Monday, January 14, 2019

Autocomplete suggestions: Did you mean 'copyright infringement'?; Lexology, January 10, 2019

"We won't be likely to see a Court consider this particular topic until the value of the copyright is sufficient for a copyright owner to challenge a search engine over the autocomplete suggestions. In the fast paced world of technology, this may not be far away."

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Trump’s bizarre statement on China dishonors us all; The Washington Post, January 11, 2019

Dana Milbank, The Washington Post; Trump’s bizarre statement on China dishonors us all

"Asked an unrelated question on the White House South Lawn on Thursday, Trump volunteered a comparison between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) — and the leaders of the People’s Republic of China.

“I find China, frankly, in many ways, to be far more honorable than Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy. I really do,” he said. “I think that China is actually much easier to deal with than the opposition party.”

China, honorable?

China, which is holding a million members of religious minorities in concentration camps for “reeducation” by force?

China, which, according to Trump’s own FBI director, is, by far, the leading perpetrator of technology theft and espionage against the United States and is “using illegal methods” to “replace the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower”?

China, whose state-sponsored hackers were indicted just three weeks ago and accused of a 12-year campaign of cyberattacks on this and other countries?

China, whose ruling Communist Party has caused the extermination of tens of millions of people since the end of World War II, through government-induced famine, the ideological purges of the Cultural Revolution, and in mowing down reformers in Tiananmen Square?

Trump has a strange sense of honor. In April, he bestowed the same adjective on the world’s most oppressive leader, North Korea’s nuclear-armed dictator: “Kim Jong Un, he really has been very open and I think very honorable from everything we’re seeing.”

Now, the president is declaring that China’s dictatorship, by far the world’s biggest international criminal and abuser of human rights and operator of its most extensive police state, is more honorable than his political opponents in the United States.

In Trump’s view, your opponents are your enemies — and your actual enemies are your friends. How can you negotiate with a man who thinks like this?"

A Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain by Internet Archive and Creative Commons: January 25, 2019

A Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain


Please join us on Friday, January 25, 2019 for a grand day celebrating the public domain!
Co-hosted by the Internet Archive and Creative Commons, this celebration will feature a keynote addresses by Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow, lightning talks, demos, multimedia displays and more to mark the “re-opening” of the public domain in the United States. The event will take place at the Internet Archive in San Francisco.

Schedule of Events:

10am: Doors & Registration
10-11:45: Interactive public domain demos and project stations with organizations including Creative Commons, Internet Archive, Wikipedia, Authors Alliance, Electronic Frontier Foundation, California Digital Library, Center for the Study of the Public Domain, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Cleveland Art Museum, and many more!
11:45-1pm: Lunch on your own in the Richmond District
1pm-6pm: Program of keynote speakers, lightning talks and panels highlighting the value and importance of the public domain
6pm-7:30pm: Reception

Speakers/Panelists Include:

Lawrence Lessig - Harvard Law Professor
Cory Doctorow - Author & Co-editor, Boing-Boing
Pam Samuelson - Berkeley Law Professor
Paul Soulellis - Artist & Rhode Island School of Design Professor
Jamie Boyle - Duke Law Professor & Founder, Center for the Study of the Public Domain
Brewster Kahle - Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive
Corynne McSherry - Legal Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Ryan Merkley - CEO, Creative Commons
Jennifer Urban - Berkeley Law Professor
Joseph C. Gratz - Partner, Durie Tangri
Jane Park - Director of Product and Research, Creative Commons
Cheyenne Hohman - Director, Free Music Archive
Ben Vershbow - Director, Community Programs, Wikimedia
Jennifer Jenkins - Director, Center for the Study of the Public Domain
Rick Prelinger - Founder, Prelinger Archives
Amy Mason - LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Paul Keller - Communia Association
Michael Wolfe - Duke Lecturing Fellow, Center for the Study of the Public Domain
Daniel Schacht - Co-chair of the Intellectual Property Practice Group, Donahue Fitzgerald LLP"

Monday, January 7, 2019

Will the world embrace Plan S, the radical proposal to mandate open access to science papers?; Science, January 3, 2019

Tania Rabesandratana, Science; Will the world embrace Plan S, the radical proposal to mandate open access to science papers?

""In the OA movement, it seems to a lot of people that you have to choose a road: green or gold or diamond," says Colleen Campbell, director of the OA2020 initiative at the Max Planck Digital Library in Munich, Germany, referring to various styles of OA. "Publishers are sitting back laughing at us while we argue about different shades" instead of focusing on a shared goal of complete, immediate OA. Because of its bold, stringent requirements, she and others think Plan S can galvanize advocates to align their efforts to shake up the publishing system...

"The combined weight of Europe and China is probably enough to move the system," says astrophysicist Luke Drury, of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and the lead author of a cautiously supportive response to Plan S by All European Academies, a federation of European academies of sciences and humanities.

If Plan S does succeed in bringing about a fairer publishing system, he says, a transition to worldwide OA is sure to follow. "Somebody has to take the lead, and I'm pleased that it looks like it's coming from Europe.""

January 1, 2019 is (finally) Public Domain Day: Works from 1923 are open to all!; Center for the Study of the Public Domain, January 2019

Center for the Study of the Public Domain;

"For the first time in over 20 years, on January 1, 2019, published works will enter the US public domain.1 Works from 1923 will be free for all to use and build upon, without permission or fee. They include dramatic films such as The Ten Commandments, and comedies featuring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. There are literary works by Robert Frost, Aldous Huxley, and Edith Wharton, the “Charleston” song, and more. And remember, this has not happened for over 20 years. Why? Works from 1923 were set to go into the public domain in 1999, after a 75-year copyright term. But in 1998 Congress hit a two-decade pause button and extended their copyright term for 20 years, giving works published between 1923 and 1977 an expanded term of 95 years.2
But now the drought is over. How will people celebrate this trove of cultural material? Google Books will offer the full text of books from that year, instead of showing only snippet views or authorized previews. The Internet Archive will add books, movies, music, and more to its online library.

HathiTrust has made over 50,000 titles from 1923 available in its digital library. Community theaters are planning screenings of the films. Students will be free to adapt and publicly perform the music. Because these works are in the public domain, anyone can make them available, where you can rediscover and enjoy them. (Empirical studies have shown that public domain books are less expensive, available in more editions and formats, and more likely to be in print—see here, here, and here.) In addition, the expiration of copyright means that you’re free to use these materials, for education, for research, or for creative endeavors—whether it’s translating the books, making your own versions of the films, or building new music based on old classics.

Here are some of the works that will be entering the public domain in 2019. A fuller (but still partial) listing of over a thousand works that we have researched can be found here. (You can click on some of the titles below to get the newly public domain works.)"

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Supreme Court to decide if trademark protection can be denied to ‘scandalous’ brands; The Washington Post, January 4, 2019

Robert Barnes, The Washington Post; Supreme Court to decide if trademark protection can be denied to ‘scandalous’ brands

"The Supreme Court agreed Friday to review a new front in the battle over free speech and will decide whether trademark protection can be refused to brands the federal government finds vulgar or lewd.

The case involves a decision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to deny trademark registration to a clothing line called FUCT.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit struck down the century-old ban on protecting “scandalous” and “immoral” trademarks as a First Amendment violation, and the Department of Justice wants the Supreme Court to reverse the decision...

The case,Iancu v. Brunetti , will probably be heard at the Supreme Court in April."

Freed From Copyright, These Classic Works Are Yours To Adapt; NPR, January 5, 2019

Milton Guevara, NPR; Freed From Copyright, These Classic Works Are Yours To Adapt

""Copyright has been overextended so many times, largely at the behest of major copyright holders," says author Naomi Novik. "Even though what that actually does is inhibit people from creating new works and sharing these older works." Novik is a founding member of the Organization for Transformative Works, a nonprofit that focuses on preserving fan fiction and art — that is, work created by fans, based on characters and worlds from their favorite written works, film, and TV, which can occasionally come into conflict with copyright law.

"For a character to live, that character has to belong to the audience," says Novik. "Works of art are meant to nourish our collective understanding; they're meant to nourish our conversation." 

Duke Law's entire list of works that entered the public domain this year can be found here."

Friday, January 4, 2019

'The drought is over': mass US copyright expiry brings flood of works into public domain; The Guardian, January 2, 2019

Alison Flood, The Guardian;
"“The drought is over,” proclaims Duke Law School’s Center for the Public Domain, highlighting some of the works which are now available royalty-free, by authors from Edgar Rice Burroughs to Kahlil Gibran, PG Wodehouse to DH Lawrence, Edith Wharton to EE Cummings. It’s not only books: copyright in the US is also expiring on a host of films, paintings and music.
“The public domain has been frozen in time for 20 years, and we’re reaching the 20-year thaw,” the center’s director Jennifer Jenkins told the Smithsonian. The magazine predicted that the release’s impact on culture and creativity could be huge, because “we have never seen such a mass entry into the public domain in the digital age”. Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, told the Smithsonian: “We have shortchanged a generation. The 20th century is largely missing from the internet.”"

Thursday, January 3, 2019

We Are! ... Happy Valley? Penn State applies for trademark on moniker; The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 2, 2019

Bill Schackner, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; We Are! ... Happy Valley? Penn State applies for trademark on moniker

"Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney in Washington, D.C., tweeted about the Penn State application Dec. 28, calling it a “trademark ‘land grab.’”

He said Happy Valley should remain in the public domain, since the university did not create the expression and the words are used broadly in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. He said others should be able to profit from it.

“It’s a generally accepted term for a geographic area in which the university happens to reside,” he said. “It seems out of place for the university to come in and say they should be the exclusive provider of Happy Valley clothing throughout the country. That’s exactly what they are asking to do.”"

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Mickey Mouse and Batman will soon be public domain—here’s what that means; Ars Technica, January 1, 2019

Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica; Mickey Mouse and Batman will soon be public domain—here’s what that means

"Until recently, I assumed that the same interest groups would try to extend copyright terms again in 2018. But the political climate for copyright legislation has changed radically over the last 20 years.

A year ago, Ars Technica broke the news that three of the nation's most powerful rights holder groups in the country, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Authors Guild, were not even going to try to pass legislation extending copyrights.

"It's not something we are pursuing," an RIAA spokesman told me.

The reason was simple, Grimmelmann argues: they knew they weren't going to win."

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Why Mickey Mouse’s 1998 copyright extension probably won’t happen again; Ars Technica, January 8, 2018

Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica; Why Mickey Mouse’s 1998 copyright extension probably won’t happen again

"Most of the public considered copyright to be a boring subject with little relevance to their daily lives, so there was little grassroots interest in the issue. Karjala hoped that professional associations of librarians and historians—which had traditionally been important advocates for the public interest on copyright issues—would help stop the bill. But the legislation had so much momentum that these groups decided to settle for minor changes to the legislation. So the bill wound up passing without a significant fight.

The rise of the Internet has totally changed the political landscape on copyright issues. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is much larger than it was in 1998. Other groups, including Public Knowledge, didn't even exist 20 years ago. Internet companies—especially Google—have become powerful opponents of expanding copyright protections."

New Life for Old Classics, as Their Copyrights Run Out; The New York Times, December 29, 2018

Alexandra Alter, The New York Times; New Life for Old Classics, as Their Copyrights Run Out

"This coming year marks the first time in two decades that a large body of copyrighted works will lose their protected status — a shift that will have profound consequences for publishers and literary estates, which stand to lose both money and creative control.

But it will also be a boon for readers, who will have more editions to choose from, and for writers and other artists who can create new works based on classic stories without getting hit with an intellectual property lawsuit...

China's Supreme Court to take on intellectual property cases; Reuters, December 29, 2018

Reuters; China's Supreme Court to take on intellectual property cases

"Intellectual property rights cases can from next month be taken to China’s Supreme Court, the government said on Saturday, as the country seeks to strengthen protections in the face of complaints from the United States about the issue."

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Athletes Don’t Own Their Tattoos. That’s a Problem for Video Game Developers.; The New York Times, December 27, 2018

Jason M. Bailey, The New York Times; Athletes Don’t Own Their Tattoos. That’s a Problem for Video Game Developers.

"Take-Two has argued in court papers that Solid Oak’s tattoos are seen rarely, fleetingly and hazily in the NBA 2K games, but the judge rejected a motion for dismissal in March.

A verdict for either side would set an important precedent on how the owner of a tattoo copyright can enforce it, said Yolanda M. King, an associate law professor at Northern Illinois University who has extensively studied the issue."

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Disney trademarked ‘Hakuna Matata.’ A new petition demands the company drop it.; The Washington Post, December 19, 2018

Sonia Rao , The Washington Post; Disney trademarked ‘Hakuna Matata.’ A new petition demands the company drop it.

"The company has received similar criticism before."

Hakuna Matata™? Can Disney Actually Trademark That?; The New York Times, December 20, 2018

Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, The New York Times; Hakuna Matata™? Can Disney Actually Trademark That?

"Trademark experts said the talk of colonialism and robbery was overwrought, and that the trademarking of phrases, particularly those from other languages, is commonplace.

“People talk about appropriation,” said Phillip Johnson, a professor of commercial law at Cardiff Law School in Wales and a specialist on intellectual property law, “but a trademark is all about appropriation of language within a narrow commercial sphere, outside that space people are free to use the language as they wish.”

“What’s difficult about this case is whether it was a sensible commercial decision for the Disney brand, rather than whether, legally, the mark should or should not be registered,” he added. “The question is, does their brand benefit from having trademark or does it get damaged from bad publicity from having that trademark?”"

Video, Andy Sheehan, CBS KDKA; Ohio Clothing Company Seeks To Trademark ‘Yinzer’ For T-Shirts, CBS KDKA, December 21, 2018

Video, Andy Sheehan, CBS KDKA; Ohio Clothing Company Seeks To Trademark ‘Yinzer’ For T-Shirts   

"KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “Are you a yinzer?” 

Grbach: “Yeah, I think so, yeah. I think deep down I am, absolutely.”

Sheehan: “You don’t use the word yinz.”

Grbach: “I tell my kids not to, but sometimes it slips out.”

Friday, December 21, 2018

For the First Time in More Than 20 Years, Copyrighted Works Will Enter the Public Domain; Smithsonian Magazine, January 2019

, Smithsonian Magazine;
"At midnight on New Year’s Eve, all works first published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain. It has been 21 years since the last mass expiration of copyright in the U.S."

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Second Circuit Shuts Down Resale of Digital Music Files in Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi, Inc., Lexology, December 18, 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Did a Typo Accidentally Make Rudolph's TV Special Public Domain?; Comic Book Resources, December 15, 2018

Brian Cronin, Comic Book Resources; Did a Typo Accidentally Make Rudolph's TV Special Public Domain?

"Not so fast.

You see, the main character in the film, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, WAS under copyright (in one of the sweetest stories of corporate generosity ever, Montgomery Ward gave the copyright to the character to the employee who created Rudolph as part of a store Christmas giveaway). Rudolph is also currently protected by federal trademark, meaning that you couldn't name any project "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" without permission from the Rudolph trademark owners (I think there's a company specifically set up just to handle this Rudolph-related intellectual property stuff). Similarly, all of the songs in the film were independently copyrighted, so you couldn't use any of them."

Monday, December 17, 2018

Gift Guide For The Intellectual Property Geek; Above The Law, December 13, 2018

Krista L. Cox, Above The Law; Gift Guide For The Intellectual Property Geek

"Still looking for a holiday gift for the IP geek who loves all things copyright, patent, and trademark?Try one of these gift ideas below, some of which were the subject of litigation (including in other countries)."

It’s not a trade war with China. It’s a tech war.; The Washington Post, December 14, 2018

Michael Morell David Kris, The Washington Post; It’s not a trade war with China. It’s a tech war.

"Michael Morell, a Post contributing columnist, is a former deputy director and twice acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency. David Kris is a former assistant attorney general for national security and co-founder of Culper Partners consulting firm.

The United States is in an escalating technological cold war with China. It’s not centered on tariffs and trade, which President Trump often cites; instead, it involves both China’s use of technology to steal information and the theft of technology itself."

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Indigenous Knowledge Misappropriation: The Case Of The Zia Sun Symbol Explained At WIPO; Intellectual Property Watch, December 11, 2018

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; Indigenous Knowledge Misappropriation: The Case Of The Zia Sun Symbol Explained At WIPO

"The three panellists mentioned the importance of the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [pdf], and in particular Article 31, which asserts the right of indigenous peoples to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, TK and TCEs,  and the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over their cultural heritage, TK, and TCEs.

Commenting on the Zia case, June Lorenzo, a lawyer advocating in tribal and domestic courts and legislative and international human rights bodies, said in the late 1890s, Zia was at a very vulnerable point, as many other tribes were. A number of archaeologists came and took “what they could because they thought we were going to disappear as a civilisation,” she said, noting that the stolen pot was repatriated in 2000 or 2002.

In 1925, when the Zia symbol was adopted by the state of New Mexico, the Zia were not even considered as citizens of the United States, she said, and could not vote. “So the idea that they should have objected to this [ the use of the symbol] in 1925 … is just absurd.”"

Fortnight [sic] Sued Over Swiped Dance Move; Forbes, December 11, 2018

Oliver Herzfeld, Forbes; Fortnight [sic] Sued Over Swiped Dance Move

"Rapper 2 Milly recently filed a lawsuit against Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite Battle Royale. Essentially, 2 Milly claims Epic engaged in copyright infringement by stealing his dance move, the “Milly Rock,” renaming the move “Swipe It” and offering if for sale in Fortnite. The question is, are dance moves copyrightable?"

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Drama in South Africa Leads to Passing Fair Use;, December 6, 2018

Sean Flynn,; Drama in South Africa Leads to Passing Fair Use

"It was a day of copyright drama in the South African Parliament on the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s passing...

After passing a new performers protection bill, more MPs from the ANC were whipped to join the chamber and the Copyright Amendment Bill was passed on a second vote.

The process is far from over. Now the bill must pass through the National Council of Provinces and then return to the National Assembly to rectify any changes before being signed into law by the President.  But the passage was a major victory for those in South Africa who have been working for over 20 years to update its user rights and other provisions."

What Is Intellectual Property, and Does China Steal It?; Bloomberg, December 4, 2018

, Bloomberg; What Is Intellectual Property, and Does China Steal It?

"7. Is this a new gripe by the U.S.?

It’s a longstanding issue. That 2011 report by the U.S. International Trade Commission estimated that U.S. IP-intensive firms lost $48 billion in 2009 because of Chinese infringements. A 2016 USTR’s report highlighted serious problems, especially concerning the theft of trade secrets. "Offenders in many cases continue to operate with impunity," the report said."

Controlled Digital Lending Concept Gains Ground; Library Journal, November 15, 2018

Matt Enis, Library Journal; Controlled Digital Lending Concept Gains Ground

"A White Paper on Controlled Digital Lending of Library Books, by Courtney and coauthor David R. Hansen, associate university librarian for Research, Collections and Scholarly Communications, Duke University Libraries, was written in support of the position statement, and delves further into “the legal and policy rationales for the [CDL] process…as well as a variety of risk factors and practical considerations that can guide libraries seeking to implement such lending…. Our goal is to help libraries and their lawyers become more comfortable with the concept by more fully explaining the legal rationale for controlled digital lending, as well as situations in which this rationale is the strongest.”

The white paper notes that the Internet Archive’s “CDL-like” system has been in operation for eight years, and that the Georgetown Law Library operates a CDL service. But for the library field, the concept is still relatively new.

“This is how things start,” said [Kyle K. ] Courtney [copyright advisor for Harvard University]. “You put out a position statement, you back it up with a white paper, and you see the conversations that happen.” As libraries establish programs and platforms, use cases and best practices begin to emerge."

'The Pirate Bay of Science' Continues to Get Attacked Around the World; Motherboard, December 3, 2018

Karl Bode, Motherboard; 'The Pirate Bay of Science' Continues to Get Attacked Around the World

"The problem for publishers and their courtroom attacks on Sci-Hub is that they only draw additional attention to the need for open access to this data (aka the Streisand Effect). As a result, several prominent European research councils recently announced a open access publishing effort intended to more seriously address the problem at hand."

Copyright transfer, assignment and licensing in the United States; Lexology, October 29, 2018

"Transfer, assignment and licensing

Transfer and assignment 

What rules, restrictions and procedures govern the transfer and assignment of copyright? Are any formalities required to secure the legal effect of the transfer or assignment?

Any or all of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights or any subdivision of those rights may be transferred, but the transfer of exclusive rights is not valid unless that transfer is in writing and signed by either the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner’s duly authorised agent. However, the written transfer does not need to be made at the time of assignment, and a later written document confirming the agreement is sufficient to prove the assignment. Transfer of a right on a non-exclusive basis does not require a written agreement. A copyright may also be conveyed by operation of law. Additionally, it may be bequeathed by will or pass as personal property by the applicable laws of intestate succession. Copyright is a personal property right and is subject to the various state laws and regulations that govern the ownership, inheritance or transfer of personal property as well as terms of contracts or conduct of business. The recording of a transfer with the Copyright Office is not required to make the transfer valid between the parties; however, it provides certain legal advantages and may be required to validate the transfer as against third parties. To bring an infringement suit in court, a copyright owner needs proof of an unbroken chain of title going back to the author of the work."

3 Types of Documents Every Company Needs to Have in Place; Lexology, October 23, 2018

"Documents for Protection of the Company’s Intellectual Property

In addition to formal employment terms and conditions and formal consulting and advisor agreements, the most important agreement for most emerging companies to have shortly after formation is a non-disclosure agreement. This agreement is usually entered into with unrelated third parties who may come in contact with the company’s proprietary information and is intended to protect the company’s rights to its intellectual property."

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Supreme Court hands Fox News another win in copyright case against TVEyes monitoring service; The Washington Post, December 3, 2018

Erik Wemple, The Washington Post; Supreme Court hands Fox News another win in copyright case against TVEyes monitoring service

"The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case could leave media critics scrambling. How to fact-check the latest gaffe on “Hannity”? Did Brian Kilmeade really say that? To be sure, cable-news watchers commonly post the most extravagant cable-news moments on Twitter and other social media — a democratic activity that lies outside of the TVEyes ruling, because it’s not a money-making thing. Yet Fox News watchdogs use TVEyes and other services to soak in the full context surrounding those widely circulated clips, and that task is due to get more complicated. That said, services may still provide transcripts without infringing the Fox News copyright."

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

China Announces Punishments for Intellectual-Property Theft; Bloomberg, December 4, 2018

Bloomberg; China Announces Punishments for Intellectual-Property Theft

'China announced an array of punishments that could restrict companies’ access to borrowing and state-funding support over intellectual-property theft, a key sticking point in its trade conflict with the U.S.

News of the measures came just days after President Xi Jinping promised to resolve the U.S.’s “reasonable concerns” about IP practices in a statement after meeting President Donald Trump at the Group of 20 summit on Saturday in Argentina. The White House said the sides agreed to hold off on tariff action for at least 90 days as they negotiate to resolve specific U.S. complaints.

China set out a total of 38 different punishments to be applied to IP violations, starting this month. The document, dated Nov. 21, was released Tuesday by the National Development and Reform Commission and signed by various government bodies, including the central bank and supreme court.

“I think it’s potentially significant if they are implemented and result in a reduction in IP theft,” Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “We’ve been down this road with China many times on IP. The attention companies pay to IP theft has risen dramatically, and despite the great attention it’s getting the violations have increased.”"

US IP Stakeholders Seek To Strengthen Public Support For IP, Ensure Future US Competitiveness; Intellectual Property Watch, December 4, 2018

David Branigan, Intellectual Property Watch; US IP Stakeholders Seek To Strengthen Public Support For IP, Ensure Future US Competitiveness

"United States intellectual property stakeholders from academic, business and legal backgrounds gathered recently to discuss how to increase public support to strengthen the intellectual property rights system in the US, in light of China’s steady rise in numbers of patent and trademark filings. US IP stakeholders argued that developing public awareness and understanding of IP is key to building this support, with some holding diverging views on how to go about this."

China keeps global crown in patent applications; Nikkei Asian Review, December 4, 2018

Rintaro Hosokawa, Nikkei Asian Review; China keeps global crown in patent applications

"China was responsible for around 40% of the 3.17 million patent applications submitted worldwide last year, putting the country at the top for the seventh straight year and driving Asia's growing presence in the global intellectual property arena.

The World Intellectual Property Organization said Monday China's 1.38 million applications mark a new record, though the group did not give a year-on-year percentage increase due to changes in the way China's patent office counted filings.

China's patent applications in 2017 mainly concerned electronic devices, computer technology and digital data transmission. Chinese tech companies, such as telecommunications equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE, significantly boosted their application counts.

At 607,000, patent applications from the U.S. were less than half of China's total. That places America in second place, followed by Japan's 318,000 applications in third and South Korea's 200,000 in the No. 4 spot."

Required Reading: Appeals Court Instructs District Court for Second Time on Fair Use of Course Materials; Lexology, November 30, 2018

Defending Fair Use In South Africa; Intellectual Property Watch, December 4, 2018

Sean Flynn, Peter Jaszi, and Mike Carroll, American University Washington College of Law; Intellectual Property Watch; Defending Fair Use In South Africa

"On Wednesday the South African National Assembly vote on the Copyright Amendment Bill, which includes a new “fair use” right. Learned professors at the University of Stellenbosch have taken to calling the bill “shambolic”, and “an abomination.” It is certainly time for a little light to go with the heat."

Tell the Senate Not to Put the Register of Copyrights in the Hands of the President; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), December 3, 2018

Katharine Trendacosta, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); Tell the Senate Not to Put the Register of Copyrights in the Hands of the President

"Update 12/03/2018: The December 4 hearing has been postponed, but it could be rescheduled. Keep telling the Senate to vote "no."

With just a week left for this Congress, one of the weirdest bad copyright bills is back on the calendar. The “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act” would make the Register of Copyrights a presidential appointee, politicizing a role that should not be made a presidential pawn.

On Tuesday, December 4, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration is scheduled to vote on S. 1010, the Senate version of the “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act” already passed by the House of Representatives as H.R. 1695. If it passes out of the committee, the whole Senate will be able to vote on it with only days left in the 2018 session."

Congress Using Lame Duck Session To Push Through Awful Plan To Politicize The Copyright Office; TechDirt, December 3, 2018

Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Congress Using Lame Duck Session To Push Through Awful Plan To Politicize The Copyright Office

"I explain all the details below, but the short version is that Hollywood is trying to use the lame duck Congress session to push through a bill that would be very bad for copyright, and would politicize the Copyright Office. EFF has an action page where you can tell Congress not to do this. The bigger explanation of all of this is below."

Monday, December 3, 2018

Einstein’s ‘God Letter,’ a Viral Missive From 1954; The New York Times, December 2, 2018

James Barron, The New York Times;
Einstein’s ‘God Letter,’ a Viral Missive From 1954

[Kip Currier: This article is interesting in and of itself, but as someone teaching IP, where we frequently look at issues of digitization, I was especially intrigued to learn about the ongoing Einstein Papers Project. Knowing how phenomenally useful Cambridge University's Darwin Correspondence Project's digitized letters were for my own dissertation research exploring Charles Darwin's information behaviors, I can imagine the treasure trove of insights relevant to many disciplines that will be gleaned--and now made accessible to diverse worldwide users--from Einstein's digitized writings.

These kinds of massive "knowledge access for the public good" projects (--like Harvard's recently inaugurated Caselaw Access Project) are commendable exemplars of the positive intersections that technology, academic scholarship, and research institutions like CalTech and Cambridge can promote and achieve on behalf of global audiences.]

"Diana L. Kormos-Buchwald, a professor of history at the California Institute of Technology and the director of the Einstein Papers Project, said that Einstein was “not particularly thrilled at the special place that Gutkind devotes to Einstein’s science as the — how shall we put it — the best example of Jewish deterministic thought.”"