Saturday, January 31, 2009

At Panel on Google Book Settlement, Support, Criticism, Contentiousness, Library Journal, 1/29/09

Via Library Journal: At Panel on Google Book Settlement, Support, Criticism, Contentiousness:

  • "Pricing issues unresolved
  • Is public library access “product placement”?
  • Will city managers think Google is a library?

    In a lively, sometimes contentious discussion Saturday at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Dan Clancy, engineering director for the Google Book Search Project, diligently explicated the proposed settlement with publishers and authors over books scanned from libraries, but was unable to answer some pressing questions from librarians, noting that the settlement itself remains unresolved."

Monday, January 26, 2009

MIT's Management School Shares Teaching Materials Online, The Wired Campus, 1/26/09

Via The Wired Campus, The Chronicle of Higher Education: MIT's Management School Shares Teaching Materials Online:

"What distinguishes the new site, according to JoAnne Yates, deputy dean for programs, is that whereas OpenCourseWare allows visitors to browse a linear series of resources and notes for a specific course, the management-school’s site allows them to search for specific “teaching artifacts”—e.g., case studies or simulation models—that might be applied to any number of courses. Those artifacts will be searchable by concept or business problem, like sustainability."

Monday, January 19, 2009

RIAA pulls out of John Doe cases involving college students, Ars Technica, 1/19/09

Via Ars Technica, RIAA pulls out of John Doe cases involving college students:

"With these and other cases being wrapped up, there are only a couple of high-profile remnants of the industry's war against P2P users left on the agenda. One is the scheduled retrial of Jammie Thomas later this year; the other is the case against Joel Tenenbaum, who is being represented by Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson and a host of students. The RIAA feels confident about the evidence it has in the Thomas case and its chances for a victory in a second trial, but whether it has the stomach to actually go through with it remains to be seen. The Tenenbaum case is shaping up to be another PR nightmare with the RIAA, as Nesson recently convinced the presiding judge to stream the court proceedings online, a decision the RIAA is anxious to see overturned."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Google Book Settlement Link Dump Awesomeness, 11/25/08

[Links to lots of information about the Google Book Search Settlement] Via "Google Book Settlement Link Dump Awesomeness":

From Siva Vaidhyanathan "My initial take on the Google-publishers settlement", Siva Vaidhyanathan's Blog, The Googlization of Everything, 10/28/08

From Siva Vaidhyanathan, Via Siva Vaidhyanathan's Blog, The Googlization of Everything: "My initial take on the Google-publishers settlement":

"My major criticisms of Google Book Seach have always concerned the actions of the university libraries that have participated in this program rather than Google itself. Companies should always do what is best for them. But the university libraries have a different, much higher mission. And they have clear ethical obligations. So I now turn to them.

From the beginning, this has seemed to be a major example of corporate welfare. Libraries at public universities all over this country (including the one that employs me) have spent many billions of dollars collecting these books. Now they are just giving away access to one company that is cornering the market on on-line access. They did this without concern for user confidentiality, preservation, image quality, search prowess, metadata standards, or long-term sustainability...

At the core of this settlement is this fact that university libraries much confront: For the first time, elements of library collections will be offered for sale in widespread manner via a private contractor. Perhaps this is only a shift of degree. Perhaps it is a major mission shift. It's worth a good argument, no?

Ultimately, I have to ask: Is this really the best possible system for the universal spread of knowledge? I think we can do better. Watch this space to see how."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

RI judge hears arguments in music downloading case, Sydney Morning Herald, 1/7/09

Via Sydney Morning Herald: RI judge hears arguments in music downloading case:

"A Rhode Island couple whose son is accused of illegally sharing songs online should not be forced to surrender their home computer for inspection because it would violate their right to privacy, their lawyer argued at a federal court hearing Tuesday...

Record company lawyers believe Tenenbaum downloaded the songs on his parents' computer in Providence and urged a federal magistrate on Tuesday for permission to copy the machine's hard drive for proof of copyright infringement...

But Charles Nesson, a Harvard Law School professor representing Arthur and Judie Tenenbaum and their son, said the computer contains information protected by attorney-client privilege and holds other sensitive and personal material that has nothing to do with the case."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Many happy returns for Warner Music, The Guardian, 1/6/09

Via The Guardian: Many happy returns for Warner Music:

"Despite everyone's carefree joy in singing Happy Birthday to You, this simple song puts you in legal jeopardy every time it exits your mouth. A considerable amount of money flows to the corporation that owns the copyright. But ... maybe that company doesn't own the copyright, and maybe you are in no legal peril. Professor Robert Brauneis, of George Washington University law school, took a professional, long, deep look into these questions. This Happy Birthday matter, it turns out, is a murky mess.

Brauneis published a 69-page disquisition called Copyright and the World's Most Popular Song. Before plunging into the legal history, evidence and arguments, he examined the history...

...Brauneis reckons that the copyright probably expired, for various reasons, decades ago. Nevertheless, nominal ownership passed to a succession of individuals and then companies, which did and do aggressively collect fees.

The story comes with plenty of evidentiary paperwork and audio recordings. These include: filings in four federal court cases in the 1930s and 1940s; litigation filings over the management of a trust that was created to receive royalties; unpublished papers of and about Patty and Mildred Hill; probate court records in Louisville, Kentucky, and in Chicago; and records from the US Copyright Office.

Brauneis has put more than 100 items online at for you to peruse and sing along with."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Want to Copy iTunes Music? Go Ahead, Apple Says, New York Times, 1/7/09

Via New York Times: Want to Copy iTunes Music? Go Ahead, Apple Says:

"The music companies are hoping that their eagerly awaited compromise with Apple will give a lift to digital downloads. They will be able to make more money on their best-selling songs and increase the appeal of older ones.

And with the copying restrictions removed, people will be able to freely shift the songs they buy on iTunes among computers, phones and other digital devices.

Technologically sophisticated fans of digital music complain that D.R.M. imposes unfair restrictions on what they can do with the tracks they have bought. For example, the protected files from iTunes do not work on portable players made by companies other than Apple.

“I think the writing was on the wall, both for Apple and the labels, that basically consumers were not going to put up with D.R.M. anymore,” said Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, a market research company."

When Labels Fought the Digital, and the Digital Won, New York Times, 1/7/09

Book Review of "Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age" by Steve Knopper, Via New York Times: When Labels Fought the Digital, and the Digital Won:

"Mr. Knopper, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, provides a wide-angled, morally complicated view of the current state of the music business. He doesn’t let those rippers and burners among us — that is, those who download digital songs without paying for them, and you know who you are — entirely off the hook. But he suggests that with even a little foresight, record companies could have adapted to the Internet’s brutish and quizzical new realities and thrived...

It’s too bad his interesting arguments and observations are wedged into such an uningratiating book. The prose in “Appetite for Self-Destruction” is undercooked, packed with clich├ęs (the stakes are always high, people constantly take the fall, one-two punches are thrown) and awkward descriptions...

What’s more, Mr. Knopper apparently did not get access to many of the major players in this tale, including Mr. Jobs. His account rehashes material covered in earlier, better books, including “Hit Men” by Fredric Dannen and “The Perfect Thing” by Steven Levy."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

iTunes Music Store Finally Ditches DRM, Adds New Prices,, 1/6/09

Via iTunes Music Store Finally Ditches DRM, Adds New Prices:

"After years of fits, starts, threats and ultimatums, Steve Jobs and three major labels have come to terms on a deal: Music will be available immediately on iTunes without DRM restrictions. Free of the limitations that currently restrict music playback to Apple products, the new plan will let consumers choose from three price levels instead of the 99-cent song model the store implemented on day one."

Google Hopes to Open a Trove of Little-Seen Books, New York Times, 1/5/09

Via New York Times: Google Hopes to Open a Trove of Little-Seen Books:

"Some scholars worry that Google users are more likely to search for narrow information than to read at length. “I have to say that I think pedagogically and in terms of the advancement of scholarship, I have a concern that people will be encouraged to use books in this very fragmentary way,” said Alice Prochaska, university librarian at Yale.

Others said they thought readers would continue to appreciate long texts and that Google’s book search would simply help readers find them.

“There is no short way to appreciate Jane Austen, and I hope I’m right about that,” said Paul Courant, university librarian at the University of Michigan. “But a lot of reading is going to happen on screens. One of the important things about this settlement is that it brings the literature of the 20th century back into a form that the students of the 21st century will be able to find it.”

Google’s book search has already entered the popular culture, in the film version of “Twilight,” based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire. Bella, one of the main characters, uses Google to find information about a local American Indian tribe. When the search leads her to a book, what does she do?

She goes to a bookstore and buys it."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Changing Tack, RIAA Ditches MediaSentry, Wall Street Journal, 1/5/09

Via Wall Street Journal: Changing Tack, RIAA Ditches MediaSentry:

"In another sign of the music industry's recently announced retreat from a five-year-old antipiracy strategy, the Recording Industry Association of America has dumped the company it used to help it gather evidence for mass lawsuits it filed against people it claimed were illegally uploading copyrighted music...

Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who maintains the Recording Industry vs. the People blog and who has represented more than a dozen clients fighting the RIAA, said he considered the decision to drop MediaSentry a "victory" for his clients...

Mr. Beckerman cites MediaSentry's practice of looking for available songs in people's file-sharing folders, downloading them, and using those downloads in court as evidence of copyright violations. He says MediaSentry couldn't prove defendants had shared their files with anyone other than MediaSentry investigators."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Life after death: The London Times, 1/3/09

Via The London Times: Life after death, As a new dramatisation of Anne Frank’s diary is about to be shown, Garry Jenkins looks at the ways in which this remarkable Dutch girl’s legacy has extended far beyond her words, to charities and good causes around the world:

"Copyright in the diary [of Anne Frank] expires at the end of the year 2015. From then on, with publishers free to produce and edit the diary without paying for the rights, the foundation’s main income stream could run dry. “I’m afraid that our income may well be less when the rights run out. But we hope that publishers will give us some money so that we can continue our charitable work,” Elias says.

Elias’s greatest fear is that Anne’s legacy might suffer the fate it has already undergone in Spain, where a musical of her life has been playing in Madrid. “I absolutely hate it,” says Elias, who was powerless to stop it because the work didn’t draw on any of the writings in the diary. “I don’t think the story of Anne Frank and the Holocaust is something about which you can make a funny evening with laughter and dance. But as soon as the rights run out, I’m afraid more musicals will be written and composed.”"

Friday, January 2, 2009

Senior figures call for Obama to name chief technology officer, The Guardian, 1/2/09

Via The Guardian: Senior figures call for Obama to name chief technology officer:

"The role of CTO remains one of the last senior posts unaddressed by Obama's transition team, despite announcements about the candidates for high-profile roles in science, energy and communications. Indeed, it is not even clear at the moment whether it will be a cabinet-level position or an advisory role.

According to the website – which lets people vote on the topics they think Obama's technology team should look at first – the topics a successor should address include internet access, privacy and online copyright. Among the site's most popular demands are a repeal of the Patriot Act of 2001 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Judge Denies MGA’s Request on Bratz Dolls, New York Times, 1/1/09

Via New York Times: Judge Denies MGA’s Request on Bratz Dolls:

"MGA Entertainment lost a bid to extend a freeze on a court-ordered ban on manufacturing and selling the Bratz dolls while it appeals a jury verdict that the toys infringed on copyrights held by Mattel...

Judge Larson ruled on Dec. 3 that MGA may no longer make most of the Bratz dolls that have contributed to a drop in Mattel’s Barbie sales since they were first brought on the market in 2001. A jury earlier found that a Mattel designer had come up with the Bratz name and characters and secretly had taken the idea to MGA."

Chinese Court Convicts 11 in Microsoft Piracy Case, New York Times, 1/1/09

Via New York Times: Chinese Court Convicts 11 in Microsoft Piracy Case:

"A court in southern China convicted 11 people on Wednesday of violating national copyright laws and participating in a sophisticated counterfeiting ring that for years manufactured and distributed pirated Microsoft software throughout the world...

Some legal specialists consider the case to be a landmark because it involved a joint antipiracy effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security. Law enforcement officials said it was also notable because the group operated like a multinational corporation, producing and distributing high-quality counterfeit software that was created and packaged almost identically to the real products, despite Microsoft’s antipiracy measures...

American politicians and corporate executives have been pressing China for years to crack down on piracy and intellectual property rights abuses that included music, film and expensive software products. Software piracy is rampant in China, where about 80 percent of computers are believed to use counterfeit software, according to the Business Software Alliance."

Tough sentences in China over huge piracy ring: Microsoft, Sydney Morning Herald, 1/1/09

Via Sydney Morning Herald: Tough sentences in China over huge piracy ring: Microsoft:

"The sentences were the "stiffest ever meted out for intellectual property rights violations in China," said a report on the verdicts by the popular Chinese Internet portal

Washington filed a case in April 2007 at the World Trade Organisation over widespread copyright piracy in China, a practice that US companies say deprives them of billions of US dollars in sales each year.

In November, China's assistant commerce minister Chong Quan told US industry and government officials at a gathering in Beijing that Washington must take into account its difficulties as a developing country in tackling copyright breaches.

But China also has recently touted tougher anti-piracy laws as evidence of its resolve to crush such violations."