Thursday, June 30, 2016

Apple wins patent on technology to stop fans filming gigs; Guardian, 6/30/16

Guardian Music, Guardian; Apple wins patent on technology to stop fans filming gigs:
"Pitchfork reports that Apple has won approval from the US Patent and Trademark Office for technology that could be used to prevent fans filming or taking photos of gigs on their iPhones."

A Look at Copyright Lawsuits Involving Hit Songs; Associated Press via New York Times, 6/24/16

Associated Press via New York Times; A Look at Copyright Lawsuits Involving Hit Songs:
"A federal court jury in Los Angeles has decided that Led Zeppelin did not steal a riff for the intro of its epic hit, "Stairway to Heaven." Here is a look at some other cases that have taken pop songs from the recording studio to the courtroom over plagiarism allegations."

Exclusive: Google, Facebook Quietly Move Toward Automatic Blocking of Extremist Videos; Reuters via New York Times, 6/24/16

Reuters via New York Times; Exclusive: Google, Facebook Quietly Move Toward Automatic Blocking of Extremist Videos:
"Some of the web’s biggest destinations for watching videos have quietly started using automation to remove extremist content from their sites, according to two people familiar with the process.
The move is a major step forward for internet companies that are eager to eradicate violent propaganda from their sites and are under pressure to do so from governments around the world as attacks by extremists proliferate, from Syria to Belgium and the United States.
YouTube and Facebook are among the sites deploying systems to block or rapidly take down Islamic State videos and other similar material, the sources said.
The technology was originally developed to identify and remove copyright-protected content on video sites. It looks for "hashes," a type of unique digital fingerprint that internet companies automatically assign to specific videos, allowing all content with matching fingerprints to be removed rapidly.
Such a system would catch attempts to repost content already identified as unacceptable, but would not automatically block videos that have not been seen before."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons; New York Times, 6/29/16

Jonathan Martin, New York Times; Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons:
"Yet there was an even more fundamental deceit to the business, unreported until now: Extensive portions of the materials that students received after paying their seminar fees, supposedly containing Mr. Trump’s special wisdom, had been plagiarized from an obscure real estate manual published a decade earlier.
Together, the exaggerated claims about his own role, the checkered pasts of the people with whom he went into business and the theft of intellectual property at the venture’s heart all illustrate the fiction underpinning so many of Mr. Trump’s licensing businesses: Putting his name on products and services — and collecting fees — was often where his actual involvement began and ended."

‘Happy Birthday’ Lawyers Target Other Song Copyrights; Bloomberg Law, 6/28/16

Anandashankar Mazumdar, Bloomberg Law; ‘Happy Birthday’ Lawyers Target Other Song Copyrights:
"In April, they filed a complaint over “We Shall Overcome,” the protest song synonymous with the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
” `We Shall Overcome’ is a profoundly important song,” Rifkin said. ” `Happy Birthday’ is possibly the world’s most famous song, but `We Shall Overcome’ is possibly the world’s most important song. It has a moving appeal to an awful lot of people, and it is a very important piece of music, and we think it’s important that it be given back to the public.”
On June 14, the lawyers filed another complaint, this time over “This Land Is Your Land,” the folk song associated with Depression-era troubadour and political activist Woody Guthrie, who wrote the lyrics to an existing melody. Guthrie’s copyright on the lyrics expired in 1973, the complaint said..."
Restoring Balance to the Copyright Act
As they take on similar cases, Rifkin said he considers the challenge of dubious copyright claims an important part of the copyright system. He and Newman, he said, are trying to hit the balance referred to by Justice Elena Kagan in an opinion in a Supreme Court case involving legal fees in copyright cases.
The purpose of the Copyright Act—”enriching the general public through access to creative works”— is served by “striking a balance between two subsidiary aims: encouraging and rewarding authors’ creations while also enabling others to build on that work,” Kagan said."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Huckabee’s anti-gay-marriage rally leads to copyright suit, $25,000 payment; Ars Technica, 6/27/16

Joe Mullin, Ars Technica; Huckabee’s anti-gay-marriage rally leads to copyright suit, $25,000 payment:
"Now, CNN has reported that Huckabee's campaign ended up paying $25,000 to Sullivan's music company to resolve a copyright infringement lawsuit over the incident. Two payments of $12,500 each appeared on a June 20 document filed with the Federal Election Commission...
Huckabee's campaign didn't give up without a fight, though. In court documents, Huckabee argued that his use of "Eye of the Tiger" was "de minimis" and should be considered fair use. He also said the rally for Davis was a "religious assembly," which further mitigated against a finding of infringement.
This isn't the first time "Eye of the Tiger" has been in the political eye of the storm. Newt Gingrich used the song at rallies for years before getting sued in 2012, when he mounted a presidential bid. He settled for an undisclosed sum. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also used the song in 2012, but he quickly stopped after receiving a warning from McGarry."

Flipping Journals to Open Access; Library Journal, 6/22/16

John Parsons, Library Journal; Flipping Journals to Open Access:
"Mandates from governments, funding sources, and institutions, have made the switch to open access all but inevitable. This puts increasing pressure on traditional journals to change, a process commonly known as “flipping,” but a new study reveals the many ways to convert from subscriptions to OA.
Publishers are understandably cautious. Paid subscription models were established before the advent of the Internet and OA, to support the many services required to produce a peer-reviewed article. Every traditional publisher must navigate the transition with care—and on the basis of its own, unique circumstances."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Illuminating the ‘Dark’ Web and Content Monitoring; New York Times, 6/24/16

Ted Loos, New York Times; Illuminating the ‘Dark’ Web and Content Monitoring:
"Eva and Franco Mattes — married Brooklyn artists and “hacktivists” — use those ideas metaphorically, peeling back the surface of what they call the “sanitized” internet to reveal its murkier side: the world of content monitoring and the elusive individuals who are tasked with tracking and removing offensive material online.
Their latest exhibition, “Abuse Standards Violations,” on view at London’s Carroll/Fletcher gallery until Aug. 27, is a journey into what Ben Vickers, a London curator at the Serpentine Galleries and fan of their work, called “the dark, morbid heart of the internet.”"

Friday, June 24, 2016

Moonshine Maker Loses ‘Kentucky’ in Legal Battle With University; New York Times, 6/23/16

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times; Moonshine Maker Loses ‘Kentucky’ in Legal Battle With University:
"The university — whose Wildcats basketball team brings in millions of dollars in revenue each year — says it does; in 1997, it trademarked the word “Kentucky” for use on clothing. When Mr. Fultz opened shop last October in his home city, Whitesburg, and tried to trademark his business name, the university tried to block him from doing so for apparel. Officials said they mostly hoped to open negotiations with Mr. Fultz to keep him from marketing “Kentucky Mist Moonshine” T-shirts in the school’s signature colors of royal blue and white.
Instead, Mr. Fultz filed suit. But on Thursday, a federal court in Lexington sided with the university and dismissed his case.
In a 32-page ruling, Judge Danny C. Reeves of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky accepted the university’s arguments that it was immune from being sued, and that Kentucky Mist had no standing to bring the case."

‘Star Trek: Axanar’ Producers Fire Back at ‘Draconian’ Fan Film Guidelines; Comic Book Resources, 6/24/16

Kevin Melrose, Comic Book Resources; ‘Star Trek: Axanar’ Producers Fire Back at ‘Draconian’ Fan Film Guidelines:
"The producers of “Star Trek: Axanar” have responded to new fan film guidelines established by Paramount Pictures and CBS, calling them “Draconian” and stifling to fandom.
“We have been asking for guidelines for years,” producers said in a tweet. “CBS decided to make those guidelines Draconian.”"

Difference between trademark, copyright and patent; YourStory, 6/24/16

Nikita Bhatia,; Difference between trademark, copyright and patent:
"Intellectual property is a vast and complex term. Many a time people are confused or have incorrectly used the terms in intellectual property law. They have spoken of “copyrighting” an idea or even “patenting” a book! To understand these terms, it is essential to know what is Intellectual Property and what all does it entail."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Free Led Zeppelin: “This is about music, it’s not about sound”; Salon, 6/22/16

Scott Timberg, Salon; Free Led Zeppelin: “This is about music, it’s not about sound” :
"The federal court trial considering whether Led Zeppelin stole from a Spirit song for its ubiquitous “Stairway to Heaven” is moving toward its conclusion. Zeppelin singer Robert Plant took the stand Tuesday, saying he did not remember hearing the instrumental “Taurus” and describing in detail the way he wrote “Stairway” with guitarist Jimmy Page.
But the case is about a legal concept as much as musical ones – the plagiarism of intellectual property. Salon spoke to the Charles Cronin, who teaches at USC’s Gould School of Law and has written extensively on musical plagiarism. He’s also founder of the Music Copyright Infringement Resource, now housed at the university."

Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Infringement Suit Over Opening Lick of 'Stairway to Heaven'; ABC News, 6/23/16

Sherene Tagharobi and Lesley Messer, ABC News; Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Infringement Suit Over Opening Lick of 'Stairway to Heaven' :
"A jury today found that Led Zeppelin had not plagiarized the opening riff of "Stairway to Heaven."
After a day of deliberation, the ruling came back that there was no copyright infringement. An eight-person jury delivered the verdict, ruling there was no "extrinsic similarity between Spirit's 'Taurus' and 'Stairway,'" following five days of testimony from music experts, a former Spirit band member and the surviving members of Led Zeppelin."

Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines Announced;, 6/23/16

CBS & Paramount,; Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines Announced:
"Dear Star Trek fans,
Star Trek fandom is like no other.
Your support, enthusiasm and passion are the reasons that Star Trek has flourished for five decades and will continue long into the future. You are the reason the original Star Trek series was rescued and renewed in 1968, and the reason it has endured as an iconic and multi-generational phenomenon that has spawned seven television series and 13 movies.
Throughout the years, many of you have expressed your love for the franchise through creative endeavors such as fan films. So today, we want to show our appreciation by bringing fan films back to their roots.
The heart of these fan films has always been about expressing one’s love and passion for Star Trek. They have been about fan creativity and sharing unique stories with other fans to show admiration for the TV shows and movies. These films are a labor of love for any fan with desire, imagination and a camera.
We want to support this innovation and encourage celebrations of this beloved cultural phenomenon. It is with this perspective in mind that we are introducing a set of guidelines at Star Trek Fan Films.
Thank you for your ongoing and steadfast enthusiasm and support, which ensure that Star Trek will continue to inspire generations to come.
CBS and Paramount Pictures"

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

China Smartphone Makers Snap Up Patents in Fight for Market Dominance; Wall Street Journal, 6/20/16

Juro Osawa, Wall Street Journal; China Smartphone Makers Snap Up Patents in Fight for Market Dominance:
"China’s smartphone makers increasingly are turning to patents as ammunition as they try to reel in global leaders Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co."

Exhibit Explores Ancient Roman 'Designer' Labels, Trademarks; Associated Press via ABC News, 6/16/16

Frances D'Emilio, Associated Press via ABC News; Exhibit Explores Ancient Roman 'Designer' Labels, Trademarks:
"In an ancient twist to today's Made-in-Italy labeling, Romans of some 2,000 years ago took to branding with zeal, putting names, trademarks and other identifying details with meticulous care on items including tableware, plumbing pipes and lead ammunition for slingshots."

Taylor Swift Wants YouTube To Treat Artists More Fairly, Too; Huffington Post, 6/20/16

Sara Boboltz, Huffington Post; Taylor Swift Wants YouTube To Treat Artists More Fairly, Too:
"Taylor Swift, Sir Paul McCartney and U2 are among those set to join the music industry’s increasingly loud battle with the world’s largest music service: YouTube. The musicians hope to plead the case in a series of ads this week that it is time to reform a 17-year-old law known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that they believe puts tech giants before musicians.
Enacted way back in 1998, the DMCA offers certain protections — sometimes called “safe harbor” — for websites hosting copyrighted content. Under the law, websites like YouTube can serve copyrighted music uploaded by ordinary users so long as the site takes it down when the rights holder asks. In an open letter to be published Tuesday in D.C.-based publications The Hill, Politico and Roll Call, dozens of artists and major record labels call for reforming the DMCA, according to multiple reports.
Many major record labels are currently involved in contract renegotiations with YouTube, or will be shortly, meaning the letter will make its debut at a key time. Those same labels believe that the DMCA gives big tech companies like YouTube a leg up in negotiating fees — meaning less revenue is making its way back to music creators. And that doesn’t make artists very happy, either. Music industry executives call that difference between actual profit from user-generated content sites and estimated potential profit a “value gap.” And they’re out to close it."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Led Zeppelin faces copyright case for ‘Stairway to Heaven’; PBS NewsHour, 6/19/16

[Podcast and Transcript] Phil Hirschkorn, PBS NewsHour; Led Zeppelin faces copyright case for ‘Stairway to Heaven’ :
"This week in Los Angeles federal court, a jury began hearing evidence and testimony on whether rock band Led Zeppelin may have lifted part of their iconic song, “Stairway to Heaven.” At stake is the band’s reputation and millions of dollars. NewsHour Weekend’s Phil Hirschkorn reports."

Progress Worth Noting: Congress Strengthens The Freedom Of Information Act And The Public’s Right To Know; Huffington Post, 6/17/16

Dorothy Samuels, Huffington Post; Progress Worth Noting: Congress Strengthens The Freedom Of Information Act And The Public’s Right To Know:
"In a gloomy news week dominated by the slaughter of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. and its aftermath, it is understandable that Congressional approval of unrelated legislation easing access to government records has not garnered tons of public attention. But Monday’s House passage of the bipartisan Freedom of Information Improvement Act previously approved by the Senate (also by a unanimous vote) now sends to the White House a major FOIA reform bill and blast against Washington’s culture of unwarranted government secrecy. President Obama has said he’ll sign the measure — a fitting way to mark the 50th anniversary of the nation’s premier transparency law this July 4th.
The bill’s foremost accomplishment is that it will embed in federal law a “presumption of openness,” making it clear that “sunshine, not secrecy, is the default setting of our government” and “government information belongs in the hands of the people,” as Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Senate’s foremost Democratic champion of the legislation puts it...
The idea is to make it harder for agency officials deny release of government information sought under the FOIA. The “presumption of openness” was first laid out as executive branch policy by President Bill Clinton, only to be reversed by his successor, President George W. Bush. President Obama reinstated it in 2009 as one of his first acts upon taking office, but his administration has been criticized for straying from the commitment to openness in practice, even lobbying against a similar version of the legislation that nearly passed both houses of Congress two years ago."

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Four Big Questions to Help You Understand the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act; National Law Review, 6/16/16

William A. Nolan, National Law Review; Four Big Questions to Help You Understand the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act:
"On May 11, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), effective immediately. Previously, trade secret law has consisted almost entirely of 48 states’ versions of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), so a federal law is a significant development. Almost all businesses have at least some confidential information that would qualify as a trade secret, so it is important for businesses and their lawyers to understand what this new federal law means and does not mean. We do that here with four broad questions."

What is a Trademark? Is Your Business Ready for one?; Small Business Trends, 6/16/16

Nellie Akalp, Small Business Trends; What is a Trademark? Is Your Business Ready for one? :
"It takes a minimum of several months — sometimes close to a year — to register a trademark. While you may be at the mercy of the backlog at the USPTO, there are a few things you can do to make sure your application is processed as quickly as possible. First, the more distinctive your mark is, the easier it will be to trademark. A descriptive or generic name like “Pretty Flowers” will most likely be rejected.
In addition, performing a very thorough name search upfront is the most important thing you can do to speed along your trademark application and minimize the chance of rejection. Your application will be rejected (and you’ll lose your application fee) if the USPTO finds another business is already using a similar mark in commerce.
Searching the USPTO’s online database is a first step toward finding any similar and potentially conflicting marks. But, if you’re serious about your trademark application, you should also perform a thorough search that includes state trademark databases and business directories. That’s because a business can enjoy common law rights without formally registering. You can have a trademark lawyer or online legal filing service help you with this important search."

Beijing Says Apple's iPhone 6 Violates Chinese Design Patent; NPR, 6/17/16

Alina Selyukh, NPR; Beijing Says Apple's iPhone 6 Violates Chinese Design Patent:
"Apple has hit a new snag in China: Beijing's intellectual property agency has ruled that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus violate a design patent by one of China's own smartphone-makers.
Authorities found that this older generation of iPhones looks too similar to a phone, the 100C, made by a company called Shenzhen Baili. As a result, Apple was ordered to stop selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in Beijing.
However, Apple says it appealed the order and the ruling has been stayed for the duration of the appeal — meaning that for now, the sales will continue.
Curiously, the order did not apply to the latest generation of iPhones, the 6s and 6s Plus, even though they closely resemble the older phones."

Appeals Court Gives Internet Service Providers Big Relief in Copyright Disputes; Hollywood Reporter, 6/18/16

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Appeals Court Gives Internet Service Providers Big Relief in Copyright Disputes:
"On Thursday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long- and eagerly-awaited opinion in a case brought by major record labels against the video-sharing site Vimeo. The decision will be cheered by those in the tech community by providing some immunization from copyright liability.
Capitol Records and others sued the Barry Diller-owned Vimeo in 2009 — a virtual generation ago in the digital world. At the time, Viacom was fighting with YouTube over how to interpret the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows ISPs to escape copyright claims so long as they remove infringements expeditiously and not have actual knowledge of infringements on their networks. The since-settled YouTube controversy slowed the Vimeo case, which dealt with videos posted of the "lip dub" variety, showing users who choreographed elaborate lip-synching spectacles to popular music. Ultimately, Capitol Records et. al. v. Vimeo figures to be just as important as Viacom v. YouTube...
The case is now remanded back to the district court to sort out, but the decision may save Vimeo tens of millions of dollars in liability, and more importantly, become a new guiding post for copyright owners and digital service providers. Here's the full opinion."

Friday, June 17, 2016

You Will Never Unsee This Wondrously Strange Fake Japanese Advertisement for Donald Trump; Slate, 6/16/16

Katy Waldman, Slate; You Will Never Unsee This Wondrously Strange Fake Japanese Advertisement for Donald Trump:
"Mike Diva is, per his Facebook page, a “MAKER OF VIDEOS/MUSIC/MEMES/DREAMS” and he has bequeathed the pre-apocalyptic world its eighth wonder, a dizzying, sorbet-hued phantasmagoria that gestures toward the coming end times. It is called “Japanese Donald Trump Commercial”...
We could not resist getting Diva, whose real name is Mike Dahlquist, on the phone...
How long did it take you to make the video?
Dahlquist: All told, about a month and a half. I’m really lucky my friends are talented and willing to work for free, because of course we had zero budget. The actress was a friend of mine, perfect for the part—her hair was already like that and everything."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Everything you need to know about Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' copyright infringement trial; Entertainment Weekly, 6/16/16

Eric Renner Brown, Entertainment Weekly; Everything you need to know about Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' copyright infringement trial:
"This week, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin attended Los Angeles court for the infringement trial aiming to determine whether or not the iconic band relied too heavily on the song of one of their classic rock contemporaries when writing “Stairway to Heaven.” The convoluted saga could result in a change of credit and reallocated royalties — and at the very least it’s just the latest in Zeppelin’s decades-long struggle with crediting the influences behind some of their biggest hits. Read on for everything you need to know about the case."

Supreme Court Rules on Legal Fees in Copyright Cases; New York Times, 6/16/16

Adam Liptak, New York Times; Supreme Court Rules on Legal Fees in Copyright Cases:
"The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that a Thai student who in 2013 won a copyright case involving imported textbooks should have another chance to persuade a lower court that the textbook’s publisher should pay his legal fees...
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court, said whether the losing side’s position was objectively reasonable should play a major role in the analysis. But she said the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, and the district courts it supervises, may have placed nearly dispositive weight on that one factor.
Justice Kagan said other considerations — including motivation, deterrence and compensation — must also play a role in the analysis. But she appeared to suggest that the student, Supap Kirtsaeng, was unlikely to prevail under the correct standard."

Panels Brainstorm Ideas On Innovation And Drug Access; Intellectual Property Watch, 6/15/16

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; Panels Brainstorm Ideas On Innovation And Drug Access:
"The Harvard Global Health Institute and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society & Global Access in Action co-organised an event on practical strategies to expand access to medicine and promote innovation on 13 June. The event was partly webcast.
In his introductory remarks, Ashish Jha, K.T. Li professor of international health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, talked about the tension between two communities with two competing sets of ideas.
The first set, he said, is the real practical need for more innovation for treating diseases and diagnostic tests. However, innovation fundamentally is expensive, “and there is no shortcut that we know of to make innovation happen without anybody’s forces,” he said.
The opposing factor, he said, is that a very large proportion of the world’s population that cannot afford to pay for the innovation. “The idea that innovation would only benefit those who can afford to pay for it is an idea that we feel is both from a moral, economic, and intellectual perspective, unsustainable.”
“We have to move forward beyond this tension, beyond this point of contention … and find practical solutions” that both support innovation yet ensure that there is broad access, he said."

Mr. Modi, Don't Patent Cow Urine; New York Times, 6/16/16

Achal Prabhala and Sudhir Krishnaswamy, New York Times; Mr. Modi, Don't Patent Cow Urine:
"The B.J.P. government released India’s first National Intellectual Property Rights Policy last month, and it is dangerously misguided. Although the paper reaffirms the basic tenets of India’s admirably farsighted patent laws, it also calls for protecting traditional remedies like cow urine. Taken to its logical conclusion, this policy could open the door to many more exceptions, playing into the hands of patent-happy international pharmaceutical companies.
Big Pharma justifies aggressive patenting by claiming that profit-making drives invention by giving labs and companies an incentive to invest in research. Indian law takes the opposite view: Higher standards for legal protection leave more room for innovation. Unlike many other countries, India does not allow patents for natural substances, traditional remedies, frivolous inventions or marginal innovations.
This is a good thing — a great thing, in fact. Having fewer patents means more competition for more generic drugs, which means more affordable medicine for more people. Imatinib, a drug used to treat a form of leukemia, is available in India at about one-tenth the price it costs in much of the world. In 2000, when the only anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS available were produced by Western companies, the annual cost of treatment was about $10,000. The price has dropped to about $350, at least in the developing world, thanks to generic equivalents that were developed in India.
Naturally, all this drives Big Pharma mad. Its business model relies largely on patenting small tweaks to existing technologies, which multiplies financial returns with only minimal investment in research."

Paramount Says 'Star Trek' Fan Film Lawsuit Lives On; Hollywood Reporter, 6/16/16

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Paramount Says 'Star Trek' Fan Film Lawsuit Lives On:
"The two studios filed a copyright infringement lawsuit at the very end of 2015, and over objections that the Star Trek rights-owners couldn't really copyright elements like the Klingon language or the pointy Vulcan ears, a judge rejected a motion to dismiss. The legal dispute over a project hyped as a would-be studio-quality film that's set before Captain James. T. Kirk's voyage on the U.S.S. Enterprise has commanded attention in large part because the studios have either tolerated or encouraged fan-made works through the years.
In mid-May, during a promotional event for Star Trek Beyond, Abrams raised the hopes of many by hinting the lawsuit would be over soon...
So far, that hasn't turned out to be the case."

Apple gets patent for wrap-around iPhone screen; CNN Money, 6/14/16

Chris Isidore, CNN Money; Apple gets patent for wrap-around iPhone screen:
"Apple was granted a patent Tuesday for a 360-degree screen, which would put a display on all sides of an iPhone: front, back and slide.
Apple's application says the 360-degree screen would let customers play video games or watch videos that would play on both sides of the phone. It could also display a still photo that would appear in a continuous loop around the iPhone...
The patent application doesn't disclose any details about actual plans to incorporate this feature into an upcoming version of an iPhone. Very often patents are granted for innovations that are not brought to market by the patent holder for reasons such the cost of the new device or problems with getting it to function in the real world."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Carla Hayden is one Senate vote away from becoming a groundbreaking librarian of Congress; Washington Post, 6/10/16

Peggy McGlone, Washington Post; Carla Hayden is one Senate vote away from becoming a groundbreaking librarian of Congress:
[Kip Currier: Carla Hayden was an Assistant Professor in the Library and Information Science Department of the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences from 1987-1991.]
"Carla D. Hayden — President Obama’s nominee to become the 14th librarian of Congress — is one vote away from making history.
The Senate Rules Committee recommended that the full Senate approve the nomination of Hayden, 63, to become the new head of the Library of Congress. If approved, the head of Baltimore’s public library system would be the first woman and the first African American to lead the federal agency.
A past president of the American Library Association, Hayden has served on the National Museum and Library Services Board since 2010. She earned a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago. She is credited with improving the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, where she has been chief executive for 23 years, by upgrading its technology and establishing it as a vital community resource...
Appearing before the Senate committee in April, Hayden acknowledged the challenges facing the sprawling library. Last year, a congressional report criticized the agency for widespread technological failures that wasted tax dollars and caused problems for the Copyright Office and for services for the disabled. Hayden told lawmakers she believed the library could become a model for all libraries, which must adapt to a changing world...
The oldest federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress has 3,200 employees and an annual budget of $630 million. It serves as the research arm of Congress, provides Congress with legal advice and runs the Copyright Office, a major player in the world’s digital economy."

Led Zeppelin’s ’Stairway to Heaven’ in Copyright Trial; Wall Street Journal, 6/14/16

[Video] Mark Kelly, Wall Street Journal; Led Zeppelin’s ’Stairway to Heaven’ in Copyright Trial:
"A jury trial begins on Tuesday in Los Angeles to determine whether the opening notes to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" were copied from the song "Taurus" by the band Spirit."

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Citigroup Sues AT&T Over 'Thanks' Word: Copyright Infringement; Tech Times, 6/12/16

Horia Ungureanu, Tech Times; Citigroup Sues AT&T Over 'Thanks' Word: Copyright Infringement:
[Kip Currier: 2 mistakes in this Tech Times article: 1. In the headline. Copyright is neither relevant nor at issue in this case. 2. The Tech Times article's author says "Gizmodo showcases a picture of the patent, in case you need to see it to believe it.", but Patent is not relevant in this case either.
These are two striking examples of how different types of intellectual property are so often misunderstood and confused with one another. This story is an example of Trademark and Gizmodo gets the story right.]
"An unlikely lawsuit started as Citigroup filed a complaint against AT&T, which the credit card company says is infringing upon its trademark.
AT&T did not steal Citigroup's logo or slogan or anything of the sort, but it did have the audacity to use the word "thanks" in a campaign addressing customer-loyalty. The bank sued the telecom company, underlining the fact that it has secured a trademark for the word "thanks" some years ago.
This is not a late April Fool's Day joke, although we really wish it was.
According to the legal complaint that was filed in a Manhattan federal court, AT&T's campaign infringes a few of the trademarks of Citigroup. For example, the credit card enterprise owns both "Citi ThankYou" and "ThankYou." Gizmodo showcases a picture of the patent, in case you need to see it to believe it.
As a reminder, Citigroup has been making use of the "ThankYou" trademark since 2004, when it began a customer-loyalty program. The company says that over seven million of its clients have credit cards with the ThankYou slogan written in big letter across them."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

New York Times Says Fair Use Of 300 Words Will Run You About $1800; New York Times, 6/10/16

Tim Cushing, TechDirt; New York Times Says Fair Use Of 300 Words Will Run You About $1800:
"Fair use is apparently the last refuge of a scofflaw. Following on the heels of a Sony rep's assertion that people could avail themselves of fair use for the right price, here comes the New York Times implying fair use not only does not exist, but that it runs more than $6/word.
Obtaining formal permission to use three quotations from New York Times articles in a book ultimately cost two professors $1,884. They’re outraged, and have taken to Kickstarter — in part to recoup the charges, but primarily, they say, to “protest the Times’ and publishers’ lack of respect for Fair Use.
These professors used quotes from other sources in their book about press coverage of health issues, but only the Gray Lady stood there with her hand out, expecting nearly $2,000 in exchange for three quotes totalling less than 300 words.
The professors paid, but the New York Times "policy" just ensures it will be avoided by others looking to source quotes for their publications. The high rate it charges (which it claims is a "20% discount") for fair use of its work will be viewed by others as proxy censorship. And when censorship of this sort rears its head, most people just route around it. Other sources will be sought and the New York Times won't be padding its bottom line with ridiculous fees for de minimis use of its articles.
The authors' Kickstarter isn't so much to pay off the Times, but more to raise awareness of the publication's unwillingness to respect fair use."

Friday, June 10, 2016

The OPEN Government Data Act Would, Uh, Open Government Data; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 6/10/16

Elliot Harmon and Aaron Mackey, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); The OPEN Government Data Act Would, Uh, Open Government Data:
"The U.S. government has made huge strides in its open data practices over the last few years. Since it launched in 2009, has become a crucial source for everything from climate and agricultural data to Department of Education records. For the most part, this new era of data disclosure didn’t happen because Congress passed new laws; it happened through presidential orders and procedural improvements in the Executive Branch.
Unfortunately, it might be just as easy for future administrations to roll back the current open data program. That’s why EFF supports a bill that would mandate public access to government data and urges Congress to pass it.
Recently introduced in both the House and Senate, the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary Government Data Act (OPEN Data Act, S. 2852, H.R. 5051) would require all federal government agencies to automatically make public any data sets they produce, subject to narrow exceptions for national security or other reasons (more on those reasons in a minute).
It would also require that that data be shared in a machine-readable format—that is, a format that can be processed by a computer without a person having to manually tinker with each entry. In 2013, President Obama issued an executive order that government data be shared in machine-readable formats. The OPEN Government Data Act would lock that requirement into law and provide a stronger legal definition for machine-readable data.
EFF applauds the OPEN Data Act and hopes to see it pass. By turning the good practices that the Executive Branch has gradually adopted into law, the OPEN Data Act can help usher in a new era for U.S. data transparency."

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Open access: All human knowledge is there—so why can’t everybody access it?; Ars Technica, 6/7/16

Glyn Moody, Ars Technica; Open access: All human knowledge is there—so why can’t everybody access it? :
"In 1836, Anthony Panizzi, who later became principal librarian of the British Museum, gave evidence before a parliamentary select committee. At that time, he was only first assistant librarian, but even then he had an ambitious vision for what would one day became the British Library. He told the committee:
I want a poor student to have the same means of indulging his learned curiosity, of following his rational pursuits, of consulting the same authorities, of fathoming the most intricate inquiry as the richest man in the kingdom, as far as books go, and I contend that the government is bound to give him the most liberal and unlimited assistance in this respect...
The example of The Pirate Bay shows that the current game of domain whack-a-mole is not one that the lawyers are likely to win. But even if they did, it is too late.
Science magazine's analysis of Sci-Hub downloads reveals that the busiest city location is Tehran. It wrote: "Much of that is from Iranians using programs to automatically download huge swathes of Sci-Hub’s papers to make a local mirror of the site. Rahimi, an engineering student in Tehran, confirms this. 'There are several Persian sites similar to Sci-Hub'."
In this, people are following in the footsteps of Aaron Swartz, with the difference that we don't know what he intended to do with the millions of articles he had downloaded, whereas those mirroring Sci-Hub certainly intend to share the contents widely. It would be surprising if others around the world, especially in emerging economies, are not busily downloading all 45 million papers to do the same."

Beyoncé faces lawsuit over claims Lemonade trailer 'copied' ideas; Guardian, 6/9/16

Guardian; Beyoncé faces lawsuit over claims Lemonade trailer 'copied' ideas:
"A filmmaker has issued a lawsuit against Beyoncé, claiming the trailer for her visual album Lemonade copied images from a short film he had made.
Matthew Fulks says his film Palinoia had been seen by a member of Beyoncé’s team, and that a number of scenes appeared to have been recreated in the Lemonade trailer. “The number of aesthetic decisions included in Plaintiff’s Palinoia Work that are parroted in Defendants’ Lemonade Trailer demonstrates that the Lemonade Trailer is substantially similar to the Palinoia Work,” the complaint says. “The misappropriated content includes both the particular elements that the Plaintiff chose to comprise the Palinoia Work and the coordination and arrangement of those particular elements.”"

Ed Sheeran Sued For $20 Million For Allegedly Plagiarzing ‘Photograph’; Huffington Post, 6/8/16

Julia Brucculieri, Huffington Post; Ed Sheeran Sued For $20 Million For Allegedly Plagiarzing ‘Photograph’ :
"The English musician, who happens to be BFFs with Taylor Swift, is reportedly being sued for $20 million dollars over his song “Photograph,” according to Billboard.
Songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard and their publishing company claim the song borrows heavily from their track, “Amazing,” which was released as a single by 2010 “X Factor” winner Matt Cardle. Harrington and Leonard have written hits for some of the industry’s biggest stars, including Kylie Minogue.
To help with their case, the plaintiffs are working with attorney Richard Busch, who was involved in the copyright lawsuit between Marvin Gaye’s family and Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the song “Blurred Lines.” If you recall, Thicke and Williams lost the case and contested a $7.4 million jury verdict that found they plagiarized the Motown great’s “Got to Give It Up.”
The lawsuit against Sheeran says “Photograph” is too similar to the original composition of “Amazing” by Harrington and Leonard and the version recorded by Cardle. The plaintiffs claim the two songs share 39 identical notes."

Sweden bans M&M's logo in trademark battle; BBC News, 6/8/16

BBC News; Sweden bans M&M's logo in trademark battle:
"A Swedish court has ruled that the confectionery firm Mars can no longer advertise its M&M's brand with the lower case lettering "m&m".
The court ruled that the logo is too similar to the single lower case "m" used by the Swedish chocolate covered peanut brand Marabou.
If Mars doesn't appeal it will have to use the capital M&M logo in Sweden starting in July...
In January, Nestle lost its case to trademark the finger shape of its KitKat bars. A British court ruled that a Norwegian bar, called Kvikk Lunsj, was entitled to use the same shape."

Monday, June 6, 2016

Hacker Lexicon: What Is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?; Wired, 6/6/16

Kim Zetter, Wired; Hacker Lexicon: What Is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act? :
"THE CALL FOR copyright reform in America has grown so loud that Congress has finally heard it. Lawmakers have ordered a slate of studies to look into how to fix what has become a broken system, and activists are cautiously optimistic that this could be the first step toward reform. The source of the fracture? The Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The DMCA was passed in 1998 as an anti-piracy statute effectively making it illegal to circumvent copy protections designed to prevent pirates from duplicating digital copyrighted works and selling or freely distributing them. It also makes it illegal to manufacture or distribute tools or techniques for circumventing copy controls.
But in reality the controversial law’s effects have been much broader by allowing game developers, music and film companies and others to keep a tight control on how consumers use their copyrighted works, preventing them in some cases from making copies of their purchased products for their own use or from jailbreaking smartphones and other devices to use them in ways the manufacturers dislike.
The DMCA has two problematic sections: section 1201, which deals with the circumvention of copy-protections, and section 512, which allows a copyright holder to send a so-called takedown notice to web sites and others believed to be infringing a copyright."

Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to Be Scrutinized in Court in Copyright Case; New York Times, 6/5/16

Ben Sisario, New York Times; Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to Be Scrutinized in Court in Copyright Case:
"Whatever happens with the Led Zeppelin trial, the industry is still trying to understand the effects of the “Blurred Lines” case, which is under appeal.
Matt Pincus, the chief executive of Songs Music Publishing, an independent publisher that works with current pop and hip-hop acts like the Weeknd and Desiigner, said his company was seeing far more claims of infringement now — most made privately, outside of court — than ever before. But the reasons were not clear, he said.
“It could be opportunism, because lawyers are smelling blood,” Mr. Pincus said. “But it could also be because we have moved to a real collaboration economy now, where pop records have multiple collaborators in a way that they didn’t five or six years ago.” Those collaborators may dispute credits or royalties after the fact."

Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose is trying to get a 'fat photo' off the Internet; CNet, 6/5/16

Aloysius Low, CNet; Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose is trying to get a 'fat photo' off the Internet:
"What would you do if you were the lead singer of Guns N' Roses and some young punks on the Internet used a photo of you to make fat jokes? Well, Axl Rose thinks the best way to deal is to wipe all traces of the picture off the web, and he's starting with Google...
Interestingly, the copyright for the original image is tricky. While TorrentFreak did hunt down the original photographer to check if Axl Rose has the right to take down the image, Web Sheriff, the company performing the takedown, says that photographers at the singer's show sign an agreement transferring copyright ownership to his company."

IBM has been awarded an average of 24 patents per day so far in 2016; Quartz, 6/2/16

[2,500th post since this blog was started in 2008--Kip Currier]
Mike Murphy, Quartz; IBM has been awarded an average of 24 patents per day so far in 2016:
"The media tends to focus on the crazy things Google, Facebook, and Apple patent, but they’re still dwarfed by more traditional companies like IBM and Samsung when it comes to the number of patents they’re awarded each year. Through the first half of 2016, IBM has, yet again, been the leader in technology patents, averaging roughly 23.6 patents awarded each day..."
The company is in the middle of a painful reinvention, that sees the company shifting further away from hardware sales into cloud computing, analytics, and AI services. It’s also plugging away on a myriad of fundamental scientific research projects—many of which could revolutionize the world if they can come to fruition—which is where many of its patent applications originate."

Public info, now: As county and city improve, the state stays lousy; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/6/16

Editorial Board, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Public info, now: As county and city improve, the state stays lousy:
"County officials in recent days have rolled out new online tools to make certain types of public information more accessible.
Controller Chelsa Wagner on Thursday debuted, which features graphs, charts and sortable data about spending, vendors, employees, salaries and benefits. She also introduced, providing instant access to contracts with vendors...
Local governments are getting better at providing basic financial and vendor information to the public, and some officials, such as city Controller Michael Lamb, take pride in providing easy access to public information...
Across the state, however, access to public documents is uneven, and obtaining anything beyond routine documents, such as annual budgets, often involves a cumbersome right-to-know process in which the government agency drags its feet and attempts to keep secret anything potentially embarrassing or controversial. Incremental progress on openness should be applauded, but it is important to remember that the larger battle is far from won."

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Google/Oracle decision was bad for copyright and bad for software; Ars Technica, 6/2/16

Peter Bright, Ars Technica; The Google/Oracle decision was bad for copyright and bad for software:
"Oracle's long-running lawsuit against Google has raised two contentious questions. The first is whether application programming interfaces (APIs) should be copyrightable at all. The second is whether, if they are copyrightable, repurposing portions of those APIs can be done without a license in the name of "fair use.""

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Open-access journal eLife gets £25-million boost; Nature, 6/1/16

Ewen Callaway, Nature; Open-access journal eLife gets £25-million boost:
"When three of the world’s biggest private biomedical funders launched the journal eLife in 2012, they wanted to shake up the way in which scientists published their top papers. The new journal would be unashamedly elitist, competing with biology’s traditional ‘big three’, Nature, Science and Cell, to publish the best work. But unlike these, eLife would use working scientists as editors, and it would be open access. And with backers providing £18 million (US$26 million) over five years, authors wouldn’t need to pay anything to publish there.
Four years and more than 1,800 publications later, eLife’s funders — the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, the Wellcome Trust in London and the Max Planck Society in Berlin — announced on 1 June that they will continue their support. They will back the non-profit eLife organization with a further £25 million between 2017 and 2022 (see ‘eLife by the numbers’)."

Madonna prevails in copyright lawsuit over 'Vogue' song; Reuters, 6/2/16

Dan Levine, Reuters; Madonna prevails in copyright lawsuit over 'Vogue' song:
"In a 2-1 vote, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California ruled that a general audience would not recognize the 0.23-second snippet in "Vogue" as originating from the song "Love Break."
Shep Pettibone, a producer of "Vogue," also recorded "Love Break" in the early 1980's, according to the court ruling.
The plaintiff, VMG Salsoul LLC, owns the copyright to "Love Break" and alleged Pettibone sampled the "horn hit" from the earlier work and added it to "Vogue."...
The dissenting judge, Barry Silverman, said even a small sample of music, used without a license, should be a copyright violation. "In any other context, this would be called theft," Silverman wrote.
Robert Besser, a lawyer for VMG Salsoul, said in a phone interview: "I agree with the dissent because it should be an infringement for copying any piece of any sound recording." He said his client would review its legal options."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Game of Thrones is taking action against Pornhub for breach of copyright; BBC News, 6/1/16

BBC News; Game of Thrones is taking action against Pornhub for breach of copyright:
"The makers of Game of Thrones are taking action against Pornhub over breach of copyright.
HBO says it's because some scenes from the show have appeared on the site.
Some other videos even include parodies of porn stars pretending to be characters such as Cersei Lannister and Lord Varys from Game of Thrones."

Music World Bands Together Against YouTube, Seeking Change to Law; New York Times, 5/31/16

Ben Sisario, New York Times; Music World Bands Together Against YouTube, Seeking Change to Law:
"The fight over the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has touched a nerve. The music industry is bracing for what may be a high-wattage lobbying battle reminiscent of the one over the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill that was abandoned in 2012 after opposition from technology activists and Internet giants like Google and Wikipedia.
The copyright law gives “safe harbor” to Internet service providers that host third-party material. While music groups criticize the law, some legal scholars and policy specialists say any change to it would need to be considered carefully, particularly to preserve protections like fair use.
“Anything that rewrites the D.M.C.A. isn’t just going to affect YouTube,” said James Grimmelmann, a law professor at the University of Maryland. “It is going to affect blogs. It is going to affect fan sites. It is going to affect places for game creators and documentarians and all kinds of others.”
In December, the United States Copyright Office asked for comments about D.M.C.A. as part of a review of the law, and filings by record companies show how laborious copyright policing can be."

Reprint of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ Tests German Law; New York Times, 6/1/16

Melissa Eddy, New York Times; Reprint of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ Tests German Law:
"A German publisher of right-wing books has begun selling a reprint of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” originally issued in 1943 by the Nazi party’s central publishing house, a move that risks violating Germany’s law against the distribution of Nazi propaganda.
A copyright on “Mein Kampf” that was held by the Bavarian government expired on Dec. 31, and an annotated scholarly edition was published this year with government permission.
Now, state prosecutors in the German city of Leipzig, where the publisher, Der Schelm, is based, are investigating whether they can press charges . Last week, prosecutors in Bamberg opened a separate investigation after a bookseller, who was not identified, advertised Der Schelm’s edition.
Although Hitler’s two-volume treatise, written from 1924 to 1927 and laying out his ideas on race and violence, is widely available on the internet, the annotated version is the only one that is legal in Germany. The 3,500 comments accompanying the text provide context for the work, and they are aimed, in part, at trying to prevent a new generation from taking up Nazi ideologies.
“Promoting an edition without annotations is considered a criminal offense,” Christopher Rosenbusch, a spokesman for prosecutors in Bamberg, said on Wednesday."

Donald Trump's 'playbooks' offer a glimpse into his ruthless business practices; Guardian, 6/1/16

Rupert Neate and Lauren Gambino, Guardian; Donald Trump's 'playbooks' offer a glimpse into his ruthless business practices:
"US district court judge Gonzalo Curiel on Tuesday made public more than 400 pages of Trump University “playbooks” describing how Trump staff should target prospective students’ weaknesses to encourage them to sign up for a $34,995 Gold Elite three-day package.
Trump University staff were instructed to get people to pile on credit card debt and to target their financial weaknesses in an attempt to sell them the high-priced real estate courses.
The documents contained an undated “personal message” from Trump to new enrollees at the school: “Only doers get rich. I know that in these three packed days, you will learn everything to make a million dollars within the next 12 months.”...
New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who has also sued Trump University, renewed his attacks on Trump on Tuesday. “You are not allowed to protect the trade secrets of a three-card Monte game,” Schneiderman said ahead of the document’s release."