Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Google Settles Suit Over Book-Scanning - New York Times, 10/29/08

Via New York Times: Google Settles Suit Over Book-Scanning:

"Settling a legal battle, Google reached an agreement with book publishers and authors that clears the way for both sides to more easily profit from digital versions of printed books.

The agreement, under which Google would pay $125 million to settle two copyright lawsuits over its book-scanning efforts, would allow it to make millions of out-of-print books available for reading and purchasing online.

It outlines the framework for a new system that will channel payments from book sales, advertising revenue and other fees to authors and publishers, with Google collecting a cut.

The deal goes some way toward drawing a road map for a possible digital future for publishers and authors, who worried that they were losing control over how their works were used online, as the music industry has."

Google Settles Book-Scan Lawsuit, Everybody Wins - , 10/28/08

Via Google Settles Book-Scan Lawsuit, Everybody Wins:

10 Years Later, Misunderstood DMCA is the Law That Saved the Web -, 10/27/08

Via 10 Years Later, Misunderstood DMCA is the Law That Saved the Web:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Judge Rejects 'Making Available' Defense, Orders Teen File Sharer to Pay RIAA $7,400 -, 10/24/08


Judge Rejects 'Making Available' Defense, Orders Teen File Sharer to Pay RIAA $7,400:

"The decision contradicts last month's mistrial ruling in the nation's only file sharing case to go to trial. The split outcomes underscore that, after five years of RIAA file sharing litigation and some 30,000 lawsuits, the level of proof necessary to demonstrate copyright infringement in the peer-to-peer context varies from judge to judge."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Copyright and Politics Don’t Mix - New York Times, OP-ED, 10/20/08

Copyright and Politics Don’t Mix: OP-ED by Lawrence Lessig

"It would be far better if copyright law were narrowed to those contexts in which it serves its essential creative function — encouraging innovation and ensuring that artists get paid for their work — and left alone the battles of what criticisms candidates for office, and their supporters, are allowed to make."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

RIAA Decries Texas Woman as 'Vexatious' for Demanding File Sharing Trial -, 10/17/08

RIAA Decries Texas Woman as 'Vexatious' for Demanding File Sharing Trial:

"The RIAA has agreed to accept $200 per track instead of the usual base of $750 under the Copyright Act because the woman is claiming an innocent infringement defense. The Copyright Act, which carries penalties of up to $150,000 per track, allows penalties as low as $200 for innocent infringement defenses — in this case a teenager claiming she was clueless about what she was doing."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lawsuit Claims Mapmaking Firm Owns Your Neighborhood -, 10/17/08

Lawsuit Claims Mapmaking Firm Owns Your Neighborhood:

"A mathematician who pioneered a fractal-based urban-mapping technique is embroiled in a copyright battle that raises legal questions about whether a company can claim ownership of the definition of neighborhoods: their specific locations and boundaries."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

RIAA Appeals Jammie Thomas Mistrial -, 10/15/08

RIAA Appeals Jammie Thomas Mistrial:

"The Recording Industry Association of America is appealing last month's decision in the Jammie Thomas case in which a judge declared a mistrial in the nation's only RIAA file sharing case to go to trial.

On Sept. 24, a Minnesota federal judge overturned a $222,000 judgment levied against the mother of three after concluding he erroneously told jurors that they could ding Thomas for copyright infringement solely for making copyrighted music available on the Kazaa file sharing network."

YouTube to McCain: You Made Your DMCA Bed, Lie in It -, 10/15/08

YouTube to McCain: You Made Your DMCA Bed, Lie in It:

"YouTube on Tuesday rebuffed a request from John McCain's presidential campaign to examine fair-use issues more carefully before yanking campaign videos in response to DMCA takedown notices.

"Lawyers and judges constantly disagree about what does and does not constitute fair-use," YouTube's general counsel Zahavah Levine wrote in a letter Tuesday...

McCain campaign general counsel Trevor Potter argued that several of the removed ads, which had used excerpts of television footage, fall under the four-factor doctrine of fair-use, and shouldn't have been removed...

"We look forward to working with Senator (or President) McCain on ways to combat abuse of the DMCA takedown process on YouTube, including by way of example, strengthening the fair-use doctrine, so that intermediaries like us can rely on this important doctrine with a measure of business certainty.""

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

McCain/Palin to YouTube: Get real - Lessig Blog, 10/13/08

McCain/Palin to YouTube: Get real:

"The McCain/Palin campaign has written a fantastic letter to YouTube demanding that they start getting real about the response they're giving to notice and take-down demands of material that "are clearly privileged under the fair use doctrine." Here is the letter. Bravo to the campaign."

In Defense of Piracy - Wall Street Journal, 10/11/08

In Defense of Piracy:

"In early February 2007, Stephanie Lenz's 13-month-old son started dancing. Pushing a walker across her kitchen floor, Holden Lenz started moving to the distinctive beat of a song by Prince, "Let's Go Crazy." He had heard the song before. The beat had obviously stuck. So when Holden heard the song again, he did what any sensible 13-month-old would do -- he accepted Prince's invitation and went "crazy" to the beat. Holden's mom grabbed her camcorder and, for 29 seconds, captured the priceless image of Holden dancing, with the barely discernible Prince playing on a CD player somewhere in the background...

She uploaded the file to YouTube and sent her relatives and friends the link...

Sometime over the next four months, however, someone from Universal Music Group also watched Holden dance. Universal manages the copyrights of Prince. It fired off a letter to YouTube demanding that it remove the unauthorized "performance" of Prince's music. YouTube, to avoid liability itself, complied."

Wal-Mart's DRM Nightmare Just Won't End -, 10/10/08

Wal-Mart's DRM Nightmare Just Won't End:

"Wal-Mart has decided to keep the music that it sold wrapped in a layer of copyright protection playable, following a flurry of customer complaints about legally purchased music becoming unplayable...

An e-mail sent to Wal-Mart digital music store customers said the company will continue to support the DRM-ed song files sold on starting in 2003. The e-mail reversed last month's announcement that Wal-Mart would shut down the servers that authenticate the copyright protected music it no longer sells. Unfortunately, doing so would render all protected music purchased from the store in the past five years unplayable."

Bush Enacts PRO-IP Anti-piracy Law - PC World, 10/14/08

Bush Enacts PRO-IP Anti-piracy Law:

"U.S. President George W. Bush Monday signed into law a bill designed to increase protection of intellectual property (IP) such as software, films and music by raising penalties for infringement and creating a national "IP czar."

The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007, or PRO-IP Act, creates a high-ranking IP protection overseer, appointed by the Senate and reporting directly to the president. The position's first appointee will likely come from the next U.S. administration...

"The bill only adds more imbalance to a copyright law that favors large media companies. At a time when the entire digital world is going to less restrictive distribution models, and when the courts are aghast at the outlandish damages being inflicted on consumers in copyright cases, this bill goes entirely in the wrong direction," said Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C.-based digital rights group, after the passage of the Senate version of PRO-IP in late September."

Monday, October 13, 2008

University Libraries in Google Project to Offer Backup Digital Library - Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/13/08

University Libraries in Google Project to Offer Backup Digital Library:

"One of the most important functions of the project, say its leaders, who plan to unveil the giant library today, is to create a stable backup of the digital books should Google go bankrupt or lose interest in the book-searching business.

The project is called HathiTrust...

Because most of the millions of books are still under copyright protection, the libraries cannot offer the full text of the books to people off their campuses, though they can reveal details like how many pages of a given volume contain any passage that a user searches for...

Only about 16 percent of the books in HathiTrust—or about 327,000 volumes—are out of copyright so that their full text can be delivered to all readers...

So why call the project "Hathi" (pronounced hah-TEE)—the Hindi word for elephant?

"The name resonated really well because elephants remember, elephants are large, and elephants are strong
," said Bradley C. Wheeler, chief information officer at Indiana University system. "

Web radio founder visits here to explain Pandora - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/13/08

Web radio founder visits here to explain Pandora:

"Pandora founder and chief strategy officer Tim Westergren will be in town tomorrow to talk to Pandora listeners about the service. The meet-up will be held at the SouthSide Works Cinema at 7 p.m. Admission is free, and the event is open to anyone who wants to learn more about Pandora...

Westergren has been one of the most vocal Webcasters leading the charge in the ongoing battle to reduce per-song-played copyright fees Webcasters are now required to pay to record labels. The increased fees for streaming music online were set by the Copyright Royalty Board last year.

Commercial radio only pays royalties to composers and not to artists or record companies."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Settlement Rumored To Be Close in Google, Publisher Lawsuit - Library Journal, 10/10/08

Settlement Rumored To Be Close in Google, Publisher Lawsuit:

"Google, meanwhile, faces a content industry that is running out of patience with companies that launch products using copyrighted content in hopes of negotiating deals later. Recent months have seen innovative services like Red Lasso and popular upstarts like Scrabble knock-off Scrabulous removed from the Internet. And, of course, Google is currently facing a massive billion-dollar infringement suit from Viacom over its YouTube service...

The Google Book Search Library Project now numbers over 30 partners worldwide, and has scanned over one million books at the University of Michigan alone. The suit, however, has affected how aggressively Google’s library scan plan has been implemented, with most new library partners scanning only public domain materials, and with most new deals not providing for “a library copy” of the scanned work, a contentious provision in Google’s early deals."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

US Customs: Sketching an SUV makes you a copyright infringer -, 10/7/08

US Customs: Sketching an SUV makes you a copyright infringer:

American Citizen Detained At Border Due To Drawing Of An SUV - Techdirt, 10/9/08

American Citizen Detained At Border Due To Drawing Of An SUV:

"If you want to understand why we're so troubled by the ACTA treaty that many nations are working on in secret, we just need to look at a story highlighted recently at Boing Boing about an American woman who was detained for a while at the US-Canadian border because she had a drawing of an SUV. The customs officials accused her of being an industrial spy and copyright infringer. In actuality, she's a professor and artist, who was doing an art project involving an SUV."

Dear Bands: No Matter How Much You Dislike John McCain, He Can Most Likely Use Your Song - Techdirt, 10/9/08

Dear Bands: No Matter How Much You Dislike John McCain, He Can Most Likely Use Your Song:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Library Copyright Alliance

Library Copyright Alliance: Homepage statement:

"The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) consists of five major library associations - the American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association. These five associations collectively represent over 80,000 information professionals and thousands of libraries of all kinds throughout the United States. These five associations cooperate in the LCA to address copyright issues that affect libraries and their patrons. For over ten years now, our five library associations have worked together as a coalition.

The purpose of the LCA is to work toward a unified voice and common strategy for the library community in responding to and developing proposals to amend national and international copyright law and policy for the digital environment. The LCA's mission is to foster global access and fair use of information for creativity, research, and education.

Copyright and related intellectual property laws have important and substantial effects on the nature and extent of information services libraries provide to their users. Intellectual property laws are currently undergoing major changes in response to the growth in the use of digital formats for works.

The LCA is principally concerned that these changes do not harm, but rather enhance, the ability of libraries and information professionals to serve the needs of people to access, use, and preserve digital information. Our concern in [sic] heightened because of emerging technology applied to copyrighted works that is intended to prohibit access, use and preservation of digital information."

Yoko Ono, EMI drop suits over Lennon song - Reuters, 10/8/08

Yoko Ono, EMI drop suits over Lennon song:

John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and EMI Records, the world's fourth largest music company, dropped copyright infringement lawsuits against the makers of a documentary that used the portion of the song "Imagine" without permission...

"We think it was clear from the beginning that our clients had every right to use the 'Imagine' clip as they did, and we're happy we've vindicated that right," Anthony Falzone, a Stanford law professor and lead counsel for Premise in the case said in a statement.
The documentary looks at alleged discrimination against scientists and teachers who support so-called intelligent design as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution.
In his blog, Falzone said the song won't appear in the DVD version of the documentary as the move came too late."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Judge: Copyright Owners Must Consider 'Fair Use' -, 8/21/08

Judge: Copyright Owners Must Consider 'Fair Use':

"A case involving the YouTube "dancing baby" video will continue after a California judge ruled that content owners must consider 'fair use' before sending Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices...

At issue is a 2007 home video Stephanie Lenz took of her young children dancing in the family's kitchen to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." Lenz posted the 29-second video to YouTube on February 8 with the title "Let's Go Crazy #1.",2817,2328578,00.asp

Commerce Dept Cites Bogus Stats, Chamber Of Commerce Uses Them To Ask Bush To Accept Copyright Czar - Techdirt, 10/6/08

Commerce Dept Cites Bogus Stats, Chamber Of Commerce Uses Them To Ask Bush To Accept Copyright Czar:

"In urging President Bush to sign into law the ProIP bill, which would give him a copyright czar (something the Justice Department had said it it doesn't want), the US Chamber of Commerce is claiming that 750,000 American jobs have been lost to piracy. Yet, it doesn't cite where that number comes from."

Judge's Top Secret Decision Blocks Sale of DVD-Copying Software -, 10/6/08

Judge's Top Secret Decision Blocks Sale of DVD-Copying Software:

"U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, who previously presided over the original Napster litigation, issued the tentative decision late Friday, the sources said...

The MPAA, in seeking to block RealDVD sales, claims (.pdf) the software is illegal and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The group says the software illegally circumvents technology designed to keep DVDs from being copied. "

Judge temporarily halts sales of RealDVD in wake of lawsuit - ars technica, 10/5/08

Judge temporarily halts sales of RealDVD in wake of lawsuit:

"Real has been ordered to temporarily suspend distribution of its new DVD ripping and archiving product, RealDVD, thanks to a lawsuit filed by the MPAA claiming that it facilitates copyright infringement...

From the moment Real first announced RealDVD, the company was aware that there would be legal questions about the product, but seemed to think that everything would be fine since the company said it had "licensed the DVD technology for a legal right to play back DVD content."...

"RealNetworks' RealDVD should be called StealDVD," MPAA executive vice president and general counsel Greg Goeckner remarked about the product."

Musicians Realize They Need Their Own Lobbying Group - Techdirt, 10/6/08

Musicians Realize They Need Their Own Lobbying Group:

"It's almost amazing it's taken this long, but a bunch of musicians, including Radiohead, are now forming their own lobbying/bargaining group, called the Featured Artists' Coalition. One of the goals, actually, is to put pressure on the record labels to allow the musicians to retain the copyright on their music, rather than handing it over to the labels...
Though, my fear is that this new group really just promotes more of the same, and doesn't focus on new business model opportunities, but again looks for ways to "protect" rather than to innovate."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

RIAA v. The People: Five Years Later - Electronic Frontier Foundation, September 2008

RIAA v. The People: Five Years Later:

"On September 8, 2003, the recording industry sued 261 American music fans for sharing songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks, kicking off an unprecedented legal campaign against the people that should be the recording industry’s best customers: music fans.1 Five years later, the recording industry has filed, settled, or threatened legal actions against at least 30,000 individuals.2 These individuals have included children, grandparents, unemployed single mothers, college professors—a random selection from the millions of Americans who have used P2P networks. And there’s no end in sight; new lawsuits are filed monthly, and now they are supplemented by a flood of "pre-litigation" settlement letters designed to extract settlements without any need to enter a courtroom.3

But suing music fans has proven to be an ineffective response to unauthorized P2P file-sharing. Downloading from P2P networks is more popular than ever, despite the widespread public awareness of lawsuits.4 And the lawsuit campaign has not resulted in any royalties to artists. One thing has become clear: suing music fans is no answer to the P2P dilemma."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

British pop stars form group to demand more power -, 10/4/08

British pop stars form group to demand more power:

"Radiohead, Robbie Williams and Kaiser Chiefs are among more than 60 founding members of the Featured Artists' Coalition.
The group says it wants musicians rather than record labels to retain control over the rights to their music. It says new technology is rapidly changing the music industry, and artists are often left out when their songs are distributed over the Internet or mobile phone networks.

"It is time for artists to have a strong collective voice to stand up for their interests," said Brian Message, co-manager of Radiohead and the singer Kate Nash. "The digital landscape is changing fast and new deals are being struck all the time, but all too often without reference to the people who actually make the music."...

Musicians are increasingly turning to the Internet — and sometimes bypassing traditional record labels — to distribute their music. "

Fiction or Fiction: 750,000 American Jobs Lost to IP Piracy -, 10/3/08

Fiction or Fiction: 750,000 American Jobs Lost to IP Piracy:
"Declaring that 750,000 Americans are out of work because of intellectual property piracy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is urging President Bush to sign legislation creating a cabinet-level copyright czar to oversee expanded IP enforcement efforts.
Those are eye-popping numbers, equaling 8 percent of the official number of 9.4 million unemployed Americans.
But the origin of that 750,000 number -- which was included Thursday in a Chamber of Commerce lobbying letter (.pdf) to the president -- is a mystery."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Canadian election Copyright Pledge gains steam -, 10/2/08

Canadian election Copyright Pledge gains steam:
"...The pledge again: Will you commit to a balanced approach to copyright reform that reflects the views of all Canadians by pledging:
1. To respect the rights of creators and consumers.
2. Not to support any copyright bill that undermines or weakens the Copyright Act’s users rights.
3. To fully consult with Canadians before introducing any copyright reform bill and to conduct inclusive, national hearings on any tabled bill."

First Royalty Rates Set for Digital Music - New York Times, 10/3/08

First Royalty Rates Set for Digital Music:
"In a decision closely watched by the music industry, a panel of federal judges who determine royalty rates for recordings ruled on Thursday to renew the current royalty rate for CDs and other physical recordings, while setting rates for the first time for downloads, ring tones and other services.
The ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board — a panel of three judges appointed by the Librarian of Congress — applied strictly to mechanical royalties, which are paid to the songwriters and publishers of music, not the performers...
Some in the industry warned that the measures might not be enough to stem the losses suffered since the rise of illegal file-sharing a decade ago. Jonathan Feinstein, a music lawyer at the Krasilovsky & Gross firm in New York, said the ruling introduced needed flexibility and certainty.
Whether these developments will be sufficient to return the music industry to health is not clear,” Mr. Feinstein said."

Even Senators Who Want Stronger Copyright Laws Are Worried About ACTA - Techdirt, 10/3/08

Even Senators Who Want Stronger Copyright Laws Are Worried About ACTA:
from the as-they-should-be dept
"We've been wondering for a while now about why the ACTA treaty is being negotiated in such secrecy -- since the treaty will almost certainly greatly expand copyright laws around the world, without any real judicial approval. So it's good to see our concerns are echoed even by politicians who have long supported Hollywood's efforts to strengthen copyright law."

Key senators oppose DRM, ISP filtering in secret ACTA treaty - ars technica, 10/3/08

Key senators oppose DRM, ISP filtering in secret ACTA treaty:
"Most of the concerns are about the limits ACTA could put on "Congress's ability to make constructive policy changes in the future." But the concerns are compounded by "the lack of transparency inherent in trade negotiations" and the "speed with which the process is moving.""

Free Our Libraries, Cry University Presidents - Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/2/08

Free Our Libraries, Cry University Presidents:

"At the Universal Access Digital Library Summit, held on September 24 and 25 at the Boston Public Library, Mark Huddleston, president of the University of New Hampshire, Peter Nicholls, provost of the University of Connecticut, and Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts, called for new approaches to the digitization of library collections that will allow access for all. The presidents urged libraries to halt what they described as an assault on the public’s right to knowledge, done in the name of copyright."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Why The Online Music Industry Should Move To a Rev-Share Model - Washington Post, 10/1/08

Why The Online Music Industry Should Move To a Rev-Share Model:
"Moving to a revenue-sharing model makes a lot more economic sense. That way digital music sales has more breathing room to establish itself, and the artists will be able to grow with the industry. Eight percent of a bigger pie is better than nine percent of a smaller one. Rather than focus on how much each publisher gets per track, the Copyright Royalty Board should try to maximize the total amount of fees that publishers will get. A rev-share model is the way to go."

Royalty rate stays same for iTunes, other download services - ars, 10/2/08

Royalty rate stays same for iTunes, other download services:
"The Copyright Royalty Board has handed Apple and other online music store operators a big victory, as it has decided to keep the royalty rate the same for physical media and "permanent" (nonsubscription) music downloads. "

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Apple Threatens iTunes Shutdown over Copyright Royalty Dispute -, 10/01/08

Apple Threatens iTunes Shutdown over Copyright Royalty Dispute:
"Apple has threatened to shut down the iTunes music store if an obscure three-person board appointed by the Librarian of Congress increase the royalties paid to publishers and songwriters by six cents per song.
The Copyright Royalty Board is scheduled to hand down its decision on these rates by Thursday."

Judge forces U of Oregon to cough up student data to RIAA - ars technica, 9/30/08

Judge forces U of Oregon to cough up student data to RIAA:
"A recent court ruling shows the difficulty that colleges caught up in the RIAA's war on student P2P users are facing. Late last week, Judge Michael R. Hogan quashed the RIAA's subpoena seeking identifying information on 17 University of Oregon students, but gave the labels another shot at getting the names of the students whom they believe were using P2P networks for copyright infringement."

House Lets Orphan Works Legislation Die; Tons Of Content Remains Locked Up - Techdirt, 10/1/08

House Lets Orphan Works Legislation Die; Tons Of Content Remains Locked Up:
"An orphan works bill makes a tremendous amount of sense. Unfortunately, some content creators whipped up supporters into a frenzy, at times by lying about what the bill actually included, leading to a push to block the legislation. Those folks should be happy: while the Senate did pass the legislation, the House is letting it die, at least until after the election this November."