Monday, January 31, 2011

A Digital Library Guru Discusses New Rules on Sharing Scientific Data; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/28/11

Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education; A Digital Library Guru Discusses New Rules on Sharing Scientific Data:

"Last week, a significant change went into effect at the National Science Foundation: The agency will now require researchers to submit data-management plans with their grant proposals.

Open government advocates hailed the move as the latest in a series of steps that are expanding public access to work done with taxpayer money. The policy will not go so far as to mandate public sharing of all data, which in this context could mean anything from glacier images to scientific papers to computer code. But it will “require people to essentially justify why they choose not to be open,” says Beth Noveck, a professor at New York Law School who until recently directed the White House Open Government Initiative.

You can find lots of detailed information about the change at the NSF and the Association of Research Libraries sites."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Young inventors prompt colleges to revamp rules; Associated Press, 1/24/11

Associated Press; Young inventors prompt colleges to revamp rules:

"Who owns the patents and copyrights when a student creates something of value on campus, without a professor's help?...

The issue has been cropping up on campuses across the nation, spurred by the boom in computer software in which teenagers tinkering in dorm rooms are coming up with products that rival the work of professional engineers.

Universities have had longstanding rules for inventions by faculty, generally asserting partial ownerships rights to technology created with university resources that have commercial potential. For students, though, policies often were vague because cases didn't come up very often.

With new apps worth big money, the legal questions are now being debated across academia."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Can Your Camera Phone Turn You Into a Pirate?; New York Times, 1/16/11

Nick Bilton, New York Times; Can Your Camera Phone Turn You Into a Pirate? :

"Charles Nesson, the Weld professor of law at Harvard Law School and founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society there, also said that the act of “documenting” a book, as he called it, bears many similarities to pirating music. It could lead to a new wave of legal cases brought by bookstores or publishers, he said, much like the litigation brought by music companies against sites like Napster and LimeWire and their users."

Playing catch-up in a digital library race; New York Times, 1/9/11

Natasha Singer, New York Times; Playing catch-up in a digital library race:

"Lending libraries may have been the newfangled democratizing factor of their day. Centuries later, though, the United States finds itself trailing Europe and Japan in creating the modern equivalent: a national digital library that would serve as an electronic repository for the nation’s cultural heritage.

In other words, there’s a real digital library divide."

Obama Image Copyright Case Is Settled; New York Times, 1/12/11

David W. Dunlap, New York Times; Obama Image Copyright Case Is Settled:

"The Associated Press and the artist Shepard Fairey have settled their copyright battle over the unlicensed use by Mr. Fairey of an A.P. photograph of Barack Obama in the memorable 2008 “Hope” poster. The A.P. announced the settlement on Wednesday.

Under the agreement, The A.P. and Mr. Fairey are to share the rights to make posters and merchandise bearing the “Hope” image, which was based on a photo taken by Mannie Garcia in 2006, and collaborate on a project in which Mr. Fairey will create a series of images based on A.P. photographs. There was also an undisclosed financial settlement.

Perhaps most significantly, the two sides agreed to disagree on whether copyright law was infringed."

[Podcast] Digital Music Sampling: Creativity Or Criminality?; Talk of the Nation, 1/28/11

[Podcast] Talk of the Nation; Digital Music Sampling: Creativity Or Criminality? :

"The advent of the sampler in the '80s brought a long tradition of musical borrowing into the digital age. Today, "sampling," or repurposing a snippet of another artist's music, is mainstream. Is sampling theft, or is copyright law making creativity a crime?"

Fair use for poets, demystified;, 1/29/11

Cory Doctorw,; Fair use for poets, demystified:

"Pat [Aufderheide] from American University's Center for Social Media sez, "We're excited to announce the launch of a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry, cofacilitated by WCL-AU's Peter Jaszi, UCB's Jennifer Urban, Kate Coles from the Poetry Foundation, and Center for Social Media's Pat Aufderheide. The hashtag is #fairusepoetry"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Music Industry Braces for the Unthinkable; New York Times, 1/24/11

Eric Pfanner, New York Times; Music Industry Braces for the Unthinkable:

""We are at one of the most worrying stages yet for the industry,” he continued. “As things stand now, digital music has failed.”

Music executives disagree, saying there is hope, as long as they can come to grips with piracy, which according to the industry federation accounts for the vast majority of music distributed online.

Stronger measures to crack down on unauthorized copying are taking effect in a number of countries, executives note, and even as the authorities wield a heavier stick, the complementary carrots are appearing, too, in the form of innovative digital services."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why Some Elite Colleges Give Away Courses Online; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/19/11

Mark Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education; Why Some Elite Colleges Give Away Courses Online:

"Q. Some of these projects are very popular, but is there evidence of their learning effectiveness?

A. That's part of what makes the OLI [Open Learning Initiative, based at Carnegie Mellon University] so unique, is that built into the environment itself, that accomplishes the teaching, is the mechanism for assessment. ... They have given a control group and a variable group the same final, and found that the students using OLI aren't hurt in the slightest by not having had the same level of in-person instruction—that the system did just as well, if not better, at teaching them this material. ... Beyond those two studies, there really hasn't been a systematic appraisal of learning outcomes based on openly available material writ large. No one disputes that these open-courseware initiatives have done much good. But it's impossible, with the currently available data, to determine how much good."

Friday, January 21, 2011

In Twist, Jeff Koons Claims Rights to ‘Balloon Dogs; New York Times, 1/20/11

Kate Taylor, New York Times; In Twist, Jeff Koons Claims Rights to ‘Balloon Dogs'" :

"The artist Jeff Koons has developed a distinctive style, and made a lot of money, by appropriating pop-culture imagery and mass-produced objects, from inflatable toys to vacuum cleaners and kitschy greeting cards. Over his three-decade career that approach, while helping to make him famous, has also brought accusations of exploiting other people’s copyrighted images. He has been sued for copyright violation four times, losing three of the cases...

Andy Warhol, for example, often used other people’s photographs as sources for his paintings, prompting complaints from several photographers; the disputes were settled out of court. But today the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts vigorously protects its copyrights when it comes to commercial merchandise.

If “you decide to create a calendar with a bunch of well-known Andy Warhol images,” Mr. Landes said, “you’re going to be sued for sure.”"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mattel Lawyer Accuses MGA Of Luring Bratz Designer; NPR/AP, 1/18/11

NPR/AP; Mattel Lawyer Accuses MGA Of Luring Bratz Designer:

"Toy rivals Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc. on Tuesday began the second round of their lengthy legal battle over the rights to the wildly popular Bratz line, with two markedly different versions of the development of the multibillion-dollar brand.

In his opening statement at the copyright infringement case, Mattel attorney John Quinn said MGA conspired with Bratz designer Carter Bryant to steal the idea for Bratz while Bryant still worked for Mattel."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fair Usage In Caribbean Intellectual Property; Intellectual Property Watch, 1/16/11

Abiola Inniss, Intellectual Property Watch; Fair Usage In Caribbean Intellectual Property:

"At almost any time that the issue of intellectual property is discussed by peoples of the Caribbean there is considerable confusion and uncertainty to be found about what the law says, what it means and what the rights of usage are.

This is not surprising or unexpected since many lawyers are themselves hard put upon to provide pertinent answers to the many arising issues. This is not aided in the least by broad statements on intellectual property such as the definitions given by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which are a general aid to understanding the subject area but which cannot deal with the variations in national laws and which do not explain that with any of the rights described, responsibilities also exist."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Catcher in the Rye 'sequel' to be published; Guardian, 1/12/11

Stephen Bates, Guardian; The Catcher in the Rye 'sequel' to be published:

"Colting's lawyers were granted an appeal hearing and Publishers' Weekly says that under a settlement signed last month he has agreed not to publish or distribute his book in the US or Canada until the expiry of copyright on the original, but is allowed to publish elsewhere. Publishers in six countries are said to be interested."

[Podcast] Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Public Imagination; On the Media, 1/14/11

[Podcast] On the Media; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Public Imagination:

"On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. did what he’d done countless times before, he began building a sermon. And in his sermons King relied on improvisation - drawing on sources and references that were limited only by his imagination and memory. It’s a gift – and a tradition - on full display in the 'I Have A Dream' speech but it’s also in conflict with the intellectual property laws that have been strenuously used by his estate since his death. OTM producer Jamie York speaks with Drew Hansen, Keith Miller, Michael Eric Dyson and Lewis Hyde about King, imagination and the consequences of limiting access to art and ideas."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brussels Wants 7-Year Limit on Works Digitized by Google; New York Times, 1/11/11

James Kanter, New York Times; Brussels Wants 7-Year Limit on Works Digitized by Google:

"Companies like Google that digitize artworks and books from public bodies should allow other companies and institutions to commercialize those materials after seven years, three experts advising the European Commission said Monday."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Library of Congress Gets a Mile of Music; New York Times, 1/10/11

Larry Rohter, New York Times; Library of Congress Gets a Mile of Music:

"Under the agreement negotiated during discussions that began two years ago the Library of Congress has been granted ownership of the physical discs and plans to preserve and digitize them. But Universal, a subsidiary of the French media conglomerate Vivendi that was formerly known as the Music Corporation of America, or MCA, retains both the copyright to the music recorded on the discs and the right to commercialize that music after it has been digitized...

Much of the material has been stored at Iron Mountain, the former limestone mine near Boyers, Pa., that also holds numerous government and corporate records."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The 373-Hit Wonder; New York Times, 1/9/11

Zachary Lazar, New York Times; The 373-Hit Wonder:

"You might expect that Girl Talk’s success has made Gillis a legal target. His sound collages are radically different from their sources, far more than the sum of their parts, but to an entertainment lawyer they might look like a lawsuit. Or, in the words of Lawrence Lessig, author of “Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy,” “a gold mine.”

To secure permission to use the 373 samples on “All Day” would cost, Gillis estimates, millions of dollars. Some labels would refuse, others would draw him into endless negotiation. But he has never been sued. No one has ever asked him to stop doing what he’s doing. One of the acts he samples on “All Day,” the Toadies, proudly put a link to Girl Talk on their home page.

“We don’t realize how much the notion of creation has changed for people under the age of 25,” Lessig says. He suggests that in 20 years the sampling issue will seem “completely bizarre.”"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hip-Hop and Copyright Law in the [sic] Classroomleg; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/5/11

Ben Wieder, Chronicle of Higher Education; Hip-Hop and Copyright Law in the [sic] Classroomleg:

"Kembrew McLeod’s youthful interest in 1980s hip-hop became a life-long scholarly pursuit when some of the groups he’d listened to as a teenager were sued in the early 1990s for using samples of previously recorded music.

“The issue—how the law affects sampling—is the entire reason I’m a professor,” says Mr. McLeod, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa.

It’s the subject of his second documentary film, Copyright Criminals, co-directed by Ben Franzen, which ran last year as part of PBS’s Independent Lens series and will be released on DVD in March. It is also available at"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Counting on Google Books; Chronicle of Higher Education, 12/16/10

Geoffrey Nunberg, Chronicle of Higher Education; Counting on Google Books:

"Scholars can't download the entire corpus right now, but the impediments are legal and commercial rather than technological. (Google could make available a corpus of all the public-domain works published through 1922 without raising any copyright issues, but it has decided not to do that.) In the meantime, scholars have access to the corpus via the Web sites, and"