Issues and developments related to Intellectual Property (e.g. Copyright, Fair Use, Patents, Trademarks, Trade Secrets) and Open Movements (e.g. Open Access, Open Data, Open Educational Resources (OER)), examined in the "Intellectual Property and Open Movements" and "Ethics of Data, Information, and Emerging Technologies" graduate courses I teach at the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information. -- Kip Currier, PhD, JD
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Q&A: Troubleshooting Video Problems in Facebook; New York Times, 10/26/12
J.D. Biersdorfer, New York Times; Q&A: Troubleshooting Video Problems in Facebook: "Q.I recently uploaded a video I had shot to Facebook. It took forever to finish uploading and I got a screen that said it was “processing” my file — but then the whole thing disappeared. What’s the deal? A.Check Facebook’s technical requirements for uploaded videos first to make sure your clip is in a compatible format. Although random technical difficulties on either end may have caused a problem with the file or the uploading process, Facebook does note that videos can be removed after uploading if they contain copyrighted material. This includes video clips copyrighted by other people or organizations that you may have uploaded."
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Justices Weigh Case on Imported Textbooks; New York times, 10/29/12
Liptak, A., New York Times; Justices Weigh Case on Imported Textbooks: "The general rule for products made in the United States is that the owners of particular copies can do what they like with them. If you buy a book or record made in the United States, for instance, you are free to lend it or sell it as you wish. The question for the justices was whether that rule, called the first-sale doctrine, also applies when the works in question were made abroad. The answer turns on a phrase in the Copyright Act, which appears to limit the first-sale doctrine to works “lawfully made under this title.”... Much of the argument concerned what lawyers call the “parade of horribles” — the hypothetical problems that might follow a ruling in favor of one side or the other."
What You Need to Know About Kirtsaeng v. Wiley; Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/12
Chronicle of Higher Education; What You Need to Know About Kirtsaeng v. Wiley: "Many college students resell their textbooks online. But Supap Kirtsaeng turned textbooks into a profit machine, and his homegrown business is now at the center of a lawsuit that some observers call the most important copyright case in nearly a decade. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Monday. Here's a guide to what the case means, and how it could send ripples far beyond college campuses."
Supreme Court Appears Divided on Copyright Case Affecting Libraries and Publishers; Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/29/12
Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Supreme Court Appears Divided on Copyright Case Affecting Libraries and Publishers: "The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Monday morning in a key copyright-infringement case, with justices asking pointed questions about the resale and reuse of protected works. Many of the questions homed in on possible consequences for individual buyers as well as libraries and other institutions, but did not suggest which way the court was leaning. The outcome of the lawsuit, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons (No. 11-697), has significant implications for publishers, academic libraries, and almost anyone who resells, lends, or displays copyrighted material made and bought outside the United States. The case centers on a dispute over textbooks produced by Wiley for foreign markets."
Victory for HathiTrust and Fair Use; Columbia Science and Technology Law Review; 10/23/12
Rachel Bandli, Columbia Science and Technology Law Review; Victory for HathiTrust and Fair Use: "The Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust, decided earlier this month, marks the second victory this year for fair use of copyrighted works for scholarly purposes (the first being Cambridge University Press v. Becker). In an opinion issued by Judge Baer, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted HathiTrust’s motion for summary judgment, allowing HathiTrust to continue its current use of copyrighted works."
Friday, October 26, 2012
Sony Sued Over William Faulkner Quote in 'Midnight in Paris'; Hollywood Reporter, 10/25/12
Alex Ben Block, Hollywood Reporter; Sony Sued Over William Faulkner Quote in 'Midnight in Paris' : "Sony Pictures Classics and a group of unnamed movie exhibitors have been sued by the owners of the rights to the literary works of the late William Faulkner because a quote from one of his books was used by Woody Allen in the hit 2011 movie Midnight In Paris... In a statement, a representative for the studio said: “This is a frivolous lawsuit and we are confident we will prevail in defending it. There is no question this brief reference (10 words) to a quote from a public speech Faulkner gave constitutes fair use and any claim to the contrary is without merit.”"
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Library Associations Brace for First Sale Fight with Owners’ Rights Lobby Effort; Library Journal, 10/23/12
Meredith Schwartz, Library Journal; Library Associations Brace for First Sale Fight with Owners’ Rights Lobby Effort: "The American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) today teamed up with 17 other associations, retailers, and charities to launch a new coalition called the Owners’ Rights Initiative (ORI). ORI is an “informal alliance of stakeholders” that will defend the first sale doctrine, which allows libraries to lend books and other materials, as well as individual owners to resell them. The doctrine is under attack in the case of Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley, for which the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on October 29. Among ORI’s other members are eBay, Overstock, Powell’s Books, textbook buyer and seller Chegg, movie rental company Redbox, Goodwill, and Quality King Distributors, which is notable as the prevailing party in Quality King Distributors v. L’anza Research International, in which the Supreme Court in 1998 held that the first sale doctrine prevents copyright owners from controlling the importation of copyrighted goods sold outside the United States. (Notable for its absence is Costco, which was a party to the split decision Costco v. Omega case that raised similar issues.)"
Teachers make extra money selling materials on the Web; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/20/12
Donna Gordon Blankinship, Associated Press via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Teachers make extra money selling materials on the Web: "While most characterize these sites as an inexpensive way for teachers to supplement textbook materials, some teachers may get pushback from administrators for their entrepreneurial efforts. Seattle Public Schools recently revised its ethics policy, with the new policy prohibiting teachers from selling anything they developed on district time, district spokeswoman Teresa Wippel said. "Anything created on their own time could also cross a gray line, depending on the item and how closely tied it is to classroom work," she said. Teacherspayteachers.com currently has about 300,000 items for sale plus more than 50,000 free items. All told, more than 1 million teachers have bought or sold items on teacherspayteachers.com since it began. After paying the site fees, teachers have collectively earned more than $14 million on the site since it was founded."
Monday, October 22, 2012
Start Nears on Plan to Combat Online Infringement; New York Times, 10/18/12
Ben Sisario, New York Times; Start Nears on Plan to Combat Online Infringement: "Last year, five major Internet service providers and the big entertainment trade organizations announced a joint plan to fight illegal downloading through what might be called a strategy of annoyance. Instead of suing people suspected of copyright infringement, as the record labels have in the past, they would prod and poke people into good behavior through a “six strikes” system that escalate from friendly notices in their e-mail to, ultimately, throttled Internet access. Progress has been slow on the project, called the Copyright Alert System, since it was announced 15 months ago. But in a blog post Thursday, the group created to carry out the process said it would finally begin “over the course of the next two months.”"
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Warner wins key victory in Superman battle; Los Angeles Times, 10/17/12
Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times; Warner wins key victory in Superman battle: "In a crucial legal victory for the Burbank studio, a federal judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday denied an effort by the heirs of Superman co-creator Joseph Shuster to reclaim their 50% interest in the world’s most famous superhero."
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Kim Dotcom plans Megaupload reboot; Sydney Morning Herald, 10/12/12
Nick Perry, Sydney Morning Herald; Kim Dotcom plans Megaupload reboot: "Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford University law school's Centre for Internet and Society, said Dotcom's case marks the first time the US has attempted to hold somebody criminally liable for copyright infringement committed by others. She said prosecutors are pushing at the boundaries of the law. "It makes the substantive underpinnings of the case highly questionable, legally," Granick said. "It's a novel case.""
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Dealing fairly with freelances; Guardian, 10/11/12
Guardian; Dealing fairly with freelances: "Designed to balance the rights of individual freelances with the needs of GNM as an international, multi-platform media concern, the charter initiative stemmed mainly from the longstanding desire of GNM to achieve the highest possible ethical standards in its dealings with contributors, for example by standardising GNM commissioning practice, settling the thorny issue of copyright ownership, and improving payment times to contributors. To emphasise GNM's openness in its freelance relations, the charter is a public document available on our website. It sets out in a detailed but understandable way the terms and conditions under which GNM engages freelances, including the commissioning process, minimum fees, payment terms, rejected work, expenses policy, ethical considerations, etc. Importantly, the charter also outlines our standard copyright terms. In the majority of cases, freelances retain the copyright in their contribution and grant GNM a clearly-defined licence that enables it to undertake its publishing and commercial activities."
Immortal Images of Native Americans; New York Times, 10/12/12
Timothy Egan, New York Times; Immortal Images of Native Americans: "The great task broke Curtis. He died alone, a pauper, in a tiny apartment. He lost the copyright of his work to J.P. Morgan, and ultimately to the public domain. Today, there are fewer than 300 of the completed, intact, 20-volume sets in existence. History, as with many great artists, has been kind to him: A few days ago, a single set sold for $1.44 million in an auction at Swann Galleries — fetching more than any other single lot there in 70 years."
Judge Says Fair Use Protects Universities in Book-Scanning Project; Wired.com, 10/10/12
David Kravets, Wired.com; Judge Says Fair Use Protects Universities in Book-Scanning Project: "Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement and may be invoked for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research, the judge noted. He said the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) also played a major factor. “Although I recognize that the facts here may on some levels be without precedent, I am convinced that they fall safely within the protection of fair use such that there is no genuine issue of material fact,” Baer wrote... Under terms of the trust, full-text searching is only available to works in the public domain. Copyrighted works in the trust require consent from the rights holder. If consent is not granted, a search query only indicates the page number in a work on which a searched term is found."
‘U’ wins copyright lawsuit against Hathitrust digitalization project; Michigan Daily, 10/11/12
Austen Hufford, Michigan Daily; ‘U’ wins copyright lawsuit against Hathitrust digitalization project: "The judge wrote that the case may set an important precedent for future digital copyright laws, noting there are comparatively few prior standards regarding digitization and its fair use. “I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not encompass the transformative uses made by (the Hathitrust program) and would require that I terminate this invaluable contribution to the progress of science … ” Baer wrote. When someone uses the database to search a word in a copyrighted book, the full text is not available; only the page number and number of occurrences in the book is shown. The defendants claimed this does not infringe on copyright law because copyrighted books cannot be read in their entirety through the Hathitrust system. The system is also used for preserving physical texts in case the originals are somehow lost or destroyed. It already contains nearly 10 million volumes and about 73 percent of those are copyrighted, the ruling stated."
Friday, October 12, 2012
Russian Social Network vKontakte Held Liable For Copyright Infringement A Second Time; Intellectual Property Watch, 10/12/12
Daria Kim, Intellectual Property Watch; Russian Social Network vKontakte Held Liable For Copyright Infringement A Second Time: "This week, the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and Leningradskaya Oblast announced a decision holding vKontakte, the Russian largest social network, liable for copyright infringement. This is the second case between the parties in which the court sided with the right holder following a decision earlier this year."
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Judge Hands HathiTrust Digital Repository a Win in Fair-Use Case; Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/10/12
Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Judge Hands HathiTrust Digital Repository a Win in Fair-Use Case: "Academic libraries’ indexing of digitized works counts as fair use. So says the federal judge overseeing a major copyright-infringement lawsuit brought last year by the Authors Guild against the HathiTrust digital repository and its university partners."
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril; Market Watch, 10/7/12
Jennifer Waters, Market Watch; Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril: "At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture, as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products. Under the doctrine, which the Supreme Court has recognized since 1908, you can resell your stuff without worry because the copyright holder only had control over the first sale."
Stan Lee Media sues Disney for billions over Marvel characters; ComicBookResources.com, 10/10/12
Kevin Melrose, ComicBookResources.com; Stan Lee Media sues Disney for billions over Marvel characters: "Undeterred by numerous legal setbacks, failed dot-com Stan Lee Media on Tuesday filed a $5.5 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit against Disney, claiming the entertainment giant doesn’t actually own the Marvel characters featured in such blockbuster films as The Avengers, X-Men: First Class and Thor, and the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The dollar amount reflects the estimated revenue from box-office receipts, licensing and merchandising dating back three years, the statute of limitations for copyright infringement."
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Man who defaced Tate Modern's Rothko canvas says he's added value; Guardian, 10/7/12
Ben Quinn, Guardian; Man who defaced Tate Modern's Rothko canvas says he's added value: "On Sunday night, a man who identified himself as Vladimir Umanets, and answering a phone number provided for an exhibition of "yellowism", said he was responsible for the incident at the Tate Modern and had done so in order to draw attention to what was going on in contemporary art. "I believe that if someone restores the [Rothko] piece and removes my signature the value of the piece would be lower but after a few years the value will go higher because of what I did," he said, comparing himself to Marcel Duchamp, the French artist who shocked the art establishment when he signed a urinal and put it on display in 1917."
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Do patent and copyright law restrict competition and creativity excessively? Posner; Becker-Posner Blog, 9/30/12
Becker-Posner Blog; Do patent and copyright law restrict competition and creativity excessively? Posner: "The most serious problem with copyright law is the length of copyright protection, which for most works is now from the creation of the work to 70 years after the author’s death. Apart from the fact that the present value of income received so far in the future is negligible, obtaining copyright licenses on very old works is difficult because not only is the author in all likelihood dead, but his heirs or other owners of the copyright may be difficult or even impossible to identify or find. The copyright term should be shorter."
Google Deal Gives Publishers a Choice: Digitize or Not; New York Times, 10/4/12
Miller, C. New York Times; Google Deal Gives Publishers a Choice: Digitize or Not: ""The settlement does not answer the question at the heart of the litigation between Google and publishers and authors — whether Google is infringing copyright by digitizing books. It essentially allows both sides to agree to disagree, and gives publishers the right to keep their books out of Google’s reach. “We’re very pleased because the settlement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright holders and publishers, and whether they’re going to make their rights available,” said Tom Allen, chief executive of the Association of American Publishers. But the bigger case, between Google and the Authors Guild, remains tied up in court. An agreement between those two parties will determine whether Google can move forward with its broader, more ambitious digitizing plan. “That’s the lawsuit with high stakes,” Mr. Grimmelmann said... The settlement also did not address the difficult issue of so-called orphan works — those that are still under copyright but whose copyright holder or author cannot be found.""
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