Monday, January 29, 2018

We Shall Overcome’ Is Put in Public Domain in a Copyright Settlement; New York Times, January 26, 2018

Christopher Mele, New York Times; 'We Shall Overcome’ Is Put in Public Domain in a Copyright Settlement

"The settlement was “an enormously important achievement” because others can now use the song without paying for it or seeking permission, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, Mark C. Rifkin, said in a telephone interview on Friday night. “We’re really thrilled to be part of an effort to give this song back to the public where it belongs,” he said.

The case is the latest one to cancel the copyright of a time-honored song that many people may well assume was available for anyone to sing: A judge invalidated the copyright on “Happy Birthday to You” in 2015."

Friday, January 26, 2018

Exclusive: playwright's estate says The Shape of Water used his work without credit; Guardian, January 25, 2018

Sam Levin, Guardian; Exclusive: playwright's estate says The Shape of Water used his work without credit

"The estate of the Pulitzer-winning playwright Paul Zindel has accused the film The Shape of Water of using the late writer’s work without credit, arguing that Guillermo del Toro’s movie, which is leading in Oscar nominations, was “obviously derived” from a 1969 play.

David Zindel, son of the American playwright, told the Guardian he believes his father’s work Let Me Hear You Whisper, a play about a female janitor in a research laboratory who bonds with a captive dolphin and tries to rescue the creature, is a source of inspiration for The Shape of Water. Del Toro’s film was nominated on Tuesday for 13 Oscars, including best picture, best director and best original screenplay."

Grumpy Cat Awarded $710,000 In Copyright Infringement Suit; NPR, January 25, 2018

Scott Neuman, NPR; Grumpy Cat Awarded $710,000 In Copyright Infringement Suit

"In the end, the jury sided with Grumpy Cat, awarding $710,000 for copyright and trademark infringement and $1 for breach of contract, Courthouse News says."

What's behind the soaring cost of college textbooks;, January 26, 2018

Kathy Kristof,; 

What's Behind the Soaring Cost of College Textbooks

"Notably, a movement is growing to provide copyright-free open-access text books. But these programs have been adopted at only 6 percent of schools. Open-access course materials are peer-reviewed, easily customizable and can include textbooks, articles and even sample problems and quizzes -- just like the materials publishers often hide behind paywalls. 

"With open educational resources, there are no access codes, and students never lose access to their core content," said Nicole Finkbeiner, associate director of institutional relations for OpenStax, an open-textbooks publisher based at Rice University in Texas. "This enables students to continue to use and refer to their core content as they move forward in their studies, when studying for advancement exams, and in their professional lives, without any additional costs or barriers."

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, has twice introduced legislation would create a national grant program to encourage professors to adopt open-access texts. However, the legislation stalled in the Health and Education Committee."

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Appeals court vacates decisions that canceled Redskins trademark registrations; USA Today, January 18, 2018

Erik Brady, USA Today; Appeals court vacates decisions that canceled Redskins trademark registrations

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Thursday vacated decisions that had canceled the Washington NFL team’s federal trademark registrations, officially ending a legal fight that lasted more than 25 years.

Legally speaking, the team won. Culturally speaking, Native American petitioners believe they did."

Kitty Perry and the copyright lessons for seven-year-olds; BBC News, January 17, 2018

Brian Wheeler, BBC News; 

Kitty Perry and the copyright lessons for seven-year-olds

"The Intellectual Property Office is leading the government's efforts to crack down on internet piracy and protect the revenues of Britain's creative industries.
The government agency is spending £20,000 of its own money on the latest Nancy campaign, which is part-funded by the UK music industry.
Catherine Davies, head of the IPO's education outreach department, which already produces teaching materials for GCSE students, admitted IP was a "complex subject" for small children and something of a challenge to make accessible and entertaining...
"A basic understanding of IP and a respect for others' IP rights is therefore a key life skill."
But some fear the IPO is being too heavy-handed in its warnings about piracy and that the message could backfire.
Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group campaign, said: "Some of the material seems misleading, in particular the episode explaining that downloading is the same as stealing from a shop."

How AI and copyright would work; Tech Crunch, January 9, 2018

Dave Davis, Tech Crunch; 

How AI and copyright would work

"The real problem of self-aware AI generating original content with intent has not arrived (yet). But it may, and it is interesting to think about.

The core question about AI-generated works is: Can AI-generated works be reasonably construed as original expression, even though there’s no person behind the work doing the expressing?"

Copyright Week 2018: Join Us in Fighting for Better Copyright Law and Policy; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), January 15, 2018

Katharine Trendacosta, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); 

Copyright Week 2018: Join Us in Fighting for Better Copyright Law and Policy

"We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation."

Primary school children need to learn about intellectual property, Government agency says ; Telegraph, January 20, 2018

Camilla Turner, Telegraph; 

Primary school children need to learn about intellectual property, Government agency says 

"Primary school children should be taught about copyright law and intellectual property amid a rise in social media, a Government agency has said.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched a raft of teaching resources and videos aimed at helping children aged seven to 11 learn about piracy, patents and trademarks.

Catherine Davies, head of the IPO’s education outreach department, said that children start using technology and social media at an increasingly young age, so by the time they are teenagers it is already too late to teach them about respecting copyright laws." 

Every College Student's Dream: An 8 AM Class On Patents; Wired, January 20, 2018

David Kline, Wired; Every College Student's Dream: An 8 AM Class On Patents

[Kip Currier: Money quote from this Wired article making a very persuasive quantitative and qualitative argument for more Intellectual Property (IP) undergraduate courses--

 "...IP literacy is not just for lawyers anymore."

As a related aside: Reflecting an increasing student desire and need for IP education, two out of every three terms per academic year since 2009, I've been teaching an IP elective course to graduate students at Pitt's School of Information Sciences (now the School of Computing and Information). 

Additionally, in IP guest talks I've given for undergraduate students participating in Pitt's groundbreaking iSchool Inclusion Institute, it's been exciting to see first-hand many students' interest in augmenting their IP well as more and more students creating and leveraging their own IP works!]

"Nor is there any doubt that IP plays a pivotal role in powering today’s knowledge economy, where intangible assets such as IP represent more than 80 percent of the market value of all publicly traded companies. Indeed, intellectual-property-intensive industries now account for a surprising 38.2 percent of total US GDP, according to a recent US Department of Commerce report. That’s more than $6 trillion a year, more than the GDP of any other nation except China. IP-based industries are also responsible for 30 percent, of national employment, or roughly 40 million jobs.

Yet despite IP's enormous role in the US economy, few universities offer any sort of course on IP to undergraduates. Among the first is the University of Southern California, which last fall launched a course on the basic workings of patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. The new course, through the Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies within USC’s Marshall School of Business, aims to train tomorrow’s leaders in the skills they need to navigate our increasingly IP-driven economy...

Put another way, just as tech literacy was once a requirement only for IT specialists but is now considered almost as essential as verbal literacy, IP literacy is not just for lawyers anymore.
All of which calls to mind that scene from the 1967 movie The Graduate, when Mr. McGuire (Walter Brooke) offers career advice to a young Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman)?
“Plastics!” he says. “There’s a great future in plastics.”

Half a century later, USC is demonstrating that intellectual property has become the new watchword for almost any career of the future."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Brain Power Pays Off With Japan’s Intellectual Property Exports; Bloomberg, January 15, 2018

Connor Cislo, Bloomberg; Brain Power Pays Off With Japan’s Intellectual Property Exports

"Given the importance of IP to their economies, Japan and other advanced nations such as the U.S. are trying to strengthen protections in this area.
Japan nearly saw its preferred IP protection regime realized in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, until President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the agreement threw the pact's future into doubt.
The remaining 11 TPP members have suspended multiple IP-related provisions from the original agreement. Meanwhile, another large trade deal championed by China, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, doesn’t address IP to the satisfaction of Japanese businesses."

Monday, January 15, 2018

Parsing the patents: CMU seeking clear answers on AI in workforce; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 15, 2018

Daniel Moore, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Parsing the patents: CMU seeking clear answers on AI in workforce

"...[T]here has been sparse research into what local governments and foundations can do to cushion the blow of technology: Precisely where, how and in what professions will some of the biggest disruptors — driven by artificial intelligence — roll out first? 
“The advantage of our approach is you can see in a very granular way, where these inventions are emerging,” said Lee Branstetter, a CMU professor of economics and public policy leading the new study that is relying in part of patent filings. “And how this is all changing over time.”
The research is one of two projects awarded a total of $550,000 from the Heinz Endowments, which is marking the launch of its Future of Work initiative...
Put together, patents can be used to visualize where artificial intelligence is making gains. The idea is to display artificial intelligence shifts on a map that shows different regions and industries."