Saturday, October 25, 2014

Open Minds, Open Access; Inside Higher Ed, 10/22/14

Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed; Open Minds, Open Access:
"What I will say is that it seems wonderfully appropriate that we are thinking through the legal implications of this practice during Open Access Week. This annual event is in its eighth year and we have seen progress made. If you're not quite sure what open access means, the best two-minute explanation was written by Peter Suber and he explains it well, if not in as much depth as in his book about it. A lot of scholars now buy into the idea that it makes sense for their research to be available to all who have an internet connection, not just to those who are lucky enough to work at a research institution or have the resources to purchase all the books and articles they might want to look at.
There's a persistent misperception among many scholars that all open access publishing operations charge authors (most don't), that they are not peer reviewed (most are), and that they're run by scammers (yes, some scammers have set up faux publishing sites, but they're pretty obviously bogus. Rejecting all open access publications as a result is kind of like saying you will only accept messages that come on paper in an envelope with a stamp because email is a scam run by Spanish Prisoner crooks.)
One argument against open access that has never made sense to me is that the system we have works perfectly well and anyone who needs access to research already has it. Publishers have said this to members of the US Congress with a straight face. To me, this is a startlingly anti-intellectual stance."

Research Is Just the Beginning: A Free People Must Have Open Access to the Law; Electronic Frontier Foundation, 10/23/14

Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation; Research Is Just the Beginning: A Free People Must Have Open Access to the Law:
"The bad news: the specter of copyright has raised its ugly head. A group of standards-development organizations (SDOs) have banded together to sue Public.Resource.Org, accusing the site of infringing copyright by reproducing and publishing a host of safety codes that those organizations drafted and then lobbied heavily to have incorporated into law. These include crucial national standards like the national electrical codes and fire safety codes. Public access to such codes—meaning not just the ability to read them, but to publish and re-use them—can be crucial when there is an industrial accident; when there is a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina; or when a home-buyer wants to know whether her house is code-compliant. Publishing the codes online, in a readily accessible format, makes it possible for reporters and other interested citizens to not only view them easily, but also to search, excerpt, and generate new insights.
The SDOs argue that they hold a copyright on those laws because the standards began their existence in the private sector and were only later "incorporated by reference" into the law. That claim conflicts with the public interest, common sense, and the rule of law.
With help from EFF and others, Public.Resource.Org is fighting back, and the outcome of this battle will have a major impact on the public interest. If any single entity owns a copyright in the law, it can sell or ration the law, as well as make all sort of rules about when, where, and how we share it."

Downloading Music Is Quickly Going Out Of Fashion;, 10/24/14

Kerry Flynn,; Downloading Music Is Quickly Going Out Of Fashion:
"First records died, then cassette tapes, then CDs and now, downloads. That's right, we're all but officially in the age of streaming services. Apple might operate the largest online music store in the world, but the Apple Store's iTunes digital music sales have fallen about 13 percent this year, a source familiar with the matter tells the Wall Street Journal. The writing is on the wall."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why We Need Bright Lines; Inside Higher Ed, 10/20/14

Joseph Storch, Inside Higher Ed; Why We Need Bright Lines:
"Frankly, the dueling decisions in these cases, and the numerous articles and statements by serious copyright scholars on both sides of this analysis, show that even those who steep themselves in the details of fair use can disagree on whether a certain use is fair or violative.
When intellectual property law experts cannot agree, we should not expect our history and math faculty to do justice to the fair use analysis each time.
Instead, faculty will divide into two camps. One group will “throw caution to the wind” and use whatever content they wish in whatever form they desire, hoping never to raise the ire of the publishing companies.
The other, out of an abundance of caution, will self-censor, and fail to make fair use of content for fear that they might step over a line they cannot possibly identify, and can never be certain of until a judge rules one way or the other. Either way, our students and the publishers lose out.""

Crooner in Rights Spat: Are copyright laws too strict?; New Yorker, 10/20/14

Louis Menand, New Yorker; Crooner in Rights Spat: Are copyright laws too strict? :
"This almost instinctive distinction between what is proper in the analog realm and what is proper in the digital realm is at the center of a global debate about the state of copyright law. Statutes protecting copyright have never been stricter; at the same time, every minute of every day, millions of people are making or using copies of material—texts, sounds, and images—that they didn’t create. According to an organization called Tru Optik, as many as ten billion files, including movies, television shows, and games, were downloaded in the second quarter of this year. Tru Optik estimates that approximately ninety-four per cent of those downloads were illegal. The law seems to be completely out of whack with the technology."

Cloud Computing Is Forcing a Reconsideration of Intellectual Property; New York Times, 10/11/14

Quentin Hardy, New York Times; Cloud Computing Is Forcing a Reconsideration of Intellectual Property:
"Almost overnight, our technology revolution is shaking up entire industries and remaking society. Don’t get caught up in the small stuff, though: Tech really is changing how we think about our ideas.
We’ve used ideas to sculpt the globe since the Industrial Revolution, thanks largely to the way we handle intellectual property. When machines, and machines to make identical machines, mass-produced reliably identical goods, it was because people understood the same set of instructions.
Mass-produced books, music and movies were possible, too. Like machine-making instructions, these items were made reliable and protected with laws of copyright, patent and trademark.
Now, according to people involved in the business of protecting ideas, all of that is set to change.
Software, lashing together thousands of computer servers into fast and flexible cloud-computing systems, is the reason. Clouds, wirelessly connected to more software in just about everything, make it possible to shift, remix and borrow from once separate industrial categories."

Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame; New York Times, 10/14/14

Deb Amlen, New York Times; Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame:
"The artist formerly known as Prince and who is apparently very sensitive about copyright has prevented any videos of “RASPBERRY BERET” from being played on YouTube."

Teenage Mutant Ninja Journal! Celebrating an Open Access Birthday; Scientific American, 10/20/14

Hilda Bastian, Scientific American; Teenage Mutant Ninja Journal! Celebrating an Open Access Birthday:
The world of medical journals needs a fresh infusion of idealism.
And with those words from PLOS founders, Mike Eisen, Pat Brown, and Harold Varmus, the first issue of PLOS Medicine launched 10 years ago today.
Its “mutant” superpower was being open access. Then – as now – it was bold, idealistic, and an active advocate for open science.
The year before, when PLOS had just arrived, Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet, wrote:
An historic realignment of power is beginning to take place in scientific and medical journal publishing. Nobody is certain about the final outcome.”"


"Open Access Week, a global event now entering its seventh year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they've learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research."

Celebrating Open Access Week: Research Should Be Free, Available, and Open; Electronic Frontier Foundation, 10/20/14

Electronic Frontier Foundation; Celebrating Open Access Week: Research Should Be Free, Available, and Open:
"Welcome to the eighth annual Open Access Week! We're joining an international community—researchers and students, doctors and patients, librarians and activists—to celebrate free and open access to knowledge. This is also a time to discuss the barriers and costs of keeping research and information locked up with restrictive licenses and publisher paywalls.
This week, we'll be blogging daily about various aspects of open access, as well as ways to get involved in the movement. Visit this page throughout the week to find a list of all our blog posts. If you have further questions, be sure to tune in on Thursday at 10 a.m. PT for a reddit AmA, where we’ll be joined by fellow advocates and researchers."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Copy Me" episode 3: "Early Copyright History";, 10/13/14

Cory Doctorow,; "Copy Me" episode 3: "Early Copyright History" :
"Alex writes, "It features censorship, hangings, dissent and criticism, a whole bunch of state and church control, angry queens, sad Stationers, and, of course, our terrible culprit: the printing press.""

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Conservatives' copyright law changes could backfire; CBC, 10/14/14

Kady O'Malley, CBC News; Conservatives' copyright law changes could backfire:
"It's not hard to imagine the Conservative advertising department working overtime to come up with a new ad centred on a clip of Trudeau's now infamous comments.
If done right — and until Trudeau came along, that ad department had an excellent track record, at least as far as demolishing the credibility of Liberal leaders — a campaign focusing on Trudeau's most ungainly on-camera moments of late could at least start to make up for the time and money wasted in trying to depict him as Canada's new Prince of Pot.
But last spring, representatives from Canada's major broadcasters — CBC, Radio Canada, CTV, Rogers and Shaw, owner of Global — served notice to all political parties that they were seriously considering imposing a collective blackout on ads making use of their proprietary footage without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.
Under that policy, if the Conservative Party can't strike a deal with one of the networks that happened to be filming Trudeau at the time, they would likely find the ad blocked from the airwaves."

YouTube Has Paid $1 Billion to Copyright Holders Since 2007;, 10/14/14; YouTube Has Paid $1 Billion to Copyright Holders Since 2007:
"YouTube has paid out a cool $1 billion to copyright holders since 2007, the company confirmed to NBC News. It's all part of YouTube's Content ID program, which, according to a Google spokesperson, scans 400 years' worth of content every single day for potential copyright issues...
The majority of Content ID's 500-plus partners decide to monetize instead of ban those videos, according to Google, which could explain why the entertainment industry shifted from complaining about YouTube to awarding it a Primetime Engineering Emmy Award in 2013."

Monday, October 6, 2014

Readers Debate Online Piracy and the Future of Digital Entertainment; New York Times, 9/29/14

Jenna Wortham, New York Times; Readers Debate Online Piracy and the Future of Digital Entertainment:
"On Sunday, The New York Times published the story of a popular — and illegal — website that let people stream and download movies and television shows at their leisure. The site was taken offline in 2010 by the federal government, and the administrators behind the site were charged with conspiracy and copyright infringement. Nearly all served time in prison. The article touched a nerve among Times readers, eliciting hundreds of reactions about copyright infringement and intellectual property, and how the digital world complicates both.
Here is a sampling of their comments..."

Supreme Court won’t intervene in Shuster-DC fight over Superman;, 10/6/14

Kevin Melrose,; Supreme Court won’t intervene in Shuster-DC fight over Superman:
"The U.S. Supreme Court this morning declined to intervene in the copyright dispute between the Joe Shuster Estate and DC Comics, effectively ending the long, and frequently bitter, battle over who owns Superman.
By denying the estate’s petition, the justices let stand a November 2013 ruling by the Ninth Circuit that Shuster’s nephew is prevented by a 1992 agreement with DC from reclaiming the artist’s stake in the first Superman story under a clause of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act.
At issue was a now 22-year-old deal in which the Shuster estate relinquished all claims to the property in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” which included paying Shuster’s debts following his death earlier that year and providing his sister Jean Peavy and brother Frank Shuster with a $25,000 annual pension."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Kirby vs. Marvel settlement: The King’s goal fulfilled;, 10/1/14

Corey Blake,; Kirby vs. Marvel settlement: The King’s goal fulfilled:
"Nearly one month after what would’ve been Jack Kirby’s 97th birthday, the announcement was made: Concluding a five-year copyright battle, and decades of contention about credit and compensation, Marvel and the Kirby family revealed Friday that they had reached a settlement, just ahead of a conference to decide whether the U.S. Supreme Court would take up the case.
“Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes,” they said in a joint statement, “and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.”
This is, without question, excellent news, and cause for celebration.
As is typical with settlements, the terms of their agreement aren’t made public, and the one-sentence statement gives no indication of how Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history will be honored."

Grooveshark employees are guilty of copyright infringement, judge rules; Guardian, 9/30/14

Samuel Gibbs, Guardian; Grooveshark employees are guilty of copyright infringement, judge rules:
"Griesa pointed to an internal memo sent in 2007 where Greenberg asked employees to “please share as much music as possible from outside the office” to help the service get off the ground.
“By overtly instructing its employees to upload as many files as possible to Grooveshark as a condition of their employment, Escape engaged in purposeful conduct with a manifest intent to foster copyright infringement via the Grooveshark service,” Griesa wrote.
Griesa gave the parties 21 days to reach agreement to stop further infringement.
“Escape respectfully disagrees with the court’s decision, and is currently assessing its next steps, including the possibility of an appeal,” John Rosenberg, a partner at Rosenberg & Giger representing the defendants told Reuters.
The ruling opens the door to a multimillion-pound damages suit from the record labels, who are keen to see the service shut down, calling it a “linear descendant” of file sharing services Grokster, LimeWire and Napster all of whom have been shutdown over copyright infringement."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

For Bill on Disabled Access to Online Teaching Materials, the Devil’s in the Details; Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/30/14

Rebecca Koenig, Chronicle of Higher Education; For Bill on Disabled Access to Online Teaching Materials, the Devil’s in the Details:
"As smart classrooms become the norm on more campuses and online courses proliferate, some observers worry that the digital revolution will leave students with disabilities behind. But a bill under consideration in the U.S. Congress, the Technology, Equality, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (HR 3505), would deal with that concern by creating accessibility guidelines for electronic materials used or assigned by college professors and administrators.
While the bill, known as the Teach Act, has bipartisan support in Congress, several higher-education organizations have raised concerns about what they consider the legislation’s broad language, inflexibility, and misplaced oversight."

Kurt Busiek Breaks Down the Marvel/Jack Kirby Legal Battle;, 10/1/14

Steve Sunu,; Kurt Busiek Breaks Down the Marvel/Jack Kirby Legal Battle:
"Additionally, Busiek posits a theory as to why Marvel decided to settle -- and it has to do with various organizations, including the Writer's Guild, the Director's Guild, the Screen Actor's Guild and more, filing amicus briefs that argued Marvel's current definition of employee is "not workable."
"[I]f the Supreme Court upholds it, it'll create chaos for other industries, where things that used to be classed as rights sales suddenly got redefined as work for hire. So they wanted the Supreme Court to hear the case and decide that no, the rules of work for hire don't work that way.
"And that's where things sat until Friday, when Marvel and the Kirbys settled, on the last possible business day before the Supreme Court started discussing whether to take the case.
"Based on that, it sure doesn't look like Marvel's throwing the Kirbys a few bucks to go away. If that's what they wanted to do, they could have done that any time within the last few years. Whoever blinked, it was the side that had the most to lose if the case went to the Supreme Court and risked a ruling they didn't like."

New UK Copyright Exception Allows Mashups -- But Only If Judges Think They Are Funny;, 10/1/14

Glyn Moody,; New UK Copyright Exception Allows Mashups -- But Only If Judges Think They Are Funny:
"Leaving aside the fact that judges tend to be somewhat advanced in years, and are therefore likely to have a very different idea from young creative artists of what "funny" means, there is also the point that this narrow definition excludes a huge class of mashups that aren't even intended to be funny, just creative."