Thursday, January 26, 2012

ALA Midwinter 2012: Head of RLUK Calls Research Works Act ‘Audacious in the Extreme’;, 1/24/12

Michael Kelley,; ALA Midwinter 2012: Head of RLUK Calls Research Works Act ‘Audacious in the Extreme’:

"David Prosser, the executive director of Research Libraries UK (RLUK), says the Research Works Act introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in December is “frankly ridiculous” and an attack on open access.

“It just seems quite bizarre that they should attempt to appropriate the intellectual capital of researchers that has been funded by the taxpayer and then call it a private research work,” Prosser told an audience at the American Library Association Midwinter meeting in Dallas on Saturday. “That strikes me as audacious in the extreme,” he said.

RLUK is a consortium of 32 of the largest research organizations in the UK and Ireland."

Fair-Use Guide Seeks to Solve Librarians’ VHS-Cassette Problem; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/25/12

Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education; Fair-Use Guide Seeks to Solve Librarians’ VHS-Cassette Problem:

"When the Association of Research Libraries and a team of fair-use advocates surveyed librarians to find out how they navigate copyright issues, many of them described that exact conundrum. But they may soon have a way out. Tomorrow the group will announce a code of best practices designed to outline ways academic librarians can take advantage of their fair-use rights to navigate common copyright issues.

The new code is one of a series published with the help of Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, a pair of American University scholars known for pushing back against the restrictions of copyright law. The duo has helped several professional communities develop similar codes. Brandon Butler, director of public-policy initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries, said this guide is different than early fair-use guidelines for libraries, which he described as narrowly crafted “safe harbors” that had the unintended effect of making it more difficult for librarians to do their jobs. Mr. Butler said this version gives librarians a collective voice that they haven’t enjoyed in the past."

The MPAA talks about SOPA/PIPA and responds to the 'campaign of misinformation';, 1/25/12

Darren Franich,; The MPAA talks about SOPA/PIPA and responds to the 'campaign of misinformation' :

"The Motion Picture Association of America has been leading the SOPA/PIPA charge, and MPAA chief Chris Dodd was vociferous in his distaste for Congress’ decision to pull the bills. EW spoke to Michael O’Leary, Senior Executive Vice President for Global Policy and External Affairs for the Motion Picture Association of America, about how the MPAA sees the future of anti-piracy legislation, and why Hollywood and the tech community should work together, not against each other."...

[O'Leary] "...The problem we’re talking about today is of a much larger scale.In the hundred years since the example you gave, there’s been an evolution as to the importance of protecting intellectual property, and the need to protect it because it’s central to our economy."

Who Gets to See Published Research?; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/22/12

Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Who Gets to See Published Research? :

"The battle over public access to federally financed research is heating up again. The basic question is this: When taxpayers help pay for scholarly research, should those taxpayers get to see the results in the form of free access to the resulting journal articles?...

In Congress, meanwhile, U.S. Reps. Darrell E. Issa, a Republican of California, and Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat of New York, introduced the Research Works Act (HR 3699) last month. The bill would forbid federal agencies to do anything that would result in the sharing of privately published research—even if that research is done with the help of taxpayer dollars—unless the publisher of the work agrees first. That would spell the end of policies such as the National Institutes of Health's public-access mandate, which requires that the results of federally supported research be made publicly available via its PubMed Central database within 12 months of publication."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama Announces New Trade Enforcement Unit With IP Focus; Intellectual Property Watch, 1/25/12

Intellectual Property Watch; Obama Announces New Trade Enforcement Unit With IP Focus:

"In the annual State of Union address last night, US President Obama announced a new Trade Enforcement Unit that includes anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting.

Obama said the nation is on track to double exports since he took office three years ago, in part due to his administration’s aggressive work on trade agreements. But he said trading partners – naming China – will not be allowed to circumvent trade rules any longer."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Kim Dotcom: Police Cut Way Into Mansion To Arrest Megaupload Founder; Reuters via, 1/21/12

Mantik Kusjanto, Reuters via; Kim Dotcom: Police Cut Way Into Mansion To Arrest Megaupload Founder:

"New Zealand police on Saturday revealed bizarre details of the arrest of the suspected kingpin of an Internet copyright theft case against the James Bond-like backdrop of a country mansion hideaway with electronic locks, a safe room and a pink Cadillac.

German national Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, was one of four men arrested on Friday, a day before his 38th birthday, in an investigation of the website led by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The group was accused of engaging in a scheme that took more than $500 million away from copyright holders and generated over $175 million in proceeds from subscriptions and advertising."

Potential SOPA/PIPA Revisions; New York Times, 1/22/12

Brian McFadden, The Strip, New York Times; Potential SOPA/PIPA Revisions

Friday, January 20, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Law That Pulled Foreign Works Back Under Copyright; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/18/12

Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education; Supreme Court Upholds Law That Pulled Foreign Works Back Under Copyright:

"A professor lost his long legal fight to keep thousands of foreign musical scores, books, and other copyrighted works in the public domain when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against him on Wednesday in a case that will affect scholars and artists around the country.

The scholar is Lawrence Golan, a music professor and conductor at the University of Denver. He argued that the U.S. Congress did not have the legal authority to remove works from the public domain. It did so in 1994, when the Congress changed U.S. copyright law to conform with an international copyright agreement. The new law reapplied copyright to millions of works that had long been free for anyone to use without permission.

The Supreme Court heard the case, Golan v. Holder, No. 10-545, last October, and in a 6-to-2 ruling on Wednesday, the justices upheld the changes in U.S. copyright law."

What’s the Best Way to Protect Against Online Piracy?; New York Times, 1/20/12

New York Times; What’s the Best Way to Protect Against Online Piracy? :
"In response to online protests on Wednesday, several key Congressional lawmakers withdrew support for two anti-Web piracy measures — the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act — both of which have the backing of powerful commercial lobbies. Although the reaction was a victory for new media, online intellectual piracy remains a serious issue.

What’s the best way to protect against online piracy? Is there a better alternative to these two bills?"

Senate Postpones Vote on Internet Anti-Piracy Bill; New York Times, 1/20/12

Jonathan Weisman, New York Times; Senate Postpones Vote on Internet Anti-Piracy Bill:

"Taking to the medium that helped organize extensive protests against the legislation, Mr. Reid, Democrat of Nevada, announced a delay in the vote via the social media Web site Twitter. But he indicated the issue, which had been scheduled for a vote Tuesday, had not died...

In the House, Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, called off plans to formally draft his version of the anti-piracy bill next month."

FBI shuts down Megaupload file-sharing site;, 1/20/12

J.K. Parkin,; FBI shuts down Megaupload file-sharing site:

"The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI on Thursday shut down the popular file-sharing site Megaupload, seized $50 million in assets and charged its founder and six others with running an international enterprise based on Internet piracy that’s cost copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue...

News of the shutdown was met with retaliation by the hacker collective Anonymous, which attacked the websites of the Justice Department and the Motion Picture Association of America."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In Fight Over Piracy Bills, New Economy Rises Against Old; New York Times, 1/18/12

Jonathan Weisman, New York Times; In Fight Over Piracy Bills, New Economy Rises Against Old:

"As a result, the legislative battle over two once-obscure bills to combat the piracy of American movies, music, books and writing on the World Wide Web may prove to be a turning point for the way business is done in Washington. It represented a moment when the new economy rose up against the old...

It appeared by Wednesday evening that Congress would follow Bank of America, Netflix and Verizon as the latest institution to change course in the face of a netizen revolt."

US Supreme Court Rules On Golan v. Holder, Key Public Domain Case; Intellectual Property Watch, 1/18/12

William New, Intellectual Property Watch; US Supreme Court Rules On Golan v. Holder, Key Public Domain Case:

"The United States Supreme Court today ruled on one of the top intellectual property legal cases expected this year. The case questioned whether the US Congress acted constitutionally when it restored copyright to millions of foreign works that had been in the public domain in the US. And it affirmed Congress’ actions, allowing the US to avoid questions of compliance with its international obligations.
The 18 January decision is here [pdf]. The justices ruled 6 to 2 in favour."

Web Protests Piracy Bills, and 2 Senators Change Course; New York Times, 1/18/12

Jonathan Weisman, New York Times; Web Protests Piracy Bills, and 2 Senators Change Course:

"Freshman Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a rising Republican star, was first out of the starting gate Wednesday morning with his announcement that he would no longer back anti-Internet piracy legislation he had co-sponsored. Senator John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who heads the campaign operation for his party, quickly followed suit and urged Congress take more time to study the measure that had been set for a test vote next week."

SOPA, Internet Piracy And Power; NPR's On Point, 1/18/12

NPR's On Point; SOPA, Internet Piracy And Power:

"Go to Wikipedia today and you’re going to get a dark screen. Same at Reddit and BoingBoing. Even giant Google has blacked out its famous logo – though its searches go on. The target of all the Internet protest is legislation on Capitol Hill aimed at stopping Internet pirates – pirates stealing movies and music and more.

Critics of the legislation say it takes a full cannonade to a narrow piracy problem. That it threatens to sink Internet freedom and innovation under censorship and firewalls. It’s a battle royal."

Wikipedia goes dark for 24 hours to protest web piracy bills;, 1/18/12; Wikipedia goes dark for 24 hours to protest web piracy bills:

"Can the world live without Wikipedia for a day?

The online encyclopedia is one of the Internet's most visited sites, and at midnight Eastern Standard Time it began a 24-hour "blackout" in protest against proposed anti-piracy legislation that many leading websites -- including Reddit, Google, Facebook, Amazon and others -- contend will make it challenging if not impossible for them to operate."

Protest on Web Uses Shutdown to Take On Two Piracy Bills; New York Times, 1/17/12

Jenna Wortham, New York Times; Protest on Web Uses Shutdown to Take On Two Piracy Bills:

"“This is the first real test of the political strength of the Web, and regardless of how things go, they are no longer a pushover,” said Professor Wu, who is the author of “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.” He added, “The Web taking a stand against one of the most powerful lobbyers and seeming to get somewhere is definitely a first.”

Under the proposed legislation, if a copyright holder like Warner Brothers discovers that a foreign site is focused on offering illegal copies of songs or movies, it could seek a court order that would require search engines like Google to remove links to the site and require advertising companies to cut off payments to it."

New 'Firewall' song protests SOPA copyright bill (Q&A); CNet, 12/20/11

Declan McCullagh, CNet; New 'Firewall' song protests SOPA copyright bill (Q&A) :

"The songwriter behind the 2007 Internet hit "I Got a Crush on Obama" is now taking aim at the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Leah Kauffman, a Philadelphia-based singer and songwriter, has released "Firewall" to protest the Hollywood-backed copyright bill, which a House of Representatives committee had been scheduled to debate tomorrow. Earlier today, the committee debate was postponed until 2012.

In addition, Dan Bull, a U.K. singer, has released "SOPA Cabana," a none-too-flattering rap taking aim against SOPA. (SOPA can "ban" you--get it?)

Opposition from the two musicians is notable because the Recording Industry Association of America has been one of the leading supporters of SOPA and a Senate version called Protect IP."

All Eyes On US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA): Fate Of Bill Now Unclear; Intellectual Property Watch, 1/17/12

Liza Porteus Viana, Intellectual Property Watch; All Eyes On US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA): Fate Of Bill Now Unclear:

"Meanwhile, tomorrow (18 January), thousands of websites such as Reddit, BoingBoing, Free Press, Wikipedia, and others plan to “go dark” (#SOPAblackout on Twitter) in protest of the bill. Some critics are also organising a flood of censored posts on Facebook to coincide with the blackout. People are also taking to Twitter to ask for simple blackout codes so their sites can participate in the day of protest.

“The uncertainty and the compliance burden … would just make it unprofitable to run Reddit and we would shut down,” Erik Martin, general manager of Reddit, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “As far as what the internet would look like … they’re [venture capitalists] just not going to be funding companies in this area. …It has a chilling effect.”

But not all technology companies are on board with the blackout. Twitter, for one won’t join, and Facebook is not encouraging the move."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rupert Murdoch Attacks Google, Obama In Pro-SOPA Twitter Rant;, 1/15/12

Alana Horowitz,; Rupert Murdoch Attacks Google, Obama In Pro-SOPA Twitter Rant:

"Rupert Murdoch sounded off on Saturday about the White House's rejection of SOPA and PIPA, the controversial anti-piracy bills currently being debated in Congress.

"So Obama has thrown in his lot withSilicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery," he wrote on Twitter. "Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying.""

White House Will Not Support SOPA, PIPA;, 1/14/12

Catharine Smith,; White House Will Not Support SOPA, PIPA:

"This is not the end of the debate, the White House statement emphasized. "Moving forward, we will continue to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis on legislation that provides new tools needed in the global fight against piracy and counterfeiting, while vigorously defending an open Internet based on the values of free expression, privacy, security and innovation," the letter also read."

White House Says It Opposes Parts of Two Antipiracy Bills; New York Times, 1/14/12

Edward Wyatt, New York Times; White House Says It Opposes Parts of Two Antipiracy Bills:

"The Obama administration said Saturday that it strongly opposed central elements of two Congressional efforts to enforce copyrights on the Internet, all but killing the current versions of legislation that has divided both political parties and pitted Hollywood against Silicon Valley."

Fighting Antipiracy Measure, Activist Group Posts Personal Information of Media Executives; New York Times, 1/13/12

Amy Chozick, New York Times; Fighting Antipiracy Measure, Activist Group Posts Personal Information of Media Executives:

"In protest of antipiracy legislation currently being considered by Congress, the group has posted online documents that reveal personal information about Jeffrey L. Bewkes, chairman and chief executive of Time Warner, and Sumner M. Redstone, who controls Viacom and the CBS Corporation. Those companies, like almost every major company in the media and entertainment industry, have championed the Stop Online Piracy Act, the House of Representatives bill, known as SOPA, and its related Senate bill, called Protect I.P."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Songs Remain the Same, but Broadway Heirs Call the Shots; New York Times, 1/9/12

Patrick Healy, New York Times; The Songs Remain the Same, but Broadway Heirs Call the Shots:

"On Thursday, after years of fits and starts, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” will open on Broadway, updated and streamlined, part of a spate of unusually aggressive undertakings by musical-theater estates...

The newly adapted book for the Broadway version of “Porgy and Bess” — but not the songs — will likely gain a new copyright that could be licensed. The estates’ trustees say the moneymaking potential of the new copyright depends on the Broadway musical becoming a hit that producers will want to license in the future.

Since “Nice Work” is a new show, the Gershwin estates will have a long new copyright to enjoy, whereas the rights for the original 1926 show, “Oh, Kay!” expire at the end of 2021. (The Gershwin estates now earn a few million dollars a year, according to the trustees.)"

Saturday, January 7, 2012

EMI Label Sues ReDigi, the Used Digital Music Store; New York Times, 1/6/12

Ben Sisario, New York Times; EMI Label Sues ReDigi, the Used Digital Music Store:

"Earlier this week, the music-publishing division of EMI filed suit against Grooveshark, a popular online music service, for breach of contract. On Friday, one of the labels in EMI’s recorded-music arm, Capitol, sued another online music company, ReDigi, for copyright infringement.

ReDigi opened last year with a novel, if controversial, business concept: let consumers resell their old digital music files. Relying on the “first sale doctrine”..."

Friday, January 6, 2012

US pressured Spain to implement online piracy law, leaked files shows; Guardian, 1/5/12

Dominic Rushne, Guardian; US pressured Spain to implement online piracy law, leaked files shows:

"The US ambassador in Madrid threatened Spain with "retaliation actions" if the country did not pass tough new internet piracy laws, according to leaked documents.

The latest revelation comes amid a fierce debate over America's own plans to pass online piracy legislation that critics claim will damage the infrastructure of the internet and restrict free speech."

New Lawsuit Means All Major Labels Are Suing Grooveshark; New York Times, 1/5/12

Ben Sisario, New York Times; New Lawsuit Means All Major Labels Are Suing Grooveshark:

"Grooveshark, a popular digital music service that is being sued for copyright infringement by three of the four major record companies, now has problems with the one big label that it has a licensing deal with.

On Wednesday, EMI Music Publishing filed suit against Grooveshark’s parent company, the Escape Media Group, for breach of contract, saying that since striking the deal in 2009, Escape has “made not a single royalty payment to EMI, nor provided a single accounting statement.”"

[Podcast] Copyright Law in the Digital Age; Diane Rehm Show, 1/5/12

[Podcast] Diane Rehm Show; Copyright Law in the Digital Age:

"Copyright laws emerged with the arrival of the printing press in 15th-century England. The printing patent served as a way to protect guild members from those who would copy their work. Today, we live in a world of digital abundance, where everyone is both a creator and a user. As more and more information is produced and shared online -- literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works -- some believe we need more ways to protect it without discouraging creativity. Diane and her guests discuss the role of copyright law in the digital age.

William Patry Senior copyright counsel at Google and author of "How to Fix Copyright"

Michael Carroll Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at Washington College of Law at American University and founding board member of Creative Commons, Inc.

Sandra Aistars Executive Director of Copyright Alliance"

Google Files Motion to Dismiss in Google Books Case; Digital Shift, 12/23/11

David Rapp, Digital Shift; Google Files Motion to Dismiss in Google Books Case:

"Google yesterday filed a motion to dismiss the Authors Guild as a plaintiff in the long-running Google Books lawsuit, arguing that the organization lacks “associational standing” to sue on behalf of individual copyright holders."

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Danger of an Attack on Piracy Online; New York Times, 1/1/12

David Carr, New York Times; The Danger of an Attack on Piracy Online:

"Given both Congress’s and the entertainment industry’s historically wobbly grasp of technology, I don’t think they should be the ones re-engineering the Internet. The rest of us might have to just hold our noses and learn enough about SOPA to school them in why it’s a bad idea."

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Apropos Appropriation; New York Times, 1/1/12

Randy Kennedy, New York Times; Apropos Appropriation:

"In March a federal district court judge in Manhattan ruled that Mr. Prince — whose career was built on appropriating imagery created by others — broke the law by taking photographs from a book about Rastafarians and using them without permission to create the collages and a series of paintings based on them, which quickly sold for serious money even by today’s gilded art-world standards: almost $2.5 million for one of the works...

The decision, by Judge Deborah A. Batts, set off alarm bells throughout Chelsea and in museums across America that show contemporary art. At the heart of the case, which Mr. Prince is now appealing, is the principle called fair use, a kind of door in the bulwark of copyright protections. It gives artists (or anyone for that matter) the ability to use someone else’s material for certain purposes, especially if the result transforms the thing used — or as Judge Pierre N. Leval described it in an influential 1990 law review article, if the new thing “adds value to the original” so that society as a whole is culturally enriched by it."