been published in the library literature about copyright, and how it crops up in library work."
Cory Doctorow, Guardian; Internet copyright law has to have public support if it's going to work: "I know lots of people who disagree about when and whether it's OK to reproduce creative works without permission. There are long, thoughtful debates about how long copyright should last; whether publicly funded works should be treated the same as privately created ones; whether scientific and scholarly works should be freely available; what sort of works qualify as "creative", and, of course, what fair dealing/fair use should and should not allow. But while I know plenty of proud pirates, I don't think I've ever heard of someone standing up for the good, old fashioned plagiarism. Plagiarism and copyright infringement are different things, of course."
Ben Sisario, New York Times; In Dispute Over Ray Charles Songs, Family Gains Victory in Court: "A dispute between the children of Ray Charles and the foundation to which he left most of his money is the latest battleground in one of the entertainment industry’s most contentious issues: the “termination rights” that allow artists and their families to recover the copyrights to their work from third parties like record companies or publishers. Last week a federal judge in California ruled that the Ray Charles Foundation cannot interfere with the efforts of seven of Charles’s 12 surviving children to recover the music publishing rights to about 60 of his classic songs, like “I Got a Woman,” “Hallelujah I Love Her So” and “Mary Ann.”... The case combines the drama of a family fight over a celebrity’s legacy with a detail of United States copyright law that poses a threat to the entertainment industry. An amendment to the law that took effect in 1978 let artists recover rights to their work after 35 years; the rule also applied to works copyrighted before 1978, but after a maximum of 56 years. Artists can do this by officially “terminating” the agreements that had transferred the work to other parties."