Saturday, March 30, 2013
Cory Doctorow, Guardian; Copyright wars are damaging the health of the internet: "So what is the solution to the copyright wars? It's the same solution we need to the press-regulation wars, to the war on terror, to the surveillance wars, to the pornography wars: to acknowledge that the internet is the nervous system of the information age, and that preserving its integrity and freedom from surveillance, censorship and control is the essential first step to securing every other desirable policy goal."
Jonathan Band, InfoJustice.org; The Fair Use/Fair Dealing Handbook: "More than 40 countries with over one-third of the world’s population have fair use or fair dealing provisions in their copyright laws. These countries are in all regions of the world and at all levels of development. The broad diffusion of fair use and fair dealing indicates that there is no basis for preventing the more widespread adoption of these doctrines, with the benefits their flexibility brings to authors, publishers, consumers, technology companies, libraries, museums, educational institutions, and governments."
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Eduardo Porter, New York Times; Copyright Ruling Rings With Echo of Betamax: "[T]he court held that the publisher’s right to ban imports was trumped by Mr. Kirtsaeng’s right of first sale. He might not be allowed to make unauthorized copies of the books. But as with old library books or secondhand Gucci bags at a flea market, if the books had been bought legally, whether imported or sold originally in the United States, Mr. Kirtsaeng could sell them. The decision picks at the scab of an argument that has raged since the first copyright law was enacted in 18th-century Britain: how to balance the interest of copyright holders to profit from their creations — giving them an incentive to create more — against the social goal of promoting access to the movies, books and software programs they create. Like the Betamax decision in 1984, the Supreme Court’s ruling last week underscores the challenges placed by globalization and information technology on the very idea of protecting intellectual property. It adds to a maze of laws, legal decisions and technological barriers governing what companies and people can do with their stuff in the new economy. And it will probably change the way companies deliver media. Is the decision good or bad? Probably both. It depends who you are."
Monday, March 25, 2013
Michael Kelley, Library Journal; Sounds of Copyright Reform: "This country’s fascinating and invaluable patrimony of recorded sound and culture is at risk. Libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies have approximately 46 million recordings in their collections and more than six million are “in need” or “in urgent need” of preservation, according to the National Recording Preservation Plan released by the Library of Congress (LC) in December. The condition of another 20 million of the recordings is unknown, and these numbers do not include important material in private hands. This is a sprawling, complex issue dispassionately and, in a certain sense, maddeningly chronicled in the LC report, which is the first national plan for audio preservation and is the culmination of a decade of work by the library and the National Recording Preservation Board. Unless the report’s recommendations are acted upon, which would allow for the digitization of and broader access to endangered analog formats, then it is likely that within the next 15 or 20 years much of this soundscape will have become so degraded that it will be all but impossible to preserve."
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Adam Liptak, New York Times; Justices Permit Resale Of Copyrighted Imports: "The copyright case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, No. 11-697, arose from the activities of a Thai student who attended Cornell University and the University of Southern California. The student, Supap Kirtsaeng, helped pay for his education by selling textbooks that his friends and relatives had bought in Thailand at low prices and shipped to him. A publisher of some of the textbooks, John Wiley & Sons, sued Mr. Kirtsaeng for copyright infringement, and it won $600,000 in the lower courts. In a 6-to-3 decision, the Supreme Court threw out that award and ruled that imported copyrighted goods were subject to the same rules as goods bought in the United States: owners of particular copies can do what they like with them. In legal jargon, the court applied the first-sale doctrine to copyrighted materials from abroad. Under that doctrine, buyers of books, records and other copyrighted goods may lend or sell them as they wish. The decision will have consequences for all manner of products, including books, records, art and software."
Monday, March 11, 2013
David Streitfeld, New York Times; Imagining a Swap Meet for E-Books and Music: "On Thursday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published Apple’s application for its own patent for a digital marketplace. Apple’s application outlines a system for allowing users to sell or give e-books, music, movies and software to each other by transferring files rather than reproducing them. Such a system would permit only one user to have a copy at any one time. Meanwhile, a New York court is poised to rule on whether a start-up that created a way for people to buy and sell iTunes songs is breaking copyright law. A victory for the company would mean that consumers would not need either Apple’s or Amazon’s exchange to resell their digital items... Libraries, though, welcome the possibility of loosened restrictions on digital material. “The vast majority of e-books are not available in your public library,” said Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries. “That’s pathetic.” He said that 60 percent of what the association’s 125 members buy was electronic, which meant sharp restrictions on use."
Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times; Suit Says Sherlock Belongs to the Ages: "A few weeks later, after a leading Holmes scholar and longtime Irregular filed a legal complaint against the Conan Doyle estate arguing that Sherlock Holmes and the basic elements of his world were in the public domain, various online Sherlockian conclaves exploded... The suit, which stems from the estate’s efforts to collect a licensing fee for a planned collection of new Holmes-related stories by Sara Paretsky, Michael Connelly and other contemporary writers, makes a seemingly simple argument. Of the 60 Conan Doyle stories and novels in “the Canon” (as Sherlockians call it), only the 10 stories first published in the United States after 1923 remain under copyright. Therefore, the suit asserts, many fees paid to the estate for the use of the character have been unnecessary."
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Brooks Barnes, New York Times; We Aren’t in the Old Kansas, Toto: "...there are also some important differences between the two movies — especially if you’re an eagle-eyed Hollywood copyright lawyer. “Oz the Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimiand arriving in theaters on Friday, is an original story built on material culled from L. Frank Baum’s books. But lifting from “The Wizard of Oz,” a tantalizing notion given its continued popularity, was strictly forbidden. Warner Brothers now owns that 1939 MGM film, and Warner is almost as well known as Disney for aggressively policing its copyrights."
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Melissa Eddy, New York Times; German Copyright Law Targets Google Links: "As originally proposed by the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel last year, the law was seen as a clear attempt by a European government to force big Internet companies like Google to share some of the billions of euros they earn from the sale of advertising placed alongside the news that Google links to. But a last-minute change, proposed last week by the Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in Ms. Merkel’s government, allowed for the use of “individual words or the smallest excerpts of text” free, meaning that only those companies who reproduce full texts for commercial use will be required to compensate the news publishers. The weakened bill passed Germany’s lower house, the Bundestag, 293 to 243. But it will require approval by Germany’s upper house, the Bundesrat, which is controlled by the Social Democrats and the Greens, in the opposition, which have sought to have the bill scrapped altogether. ...critics contend that a watering-down law not only fails to grant full legal clarity to either of the two sides but also opens the door to long legal disputes over the exact definition of a snippet and how much text can be legally reproduced by the search engines without incurring charges.
White House Delivers New Open-Access Policy That Has Activists Cheering; Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/22/13
Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; White House Delivers New Open-Access Policy That Has Activists Cheering: "The memo also nodded to scientific publishers, saying the Obama administration recognizes that publishers provide "valuable services," such as coordinating peer review, "that are essential for ensuring the high quality and integrity of many scholarly publications." The memo called it "critical that these services continue to be made available." In a statement issued on Friday, the Association of American Publishers praised the new policy, which it said "outlines a reasonable, balanced resolution of issues around public access to research funded by federal agencies."... It was not immediately clear how the new policy would affect the prospects for the proposed Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act, a bipartisan bill introduced this month in Congress. If enacted, the legislation would require federal agencies with external research budgets of $100-million or more to make the results of federally financed research available to the public within six months of publication. Ms. Joseph of Sparc said that the bill would codify the core principles laid out in the White House directive, even though the legislation calls for public access within six months of publication rather than a year."