Wednesday, December 28, 2022

CNN FlashDocs to Examine Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” Copyright Lawsuit in “Taking On Taylor Swift” Premiering Friday, December 23 at 9PM ET

CNN; CNN FlashDocs to Examine Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” Copyright Lawsuit in “Taking On Taylor Swift” Premiering Friday, December 23 at 9PM ET

"CNN will investigate the copyright lawsuit brought by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler against Taylor Swift for her hit song “Shake it Off” in Taking On Taylor Swift. The case was settled and subsequently dismissed on December 12, 2022. Produced by the CNN FlashDocs unit, the hour-long special asks larger questions about creators’ rights and originality in an industry rocked by multiple lawsuits targeting some of the world’s biggest pop stars."

Generative AI, Andy Warhol ‘Fair Use’ Lead 2023 Copyright Issues; Bloomberg Law, December 28, 2022

Isaiah Poritz, Bloomberg Law; Generative AI, Andy Warhol ‘Fair Use’ Lead 2023 Copyright Issues

"How copyright law applies to the fast-growing generative artificial intelligence industry, and the US Supreme Court’s ruling in a case concerning Andy Warhol’s artistic use of a photograph of Prince are among the most important copyright issues heading into 2023.

Other major copyright cases in the new year include the high court’s expected decision on whether to hear a multimillion-dollar dispute involving allegations that Google LLC illegally scraped lyrics from the crowd-sourced lyric annotation website Genius. 

“Never before has content and intellectual property been so important and we are starting to see that now in terms of the Supreme Court’s docket,” said copyright attorney Scott Burroughs of the firm Doniger Burroughs PC, which helped write a friend-of-the-court brief asking the justices to take the lyrics case.

In one of the most active federal appeals courts for copyright law, two photographers are challenging the 15-year-old “server test.” That precedent holds that a website displaying an embedded Instagram post can’t be held liable for copyright infringement because the image isn’t hosted on the website’s servers." 

Green trademarks and the risk of greenwashing; WIPO Magazine, December 2022

Kathryn Park , WIPO Magazine; Green trademarks and the risk of greenwashing

"Beware the green sheen – the perils of greenwashing

Guidelines promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States in the Green Guidesand by the European Union in its directive on Unfair Commercial Practices, offer clear guidance on what constitutes misleading information. Under both regimes, using vague terms such as “sustainable,” “green,” “eco,” and the like, are not acceptable if false or misleading. Additionally, claims need to be supported by clear factual evidence and qualified so as not to overstate their benefits. Moreover, the environmental benefit claim must pertain directly to the product as manufactured or used.

While regulators pursue companies that run afoul of consumer protection laws, claims are also pursued by non-governmental entities. Competitors may also sue, as will consumers who are misled, often as part of a consumer class action...

So what constitutes actionable greenwashing? An example is labeling something as compostable, such as a garbage bag that is destined for a landfill where it will not break down.  Claiming that something is recyclable when the infrastructure supports only a fraction of the recycling that would be required to remove the environmental harm ─ think plastic water and soda bottles ─ may also constitute greenwashing. There have been a number of lawsuits in the United States in the past year against Coca-ColaBlue Triton Brands (which manufactures Poland Spring, Deer Park and other water brands), and others, for making broad sustainability claims despite the fact the vast majority of their bottles end up in landfills and are not recycled. These lawsuits have been filed by various environmental advocacy groups like the Sierra Club."

Congress Passes The Protecting American Intellectual Property Act of 2022; JD Supra, December 28, 2022

Corey BauerHouston Harbaugh, P.C.Congress Passes The Protecting American Intellectual Property Act of 2022

"In furtherance of the U.S. Government’s effort to protect American intellectual property, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting American Intellectual Property Act on December 22, 2022. This quickly followed the Senate’s passing of the Act on December 20, 2022. The Act now goes to President Biden’s desk to be entered into law or vetoed. See Text of the Enrolled Bill here.

The Protecting American Intellectual Property Act requires that the President periodically report “a list of foreign individuals and entities that have knowingly engaged in, benefited from, or assisted in the significant theft of U.S. trade secrets that materially contributed to a significant threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy, or economic health.”[1] The first report will be six (6) months after the Act is entered into law, with an annual report every year thereafter. The report shall also list foreign individuals who are chief executive officers or board members of any foreign entity engaging in the theft identified by any report."

Sherlock Holmes will finally escape copyright this weekend; The Verge, December 28, 2022

 ADI ROBERTSON, The Verge ; Sherlock Holmes will finally escape copyright this weekend

"Watching the copyrights on art expire still feels like a novelty. After all, the US public domain was frozen in time for 20 years, thawing only in 2019. But this weekend’s Public Domain Day will give our cultural commons a few particularly notable new works. As outlined by Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, the start of 2023 will mark the end of US copyrights on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s final Sherlock Holmes stories — along with the seminal science fiction movie Metropolis, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and the first full-length “talkie” film The Jazz Singer."

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Mickey’s Copyright Adventure: Early Disney Creation Will Soon Be Public Property; The New York Times, December 27, 2022

, The New York Times ; Mickey’s Copyright Adventure: Early Disney Creation Will Soon Be Public Property

"Ms. Ginsburg said she was watching closely to see if Disney and other entertainment companies tried to apply trademark law as a substitute for or extension of copyright — as she put it, “apply a separate protection to get to the same place.” In a Supreme Court intellectual property case from 2003 involving 20th Century Fox, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, warned of using trademarks to generate “a species of mutant copyright law.”"

Saturday, December 24, 2022

U.S. Supreme Court has busy year ahead for intellectual property law; Reuters, December 22, 2022

 , Reuters; U.S. Supreme Court has busy year ahead for intellectual property law

"After a relatively quiet year for intellectual property cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices are set to consider several important issues in copyright, patent and trademark law in 2023."

5 famous music copyright cases; CNN, December 22, 2022

, CNN ; 5 famous music copyright cases

"Throughout the history of the music industry, there have been incidents of artists accused of ripping off the works of others...

Here are five other famous copyright cases:..."

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

AI-Created Comic Has Been Deemed Ineligible for Copyright Protection; CBR, December 20, 2022

BRIAN CRONIN, CBR; AI-Created Comic Has Been Deemed Ineligible for Copyright Protection

"The United States Copyright Office (USCO) reversed an earlier decision to grant a copyright to a comic book that was created using "A.I. art," and announced that the copyright protection on the comic book will be revoked, stating that copyrighted works must be created by humans to gain official copyright protection. 

In September, Kris Kashtanova announced that they had received a U.S. copyright on his comic book, Zarya of the Dawn, a comic book inspired by their late grandmother that she created with the text-to-image engine Midjourney. Kashtanova referred to herself as a "prompt engineer" and explained at the time that she went to get the copyright so that she could “make a case that we do own copyright when we make something using AI.”"

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Some of Trump’s New NFTs Look Like Photoshops of Google Search Results; PetaPixel, December 16, 2022

JARON SCHNEIDER, PetaPixel; Some of Trump’s New NFTs Look Like Photoshops of Google Search Results

"After hyping a major announcement, Donald Trump revealed his next major project: NFTs. But reverse image searches of some of the “digital trading cards” revealed them to be edits of clothing easily found in Google search, raising copyright questions...

While these images aren’t what most would consider to be the height of photographic art, they are still photos that are presumably owned by a manufacturer and using images — even e-commerce photos — without permission in this manner brings up copyright questions: it may not be legal, not to mention unethical, to just take photos off web stores, turn them into “art,” and then sell them for $99 each.

Gizmodo says it reached out to the manufacturer of both pieces of clothing to ask if either granted the former U.S. President permission to use their images, but neither immediately responded." 

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Can Trade Secret Laws Protect Algorithm-Based Intellectual Property? 6 Steps for Employers to Consider; FisherPhillips, December 16, 2022

FisherPhillips ; Can Trade Secret Laws Protect Algorithm-Based Intellectual Property? 6 Steps for Employers to Consider

"Trade Secrets Can Offer Protections to Guard Algorithm-Based Intellectual Property

Algorithm-based AI is well-suited for trade secret protections. It can be difficult to reverse engineer AI. Additionally, protections afforded by patent law are not necessarily the best option due to the length of time required to achieve protections. Rather, consider trade secret protections. They last as long as the secret remains a secret. Simply put, a license can continue indefinitely without an expiration date so long as the conditions of the license remain a trade secret. 

Certain aspects of algorithm-based AI, such as raw data, is not patent eligible. Similarly, information and data sets used for machine-based learning or training models is also not protectable under patent law. The information may, however, be protected as trade secrets. Trade secret laws can protect your company’s data and models and also protect how the company intends to use the information.

You may also be able to protect knowledge about what does not work. Companies create a valuable base of knowledge from failed actions. Notably, failed knowledge is not eligible for patent protection, but it is eligible to be protected under trade secret as a “negative trade secret.” Think of a negative trade secret as the knowledge of what does not work. If another company were to obtain and utilize such knowledge, it would allow them to potentially omit years of research and development, as the correct path of what works would be readily available to the competitor.

Trade secret protections also take immediate effect. There is no lengthy process or specific amount of time or expense required to protect a trade secret. So long as there are “active actions” — rather than passive actions — taken to protect a trade secret, that trade secret can take effect immediately. “Active actions” could include obtaining a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement, but it may be as simple as marketing in a way that prevents disclosure."

How to Trademark a Name; Money, November 29, 2022

By: ; How to Trademark a Name

"Ensure the name you want to trademark isn’t already taken

Before applying for a trademark, ensure that no one else has registered a similar name. Any similarity will invalidate your application efforts because the USPTO can’t allow two companies to have the same or similar names.

This is why a trademark search comes in handy. The USPTO has a database of trademarks, both registered and pending. You can use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to conduct a USPTO trademark search in the database.

A trademark attorney can help you conduct a more thorough search, as professional searches go beyond the regular USPTO trademark database. The attorney can also check common law trademarks, state trademarks, foreign trademarks and pending applications to minimize the risk of applying for an already registered trademark and avoiding an expensive mistake."

United States: New Trademark Office Action Deadlines Initiated 12/3/2022; Mondaq, December 15, 2022

Falkner Werkhaven, MondaqUnited States: New Trademark Office Action Deadlines Initiated 12/3/2022

"While those of you who frequently work with trademarks are already aware, the USPTO new three month deadline to respond to Trademark Office Actions began last Saturday, December 3. For those of you who do not frequently work with Trademark Applications, this new deadline may be news to you and is half the response time of the previous six month deadline. The vast majority of Office Actions now issued will have three month response times.

Two major exceptions apply to this rule."

Mariah Carey can't be the only 'Queen of Christmas,' the trademark agency rules; NPR, November 18, 2022

Rachel, Treisman, NPR; Mariah Carey can't be the only 'Queen of Christmas,' the trademark agency rules

"Earlier this week, the Trial Trademark and Appeal Board finally made a "judgment by default," rejecting Carey's trademark request."

UMG, BMG, and Concord Name Altice USA In $1 Billion+ Copyright Suit, Claim the ISP ‘Deliberately Turned a Blind Eye to Its Subscribers’ Infringement’; Digital Music News, December 16, 2022

Dylan Smith, Digital Music News; UMG, BMG, and Concord Name Altice USA In $1 Billion+ Copyright Suit, Claim the ISP ‘Deliberately Turned a Blind Eye to Its Subscribers’ Infringement’

"Estimating based upon the maximum $150,000 in statutory damages for each of the allegedly infringed compositions and recordings as well as a staggering 176 pages’ worth of purportedly infringed works, UMG, Concord, and BMG are seeking over $1 billion from the Optimum owner."

What Does Copyright Say about Generative Models?; O'Reilly, December 13, 2022

Mike Loukides,O'Reilly ; What Does Copyright Say about Generative Models? Not much.

"In any AI application, the training data is at least as important to the final product as the algorithms, if not more important. Should the rights of the authors of the training data be taken into account when a model is built from their work, even if the model never reproduces their work verbatim? Copyright does not adequately address the inputs to the algorithm at all."

Supreme Court asks for Biden administration's views in Google copyright case; December 12, 2022

, Reuters ; Supreme Court asks for Biden administration's views in Google copyright case

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked the Biden administration to weigh in on song-lyric website Genius' attempt to revive a lawsuit over Google's alleged theft of its work.

The justices are considering whether to hear ML Genius Holdings LLC's bid to overturn a U.S. appeals court's ruling that its case against Google LLC was preempted by federal copyright law.

The Supreme Court often asks for the solicitor general's input on cases in which the U.S. government may have an interest."

Artists fed up with AI-image generators use Mickey Mouse to goad copyright lawsuits; daily dot, December 16, 2022

Mikael Thalen, daily dot; Artists fed up with AI-image generators use Mickey Mouse to goad copyright lawsuits

"The issue surrounding AI art has already led to widespread protest and pushback from the art community. Just this week, artists on the art-hosting platform ArtStation began uploading identical images en masse that featured the caption “NO TO AI GENERATED IMAGES.”

Given just how new the technology is, it remains unclear what guidelines, if any, will be created to balance the rights of artists against the ever-expanding capabilities of AI."

Photographer Sues Gannett for $34 Million For Copyright Infringement; PetaPixel, December 15, 2022

PESALA BANDARA, PetaPixel ; Photographer Sues Gannett for $34 Million For Copyright Infringement

"Photographer Stephanie Campbell filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against major media company Gannett and more than 220 Gannett news outlets on Friday, reports Rochester Beacon.

In the lawsuit, Campbell alleges that hundreds of Gannett’s news titles published her photo of former NFL coach Katie Sowers without seeking the photographer’s permission...

[Kip Currier: The photographs, as described in the article, would be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office as copyrightable subject matter, not with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which, as its eponymous name indicates, has jurisdiction over patents and trademarks.] Campbell registered the photographs of Sowers with the U.S. Patent and Trademarks office...

According to the Rochester Beacon, Campbell is seeking damages of up to $150,000 for each alleged infringement, a sum that, if each supposedly infringing publication used the Sowers photo only once, could see the photographer winning $34 million."

Saturday, December 10, 2022

First Global Forum on Ethics of AI held in Prague, one year after the adoption of UNESCO’s global recommendation; UNESCO, To Be Held December 13, 2022

UNESCO; First Global Forum on Ethics of AI held in Prague, one year after the adoption of UNESCO’s global recommendation

The Global Forum on the Ethics of AI, hosted by the Czech Republic on 13 December 2022 in Prague, is the first international ministerial meeting to take place after the adoption of the global recommendation on the ethics of AI a year ago. The forum will place a spotlight on “ensuring inclusion in the AI world,” and take stock of the implementation of the recommendation so far. The event is held under UNESCO’s patronage.

"Human Rights At Risk

While artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing our lives, its benefits are not being distributed equitably across and within countries. Moreover, the technology continues to be developed in ways that raise risks related to human rights. They may also increase inequalities. While most countries are willing to take steps to minimize the risks associated with AI, many lack the regulatory capacity to do so. UNESCO seeks to bridge this gap by promoting a global and ethical approach to AI and offering guidance on regulatory measures and policies. The Recommendation is the first-ever global normative instrument in this domain, unanimously adopted 193 Member States of UNESCO."

Your selfies are helping AI learn. You did not consent to this.; The Washington Post, December 9, 2022

, The Washington Post; Your selfies are helping AI learn. You did not consent to this.

"My colleague Tatum Hunter spent time evaluating Lensa, an app that transforms a handful of selfies you provide into artistic portraits. And people have been using the new chatbot ChatGPT to generate silly poems or professional emails that seem like they were written by a human. These AI technologies could be profoundly helpful but they also come with a bunch of thorny ethical issues.

Tatum reported that Lensa’s portrait wizardly comes from the styles of artists whose work was included in a giant database for coaching image-generating computers. The artists didn’t give their permission to do this, and they aren’t being paid. In other words, your fun portraits are built on work ripped off from artists. ChatGPT learned to mimic humans by analyzing your recipes, social media posts, product reviews and other text from everyone on the internet...

Hany Farid, a computer science professor at the University of California at Berkeley, told me that individuals, government officials, many technology executives, journalists and educators like him are far more attuned than they were a few years ago to the potential positive and negative consequences of emerging technologies like AI. The hard part, he said, is knowing what to do to effectively limit the harms and maximize the benefits." 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Popular Photo App Lensa Spurs Debate Over Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Art; WTTW, December 8, 2022

  Eunice Alpasan, WTTW; Popular Photo App Lensa Spurs Debate Over Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Art

"For a few dollars, users can submit photos of themselves that the app will use to generate multiple self-portraits in different art styles using artificial intelligence technology.

But the app has also reignited concerns about the ethics regarding the use of artificial intelligence in art.

A.I. algorithms work by going into large datasets of work posted online from various sources to help photo apps like Lensa generate self-portraits for users in different styles, said Jennifer deWinter, dean of Lewis College of Science and Letters at Illinois Tech. 

DeWinter said this presents a copyright issue, but because it’s a computer program generating the images, it makes it hard to trace back who is actually culpable. “It’s a problem of a giant, diffused system of multiple actors,” she said. 

Kennedy Freeman, a student in fine arts at Columbia College and founder of the Black fem art collective HourNine, said seeing these generated portraits spreading on social media made her concerned about how her art and those of other artists are being used without permission to help train A.I. generators."

Is a Deal Between 44 Texas Colleges and Elsevier ‘Historic’?; Inside Higher Ed, December 9, 2022

 Susan D'Agostino, Inside Higher Ed; Is a Deal Between 44 Texas Colleges and Elsevier ‘Historic’?

"As pandemic-weary U.S. colleges face strained library budgets, many seek creative ways to lower costs and preserve access to scholarly content. That shared goal brought 44 colleges in Texas together to negotiate a deal with Elsevier, the behemoth publisher of over 2,500 scientific journals, including The Lancet and Cell.

The consortium—known as the Texas Library Coalition for United Action—announced last month that it had reached a deal with Elsevier that is expected to improve access to scholarship, afford researchers greater control over their work and save the member institutions millions. Some laud the agreement as historic. Others say it falls short of long-sought-after goals. If nothing else, the deal offers one example of how a collection of colleges is moving forward in a tense academic publishing ecosystem."

American University Intellectual Property Brief; ANDY WARHOL FOUND. FOR VISUAL ARTS, INC. V. GOLDSMITH, November 30, 2022

 American University Intellectual Property Brief; 

ANDY WARHOL FOUND. FOR VISUAL ARTS, INC. V. GOLDSMITH, 11 F.4TH 26 (2D CIR. 2021), CERT. GRANTED, 212 L. ED. 2D 402, 142 S. CT. 1412 (2022)

Music Labels are Ramping Up Enforcement Unlicensed Music in Brand Social Media Posts; SocialMediaToday, December 8, 2022

 , SocialMediaToday; Music Labels are Ramping Up Enforcement Unlicensed Music in Brand Social Media Posts

"The increasing enforcement of copyright for social media usage flags a new focus for the major labels. In recent years, big recording companies have employed entire teams to scour the online landscape for unlicensed usage of their clients’ work.

That’s been most present on YouTube, where labels had up till recently been able to claim revenue on any video that used their licensed music, providing an additional revenue stream within itself. YouTube has since changed its process, and now gives creators the opportunity to remove violative segments of their uploads, as opposed to simply reverting ad revenue to the labels. But the increased emphasis on music copyright infringement has made this a higher priority for rights-holding organizations.

And TikTok is now their key focus.

The short-form video platform has become a key avenue for music promotion, with popular tracks playing a big part in many viral trends, and even sparking entire careers off the back of TikTok momentum."

Column: Here’s why you can’t ‘own’ your ebooks; Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2022

 MICHAEL HILTZIK, Los Angeles Times; Column: Here’s why you can’t ‘own’ your ebooks

"What’s really happening here is that everyone involved — publishers, online distributors, authors and readers — is trying to come to terms with the capacity of digital technology to overthrow the traditional models of printing, selling and buying readable content. 

Publishers and authors are predictably, and rightly, fearful that they’ll lose out financially; but it’s also quite possible that, properly managed, the technological revolution will make them more money."

CNN Accused of Using Hundreds of Songs Without Permission in New Lawsuit, Rolling Stone, December 1, 2022

JON BLISTEIN, Rolling Stone; CNN Accused of Using Hundreds of Songs Without Permission in New Lawsuit

"CNN IS FACING a $17 million lawsuit accusing it of using hundreds of songs in international broadcast segments without acquiring a license or paying the proper fees.

The lawsuit was filed by Freeplay Music, a production music library company with a catalog of over 50,000 songs to be licensed and used in everything from television broadcasts to advertisements to YouTube videos. According to the suit, obtained by Rolling Stone, several CNN outposts around the world — including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Chile — treated Freeplay’s library like “their own personal cookie jar,” allegedly using over 115 copyrighted works in over 280 segments over the past few years."

YouTube and content creators clash over the platform’s automated copyright tool; Marketplace, November 4, 2022

Marketplace; YouTube and content creators clash over the platform’s automated copyright tool

"Every minute, people upload more than 500 hours of video to YouTube — cat videos, music videos, even videos of people recording their audio podcasts.

And some of those clips include content the people uploading them don’t own, like clips of music from popular songs.

YouTube, and its owner, Google, have an automated technology called Content ID that regularly scans for copyrighted material — including music — and flags it for copyright holders.

Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke about this with Marketplace’s Peter Balonon-Rosen, who explained why the system has some musicians frustrated."

NFTs in Copyright; Lexology, December 8, 2022

Traple Konarski Podrecki & Partners - Tomasz Targosz, Lexology ; NFTs in Copyright

"Frequently, whenever some new technology-related trend emerges, papers that attempt to juxtapose it with various fields of intellectual property law abound, according to the principle X and …. law. Often there is very little that is new behind this, and the described legal “issues” are formulated in an artificial way and are not difficult to solve. A text regarding NFTs in copyright could also be classed as a text of this kind, but in this case there are at least a few questions that need to be addressed. Even if NFTs do not have great practical significance, as some people believe, this category will probably not disappear entirely. Therefore it is worth examining the issue of the areas in which copyright law and NFTs might come into contact, and what implications this has (or doesn’t have, which is no less important). 

The simplest way to describe NFTs is information in a blockchain, representing some resource (digital goods). The distinction between an NFT (non-fungible token) and fungible tokens is not so much that they cannot be exchanged (notably, ‘trading’ in NFTs is one of the reasons for which they exist) but that they are unique (no two data chains are alike). This feature means that NFTs bring to the digital world something rare that is known in the physical world. A good example is a genuine work of sculpture of which there is only one. NFTs and copyright converge because the item that can be represented by the token may be an item that qualifies as creative, i.e. is a work as defined in copyright law, although of course this is not essential (for example Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, “converted” into an NFT, sold for almost USD 3 million and is not a work). If an NFT is not linked to a work, it will not be a matter of interest in copyright law. For this reason, we will focus on cases that do involve a work, such as a digital file containing a photograph, video, etc.)."

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Intellectual property waiver for COVID vaccines should be expanded to include treatments and tests; The Conversation, November 21, 2022

Associate Professor in Public Health, La Trobe University, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Tasmania, Lecturer in Law, Flinders University, The Conversation;
 Intellectual property waiver for COVID vaccines should be expanded to include treatments and tests

"Low and middle-income countries have been impacted disproportionately by the pandemic so far, suffering 85% of the estimated 14.9 million excess deaths in 2020 and 2021. 

Globally, progress in reducing extreme poverty was set back three to four years during 2020–21. But low-income countries lost eight to nine years of progress.

Expanding the WTO decision on COVID vaccines to include treatments and tests could be vital to reduce the health burden on poorer countries from COVID and enable them to recover from the pandemic. The Australian government should get behind this initiative and encourage other countries to do the same."

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

This VCU Libraries initiative has saved VCU students more than $7M in textbook costs; VCU Libraries, December 1, 2022

Brian McNeill, VCU News; This VCU Libraries initiative has saved VCU students more than $7M in textbook costs

"“One of the things that’s been most exciting to me since coming to VCU is just the interest [in open and affordable content] from faculty,” said Jessica Kirschner, the open educational resources librarian who leads VCU Libraries’ textbook affordability efforts. “We’ve had a record number of applications for our grant program over the past two years, which blew me out of the water. Our faculty are engaged and interested and by and large realize the impact that this work can have on their students.”

Through the initiative, Kirschner works to assist in the creation of new resources, as well as locating, adopting and adapting existing course materials, including library materials and open educational resources.

Open course materials not only support students by eliminating costs, they also can enable better learning experiences and optimize academic outcomes for instructors and students, Kirschner said. Rather than relying on a textbook, she said, a professor can draw from various open resources to customize their class in a way that makes students more engaged.

“When I talk to faculty, I always like to say: ‘Why form your class around the textbook when you can form a textbook around your class?’” she said."

Royal Society of Chemistry will make all its journals open access; Chemistry World, November 1, 2022

 , Chemistry World; Royal Society of Chemistry will make all its journals open access

"The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has committed to making all of its journals open access within the next five years. It is the first chemistry publisher to commit to a 100% open access model and hopes to fund the move in a way that will avoid individual authors having to pay article processing charges (APCs)."

US court sentences Chinese spy to 20 years for stealing trade secrets; The Guardian, November 16, 2022

Staff and agencies, The GuardianUS court sentences Chinese spy to 20 years for stealing trade secrets

"A US federal court has sentenced a Chinese intelligence officer to 20 years in prison after he was convicted last year of plotting to steal trade secrets from from US and French aviation and aerospace companies.

Xu Yanjun was accused of a lead role in a five-year Chinese state-backed scheme to steal commercial secrets from GE Aviation, one of the world’s leading aircraft engine manufacturers, and France’s Safran Group, which was working with GE on engine development.

Xu was one of 11 Chinese nationals, including two intelligence officers, named in October 2018 indictments in federal court in Cincinnati, Ohio, where GE Aviation is based."

Pfizer, BioNTech countersue Moderna over COVID-19 vaccine patents; Reuters, December 6, 2022

Blake Brittain, Reuters ; Pfizer, BioNTech countersue Moderna over COVID-19 vaccine patents

"Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and its German partner, BioNTech SE (22UAy.DE), fired back at Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) on Monday in a patent lawsuit over their rival COVID-19 vaccines, seeking dismissal of the lawsuit in Boston federal court and an order that Moderna's patents are invalid and not infringed.

Moderna first sued Pfizer in August, accusing the company of violating its rights in three patents related to innovations that Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna said it pioneered before the COVID-19 pandemic."

Guns N' Roses sue online Texas gun and flower shop for trademark infringement; Entertainment Weekly, December 5, 2022

Jessica Wang, Entertainment Weekly; Guns N' Roses sue online Texas gun and flower shop for trademark infringement

"An online gun and floral shop in Texas might soon be knockin' on a courtroom door over a trademark infringement lawsuit filed on behalf of Guns N' Roses.

The rock band comprised of Axl Rose, Saul "Slash" Hudson, and Michael "Duff" McKagan filed a lawsuit Thursday against Jersey Village Florist, which operates the online shop Texas Guns and Roses, for wholesale appropriation and infringement of the Guns N' Roses name without the band's approval, license, or consent.

In the complaint obtained by EW, the band argues that the store's name is "likely to cause confusion" with the Guns N' Roses mark. It also, per the suit, "falsely suggested a connection" with the band that could "dilute" the name. The online shop has capitalized on the band's "goodwill, prestige, and fame" without permission, Guns N' Roses alleges, which has been "particularly damaging" given the nature of the business."

Canada Steals Cultural Works From The Public By Extending Copyright Terms; TechDirt, November 29, 2022

, TechDirt ; Canada Steals Cultural Works From The Public By Extending Copyright Terms

"Canada has quietly done it: extending copyrights on literary, dramatic or musical works and engravings from life of the author plus 50 years year to life of the author plus 70 years.

Quietly on November 17, 2022, and appearing online this morning, an Order in Council was issued on behalf of Her Excellency the Governor General, on the recommendation of the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage to fix December 30, 2022 as the day Bill C-19, Division 16 of Part 5 comes into force. What does this all mean? With the passing of Bill C-19 this past June, the Copyright Act was amended to extend the term of copyright for literary, dramatic or musical works and engravings to life of the author plus a period of 70 years following the end of the calendar year in which that author dies. What was unclear at the time of royal assent was WHEN exactly this would come into force — if on or after January 1, 2023, one more year of works would enter the public domain. Unfortunately, we now know that this date has been fixed as December 30, 2022, meaning that no new works will enter the Canadian public domain for the next 20 years.

This should be a huge scandal. The public has been stripped of its rights to share information for twenty years. Based on what? Literally nothing, but demands from heirs of deceased authors to continue to receive subsidies from the very public they just stripped the rights from.

It is beyond ridiculous that any country in the world is extending copyright in this day and age, rather than decreasing it."

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Pasternak ordered to pay 99% of costs in copyright case; The Bookseller, December 5, 2022

, The Bookseller; Pasternak ordered to pay 99% of costs in copyright case

"Pasternak’s book is a factual account of the real-life inspiration for the character of Lara in Dr Zhivago, who she argued was Olga Ivinskaya, the author’s secret mistress and literary muse. Prescott’s novel uses the Cold War response to the publication of Dr Zhivago as part of its narrative, describing how the CIA smuggled copies of Dr Zhivago into the Society Union after the communist regime banned it. 

Speaking about today’s costs hearing, Prescott said: “I’m greatly relieved that the High Court has ruled that Anna Pasternak must pay 99% of our legal costs. It’s a shame so much time and money has been spent on a claim that never should have been brought in the first place, by a person who never even read my book. I’ve moved on, and I hope that Anna too can move on and find some personal peace. I hope this ruling means that in the future, baseless claims can be avoided; they only hurt writers during a time where the world needs books more than ever.”"