Archive for August, 2009

"Shrinking the Commons: Termination of Copyright Licenses and Transfers for the Benefit of the Public"

Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses on August 31st, 2009

Timothy K. Armstrong has self-archived "Shrinking the Commons: Termination of Copyright Licenses and Transfers for the Benefit of the Public" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

Federal law limits the free alienability of copyright rights to prevent powerful transferees from forcing authors into unremunerative bargains. The limiting mechanism is a statutory provision that permits authors or their heirs, at their sole election, to terminate any transfer or license of any copyright interest during a defined period. Indeed, the applicable provisions of the Copyright Act go so far as to invalidate purported waivers by authors of their statutory termination powers.

These statutory provisions may constitute an impediment to the effective grant of rights for the benefit of the public under widely used "open content" licensing arrangements, such as the GNU General Public License ("GPL") for software or the Creative Commons family of licenses for other sorts of expressive works. Although recent case law suggests that such open-source or open-content licensing arrangements should be analyzed under the same rules that govern other copyright licenses, doing so necessarily raises the possibility of termination of the license. If GPL or Creative Commons-type licenses are subject to later termination by authors (or their heirs), and this termination power cannot validly be waived, then users of such works must confront the possibility that the licenses may be revoked in the future and the works effectively withdrawn from public use, with potentially chaotic results.

Although a number of judge-made doctrines may be invoked to restrict termination of a license granted for the benefit of the public, the better course would be for Congress to enact new legislation expressly authorizing authors to make a nonwaiveable, irrevocable dedication of their works, in whole or in part, to the use and benefit of the public—a possibility that the Patent Act expressly recognizes, but the Copyright Act presently does not.

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    "Digital Publishing: E-Reader Scorecard"

    Posted in E-Books on August 31st, 2009

    In "Digital Publishing: E-Reader Scorecard," Publishers Weekly compares a dozen e-book readers.

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      Visiting Research Programmer at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      Posted in Digital Library Jobs on August 31st, 2009

      The University of Illinois Library's Grainger Engineering Library is recruiting a Visiting Research Programmer (1 year initial appointment; funded for a maximum of 3 years).

      Here's an excerpt from the ad:

      The Research Programmer will be appointed to support current digital library research projects, including grant-funded projects. Appointee will work on at least two different projects, reporting to project PIs or co-PIs. May also provide programming support towards design & development of internally funded new or experimental digital library services. . . .

      Research and grant funded position(s) will provide an opportunity to participate in design, development, and testing of innovative, cutting-edge digital library systems. Incumbent will collaborate with experienced Research Programmers in Grainger and the Library's Office of Library Information Technology Planning and Policy. Grainger has been home for a series of externally funded digital library research projects continuously since it opened in 1994 and staff at Grainger has established an international reputation in the digital library research community. Technologies involved are complimentary and overlapping with those used in production library services. Grainger hosts its own developmental Linux and Windows servers, virtual server cluster, and SAN. Research projects are implemented using a wide range of programming languages and technologies, including: Microsoft ASP & ASP.Net, Ruby on Rails, Java, C++, Perl, PHP, JavaScript, VBScript/AJAX, SQL, XHTML, CSS, XML, XSL-T, XSL-FO, OAI-PMH, and OAI-ORE. Responsibilities of the position will vary over time but will include: development and/or customization of Web, Windows, and Linux applications and tools; installation, maintenance, and administration of Web services and potentially other networked applications; database design, administration, and programming; writing documentation and discussion of technical results for inclusion in conference papers and reports to project sponsors; providing technical assistance to and consultation with Library & GSLIS faculty and staff collaborating in research.

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        "Digital Library Europeana Said to Be Europe’s Answer to Google Books Settlement"

        Posted in Copyright, Digital Libraries, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton on August 31st, 2009

        In "Digital Library Europeana Said To Be Europe’s Answer to Google Books Settlement," Dugie Standeford examines Google Book Search in the European context and considers whether Europeana can compete with it.

        Here's an excerpt:

        Europeana has the potential to be the "Google-like service Europe needs" but as part of a broader vision, said Europeana Marketing and Communications Manager Jonathan Purday. The EC has enabled Europeana to become operational and laid the foundations for an integrated platform providing access from museums, archives, libraries and audiovisual collections. But the digital library's future "depends on countries scaling up their digitisation efforts" and unifying their fragmented legal framework, he said.

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          "Is Creative Commons Good for Copyright?"

          Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses on August 31st, 2009

          Copycense has published an editorial asking "Is Creative Commons Good for Copyright?"

          Here's an excerpt:

          We conclude now, as we did in 2007, that the continued use and prominence of Creative Commons licenses actually obscures the real copyright issues we face in this country, and keeps Americans from settling on the proper parameters of digital information use, access, retrieval and preservation in the 21st century.

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            "Google and the Proper Antitrust Scrutiny of Orphan Books"

            Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on August 30th, 2009

            Jerry A. Hausman and J. Gregory Sidak have self-archived "Google and the Proper Antitrust Scrutiny of Orphan Books" in SSRN.

            Here's an excerpt:

            We examine the consumer-welfare implications of Google's project to scan a large proportion of the world's books into digital form and to make these works accessible to consumers through Google Book Search (GBS). In response to a class action alleging copyright infringement, Google has agreed to a settlement with the plaintiffs, which include the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. A federal district court must approve the settlement for it to take effect. Various individuals and organizations have advocated modification or rejection of the settlement, based in part on concerns regarding Google's claimed ability to exercise market power. The Antitrust Division has confirmed that it is investigating the settlement. We address concerns of Professor Randal Picker and others, especially concerns over the increased access to 'orphan books,' which are books that retain their copyright but for which the copyright holders are unknown or cannot be found. The increased accessibility of orphan books under GBS involves the creation of a new product, which entails large gains in consumer welfare. We consider it unlikely that Google could exercise market power over orphan books. We consider it remote that the static efficiency losses claimed by critics of the settlement could outweigh the consumer welfare gains from the creation of a valuable new service for expanding access to orphan books. We therefore conclude that neither antitrust intervention nor price regulation of access to orphan books under GBS would be justified on economic grounds.

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              DSpace@Cambridge Support and Liaison Officer

              Posted in Digital Library Jobs on August 30th, 2009

              The Electronic Services and Systems Division of the Cambridge University Library is recruiting a DSpace@Cambridge Support and Liaison Officer (position ends in October 2012).

              Here's an excerpt from the ad:

              Applications are invited for the post of DSpace@Cambridge Support and Liaison Officer (part-time) to provide technical support and guidance to all users of the DSpace@Cambridge institutional repository—including academic and research staff at all levels, librarians, museum curators, archivists, and administrative staff depositing digital files—and to liaise between users and the system manager. The post is available on a three days per week basis, with the postholder working Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week.

              Working within a team of five, including a system manager, developer, repository manager and a further part-time Support and Liaison Officer, the postholder will be responsible on a day-to-day basis for ensuring that users are able to deposit files in DSpace and for providing continuing support by e-mail and telephone. He or she will promote the service, provide advice to users on intellectual property rights and organise and give training in using the system. The post-holder will oversee metadata standards within DSpace and ensure standards compliance.

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                European Commission Report: Europeana—Next StepsEuropean Commission Report: Europeana—Next Steps

                Posted in Copyright, Digital Libraries, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on August 30th, 2009

                The European Commission has published Europeana—Next Steps.

                Here's an excerpt:

                Europeana—Europe's online library, museum and archive—opened in November 2008 as part of the Commission's digital libraries initiative, aiming to make Europe's cultural and scientific heritage accessible to all on the internet. The European Parliament and the Council have highlighted the importance of Europeana both as a showcase of the cultural heritage of the Member States on the internet and to provide access for everyone to that heritage. At the same time they have underlined the economic potential of making our cultural treasures available online as a source for creativity and new products and services in areas such as tourism and learning.

                This document looks ahead to the next phase of development of Europeana and its orientation for the future. It sets out the main challenges for the coming years in relation to 1) enriching Europeana’s content with both public domain and in copyright material of the highest quality and relevance to users, and 2) a sustainable financing and governance model. The objective is to ensure that Europeana and the underlying policies for digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation give European culture a lasting visibility on the internet and turn our common and diverse heritage into an integral part of Europe's information infrastructure for the future.

                In order to gather input on the best way to achieve this objective, the Commission is launching a consultation on the basis of a series of questions that can be found in the staff working paper accompanying this Communication. Interested parties are invited to submit their comments on any or all of the questions by 15 November 2009.

                See also "Questions for the Public Consultation 'Europeana—Next Steps'."

                Read more about it at "EU Divided over Google Books"; "EU Urges Google, Libraries to Cooperate to Put Books On-line"; "Europe's Digital Library Doubles in Size but also Shows EU's Lack of Common Web Copyright Solution"; and "Europe's Digital Library: Frequently Asked Questions."

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