Saturday, December 31, 2011

Copyright Office Supports Federalization of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings;, 12/29/11

Michael Kelley,; Copyright Office Supports Federalization of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings:

"In a report issued Wednesday, the U.S. Copyright Office recommended that sound recordings made before February 15, 1972 be brought under federal jurisdiction.

"We believe that bringing pre-1972 sound recordings into the federal copyright system serves the interests of consistency and certainty, and will assist libraries and archives in carrying out their missions while also offering additional rights and protection for sound recording right holders," Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante said in a statement.

Until now, a hodgepodge of state common-law regimes has governed the protection of these works. The result has often been a legal fog that has confused and chilled efforts to preserve historical sound recordings and make them accessible."

Songwriters Group Backs Village People Singer in Rights Case; New York Times, 12/20/11

James C. McKinley, Jr., New York Times; Songwriters Group Backs Village People Singer in Rights Case:

"The Songwriters Guild of America has entered a legal battle between Victor Willis, the lead singer of the Village People, and the publishing company that owns the copyrights to the group’s songs, saying the case is an important test of a songwriters’ right to regain control of his or her work after 35 years."

A Comic Distributes Himself; New York Times, 12/18/11

David Carr, New York Times; A Comic Distributes Himself:

"Louis C. K. is something of a pirate in the entertainment world, a man who has ignored propriety on his way to building a huge comic franchise. So it’s odd to see him put one of his shows for sale on the Web and politely ask fans not to rip him off.

The weirder thing? It seems to be working."

Marvel in Support of SOPA;, 12/29/11

Steve Sunu,; Marvel in Support of SOPA:

"Today, Marvel Comics came under fire by fans when the publisher's support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA) came to light. While the list of companies that support SOPA has been publicly available since December 22, Marvel's support of the bill was noticed only recently and the fan reaction was less than positive."

Marvel Wins Court Battle Over Rights to Ghost Rider; New York Times, 12/29/11

George Gene Gustines, New York Times; Marvel Wins Court Battle Over Rights to Ghost Rider:

"A federal judge in New York has ruled that Marvel Entertainment owns the rights to Ghost Rider, a supernatural character possessed by a spirit of vengeance who first appeared in 1972. The character was the subject of a lawsuit by a writer seeking to cash in on lucrative movie rights, according to a report by The Associated Press."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War; New York Times, 12/24/11

Randall Stross, New York Times; Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War:

"Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" Uploader Sentenced to One Year in Prison;, 12/19/11; "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" Uploader Sentenced to One Year in Prison:

"A New York City man who admitted to illegally uploading an unfinished copy of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" a month before the movie's release was sentenced Monday to one year in federal prison."

M.I.T. Expands Its Free Online Courses; New York Times, 12/19/11

Tamar Lewin, New York Times; M.I.T. Expands Its Free Online Courses:

"While students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pay thousands of dollars for courses, the university will announce a new program on Monday allowing anyone anywhere to take M.I.T. courses online free of charge — and for the first time earn official certificates for demonstrating mastery of the subjects taught...

M.I.T. led the way to an era of online learning 10 years ago by posting course materials from almost all its classes. Its free OpenCourseWare now includes nearly 2,100 courses and has been used by more than 100 million people.

But the new “M.I.T.x” interactive online learning platform will go further, giving students access to online laboratories, self-assessments and student-to-student discussions."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Angelina Jolie dismisses lawsuit against In the Land of Blood and Honey; Guardian, 12/7/11

Ben Child, Guardian; Angelina Jolie dismisses lawsuit against In the Land of Blood and Honey:

"In an interview with the LA Times published yesterday, Jolie denied ever having read Braddock's book. "It's par for the course. It happens on almost every film," she said during an interview about her new film at a New York hotel. "There are many books and documentaries that I did pull from," added the Oscar-winning actor, citing work by journalists Peter Maas and Tom Gielten. "It's a combination of many people's stories. But that particular book I've never seen.""

In the Bronx, a Collision of Cars, Celebrity and Copyright; New York Times, 11/28/11

David Gonzalez, New York Times; In the Bronx, a Collision of Cars, Celebrity and Copyright:

"To get that Bronx flavor that so inspired Ms. Lopez “to be tougher…to stay sharper…to think faster,” the spot’s producer stitched in a series of details intended to evoke the South Bronx — a break dancer, a guy drumming on a pail and a stunningly colored graffiti mural, the words “I ❤ the Bronx” clearly visible as the camera pans past the wall. But Fiat and its ad agency, Doner, may have missed one neighborhood detail that could lead to legal action: the copyright symbol on the lower right corner of the mural."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Revealing the Habits of Copyright Advocates; New York Times, 12/16/11

J. David Goodman, New York Times; Revealing the Habits of Copyright Advocates:

"As Congress moves forward on two bills aimed at curbing online piracy, a Web site has given opponents a way to attack those lobbying for the measures by exposing their illegal downloads.

The site,, allows users to search through publicly available data that links roughly 50 million file-sharing users to specific content downloaded on torrent sites, which allow movies, television shows and other large files to be rapidly shared."

Library Copyright Alliance Releases Letter Welcoming OPEN Act; Digital Shift, 12/16/11

David Rapp, Digital Shift; Library Copyright Alliance Releases Letter Welcoming OPEN Act:

"Earlier this week, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA)—made up of the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and the Association of College & Research Libraries—released an open letter [PDF] to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), “welcoming [the] release” of a discussion draft bill the legislators have sponsored. Called the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act, the bill has been touted as a potential alternative to SOPA."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stop Online Piracy Act Vote Delayed;, 12/16/11

David Kravets,; Stop Online Piracy Act Vote Delayed:

"The House Judiciary Committee considering whether to send the Stop Online Piracy Act to the House floor abruptly adjourned Friday with no new vote date set —a surprise given that the bill looked certain to pass out of committee today.

The committee’s chairman and chief sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), agreed to further explore a controversial provision that lets the Attorney General order changes to core internet infrastructure in order to stop copyright infringement.

Smith said the hearing would resume at the “earliest practical day that Congress is in session.” That could be weeks."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lines Drawn on Antipiracy Bills; New York Times, 12/14/11

Edward Wyatt, New York Times; Lines Drawn on Antipiracy Bills:

"A House committee plans to take up one of the bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act, on Thursday...

“Our mistake was allowing this romantic word — piracy — to take hold,” Tom Rothman, the co-chief executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment, said in an interview last week in Washington.

“It’s really robbery — it’s theft — and that theft is being combined with consumer fraud,” he said."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

E-Books, Shmee-Books: Readers Return to the Stores; New York Times, 12/12/11

Julie Bosman, New York Times; E-Books, Shmee-Books: Readers Return to the Stores:

"Facing economic gloom and competition from cheap e-readers, brick-and-mortar booksellers entered this holiday season with the humblest of expectations.

But the initial weeks of Christmas shopping, a boom time for the book business, have yielded surprisingly strong sales for many bookstores, which report that they have been lifted by an unusually vibrant selection; customers who seem undeterred by pricier titles; and new business from people who used to shop at Borders, the chain that went out of business this year."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yoga Pose Copyright Bid Too Big of a Stretch, Regulator Says; BusinessWeek, 12/12/11

Ellen Rosen, BusinessWeek; Yoga Pose Copyright Bid Too Big of a Stretch, Regulator Says:

"Yoga poses such as head-to-knee stretches and the sequences of the moves are “exercises” rather than “choreography” and can’t be copyrighted in the U.S., regulators said.

The U.S. Copyright Office previously permitted yoga poses and their sequences to be registered, even if those exercises were in the public domain, Laura Lee Fischer, acting chief of the office’s Performing Arts Division, said in response to an inquiry by an attorney involved in lawsuits the founder of Bikram Yoga filed against three yoga studios.

The office reviewed the legislative history of the copyright law and decided that exercises, including yoga, “do not constitute the subject matter that Congress intended to protect as choreography,” Fischer said in an e-mail."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Exploring open access in higher education: live chat best bits; Guardian, 12/7/11

Eliza Anyangwe, Guardian; Exploring open access in higher education: live chat best bits:

"What is the benefit of open access to academia? Who will pay for open education resources? These questions and many more are answered by our live chat panel"

Monday, December 5, 2011

HathiTrust Defendants Respond to Authors Guild Lawsuit; Chronicle of Higher Education, 12/5/11

Chronicle of Higher Education; HathiTrust Defendants Respond to Authors Guild Lawsuit:

"The HathiTrust digital repository and the five universities sued by the Authors Guild and others over mass book digitization and alleged copyright infringement have filed a response to the lawsuit."

Dyson seeks to block copycat manufacturers in China; Guardian, 12/4/11

Dan Milmo, Guardian; Dyson seeks to block copycat manufacturers in China:

"The billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson has warned China that it risks being expelled from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over copyright breaches including rip-offs of his famed inventions."

SOPA on the ropes? Bipartisan alternative to 'Net censorship emerges;, 12/2/11

Nate Anderson,; SOPA on the ropes? Bipartisan alternative to 'Net censorship emerges:

"But rightsholders do need some means of enforcing copyrights and trademarks, something tough to do when a site sets up overseas and willfully targets American consumers with fake goods and unauthorized content...

Fortunately, plenty can be done, and it can be done in a way that doesn't raise the same immediate concerns about due process and censorship. One promising alternative was unveiled today by a bipartisan group of 10 senators and representatives. It ditches the “law and order” approach to piracy and replaces it with a more limited, trade-based system.

And the legislators behind it have put out a draft of the idea for public comment before they even begin drawing up actual legislation."

Colbert Takes On SOPA;, 12/2/11

Mike Masnick,; Colbert Takes On SOPA:

"Want to see just how mainstream the issues of SOPA and PROTECT IP are becoming? Last night they made it on to The Colbert Report, where he had a bit of a debate about SOPA, between record label owner Danny Goldberg and Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain. It kicked off with a short segment, where Colbert explained the issue."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cambridge U. Press Would Like to Rent You an Article; Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/30/11

Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Cambridge U. Press Would Like to Rent You an Article:

"A highly informal poll on Twitter produced more initial skepticism than enthusiasm about the Cambridge article-rental plan. ”24 hours access, w/o ability to markup or download, or view again? Nope. No researcher I know would get much use from a 24-hour evaporative e-article,” one librarian responded. Another said, “Do they use the flashing device from ‘Men in Black’ to wipe any memory of the article after 24 hours as well?” One researcher said it seemed most likely to appeal to researchers without institutional affiliations."