"A prime example comes from the State of Michigan's Department of Human Services (DHS). Sadly, there are parents who opt to neglect their financial obligations to their children. Such individuals take steps to hide from the authorities, oftentimes using false contact information. In order to help get child support payments into the hands of the single parents in need, DHS asked a simple question: "How can we find these people?" The answer was in open data. The data immediately available to the agency was not enough, so DHS looked to other sources in the state. Starting with the Secretary of State, DHS secured access to state drivers' license data. Gaining access to the contact information of the millions of people who are licensed to drive had a huge impact, but DHS found even more valuable information at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). It turns out people don't think to falsify information when applying for hunting or fishing licenses. By integrating that information with its existing data, the agency could finally take action to help those in need. From my perspective, this is true innovation."
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Bobby Caudill, Information Week; Federal CIOs, Take Open Data To Next Level:
Glenn Peoples, Billboard; RESPECT Bill Would Put Golden Oldies Under Federal Copyright:
"A new bill could help artists and labels collect royalties on the digital performance of older recordings while adding to the royalty expenses of the digital services that play them. Revealed Thursday, the RESPECT Act was introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and co-sponsored by Rep. George Holding (R-NC) and several other members of the House. The bill would place pre-1972 sound recordings under federal law. Because the performance right for these older recordings currently falls under states' laws, digital music services such as Pandora and SiriusXM do not pay royalties on them. (These services do pay publishers for the performance of the compositions, however.) Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake."
Thursday, May 29, 2014
G.F., Economist; How does copyright work in space? :
"CHRIS HADFIELD has captured the world's heart, judging by the 14m YouTube views of his free-fall rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity", recorded on the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian astronaut's clear voice and capable guitar-playing were complemented by his facility in moving around in the microgravity of low-earth orbit. But when the man fell to Earth in a neat and safe descent a few days ago, after a five-month stay in orbit, should he have been greeted by copyright police? Commander Hadfield was only 250 miles (400 km) up, so he was still subject to terrestrial intellectual-property regimes, which would have applied even if he had flown the "100,000 miles" mentioned in the song's lyrics, or millions of kilometres to Mars. His five-minute video had the potential to create a tangled web of intellectual-property issues. How does copyright work in space?... J.A.L. Sterling, a London-based expert on international copyright law, anticipated all this in a 2008 paper, "Space Copyright Law: the new dimension", in which he lists dozens more potentially problematic scenarios that could arise, some seemingly risible at first."
The Beastie Boys sue Monster Energy Co for copyright infringement; Reuters via New York Times, 5/27/14
John Russell,Reuters via New York Times; The Beastie Boys sue Monster Energy Co for copyright infringement:
"The Beastie Boys take Monster Energy Co to trial over claims the beverage maker used the band's songs without their permission."
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Nate Rau, Tennessean; New Nashville group to push for copyright reform:
"A new group comprised of prominent Nashville music publishing companies and other copyright stakeholders has formed, seeking to add another voice to the ongoing debate about sweeping copyright reform. The group, called Interested Parties Advancing Copyright, consists of about 50 independent publishers, administrators, business managers and entertainment attorneys. IPAC submitted comments to the federal Copyright Office prior to Friday's deadline for industry stakeholders to weigh in on music licensing reform. IPAC also hopes to participate in next month's federal roundtable discussion in Nashville about the current methods for licensing musical works and sound recordings... The group's formation comes at a critical time because Congress is in the middle of debates about broad copyright reform. At stake is the potential for sweeping changes to federal laws governing music licensing, performance royalties, digital royalties and music piracy enforcement."
Andrew Flanagan, Billboard; Vimeo to Launch Music Copyright ID System:
"Vimeo, the hosting site popular with video artists of all stripes and which uses the motto "upload your own work," will be implementing a system they're calling Copyright Match, intended to prevent music copyright infringement on the site. CEO Kerry Trainor tells Billboard the system will allow the company to be "a little more controlled in terms of making sure that copyrighted material in its entirety isn't being synched to Vimeo without proper licensing."... The new system should be less severe than the Content ID system used at Vimeo's main competitor YouTube, which often pulls videos determined to be infringing with little notification to uploaders. Copyright Match, produced in partnership with audio identification company Audible Magic, will be a tiered process... If videos have a fair use case -- one of the most problematic areas of copyright monitoring in the high-volume digital age -- Vimeo will hear them out and reinstate the video's visibility if it meets their criteria."
Monday, May 26, 2014
Adam Liptak, New York Times; Justices Reinstate Copyright Lawsuit Over ‘Raging Bull’ :
"The Supreme Court on Monday revived a copyright lawsuit against the owners of “Raging Bull,” the acclaimed 1980 movie for which Robert De Niro won an Academy Award as best actor for his portrayal of the boxer Jake LaMotta. The case arose from a 1963 screenplay written by Frank Petrella in collaboration with Mr. LaMotta. Mr. Petrella died in 1981, and his daughter Paula inherited the rights to the screenplay. She did not sue the movie’s owners until 2009, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, said that was too late. The copyright law itself would have allowed the suit, as its three-year statute of limitations starts to run anew every time there is a fresh infringement."
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Caroline Little, President & CEO, Newspaper Association of America; Newspapers need robust copyright law protection:
"Newspapers’ concern in this area is not the personal use of newspaper-generated content but rather its use by businesses that benefit financially through the unlicensed monetization of that content. By taking newspaper content without paying for it, these companies undercut the fundamental economic model that supports journalism that is so important to our communities. As an example of the importance of copyright protection, consider a case last year that was decided by a federal judge in New York. The case involved Meltwater, a for-profit service, which scraped Associated Press articles from the Internet and resold verbatim excerpts to subscribers. The AP sued the news service for copyright infringement, and the court properly found that Meltwater’s customers viewed the service as a substitute for reading the original articles."
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Gabe Friedman, New Yorker; The Biggest Filer of Copyright Lawsuits? This Erotica Web Site:
"In 2006, Colette Pelissier was selling houses in Southern California, and her boyfriend, Brigham Field, was working as a photographer of nude models. Colette wanted to leave the real-estate business, so she convinced her boyfriend to start making adult films. “I had this idea, when the real-estate market was cooling—you know, maybe we could make beautiful erotic movies,” she said. By 2009, they had started shooting adult films in places like Madrid and Prague, and launched a Web site, X-art.com. The site promises erotica featuring “gorgeous fashion models” from “the USA, Europe, South America and Beyond.” For forty dollars a month, subscribers have unlimited access to a growing collection of short films. The site attracted a few hundred subscribers in its first year, then a couple thousand the next; it became profitable by 2010. The couple married in 2011; Pelissier changed her last name to Pelissier Field. That year, she noticed a change at X-art.com: the number of subscribers—the site had about fifty thousand by then—had stopped growing. The Fields hired an outside company to investigate whether people were watching their films without paying. They concluded that, each month, three hundred thousand people were watching pirated versions of their movies—including eighty thousand in the U.S. “We felt like we had to do something,” she said. “I don’t want to wake up in five years and have everything be free.” Adult-film companies are not the only ones that face piracy made possible by Internet file-sharing, and the Fields weren’t the first to consider legal action. In 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America started suing thousands of people suspected of illegally sharing music, stopping only after piracy declined and legitimate sales rose. In a lawsuit in 2011, the production company Voltage Pictures accused about twenty-five thousand defendants of stealing its movie “The Hurt Locker”; after announcing that it had reached a series of settlements with accused thieves, it dropped the vast majority of cases."
Five years of being intimidated by the Harvard Bluebook's copyright policies; BoingBoing.net, 5/16/14
Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net; Five years of being intimidated by the Harvard Bluebook's copyright policies: "Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez, "For five years, Professor Frank Bennett, a distinguished legal scholar at Nagoya University School of Law, has been trying to add Bluebook Support to Zotero, the open source citation tool used all over the world. Professor Bennett asked Harvard Law Review for permission. They said no."
Cyrus Lee, ZDNet; Seven people jailed in China's first online copyright lawsuit:
"Zhou Zhiquan, CEO of the movie downloading website, was sentenced five years imprisonment for copyright infringement, and a fine of 1 million yuan (US$160,000). Zhou's other six co-workers were sentenced in jail from one to three years, according to a Sina news report, which called the judgment "the first one ever" dealing with the country's online copyright infringement. Siluhd.com was deemed as the country’s largest illegal high-definition movie downloading website, providing tens of thousands of high-definition Blu-ray movies as well videos and television programs. Its registered members had once exceeded 1.4 million. However, in a crackdown in late April of 2013, when it was also the 13th World Intellectual Property Day, the Chinese police shut down the site and detained CEO and over 30 other employees for suspicion of infringing IP rights."
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Noam Cohen, New York Times; Copyright Licensing Organization Gets New Boss:
"Creative Commons, whose licensing system encourages the sharing of more than 500 million copyrighted works, on Wednesday appointed a veteran of similar open Internet projects to be its new chief executive. The new leader, Ryan Merkley, 36, was recently the chief operating officer at the Mozilla Foundation, the organization that supports the open-source Firefox browser, and has also worked with the governments of Toronto and Vancouver... Creative Commons was founded in 2001 with the idea of making it easier for people to give permission to the public to share or incorporate works under certain conditions — for example, if the new use is noncommercial, or credit is given... Still, one of the principal challenges for the organization is to keep tabs on its licensees, Mr. Merkley said. The 500 million total “is an estimate, not an actual number,” he said. “It is hard to track them.” That technical problem, he said, speaks to a larger concern: how to organize Creative Commons content so that the public can easily find and use it in their own projects."
Monday, May 12, 2014
Dan Levine and Diane Bartz, Reuters; Oracle wins copyright ruling against Google over Android:
"Oracle Corp won a legal victory against Google Inc on Friday as a U.S. appeals court decided Oracle could copyright parts of the Java programming language, which Google used to design its Android smartphone operating system. The case, decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, is being closely watched in Silicon Valley. A high-profile 2012 trial featured testimony from Oracle's chief executive, Larry Ellison, and Google CEO Larry Page, and the legal issues go to the heart of how tech companies protect their most valuable intellectual property. Google's Android operating system is the world's best-selling smartphone platform."
William Welsh, Information Week; Obama Signs Nation's First 'Open Data' Law:
"President Barack Obama enacted the nation's first open data law, signing into law on May 9 bipartisan legislation that requires federal agencies to publish their spending data in a standardized, machine-readable format that the public can access through USASpending.gov. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (S. 994) amends the eight-year-old Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to make available to the public specific classes of federal agency spending data "with more specificity and at a deeper level than is currently reported," a White House statement said."
EU rejects international solution to library and archive copyright problems; causes collapse of WIPO meeting; IFLA, 5/6/14
IFLA; EU rejects international solution to library and archive copyright problems; causes collapse of WIPO meeting:
"Discussions by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright & Related Rights (SCCR) broke down in the early hours of Saturday morning 3 May, after the European Union (EU) attempted to block future discussion of copyright laws to aid libraries and archives fulfill their missions in the digital environment. Library and archive delegations from Europe, Latin America, Africa, Australia, the United States, Canada and the UK attended the 27th meeting of the SCCR from 28 April – 2 May 2014, to push for an international treaty to help libraries and archives preserve cultural heritage, facilitate access to essential information by people wherever they are in the world. The meeting ended in disarray at 1:30am on Saturday morning, after the EU tried to have crucial references to “text-based” work on copyright exceptions removed from the meeting conclusions - a move viewed by other Member States and library and archive NGOs present as an attempt to delay, if not derail, any progress on copyright exceptions at WIPO."
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Derek Khanna, Business Insider; The Conservative Case For Taking On The Copyright Lobby:
"Current U.S. law provides copyright protection for the life of the author plus 70 years. For corporate authors, the term is 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication. But those changes reflect only part of the reality. In fact, lobbyists have usurped the policymaking process itself to ensure that whenever one term of copyright is set to expire the law is extended. Several times, these extensions have even been made retroactively, reapplying copyright protections to works that already had moved into the public domain. Thus, the degree to which the current life-plus-70 standard can be relied on to accurately project when a specific work may move into the public domain is limited. The practical effect of this policy is, effectively, a regime of indefinite copyright. During oral arguments of the 2002 case of Eldred v. Ashcroft, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said of the policy of continual copyright extension that it "flies directly in the face of what the framers had in mind, absolutely." If You Repeat A Lie Often Enough Jack Valenti, then head of the Motion Picture Academy of America, testified during the legislative runup to passage of 1998's Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (colloquially known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act) that "copyright term extension has a simple but compelling enticement: it is very much in America's economic interests." We have lots of reasons to be skeptical of Valenti’s claim. One, it wasn’t backed by data. Two, there is overwhelming data to the contrary from economists. Three, Valenti was well known for making stuff up that was demonstrably untrue and for having little regard for the rest of the economy."
Noam Cohen, New York Times; Claiming a Copyright on Marx? How Uncomradely:
"The Marxist Internet Archive, a website devoted to radical writers and thinkers, recently received an email: It must take down hundreds of works by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels or face legal consequences. The warning didn’t come from a multinational media conglomerate but from a small, leftist publisher, Lawrence & Wishart, which asserted copyright ownership over the 50-volume, English-language edition of Marx’s and Engels’s writings. To some, it was “uncomradely” that fellow radicals would deploy the capitalist tool of intellectual property law to keep Marx’s and Engels’s writings off the Internet. And it wasn’t lost on the archive’s supporters that the deadline for complying with the order came on the eve of May 1, International Workers’ Day... Still, Mr. Walters said the archive respected the publisher’s copyright, which covers the translated works, not the German originals from the 19th century. On Wednesday, the archive removed the disputed writings with a note blaming the publisher and a bold headline: “File No Longer Available!”"