Saturday, September 29, 2018

Librarians from across the Pacific gather for conference on open access, collaboration; University of California Berkeley Library News, September 24, 2018

Virgie Hoban, University of California Berkeley Library News; Librarians from across the Pacific gather for conference on open access, collaboration

"This past week, more than 60 librarians from universities across the Pacific descended upon the UC Berkeley campus, converging for a two-day deep dive into the experiments and achievements of fellow librarians working toward a more open, connected world.

The Pacific Rim Research Libraries Alliance, or PRRLA, is a group of libraries that share important resources and ideas in hopes of improving the state of scholarly research around the world. The alliance meets annually to exchange stories about various technologies and programs — and the strides and bumps along the way."

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Compromise Music Modernization Act Will Bring Old Sound Recordings into The Public Domain, Tiptoe Towards Orphan Works Solution; TechDirt, September 19, 2018

Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Compromise Music Modernization Act Will Bring Old Sound Recordings into The Public Domain, Tiptoe Towards Orphan Works Solution

"So, this new amended bill creates a very minor tiptoe towards an orphan works concept, just with sound recordings and only for "certain noncommercial uses of sound recordings that are not being commercially exploited." This is way, way, way too limited, but it's a start. Under the rules, someone engaged in non-commercial use (and boy, I can't wait to see the litigation fights over what counts as commercial v. non-commercial use...), has to make a "good faith, reasonable search" to see if a work is being commercially exploited. Following that, they have to file a notice with the Copyright Office announcing their intention to use the sound recording, allowing a 90 day period for someone to object. If there are no objections then, the work may be used in such non-commercial projects. This is extremely limited (way too much so), but hopefully will be useful to sites like the Internet Archive and various libraries. It would be nice if it went much further, but considering that no attempt to deal with orphan works has ever gone anywhere, this seems like at least a tiny step in the right direction. At the very least, hopefully it can be used to show that the world doesn't collapse when there is a way to make use of orphan works when the copyright holder cannot be found."

Europe's Copyright Reforms Are More Than (Just) A Boring Policy Change; NPR, September 27, 2018

Andrew Flanagan, NPR; Europe's Copyright Reforms Are More Than (Just) A Boring Policy Change

"In the "Information Wants To Be Free" corner, you have advocates like Cory Doctorow, who is of the opinion that regulations on the Internet can have a stifling effect on freedom of expression. They want to preserve the web "as a place where we can fight the other fights" like "inequality, antitrust, race and gender, speech and democratic legitimacy," as Doctorow put it in a recent podcast. (Doctorow obliquely references a 2004 copyright dispute around Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," which Guthrie, in an unconfirmed statement, said he didn't "give a dern" if others performed.) Doctorow's point is that creativity is best when it's unanchored from profit motive, and thus available to be copied freely. (Doctorow himself walks the walk, making his novels available for no charge.) James Rhodes' recent experience with music that wasn't even protected by copyright isn't exactly encouraging in this regard.

Meanwhile, some copyright holders are very much interested in being paid for their creations. Lisa Alter, a visiting professor at Yale Law School and practicing attorney who specializes in music copyright, tells NPR: "Obviously, whenever there's something new, there will be a period of time where systems are worked out and glitches, but I don't see those insurmountable in the year 2018." As to situations like the one Rhodes experienced with his Bach video? "Could there ever be a erroneous takedown? Sure, but then you let them know and they should put it back up," she says. "But I don't see it being an epidemic. And the technology will get better, the filtering system will improve."

Don’t Make the Register of Copyrights into a Presidential Pawn; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), September 25, 2018

Elliot Harmon, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); Don’t Make the Register of Copyrights into a Presidential Pawn

"The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (H.R. 1695) passed the House of Representatives last year, and now, the Senate is looking to take the bill up. Under H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights would become a presidential appointee, just like the directors of Executive Branch departments. Naturally, the president would appoint a Register who shares their interpretation of copyright law and other policy stances, and the nomination could come with a highly partisan confirmation process in the Senate.

The Copyright Office is at its best when it has no political agenda: it’s a huge mistake to turn the Office into another political bargaining chip. The Register of Copyrights has two important, apolitical jobs: registering copyrightable works and providing information on copyright law to the government. The Office serves officially as an advisor to Congress, much like the Congressional Research Service (both offices are part of the Library of Congress). It has never been the Register’s job to carry out the president’s agenda. That’s why the Copyright Office is situated in Congress, not in the Executive Branch."

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Open-access journal editors resign after alleged pressure to publish mediocre papers; Science, September 4, 2018

Jop de Vrieze, Science; Open-access journal editors resign after alleged pressure to publish mediocre papers

[Kip Currier: Post #3,500, in 11 years of blogging about IP and "Open" Movements on this site.]

"The conflict is salient because this week 11 European national funding organizations announced that beginning in 2020, research they fund should only be published in open-access journals, which make articles publicly available, as opposed to traditional journals, which sometimes block access to nonsubscribers. To maintain a level of quality, scientists will be directed to publish only in journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals."

Scholastic fixes greedy copyright rule in this year's awards; BoingBoing, September 25, 2018

Rob Beschizza, BoingBoing; Scholastic fixes greedy copyright rule in this year's awards

"Last year, 8th-grader and cartoonist Sasha Matthews discovered that the Scholastic Awards had a nasty rule buried in the fine print: all the childrens' work submitted for consideration became the property of Scholastic. This year, Scholastic fixed the rules, only taking a license to publish the entries. It's a big victory for the kids and a smart decision by the company."

Copyright Librarian Position: U.S. Naval War College Library at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island; Deadline for Application: September 28, 2018

The U.S. Naval War College Library at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, is recruiting for the position Copyright Librarian. The announcement will be posted on USAJobs website and run from September 24th to September 28th.  Applications are made online at USAJobs. Be prepared to submit your resume and college transcripts as part of your application package. To find job openings at the Naval War College search on the keywords Naval War College or Newport Rhode Island. Individuals interested in this position can learn more about the application process by visiting USAJobs and can begin by creating their account and uploading their resume and other required documentation.  Applicants, including Department of Navy employees, will be required to submit both eligibility and qualification supporting documents at the time of application.

The Institution: The Naval War College (NWC) is a Professional Military Education (PME) institution serving the nation, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy.  It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to grant a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies.  The NWC Library, named in honor of Rear Admiral Henry Effingham Eccles, recently adopted a Learning Commons model with the completion of a new, state-of-the-art 86,000 square foot facility that brings together under one roof the Library, Writing Center, Information Resources Department (IT), Dean of Students, CafĂ©, and Bookstore. 

The Library is composed of both general and classified library collections serving approximately 650 resident students and 5,000 distance education students. The print collections contain over 200,000 books and documents covering naval and military science, history and strategy, management, economics, international relations, international law, oceanography, and political science. Regional studies, leadership and ethics, cybersecurity, and irregular warfare have been given increased emphasis over the last decade. The Classified Library contains over 53,000 titles, including Joint and Naval Warfare Publications, including doctrine, Joint Electronic Library, and the Joint Doctrine, Education, and Training Information System.

The Position: This is a newly created position located in the Circulation Department of the Naval War College (NWC) Library, an organizational component of the Office of the Provost, and reports to the Head of Circulation.  The Circulation Department is primarily concerned with collection management, circulation, print and electronic reserves, document delivery services, and copyright.

The incumbent serves as a knowledgeable and service-oriented licensing and copyright professional who leads the copyright program for the NWC.  This includes performing a variety of functions and processes that relate to the implementation of copyright policy, formulation of procedures, licensing negotiation, workflows, and obtaining copyright permissions for all forms of published and unpublished materials requested by all NWC faculty and staff.

Typical duties include:

  • Manages the NWC's copyright requirements and serves as the NWC copyright subject matter expert.  Develops and communicates copyright policies and procedures to the NWC students, staff and faculty, making adjustments, providing instruction, and making recommendations for changes.
  • Develops, organizes and delivers seminars, programs, modules, and workshops to educate faculty, students, and other campus partners about copyright, scholarly communication, author’s rights, and licensing issues and practices in tandem with the Research and Instruction Librarians.
  • Collaborates with members of the NWC faculty, staff, and senior leadership in researching and processing copyright permissions for courseware readings and electronic reserves.
  • Responds to licensing queries from within the Library and across the NWC and keeps up-to-date on copyright law, licenses and fair dealing.  Liaises with the Staff Judge Advocate's Office and General Counsel’s Office to provide copyright direction to NWC students, Staff and Faculty.
  • Monitors the cost-effective use of funds for obtaining copyright permissions for the NWC and by recommending the outright purchase of materials when appropriate.
  • Maintains copyright clearance, permission, and disapproval files as required by the Federal Records Management program implemented by the College and U.S. Code and copyright law.
  • Liaises with other Joint Professional Military Education and academic institutions to develop and promote community engagement tools.  Liaises with other college and university copyright positions to maintain currency, identify best practices, and share information

Required Qualifications and Competencies:  Your resume must provide evidence of sufficient experience and/or education, knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties of this position. For more details see the job positing when it is released in USAJobs.

The Naval War College is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer.

For additional information about the position please contact Ms. Lori Brostuen, Deputy Director at 401-841-2642 or email

What is Article 13? The EU's divisive new copyright plan explained; Wired, September 17, 2018

Matt Reynolds, Wired; What is Article 13? The EU's divisive new copyright plan explained

"To help clear things up, here’s WIRED’s guide to the EU Directive on Copyright."

Monday, September 24, 2018

Five Lessons From The Toy Wars: How Intellectual Property Laws Can Restrict Your Career Mobility; Forbes, September 23, 2018

Michael B. Arthur, Forbes; Five Lessons From The Toy Wars: How Intellectual Property Laws Can Restrict Your Career Mobility

"Orly Lobel’s new book You Don’t Own Me recounts the knock-down, drag-out and still unfinished "toy wars" between Mattel, distributor of Barbie dolls, and nearby rival MGA Entertainment, distributor of the Bratz collection. The book shows how those wars “challenge the right and freedom to leave jobs, compete with incumbent companies, control ideas and innovate.” What Lobel calls "the criminalization of employment mobility" is a serious problem, and this article offers some first steps to protect yourself from its grasp."

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Pittsburgh is filled with people trying to win patents. PPG is at the front of the line. One of an occasional series: Patented in Pittsburgh; The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 20, 2018

Courtney Linder, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Pittsburgh is filled with people trying to win patents. PPG is at the front of the line.
One of an occasional series: Patented in Pittsburgh

"Between 2005 and 2015, PPG was awarded 583 patents, the most in the Pittsburgh region, and certainly enough to warrant the structure PPG has crafted to protect its secrets until it has the force of a U.S. patent seal...

Pittsburgh universities churning out patents 

Between 2008 and 2017, Pittsburgh's research universities have tripled their patent generation and doubled the number of technology licenses granted for commercial use."

U.S. and Europe Regulators Make Some Waves Towards Copyright Protection; Forbes, September 19, 2018

Nelson Granados, Forbes; U.S. and Europe Regulators Make Some Waves Towards Copyright Protection

"It seems regulators are starting to make waves towards more effective regulations for media and entertainment professionals and creatives to be fairly rewarded. There will be opposition and hurdles to overcome. For example, the EU's Copyright Directive still has to be reviewed and endorsed by the EU Commission and EU member states. Nevertheless, some of the top tech companies like Google, which can play a key role in copyright enforcement, appear to be open to ride the wave with copyright holders. Suddenly, there is light at the end of the tunnel."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Man Who Uploaded Deadpool to Facebook May Get Six Months in Prison; Gizmodo, September 17, 2018

Jennings Brown, Gizmodo;

Man Who Uploaded Deadpool to Facebook May Get Six Months in Prison

"A California court will soon decide sentencing for a man who posted the entirety of Deadpool on his Facebook page. If the U.S. government gets its way, the man will spend half a year in prison."

China is stealing American intellectual property. Trump's tariffs are a chance to stop it; Los Angeles Times, September 17, 2018

Charlene L. Fu and Curtis S. Chin, Los Angeles Times; China is stealing American intellectual property. Trump's tariffs are a chance to stop it

"Whatever else one might think of President Trump’s actions, he is confronting China about its unfair trade practices and theft of American intellectual property when too many others shy away from the truth for fear of Chinese reprisal."

Inventors Corner: Here's why you should search for patent; Sioux Fall Business Journal, September 19, 2018

Jeffrey Proehl, Sioux Fall Business Journal; Inventors Corner: Here's why you should search for patent

"Jeffrey Proehl is a registered patent attorney with Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith P.C. in Sioux Falls. 

The searching of patents and published patent application publications may be performed for a number of purposes, but there are two primary types of searches that are requested by inventors and businesses for their developments."

Steve Jobs licensed Amazon’s one-click patent for $1 million in one phone call; Quartz, September 17, 2018

Kabir Chibber, Quartz; Steve Jobs licensed Amazon’s one-click patent for $1 million in one phone call

"“Licensing’s 1-Click patent and trademark will allow us to offer our customers an even easier and faster online buying experience,” Steve Jobs said at the time.

A Wired magazine oral history of Infinite Loop, Apple’s corporate offices in Cupertino, California for most of its existence, tells the behind-the-scenes story of that decision."

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Avengers 4 Fan Trailer Calls in the X-Men & Defenders; Comic Book Resources, September 18, 2018

Brittany Matter, Comic Book Resources; Avengers 4 Fan Trailer Calls in the X-Men & Defenders

"A new fan trailer seamlessly mashes up the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the X-Men, the Defenders and even Ghost Rider to take on the [sic] Thanos in Avengers 4."

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research – it should be free; The Guardian, September 13, 2018

George Monbiot, The Guardian; Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research – it should be free

"Never underestimate the power of one determined person. What Carole Cadwalladr has done to Facebook and big data, and Edward Snowden has done to the state security complex, the young Kazakhstani scientist Alexandra Elbakyan has done to the multibillion-dollar industry that traps knowledge behind paywalls. Sci-Hub, her pirate web scraper service, has done more than any government to tackle one of the biggest rip-offs of the modern era: the capture of publicly funded research that should belong to us all. Everyone should be free to learn; knowledge should be disseminated as widely as possible. No one would publicly disagree with these sentiments. Yet governments and universities have allowed the big academic publishers to deny these rights. Academic publishing might sound like an obscure and fusty affair, but it uses one of the most ruthless and profitable business models of any industry."

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Music Law 101: Who Owns the Copyright in a Song?; Lexology, August 29, 2018

"After your band has written and recorded a song, who actually owns the song? This simple question does not necessarily have a simple answer. How many people were involved in the writing process? Were there other people involved in the recording process? Did you hire a producer? Did you use other background vocalists or musicians in the studio? Did you use “work made for hire” agreements with individuals involved in the process? Do you have a band agreement? The answers to these and other important questions help determine who actually owns the copyrights in any given song."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

EU approves controversial Copyright Directive, including internet ‘link tax’ and ‘upload filter’; The Verge, September 12, 2018

James Vincent, The Verge; EU approves controversial Copyright Directive, including internet ‘link tax’ and ‘upload filter’

"The European Parliament has voted in favor of the Copyright Directive, a controversial piece of legislation intended to update online copyright laws for the internet age.

The directive was originally rejected by MEPs in July following criticism of two key provisions: Articles 11 and 13, dubbed the “link tax” and “upload filter” by critics. However, in parliament this morning, an updated version of the directive was approved, along with amended versions of Articles 11 and 13. The final vote was 438 in favor and 226 against.

The fallout from this decision will be far-reaching, and take a long time to settle. The directive itself still faces a final vote in January 2019 (although experts say it’s unlikely it will be rejected). After that it will need to be implemented by individual EU member states, who could very well vary significantly in how they choose to interpret the directive’s text."

The EU copyright law that artists love—and internet pioneers say would destroy the web; Quartz, September 11, 2018

Ephrat Livni, Quartz; The EU copyright law that artists love—and internet pioneers say would destroy the web

"European internet users are up in arms over proposed changes to copyright law that will either make the web more fair and lucrative for content creators or destroy the web as we know it—depending on whom you ask.

The movement to modernize and unify EU intellectual property law, initiated in 2016, is up for a vote in the European Parliament in Brussels Sept. 12

Two controversial sections—Article 13 and Article 11—would force technology platforms to police digital content by automatically evaluating intellectual property before anything is uploaded and make news aggregators pay to license links to posts. This would ensure that musicians, artists, filmmakers, photographers and media outlets are paid for work that currently drives advertising revenue to technology companies like Google and Facebook for content that they don’t pay for, or say so supporters. Opponents argue that it will transform the web from a free and open platform to a tool to police information and limit ideas."

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Intellectual Property The Hard Way: Part II; Forbes, September 11, 2018

Mary Juetten, Forbes; Intellectual Property The Hard Way: Part II

"Last month I started an interview series on intellectual property (IP) and also wrote a piece about general IP tips for startups here.  The goal is to use actual stories and experts in the field to help others avoid IP mistakes or failures or infringement, and more importantly to ensure that companies of all sizes identify, protect, and monetize their valuable intangible assets. As has been discussed many times, these assets often make up 90% of a startup’s valuation."

Open Access at the Movies; Inside Higher Ed, September 10, 2018

Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed; Open Access at the Movies

"[Jason] Schmitt's film raises some important questions -- how is it possible that big for-profit publishers, such as Elsevier, have fatter profit margins than some of the biggest corporations in the world? Why can't everyone read all publicly funded research for free?

Discussion of these questions in the film is undoubtedly one-sided. Of around 70 people featured in the film, just a handful work for for-profit publishers like Springer-Nature or the American Association for the Advancement of Science -- and they don't get much screen time. There is also no representative from Elsevier, despite the publisher being the focus of much criticism in the film. This was not for lack of trying, said Schmitt. “I offered Elsevier a five-minute section of the film that they could have full creative control over,” he said. “They turned me down.”

Schmitt said he made Paywall not for academics and scholars but for the general public. He wants people to understand how scholarly publishing works, and why they should care that they can’t access research paid for with their tax dollars."

[Documentary] Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, 2018

[Documentary] Paywall: The Business of Scholarship

"Paywall: The Business of Scholarship is a documentary which focuses on the need for open access to research and science, questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with the top academic publisher Elsevier and looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.  

Staying true to the open access model: it is free to stream and download, for private or public use, and maintains the most open CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons designation to ensure anyone regardless of their social, financial or political background will have access.   

If you are interested in screening this film at your university, please fill out our contact form."

Tor, OverDrive Comment on Library Ebook Embargo; Library Journal, September 6, 2018

Matt Enis, Library Journal; Tor, OverDrive Comment on Library Ebook Embargo

"In a move that has raised concern throughout the library field, Macmillan in July announced that it would be testing a four month embargo on selling new ebooks published by its Tor imprint to libraries. The publisher said the test would help it determine whether library lending is having a negative impact on retail ebook sales. For libraries, the embargo recalled a time less than a decade ago when many major publishers refused to license ebooks to libraries altogether."

Copyright Battle in Europe Pits Media Companies Against Tech Giants; Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2018

Daniel Michaels, Wall Street Journal;

Copyright Battle in Europe Pits Media Companies Against Tech Giants

Not in our name: Why European creators must oppose the EU's proposal to limit linking and censor the internet; BoingBoing, September 10, 2018

Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing;

Not in our name: Why European creators must oppose the EU's proposal to limit linking and censor the internet

"The European Copyright Directive vote is in three days and it will be a doozy: what was once a largely uncontroversial grab bag of fixes to copyright is now a political firestorm, thanks to the actions of Axel Voss, the German MEP who changed the Directive at the last minute, sneaking in two widely rejected proposals on the same day the GDPR came into effect, forming a perfect distraction (you can contact your MEP about these at Save Your Internet).

These two proposals are:

1. "Censorship Machines": Article 13, which forces online providers to create databases of text, images, videos, code, games, mods, etc that anyone can add anything to -- if a user tries to post something that may match a "copyrighted work," in the database, the system has to censor them

2. "Link Tax": Article 11, which will only allow internet users to post links to news sites if the service they're using has bought a "linking license" from the news-source they're linking to; under a current proposal, links that contain more than two consecutive words from an article's headline will be illegal without a license."

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wikipedia's warning: EU copyright changes threaten the internet itself; BoingBoing, September 5, 2018

Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing; Wikipedia's warning: EU copyright changes threaten the internet itself

"In just one week, Members of the European Parliament will debate and vote on the new EU Copyright Directive, which contains two of the worst, most dangerous internet proposals in living memory.

One proposal, the Link Tax (Article 11), bans linking to news sites (but doesn't define "linking" or "news sites") unless the service you're using has paid for a license with all the "news sites" you might possibly link to.

The other, Censorship Machines (Article 13), forces online services to check everything a user wishes to publish against a database of "copyrighted works" (except anyone can add anything to these databases, regardless of whether they are copyrighted) and to censor anything that is a match or near-match for anything in the database."

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Computer Programmers Get New Tech Ethics Code; The Conversation via Scientific American, August 11, 2018

Cherri M. Pancake, The Conversation via Scientific American; Computer Programmers Get New Tech Ethics Code: The guidelines come from the Association for Computing Machinery

"That’s why the world’s largest organization of computer scientists and engineers, the Association for Computing Machinery, of which I am president, has issued a new code of ethics for computing professionals. And it’s why ACM is taking other steps to help technologists engage with ethical questions...

ACM’s last code of ethics was adopted in 1992, when many people saw computing work as purely technical. The internet was in its infancy and people were just beginning to understand the value of being able to aggregate and distribute information widely. It would still be years before artificial intelligence and machine learning had applications outside research labs.

Today, technologists’ work can affect the lives and livelihoods of people in ways that may be unintended, even unpredictable. I’m not an ethicist by training, but it’s clear to me that anyone in today’s computing field can benefit from guidance on ethical thinking and behavior."

This Music Theory Professor Just Showed How Stupid and Broken Copyright Filters Are; Motherboard, August 30, 2018

Karl Bode, Motherboard; This Music Theory Professor Just Showed How Stupid and Broken Copyright Filters Are

"German music professor Ulrich Kaiser this week wrote about a troubling experiment he ran on YouTube. As a music theory teacher, Kaiser routinely works to catalog a collection of public domain recordings he maintains online in order to teach his students about Beethoven and other classical music composers."

Monday, September 3, 2018

Why Protecting Recipes Under Intellectual Property Law May Leave a Bad Taste in Your Mouth; Above The Law, August 27, 2018

[Kip Currier: Interesting and useful information--in case you're thinking about monetizing your own BBQ rub...or marketing Grandma's secret recipe for fill-in-the-blank.] 

"What may be pleasing to the palate, however, is not always acceptable under intellectual property law."