Archive for July, 2007

Intellectual Property Enhanced Criminal Enforcement Act of 2007

Posted in Copyright on July 31st, 2007

As discussed previously in DigitalKoans, the Justice Department has been pushing for tougher copyright legislation. Now Rep. Steve Chabot, a Republican from Ohio, has introduced the Intellectual Property Enhanced Criminal Enforcement Act of 2007 in the House, which includes key concepts from earlier work in this area such as criminalizing certain kinds of attempted infringement.

Here's an excerpt from "New Bill Backs Prison Time for Piracy 'Attempts'":

Notably, under Chabot's bill. . . it would be a crime not only to commit copyright infringement but also to "attempt" to do so. Such an offense would carry the same penalties as actually committing infringement—as would engaging in a "conspiracy" with two or more people to carry it out.

The bill would also double the prison sentences currently prescribed for copyright infringement violations, bringing them up to a range of 6 to 20 years. . . .

The bill also grafts additional penalties onto the thorny Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which dictates it's unlawful to sidestep copyright protection technologies except in certain circumstances. Right now, violating those rules can land you up to 10 years behind bars and as much as $1 million in fines, but Chabot's bill would also require the criminal to forfeit any property used in any manner to commit the offense—or anything garnered directly or indirectly from the proceeds of the activity. (The same forfeiture obligations would also apply to a wide array of other copyright-related offenses.)

Source: Broache, Anne. "New Bill Backs Prison Time for Piracy 'Attempts'" CNET News.Com, 30 July 2007.

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    Marc Truitt Appointed Information Technology and Libraries Editor

    Posted in People in the News on July 31st, 2007

    Marc Truitt, Associate Director of Information Technology Resources and Services at the University of Alberta Libraries, has been appointed Editor of Information Technology and Libraries, a double-blind, peer-reviewed quarterly. Truitt previously served as ITAL Managing Editor. Prior to his current position at the University of Alberta Libraries, he was the Assistant Dean for Systems at the University of Houston Libraries.

    In the press release, LITA President Postlethwaite said: "The Board recognizes Marc Truitt’s extensive editorial experience with ITAL and his commitment to maintaining a high quality publication program for LITA."

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      ACRL/ARL Regional Institute on Scholarly Communication

      Posted in ARL Libraries, Scholarly Communication on July 31st, 2007

      The ACRL/ARL Regional Institute on Scholarly Communication, to be held December 5-7, 2007 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is accepting applicants starting August 1, 2007. Enrollment is limited to 100 participants, and it is competitive. The application deadline is September 14, 2007.

      Here's an excerpt from the Institute's Web page:

      The Association of Research Libraries and Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) are pleased to announce a regional Institute for Scholarly Communication in Illinois sponsored by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois. The Institute is an immersive learning experience to prepare participants as local experts within their libraries and equip them with tools for developing campus outreach strategies. As a participant in this 2.5 day immersion program, you will become fluent with scholarly communication issues and trends so that you are positioned to educate others on your library staff, engage in campus communications programs and other advocacy efforts, and work collaboratively with other participants to begin developing an outreach plan for your campus.

      Participants will work with experts in the field to understand how to better engage faculty at their institution around the crisis in the systems of scholarly communication. You will also learn about the emergence of new models for scholarly communication as well as strategies for creating systemic change. These will include:

      • Faculty activism (e.g. editorial board control, author rights, copyright management, and self-archiving)
      • New publishing models
      • Digital repositories
      • Legislative and policy advocacy

      The goal is to help participants prepare a program plan that is customized for their institution. To achieve this goal you will prepare an environmental scan before the institute, engage in a series of active learning experiences during the event, and write an outreach program plan for implementation at your home institution. . . .

      Institutions and participants from Illinois will receive preferred consideration; however, space will also be reserved from those outside of Illinois. The institute sponsor is seeking participation from a wide range of academic libraries from community colleges to large research institutions. Team applications are encouraged (up to three participants from a campus), particularly for larger institutions, although individual applications will also be considered. Recognizing the challenges smaller institutions face in participating in the institute and the value of their contributions to outreach efforts, small institutions will not be penalized in the selection process if they are able to fund only individual participants rather than teams.

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        Review by a Prominent Press, Publication by the Rice University Press

        Posted in Digital Presses, Open Access, Publishing, Rice University, Scholarly Books, Scholarly Communication, Texas Academic Libraries, University Presses on July 31st, 2007

        In the fall, Rice University Press will publish Images of Memorable Cases by Herbert L. Fred. What's unusual is that the book was first reviewed by "a prominent press," which deemed it worthy of publication, but decided that it was not economically viable to do so by conventional means. However, the Rice University press, a digital press that offers free online access and low-cost print-on-demand books, saw a good fit with its new The Long Tail Press program, which will publish books vetted by other presses that they cannot feasibly publish. The change in publication strategy brought the print copy price down to about $80 from a projected $175.

        The Rice University Press is also starting a collaborative publishing effort with Stanford University Press, which will review books for potential publication, with the works either being published by Rice alone or by both Rice and Stanford in a "hybrid" print/online model.

        Other Rice University Press postings: "Digital University/Library Presses, Part 11: Other Digital Presses," "Rice University Names Head of Its Digital Press," and "Rice University Press Publishes Its First Open Access Digital Document."

        Source: Jaschik, Scott. "New Model for University Presses." Inside Higher Ed, 31 July 2007.

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          RSS Feeds at Academic ARL Libraries

          Posted in Scholarly Communication on July 31st, 2007

          Academic ARL libraries are beginning to offer RSS feeds for current library news, new resource alerts, and other purposes. Here's a list of representative feeds.

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            New Learned Publishing Open Access Option

            Posted in Open Access, Scholarly Communication, Scholarly Journals on July 30th, 2007

            The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers has announced that Learned Publishing authors now have the option of paying a fee to have their articles immediately available.

            Here's an excerpt from the press release:

            The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), publisher of Learned Publishing. . . announces the launch of "ALPSP Author Choice," an optional Open Access model whereby authors can choose to make the online version of their article freely available to all immediately on publication. The fee for this optional service is £1,250/$2,500 for members of ALPSP and the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) and £1,500/$3,000 for non-members. "ALPSP Author Choice" is being launched on a trial basis by ALPSP, the international association for non-profit publishers and those who work with them. The first article to be published under the new service appeared in the July 2007 issue of the journal (Volume 20, No. 3), and is entitled "Going all the way: how Hindawi became an open access publisher" by Paul Peters.

            Learned Publishing already provides "Delayed Open Access": all papers can be accessed free of charge 12 months after publication. The journal is also freely accessible to all ALPSP and SSP members, and to participants in the HINARI and AGORA projects. . . .

            The "ALPSP Author Choice" service is being offered on a trial basis that will run for 12 months, before being reviewed by ALPSP Council, at which point the current subscription rates will also be considered.

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              Turning the Pages on an E-Book—Realistic Electronic Books

              Posted in E-Books, Emerging Technologies on July 30th, 2007

              In this June 26th Google Tech Talk video titled Turning the Pages on an E-Book—Realistic Electronic Books, Veronica Liesaputra, PhD candidate at the University of Waikato, discusses her research on realistic e-books.

              Here’s an excerpt from the presentation’s abstract:

              In this talk, I will describe and demo a lightweight realistic book implementation that allows a document to be automatically presented with quick and easy-to-use animated page turning, while still providing readers with many advantages of electronic documents, such as hyperlinks and multimedia. I will also review computer graphics models for page-turning, from complex physical models based on the finite element method through 3D geometric models to simple "flatland" models involving reflection and rotation—which is what the demo uses.

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                Towards Telesophy: Federating All the World’s Knowledge

                Posted in Google and Other Search Engines, Scholarly Communication on July 29th, 2007

                A video is now available of Bruce Schatz, Director of the CANIS (Community Architectures for Network Information Systems) Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, delivering a speech at Google on July 11th titled Towards Telesophy: Federating All the World’s Knowledge.

                Here’s an excerpt from the presentation’s abstract:

                Central archives partially survived the transition from a million repositories to a billion, but distributed indexing is necessary to scale to a trillion repositories in the next generation. Supporting scalable semantics requires divide-and-conquer to capture local context as an approximation to global meaning. Concept switches in the Interspace are the analogue of packet switches in the Internet, since user interaction is at the level of logical spaces rather than physical networks. This talk will describe the research technologies and trends creating the global infrastructure, with suggestions for hero experiments and hints at the new world of the near future.

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                  EFF Sues Universal Music to Protect Fair Use Rights in 29-Second Video

                  Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, Social Media/Web 2.0 on July 26th, 2007

                  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has sued the Universal Music Publishing Group in order to protect the fair use and free speech rights of Stephanie Lenz, who uploaded to YouTube a 29-second recording of her infant son boogying to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." YouTube took the video down after a complaint by Universal Music, then reposted it.

                  Here's an excerpt from "Mom Sues Universal Music for DMCA Abuse":

                  "Universal's takedown notice doesn't even pass the laugh test," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "Copyright holders should be held accountable when they undermine non-infringing, fair uses like this video."

                  The lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgment that Lenz's home video does not infringe any Universal copyright, as well as damages and injunctive relief restraining Universal from bringing further copyright claims in connection with the video.

                  This lawsuit is part of EFF's ongoing work to protect online free speech in the face of bogus copyright claims. EFF is currently working with Stanford's Fair Use Project to develop a set of "best practices" for proper takedowns under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

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                    University Publishing in a Digital Age

                    Posted in Digital Presses, Publishing, Scholarly Books, Scholarly Communication, Scholarly Journals, University Presses on July 26th, 2007

                    Ithaka has released University Publishing in a Digital Age by Laura Brown, Rebecca Griffiths, and Matthew Rascoff (preface by Kevin Guthrie).

                    Here's an excerpt from the "Introduction":

                    This paper has four purposes: First, we hope to make the case that universities should become more actively involved in publishing scholarship. It may not be obvious to many administrators that they should be in this “business” at all. . . . We will argue, however, that universities give up too much by withdrawing from publishing. They give up the opportunity to enhance institutional reputation and prestige. They reduce their ability to influence what gets published—and, therefore, not only what gets read but also who gets hired or promoted. They give up an opportunity to enhance the quality of what is published through the rich dialogue that is enabled by bringing editors into the fabric of relationships among scholars. And, as is often decried by open access advocates, universities sometimes must pay excessively high prices to gain access to published scholarship. . . .

                    Our second purpose is to galvanize action and investment to support revitalization of university publishing. . . . In some cases, that may mean making major structural and strategic changes to an existing press. In other cases it may mean forming new collaborations between different entities on campus or even across institutions, or disaggregating and recombining publishing related activities across multiple campus entities. It will no doubt require new infusions of capital, but this investment can create economies of scale that could help, in the end, to lower the costs and extend the reach of scholarly publishing. . . .

                    Third, we wish to explore some of the challenges and opportunities specific to university presses, as we believe that they can remain a vibrant part of the scholarly system if they are able to adapt quickly to the new electronic environment. . . . We concentrated primarily on exploring how the presses see themselves, how they are seen by others in the university community, and what unique strengths presses have to offer, with an eye towards identifying opportunities for them to translate their skills and assets to the future needs of the academy. We have also sought to understand the factors that have impeded their transition to electronic media, especially in monograph programs, in an effort to identify realistic measures going forward.

                    Fourth, and finally, we aim to start a conversation and gauge interest in a possible collective investment in a technological platform to support innovation in university-based, mission-driven publishing. . . . Our discussions with administrators, publishers, faculty, and librarians revealed real enthusiasm for the concept of a service that could aggregate published university content online, create a dynamic, efficient space for the tools of scholarship developed within universities, and spread the costs of investment among multiple institutions. We would now like to expand this conversation to the wider community, to test and refine the idea, and determine whether it may merit further exploration and possible investment.

                    The study was sponsored by JSTOR and Ithaka and was led by Laura Brown, former president of Oxford University Press USA, in collaboration with Ithaka’s Strategic Services group. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Peter Givler of the American Association of University Presses in distributing the survey to university press directors and encouraging their participation.

                    You can find further information about the report in the Inside Higher Ed article "Ideas to Shake Up Publishing."

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                      Reid Substitutes New P2P Higher Education Reauthorization Act Amendment

                      Posted in Copyright, Digital Culture, P2P File Sharing on July 25th, 2007

                      CNET News.Com reports that Senator Harry Reid has withdrawn his original Amendment to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act, which met with opposition from EDUCAUSE and others, that would, among other provisions, have forced higher education institutions to prove to the Department of Education that they had "developed a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property."

                      Instead, Reid successfully added an amendment that requires higher education institutions to inform students "that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material on the institution’s information technology systems, including engaging in unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to civil and criminal penalties."

                      Ars Technica and EFF Deep Links have additional coverage of this development.

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                        CommentPress 1.0 Theme Released: Paragraph-Level Commenting in WordPress

                        Posted in Coding, Open Source Software, Social Media/Web 2.0 on July 25th, 2007

                        After a year-and-a-half of development effort, the Institute for the Future of the Book has released the open-source CommentPress 1.0 theme for WordPress, which allows paragraph-level comments that are displayed side-by-side with the associated paragraph.

                        Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:

                        This little tool is the happy byproduct of a year and a half spent hacking WordPress to see whether a popular net-native publishing form, the blog, which, most would agree, is very good at covering the present moment in pithy, conversational bursts but lousy at handling larger, slow-developing works requiring more than chronological organization—whether this form might be refashioned to enable social interaction around long-form texts. Out of this emerged a series of publishing experiments loosely grouped under the heading "networked books." . . .

                        In the course of our tinkering, we achieved one small but important innovation. Placing the comments next to rather than below the text turned out to be a powerful subversion of the discussion hierarchy of blogs, transforming the page into a visual representation of dialog, and re-imagining the book itself as a conversation. Several readers remarked that it was no longer solely the author speaking, but the book as a whole (author and reader, in concert). . . .

                        We can imagine a number of possibilities:

                        — scholarly contexts: working papers, conferences, annotation projects, journals, collaborative glosses
                        — educational: virtual classroom discussion around readings, study groups
                        — journalism/public advocacy/networked democracy: social assessment and public dissection of government or corporate documents, cutting through opaque language and spin (like our version of the Iraq Study Group Report, or a copy of the federal budget, or a Walmart press release)
                        — creative writing: workshopping story drafts, collaborative storytelling
                        — recreational: social reading, book clubs

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