Monday, December 30, 2013
Dara Kerr, CNet; Authors Guild appeals decision in Google Books copyright suitt: "The Authors Guild has stuck to its word in promising to appeal a federal judge's decision to dismiss its copyright infringement lawsuit against Google Books. The trade association that represents book authors has filed an appeal to the Second Circuit court, according to Publishers Weekly... The Authors Guild believes that Google's project exceeds fair use and is now looking for another court to back its opinion. Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken told Publishers Weekly that Chin's decision was "a fundamental challenge to copyright that merits review by a higher court.""
FEDweek; Report: Open Data Could be $3 Trillion Boon: "Standardized, machine-readable information, much of it government-generated has contributed to a push toward leveraging "big data" to gain new insight and drive innovation, and a recent report from McKinsey suggests seven sectors in particular could combine to generate over $3 trillion in additional value from open data. Open data (like that increasingly being made available at data.gov) is "giving rise to hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses and helping established companies to segment markets, define new products and services, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations," according to the report".
Elena Malykhina, Information Week; Veterans Affairs Website Offers Open Data: "The Department of Veterans Affairs has rolled out a new addition to its website as part of the federal government's over-arching Open Data Initiatives effort. Visitors to the VA site now have access to APIs, tools, and resources to develop applications using the VA's open data... Driving the open-data effort at the VA is Marina Martin, a former senior advisor to federal chief technology officer Todd Park. Martin was appointed as the agency's CTO earlier this year and has extensive background in open data as a Web developer and business efficiency expert. She had worked on Project Open Data, a collection of code, tools, and case studies to help federal agencies adopt the Open Data Policy, which the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy released in May. The Open Data Policy, together with President Obama's executive order, also issued in May, urged government agencies to make previously unavailable data accessible to entrepreneurs, researchers, and the public in open, machine-readable formats. Agencies now are required to create an internal index of their data, make a public list of their public data, and list all data that can be made public. They also have access to an open online repository of tools and best practices to assist them in integrating the policy into their operations. "Data is a valuable national asset that should be open and available to the public, to entrepreneurs, to scientists, and others -- instead of being trapped in closed government systems," Nick Sinai, federal deputy CTO in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in a blog post on Data.gov in late October."
Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times; New Sherlock Holmes mystery: Where's my copyright? : "The court case required U.S. District Judge Rubén Castillo to become something of a Sherlock Holmes expert, and in a 22-page ruling issued last week in Chicago, he began by summarizing the four novels and 56 short stories Conan Doyle wrote about the fictional detective: The character first appeared in 1887. The final 10 Holmes stories appeared in the U.S. in 1923... Castillo's ruling allows anyone to use the Holmes character as long as they don’t use elements from the 1923 stories, which include details about Holmes’ and Dr. Watson’s past. "Conan Doyle fails to offer a bright line rule or workable legal standard for determining when characters are sufficiently developed to warrant copyright protection through an entire series," the judge wrote."
Sunday, December 29, 2013
On The Media; Happy Birthday: "Happy Birthday to You" is one of the most popular songs in the English language. It is also copyrighted. On the Media producer PJ Vogt investigates the long, surprising, and contentious history of the argument over just who owns the rights to the song."
Hilda Bastian, Scientific American; Open access 2013: A year of gaining momentum: "Was this the year open access for science reached critical mass? One hypothesis suggests that a transformative group needs to reach one-third to be prominent and persisting. Rogers’ theory on the diffusion of innovations that will eventually reach saturation level says the first 2.5% are innovators. By the time you get to 16% the phase of early adopters could be ending. If that’s the trajectory that accessible scientific publications is on, one estimate suggests it went past early adopter level in 2011, when about 17% of scholarly articles were available within 12 months (12% immediately). There had been just under 8% published in open access journals in 2009."
2013 in Review: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 12/28/13
Parker Higgins and Maira Sutton, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); 2013 in Review: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: "Negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) intensified in 2013, as trade delegates from the 12 participating countries aimed for (and ultimately missed) a year-end target for completing the sprawling agreement. Although the secretive nature of the negotiations means the public can't really know how far along it is, both leaked position documents and public statements indicate that there are still major unresolved areas of disagreement in the 29-chapter deal. The biggest TPP story this year was the publication by WikiLeaks in November of the chapter titled "Intellectual Property." Unfortunately, its contents confirmed many of our worst fears: from ratcheting up copyright term lengths around the world, to boxing in fair use, to mandating a draconian legal regime around DRM software, section after section contained clauses plucked from corporate wishlists and snubbed the public interest altogether. Against that backdrop, it makes sense that opposition to the agreement is mounting around the world."
Robin Thicke, Fair Use, Jackson v. AEG: Entertainment's Top Legal Disputes of 2013; Billboard, 12/27/13
Eriq Gardner, Billboard; Robin Thicke, Fair Use, Jackson v. AEG: Entertainment's Top Legal Disputes of 2013: "The year was so jam-packed with legal tussling that many show-stopping developments failed to make the cut of our top legal disputes from 2013...But in our view, here, in reverse order, are the ones that were the most gripping from 2013:... 7. Robin Thicke looks to protect "Blurred Lines" from theft claims For as long as there has been pop music, there's been fighting over who stole or borrowed or sampled what from whom. When Robin Thicke and his producers filed a lawsuit this past summer against Marvin Gaye's children, a few things raised the bar: The lawsuit was a preemptive strike against allegations that the year's most successful song was a derivative of Gaye's "Got to Give It Up." The litigation now involves both sides enlisting some of the industry's most esteemed lawyers to wrangle over the issue of when similarity in songcraft rises to copyright infringement. Now there's even a counterclaim that raises the issue of a conflict and lack of diligence by one of the industry's biggest song publishers... 5. "Fair Use" explodes as a public issue Technology has made duplication easier than ever. A counterpoint to copyright is fair use, or lawful exceptions to a rights-holder's ability to control derivatives. This past year brought two huge decisions on this front. First, after a nearly decade-long fight, Google got a federal judge to declare that its scanning of some 20 million library books was a fair use. Second, an appeals court concluded that artist Richard Prince had made fair use of most of photographer Patrick Cariou's work. Both cases are ongoing (on appeal or back at the trial court). Meanwhile, the issue of what's transformative and what's not has entered the public stream of conscious in other ways -- from Sony Pictures' win over a William Faulkner quote referenced in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris to the recent controversy over a toy company's use of The Beastie Boys' "Girls.""
YouTube's Merry Christmas: Letting Large Music Publishers Steal Money From Guy Singing Public Domain Christmas Carol; TechDirt.com, 12/24/13
Mike Masnick, TechDirt.com; YouTube's Merry Christmas: Letting Large Music Publishers Steal Money From Guy Singing Public Domain Christmas Carol: "Yet another in our ongoing series of stories concerning YouTube's broken ContentID system. While the company has still mostly remained mute over its recent policy change, which resulted in a ton of bogus ContentID claims, an even worse problem is that ContentID does serious harm to fair use and public domain videos. The latest example of this comes from Adam Manley, who recently posted a nice video about the month of December and how awesome it is. The second half of the video has him singing the famous song "Silent Night." "Silent Night" was composed in 1818. It is, without question, in the public domain. There is no question about this at all. Adam's rendition of the song is him singing it alone (so not using anyone else's recording). There is simply no question at all that what he did does not violate anyone's copyright. At all. So, what happened? YouTube's ContentID told him that he received not one, not two, but three separate copyright claims on the video, from three of the largest music publishers in the world -- basically all of the publishing arms of the major labels."
Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica.com; The case against Kim Dotcom, finally revealed: "Nearly two years after Kim Dotcom's New Zealand mansion was raided by police, US authorities have made their case as to why the man behind Megaupload shouldn't simply go bankrupt like previous copyright violators before have—he should go to jail, they argue. In a 191-page "Summary of Evidence," government lawyers marshal Skype chats, financial data, and dozens of e-mails to make their case that Megaupload was a criminal network designed from the start to distribute copyrighted material. It discusses the payments made to heavy uploaders to encourage them to drive traffic to the files of movies and TV shows they hid online. Megaupload built a wall of plausible deniability, prosecutors claim, by disabling any internal search of files stored on Megaupload, meant as a "cyberlocker" site. But its administrators, who include the men behind Dotcom's new site Mega, traded e-mails that show the real strategy."
Meredith Farkas, American Libraries; Libraries are making scholarship accessible to all: "Many academic libraries are working to make the scholarly and creative output of their communities widely accessible. They are also supporting the creation of sustainable publishing models through education, institutional repositories, and open access (OA) publishing... Some libraries are also developing their own digital publishing imprints in an effort to offer a solid alternative to traditional publishing. The University of Pittsburgh Library System, for example, offers a platform and support for publishing OA journals. It already publishes 30 OA scholarly journals using the Open Journal Systems platform and offers print-on-demand via an Espresso Book Machine. This arrangement supports journal editors in making their publications open access."
Nick Bilton, New York Time; Illegal Video Downloads Continue Upward Trajectory: "Some content creators finally admitted that illegal downloads aren’t all bad. In September, a senior Netflix executive said the company used pirating websites to determine the genre of new shows viewers might be interested in. “With the purchase of a series, we look at what does well on piracy sites,” said Kelly Merryman, vice president of content acquisition at Netflix. HBO also acknowledged that piracy can be great free advertising. Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, said on an earnings call that pirated content can be “a tremendous word-of-mouth thing.” And David Petrarca, the director of Game of Thrones, said during a panel discussion at Perth’s Writers Festival, that theft can create “cultural buzz” around a show that traditional methods can not. Those statements seemed like a breath of fresh air. Content companies like HBO could probably do more to decrease illegal downloads, namely by giving consumers more legal access points to shows. But but doing that, the companies would probably lose out on some of the underground attention that they also value."
Saturday, December 28, 2013
A judge just gave an elementary lesson on copyright to the owners of Sherlock Holmes; Washington Post, 12/27/13
Brian Fung, Washington Post; A judge just gave an elementary lesson on copyright to the owners of Sherlock Holmes: "As a character, Holmes was developed over the course of Conan Doyle's entire writing career, not laid out in a single book, the estate claimed. But Judge Rubén Castillo ruled otherwise, saying that every Holmes story that followed the first ought to be considered a derivative based on the original. As far as the court is concerned, Holmes and Watson were fully formed characters by the last page of "A Study in Scarlet."... The caveat, of course, is that anything Holmes published in or after 1923 still enjoys protection, meaning that any element that appears exclusively in those stories can't be used. The impact of Castillo's decision probably won't be limited to Sherlock Holmes. Some of pop culture's most important characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Superman, will see their copyrights expire in the next couple of decades. If a "this-but-not-that" approach to copyright winds up taking hold, we might expect a debate soon about which features of those characters will be covered (and not covered)."
Tom McCarthy, Guardian; Sherlock Holmes is public property … but steer clear of Watson's second wife: "Prospective authors of Sherlock Holmes fan fiction take heed: under a new court ruling, you may write that Sherlock Holmes was a cocaine-addicted martial arts aficionado cohabiting occasionally at 221B Baker Street, with a friend called Dr Watson. You may not, however, freely describe Dr Watson's own athletic background, the juicy fact of his second marriage or the circumstances of Holmes's retirement. A US district court in Illinois found itself wading into the details of the fictional detective's imaginary life this week in a copyright ruling on a forthcoming collection of original short stories featuring Holmes characters. An editor of the new book, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, asked the court in effect to enlarge the elements of the Holmes story that are in the public domain. The court reinforced the public domain status of much of the work but denied part of the motion by the plaintiff, Leslie Klinger... Ten Holmes short stories, however, were published after 1923, the public domain threshold pinpointed by Melville Nimmer in his authoritative Nimmer on Copyright... The ruling applies only to the US. The entire Sherlock Holmes canon has been in the public domain in Britain since the end of 2000."
The Vast Majority of Raw Data From Old Scientific Studies May Now Be Missing; Smithsonian.com, 12/19/13
Smithsonian.com; The Vast Majority of Raw Data From Old Scientific Studies May Now Be Missing: "One of the foundations of the scientific method is the reproducibility of results. In a lab anywhere around the world, a researcher should be able to study the same subject as another scientist and reproduce the same data, or analyze the same data and notice the same patterns. This is why the findings of a study published today in Current Biology are so concerning. When a group of researchers tried to email the authors of 516 biological studies published between 1991 and 2011 and ask for the raw data, they were dismayed to find that more 90 percent of the oldest data (from papers written more than 20 years ago) were inaccessible. In total, even including papers published as recently as 2011, they were only able to track down the data for 23 percent... These might seem like mundane obstacles, but scientists are just like the rest of us—they change email addresses, they get new computers with different drives, they lose their file backups—so these trends reflect serious, systemic problems in science... There’s also the fact that so much of this research is paid for with public funding, much of it coming through grants that stipulate that resulting data be made freely available to the public. What’s the solution? Some journals—including Molecular Ecology, of which Vines is a managing editor—have adopted policies that require authors to submit raw data along with their papers, allowing the journal itself to archive the data in perpetuity. Although journals, like people, are susceptible to changing email addresses and technological obsolescence, these problems can be much more easily managed at the institutional scale."
Friday, December 27, 2013
Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times; Sherlock Holmes Is in the Public Domain, American Judge Rules: "A federal judge has issued a declarative judgment stating that Holmes, Watson, 221B Baker Street, the dastardly Professor Moriarty and other elements included in the 50 Holmes works Arthur Conan Doyle published before Jan. 1, 1923, are no longer covered by United States copyright law and can be freely used by creators without paying any licensing fee to the Conan Doyle estate... The judge did caution, however, that elements introduced in the 10 stories published after 1923 — such as the fact that Watson played rugby for Blackheath — remain protected... Benjamin Allison, a lawyer for the Conan Doyle estate, said it was exploring an appeal but asserted that the ruling did not imperil any existing licensing agreements or the estate’s separate claims under trademark law."
Variety, Todd Spangler; ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Breaking Bad’ Most Pirated TV Shows of 2013: "HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and AMC’s “Breaking Bad” have the dubious distinction of being the most-downloaded shows of 2013 on illegal file-sharing services, according to piracy news site TorrentFreak. The “Game of Thrones” season 3 finale was downloaded 5.9 million times, most within one week after it aired in June, and “Breaking Bad” — which scored record ratings for its series finale — saw 4.2 million downloads of the ep. “Game of Thrones” also took the crown as 2012′s most-pirated TV show. Digital piracy has long been a source of concern for Hollywood and in other industries. But recently some execs have pointed out that the economic harms of illegal file sharing are mitigated by its promotional benefits."
James H. Burnett III, Boston Globe; Young musicians get lessons in the law: "The setting was the august boardroom of Goodwin Procter, a global law firm based in Boston, and the topics were the potentially dry-as-dust issues of copyrights, intellectual property rights, and fair use. The potential clients? Seventy teenagers, engaged, enthusiastic, and most certainly culturally tuned in, from some of Greater Boston’s poorer communities. As members of the Music & Youth Initiative, a nonprofit music training and mentoring program, they joined with three lawyers on a recent Thursday evening to understand their rights as songwriters. The teens peppered the attorneys with a variety of questions facing young musicians today: Can members of the public copy and download music they find in social media forums? What’s the legal recourse to plagiarism? How much can one “borrow” from another’s work without it being theft? The overarching themes were avoiding legal trouble and making sure your creations can’t be weasled away from you."
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Maria Pallante, Head of US Copyright Office, To Meet With Music Creators: Exclusive; Billboard, 12/18/13
Billboard; Maria Pallante, Head of US Copyright Office, To Meet With Music Creators: Exclusive: "The Recording Academy is convening leadership roundtables between music creators and U.S. Copyright Office register of copyrights and director Maria Pallante. The initiative ties in with Pallante's stated goal of hearing from the various stakeholders -- leading performers, songwriters and studio professionals -- of the current discussions on copyright. The roundtables will begin in New York on Jan. 14 and will continue to other Academy chapters contingent upon on the availability of Pallante and her team. The roundtables are part of a larger review of copyright law begun this year by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee... In the following Q&A, Pallante discusses the many music copyright issues now under review, her office's role in creating copyright legislation and the challenges ahead... What kind of timeline are you expecting for the discussions that lead up to actual action by Congress? I don't know. [Goodlatte] had six hearings, if you include the one he gave me, since March. We haven't had that many copyright hearings in a very, very long time. And he's announced three more. In the next few months there will be one on the scope of exclusive rights, there will be one on the scope of fair use, and there will be one on notice and take down provisions of the DMCA... We've got other provisions we've been working on for a really long time. We've been working on the public performance in sound recordings issue for a decade, if not longer. We've got orphan works issues. We've got pre-'72 sound recordings that we think should be federalized. We've got analog library exception rules that don't translate into the digital age."
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Kyle Wiens, Guardian; Using copyright to keep repair manuals secret undermines circular economy: "Perhaps it was characteristic of a generation touched by the Great Depression, but in my grandfather's era, repair information was practically public domain.... Ironically, we now live in an age where information has never been more abundant, and yet every day more repair manuals disappear. It's not an accident. Manufacturers of computers, mobile phones, appliances, and cars still create repair manuals for every product they ship. You're just not allowed to have them anymore. And that gap in repair information is hindering our efforts to create a circular economy.... It's unclear whether companies like Toshiba and Apple are within their rights. No one can legally copyright facts or procedures but you can copyright any form of creative work, like writing. Manuals, despite their lack of creative or artistic merit, are a form of writing. Companies aren't going out on a limb by hiding them behind the shield of copyright."
Nick Baumann, Mother Jones; You'll Never Guess Where This FBI Agent Left a Secret Interrogation Manual: "In a lapse that national security experts call baffling, a high-ranking FBI agent filed a sensitive internal manual detailing the bureau's secret interrogation procedures with the Library of Congress, where anyone with a library card can read it... The 70-plus-page manual ended up in the Library of Congress, thanks to its author, an FBI official who made an unexplainable mistake. This FBI supervisory special agent, who once worked as a unit chief in the FBI's counterterrorism division, registered a copyright for the manual in 2010 and deposited a copy with the US Copyright Office, where members of the public can inspect it upon request. What's particularly strange about this episode is that government documents cannot be copyrighted. "A document that has not been released does not even need a copyright," says Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists. "Who is going to plagiarize from it? Even if you wanted to, you couldn't violate the copyright because you don't have the document. It isn't available." "The whole thing is a comedy of errors," he adds. "It sounds like gross incompetence and ignorance." Julian Sanchez, a fellow with the libertarian Cato Institute who has studied copyright policy, was harsher: "Do they not cover this in orientation? [Sensitive] documents should not be placed in public repositories—and, by the way, aren't copyrightable. How do you even get a clearance without knowing this stuff?""
Matt Ennis, Library Journal; Digital Firsts: "The U.S Department of Commerce (DoC) has been collecting public comment on the topic of the first sale doctrine and digital files in recent weeks; the agency was scheduled to meet about the issue on December 12 in Washington, DC. First sale doctrine is a set of exemptions to U.S. copyright law that permit consumers to resell used books or DVDs and libraries to loan books without seeking permission from publishers. Yet for reasons examined in more detail below, first sale exemptions have not translated well for digital content. The DoC’s call for public comment could mark the beginning of a campaign to reassess what copyright and first sale mean in the modern digital era, notes one expert. While the case did not directly address digital content, the Supreme Court’s Kirtsaeng v. Wiley decision in March “has reawakened interest, on the content owners’ side, to revise first sale,” says Mary Minow, Follett Chair of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dominican University, and executive editor of Stanford University’s Copyright and Fair Use website. “Perhaps that’s even part of the impetus behind this call for public comment. The energy is there to revise copyright law in its entirety, including first sale. If libraries aren’t speaking up about what it is that we need, we’re just going to be bulldozed over.”"
After Beijing And Marrakesh, WIPO Copyright Committee Feels The Pressure; Intellectual Property Watch, 12/17/13
Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; After Beijing And Marrakesh, WIPO Copyright Committee Feels The Pressure: "Expectations are high this week on the outcome of discussions of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on copyright. On the agenda is a potential new treaty protecting broadcasting organisations, and limitations and exceptions to copyright for libraries, archives, and education. In the mix is a new proposal by Japan to include computer networks in protected broadcasts. After two consecutive successes in Beijing in 2012, with the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, and in Marrakesh in 2013, with the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, the committee is expected to continue work on a treaty that would protect broadcasting organisations and has been under discussion for the last 15 years... For developing countries, the issue of limitations and exceptions to copyright for libraries and archives, educational, teaching and research institutions, and persons with other disabilities, is of central importance, according to several opening statements, such as the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries (GRULAC), the Asia and Pacific Group, and the African Group. Algeria, on behalf of the African Group, said the international copyright system should respond to both private and public interests and should help the universal propagation of knowledge. The Marrakesh treaty, the delegate said, paved the way towards this goal. No delegations “can dispute the need for developing countries to have greater access to knowledge,” she said."
Claire Cain Miller, New York Times; Government Requests to Remove Online Material Increase at Google: "Governments, led by the United States, are increasingly demanding that Google remove information from the Web... Often, the requests come from judges, police officers and politicians trying to hide information that is critical of them. The most common request cites defamation, often of officials... Government requests to remove information increased most significantly in Turkey and Russia because of online censorship laws, according to Google... Google also said officials were resorting to new legal methods to demand that Google remove content, such as citing copyright law to take down transcripts of political speeches or government news releases."
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Patricia Cohen, New York Times; Copyright Office Calls for Congress to Reconsider Royalties for Artists: "The last time the United States Copyright Office examined the issue of whether visual artists should receive a share of the profits when their work is resold, in 1992, it concluded that resale royalties — known internationally by the French term droit de suite — were not a good idea. Now, after a recent re-examination of the issue, the Copyright Office has reversed itself. In a report issued Friday, it recommended that painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like deserve a royalty when their work is resold at a profit."
Argentina Passes Open Access Act For Publicly Funded Research; Intellectual Property Watch, 12/16/13
Maximiliano Marzetti, Intellectual Property Watch; Intellectual Property Watch; Argentina Passes Open Access Act For Publicly Funded Research: "The Congress of Argentina recently passed a landmark law making publicly funded science and technology research publications free and open access. On 13 November, the Argentinian Congress passed a law (No. 26.899, Creating Institutional Open Access Digital Repositories, Owned or Shared) establishing that all institutions belonging to the National Science and Technology System (SNCYT, according to its acronym in Spanish) that receive public funds (partly or entirely) shall create free and open access institutional digital repositories where all the scientific and technological publications (which includes journal articles, technical and scientific papers, theses, etc.) and research data must be available... With the new law Argentina, clearly aligns with those countries advocating the so-called green route (self-archiving) to open access, making publications freely available after the end of an embargo period."
CBS News; Beatles recordings released 50 years later to protect copyright: "It’s a public domain thing. In the same way that some of the classical novels - now anyone can publish them for $1.99. The music industry wants to make sure that it doesn't happen with the crown jewels,” he said. “Let’s face it - the Beatles back catalog is as precious as it gets to the music business and to fans.” The point of releasing the previously unreleased Beatles records is not so much to sell more Beatles music, but it’s to keep other people from selling Beatles music and to beat new European copyright laws that say you have to “use it, or lose it.”"
BBC News; Beatles rarities being released to beat copyright laws: "EU law protects recordings for 70 years, but only if they get an official release. Otherwise, the copyright period lasts 50 years. In the case of The Beatles, that means the master tape for their 1963 debut album Please Please Me is protected until 2033, but the unreleased session tapes for that album are not. If the Beatles chose not to release the recordings before the end of the year, it would mean other record labels could theoretically put them out and profit from them. The band's 1962 debut single, Love Me Do, arguably slipped out of copyright last year, before the EU's copyright extension was signed into law. At least one record company issued a "remastered" version of the song, although that has since been deleted. The copyright law in question only covers the recordings - the songs themselves remain the copyright of the composer for 70 years after their death."
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Proposed EU Copyright Rules Could Aid Pandora, Spotify, Netflix, Lovefilm, In Fact Every Streaming Firm; Forbes, 12/10/13
Tim Worstall, Forbes; Proposed EU Copyright Rules Could Aid Pandora, Spotify, Netflix, Lovefilm, In Fact Every Streaming Firm: "The European Union is proposing some changes to how copyright works inside the bloc and one of the things they’re discussing could make it much easier for the streaming companies like Netflix NFLX +2.1%, Spotify, Pandora and all the rest. This is just, in this area at least, something under discussion, open for commentary, but it is one of those things that sounds like a good idea. The problem is that the EU market for copyright is extremely fragmented: to put it in US terms it’s almost as if each State offers copyright on things in that State."
Out-law.com, Register; One European copyright law-to-rule-them-all? EU launches review: "The European Commission is seeking industry views on whether to completely harmonise copyright laws across the EU. The Commission has launched a consultation in an effort to gather views on how to modernise the existing EU copyright framework (36-page/223KB PDF). Respondents are being asked for views on matters ranging from the accessibility of digital content across the trading bloc, limitations and exceptions to copyright protection and remuneration for rights holders. However, it is also consulting on whether to set copyright rules that apply consistently across the whole of the EU. At the moment there are a number of EU laws governing copyright but which each EU member state have implemented differently. "The idea of establishing a unified EU Copyright Title has been present in the copyright debate for quite some time now, although views as to the merits and the feasibility of such an objective are divided," the Commission said in its consultation paper. "A unified EU Copyright Title would totally harmonise the area of copyright law in the EU and replace national laws. There would then be a single EU title instead of a bundle of national rights.""
Natasha Singer, New York Times; In a Scoreboard of Words, a Cultural Guide: "“We wanted to create a scientific measuring instrument, something like a telescope, but instead of pointing it at a star, you point it at human culture,” Mr. Michel recalls. The pair approached Peter Norvig, the director of research at Google, with a pie-in-the-sky proposal: to mine Google’s library of digital books so they could apply automated quantitative analysis to the typically qualitative study of history. According to the book, Mr. Norvig was intrigued. But he challenged the graduate students by asking how such a system could work without violating copyright. After some thought, Mr. Aiden and Mr. Michel proposed creating a kind of “shadow data set” that would contain frequency statistics on the most common words or phrases in the digitized books — but would not contain the books’ actual texts. The pair developed a prototype interface, called Bookworm, to prove their idea. Soon after, engineers at Google, including Jon Orwant and Will Brockman, built a public, web-based version of the tool."
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Largest-Ever Open Access Publishing Initiative To Start At CERN In January; Intellectual Property Watch, 12/5/13
William New, Intellectual Property Watch; Largest-Ever Open Access Publishing Initiative To Start At CERN In January: "The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced today that the largest scientific open access initiative ever will begin on 1 January 2014. The initiative, called the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3), has the support of partners in 24 countries and will make available a vast portion of scientific articles in the field of high-energy physics, open access at no cost for any author. “[E]veryone will be able to read them; authors will retain copyright; and generous licenses will enable wide re-use of this information,” CERN said in a release. “This is the largest scale global Open Access initiative ever built,” it said, involving an international collaboration of over 1,000 libraries, library consortia and research organizations. SCOAP3 enjoys the support of funding agencies and has been established in co-operation with leading publishers, it noted."
IP-Watch Works To Open TPP Text; USTR Misses Response Deadline; Intellectual Property Watch, 12/4/13
William New, Intellectual Property Watch; IP-Watch Works To Open TPP Text; USTR Misses Response Deadline: "Intellectual Property Watch, an independent accredited journalist organisation, has been working with Yale Law School to make more information public about US government involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement under negotiation with 11 other countries. The TPP talks begun in 2008 have been conducted under an unprecedented lack of transparency from the standpoint of media and the public, making it difficult to report meaningful stories about the issue, or for the public to provide meaningful input. IP-Watch, www.ip-watch.org, has worked for more than a year with the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) to pursue a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request at the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) in order to obtain more information on the TPP. The request includes the US positions in the talks, and the lobbying influences that have shaped those positions. IP-Watch is particularly targeting aspects of the draft treaty related to intellectual property rights, but this is an issue that cuts across many other areas."
Steven Musil, CNet; Appeals court considers Oracle's Java copyright claims: "A US appeals court on Wednesday considered whether Oracle should be afforded copyright protection over certain portions of the Java programming language in a case that is being closely watched by software developers. The appeal, being heard by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, is the latest chapter in the company's long-running patent and copyright battle over Google's use of Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in Android. Oracle sued Google in 2010, alleging that Google's use of 37 Java APIs in its mobile operating system constituted patent and copyright infringement. Google argued it was free to use them because the Java programming language is free to use and the APIs are required to use the language. Oracle countered that Google knowingly used the APIs without a license from Sun Microsystems, which Oracle purchased in 2010."
EU lawmakers ask for help tackling copyright questions in the cloud era; IDG News Service via PC World, 12/5/13
Jennifer Baker, IDG News Service via PC World; EU lawmakers ask for help tackling copyright questions in the cloud era: "The European Commission on Thursday asked the public for feedback on whether the European Union’s copyright laws are fit for the digital age. The consultation is part of a reform of the E.U.’s copyright rules. The Commission wants to create a level playing field across the E.U. with the possibility of a single license to cover all 28 member states. It is thought this would help companies like Spotify, which offers music streaming."
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Dara Kerr, CNet; Hotfile forks over $80 million to settle MPAA copyright suit: "Hotfile agreed on Tuesday to pay $80 million to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the Motion Picture Association of America. It was also ordered to cease all operations unless it instituted "digital fingerprinting" copyright filtering technology... Not all cyberlockers have been deemed unlawful, however. In fact, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's safe harbor protects online services as long as they obey some rules."
Economist; Does parody trump copyright? : "In most countries anyone wanting to use copyrighted material must obtain permission from the copyright holder (unless the holder has already issued a pre-emptive licence, such as one from the Creative Commons organisation). Two exceptions exist in American law. The first is compulsory licensing, which requires any song released to the public in any medium (from wax cylinder to digital download) to be available for any other party to re-record in a substantively similar form. The cover artist pays a fee to the composer for each copy sold or given away. The second exception is fair use, designed to allow parody, commentary and analysis that advance academic, political or social purposes. A four-part test determines whether a derivative work falls under fair-use protection. But the test is ambiguous and relies on litigation, which is costly. Most artists therefore avoid relying on fair-use provisions, and instead seek permission (as "Weird" Al Yankovic does with his parody songs) or avoid using copyrighted material that cannot be licensed... After receiving a complaint from the Beastie Boys' representatives, GoldieBlox filed a lawsuit commonly used in fair-use proceedings asking for a declarative judgment against the Beastie Boys, to affirm the advertisement's status as a parody... After the Beastie Boys published an open letter expressing their dismay at being sued, the toymaker pulled its ad and uploaded a new version with different music. It says it will withdraw its suit once the band agrees not to pursue its copyright-infringement action. Lawyers remain at odds over whether the advertisement represented a parody or simply a rip-off."
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Dave Itzkoff, New York Times; Beastie Boys Fight Online Video Parody of ‘Girls’ : "GoldieBlox had filed a lawsuit on Thursday that asserted its right to use the music in the video, which has gone viral with more than eight million views. It said in the suit that it “created its parody video specifically to comment on the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company’s goal to break down gender stereotypes.” But the Beastie Boys, in the letter to GoldieBlox, said the video was essentially part of a commercial enterprise and “an advertisement that is designed to sell a product,” for which the band says it does not allow its music to be used."
Monday, December 2, 2013
John Conyers, USA Today; Music legends deserve R-E-S-P-E-C-T: "A quirk of history protects songs recorded before 1972 under state law and songs recorded after Feb. 15, 1972 under federal law. Some digital radio services interpret that disparity to resist paying legacy artists who recorded music before 1972. The inexplicable result is that artists whose recordings were made before 1972 are not compensated by digital radio services while their counterparts whose recordings were made after that time are paid... While state law offers a patchwork quilt of protection, the Library of Congress has recommended revisions that ensure consistency and uniformity by bringing all sound recordings under the federal copyright umbrella. While we would need to work with the Library's experts, users and rights holders to address the complex issues presented by such a transition, it is worth the effort to protect older artists, curtail litigation and eliminate the untenable withholding of royalties."