Archive for the 'Copyright' Category

"Copyright Provisions in Law Journal Publication Agreements"

Posted in Author Rights, Copyright, Scholarly Journals on March 24th, 2010

Benjamin J. Keele has self-archived "Copyright Provisions in Law Journal Publication Agreements" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

This study examined copyright provisions of law journal publication agreements and found that a minority of journals ask authors to transfer copyright. Most journals also permit authors to self-archive articles. It recommends journals make their agreements publicly available and use licenses instead of copyright transfers.

Berkman Center and eIFL.net Launch "Copyright for Librarians"

Posted in Copyright on March 24th, 2010

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society and eIFL.net have launched "Copyright for Librarians."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"Copyright for Librarians" aims to inform librarians about copyright law in general, as well as the aspects of copyright law that most affect libraries, especially those in developing and transition countries.

"Copyright law directly affects library services providing access to learning resources, scientific and research information," said Rima Kupryte, Director eIFL.net. "Everyday librarians are managing information and responding to requests from students, academics, and members of the public. They are well placed to provide practical advice on topical copyright-related issues. This curriculum, which includes modules on the scope of copyright law, exceptions and limitations and managing rights, provides librarians from around the world with an opportunity to understand this important area of law."

"Librarians and their professional organisations play key roles in shaping national and international copyright policy and in protecting and promoting access to knowledge," said William Fisher, faculty director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, "eIFL.net has created a crucial network of librarians in developing and transition countries. It is essential that the members of that network have the fullest possible understanding, not just of the current copyright laws, but also of the ways in which those laws could and should be interpreted and modified in the future. We hope that this curriculum will help to advance that understanding." . . .

The course materials of "Copyright for Librarians"—nine modules organised into five different levels—can be used as the basis for a self-taught course, a traditional classroom-based course, or as a distance-learning course.

"An Introduction to Competition Concerns in the Google Books Settlement"

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on March 22nd, 2010

Rudolph J. R. Peritz and Marc Miller have self archived "An Introduction to Competition Concerns in the Google Books Settlement" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

Google started its Google Books project in 2004 with the intent to create a digital library of the world’s books. There has not been such a grand plan since students of Aristotle began to gather the world’s knowledge in the Library of Alexandria some 24 centuries ago. The world’s knowledge has changed. And so has its political economy. Twenty-first century public policy questions have been interjected to delay and reshape Google’s project, questions that did not concern the royal sponsors of the ancient Library. This review takes up questions of competition policy raised in the United States, the corporate site for Google’s virtual Library of Alexandria.

After presenting the factual background to the Google Books project and the procedural history of the current class-action lawsuit, we examine two clusters of competition issues concerning the Google Books project: First, whether a class action settlement in litigation between private parties is an appropriate vehicle for making public policy. Second, whether Google’s actions are on balance anticompetitive under U.S. antitrust laws. Antitrust concerns will be given the lion’s share of attention.

"GBS March Madness: Paths Forward for the Google Books Settlement"

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on March 5th, 2010

The American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries have released "GBS March Madness: Paths Forward for the Google Books Settlement."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

This diagram, developed by Jonathan Band, explores the many possible routes and outcomes of the Google Books Settlement, including avenues into the litigation and appeals process.

Now that the fairness hearing on the Google Books Settlement has occurred, it is up to Judge Chin to decide whether the amended settlement agreement (ASA), submitted to the Court by Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers, is "fair, reasonable, and adequate." As the diagram shows, however, Judge Chin’s decision is only the next step in a very complex legal proceeding that could take a dozen more turns before reaching resolution. Despite the complexity of the diagram, it does not reflect every possible twist in the case, nor does it address the substantive reasons why a certain outcome may occur or the impact of Congressional intervention through legislation. As Band states, "the precise way forward is more difficult to predict than the NCAA tournament. And although the next step in the GBS saga may occur this March, many more NCAA tournaments will come and go before the buzzer sounds on this dispute."

Unintended Consequences: 12 Years Under the DMCA

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on March 4th, 2010

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released Unintended Consequences: 12 Years Under the DMCA.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

EFF today released Unintended Consequences: 12 Years Under the DMCA. This is the sixth update to the report, which aims to catalog all the reported instances where the DMCA's ban on tampering with DRM have been abused to stymie fair use, free speech, and competition, rather than to attack "piracy."

Congress enacted the DMCA's ban on bypassing DRM at the urging of entertainment industry lobbyists who argued that DRM backed by law would quell digital copyright infringement. Of course, 12 years later, that exactly hasn't worked out. Nor is it likely to ever work out. But lots of industries have recognized that these provisions of the DMCA are good for other things—like impeding scientific research and legitimate competition. The Unintended Consequences report collects these stories, including oldies like Lexmark's effort to block toner cartridge refilling and new cases like the lawsuit against RealDVD.

Other new additions to the report include Apple's use of the DMCA to lock iPhone owners to Apple's own App Store for software, Apple's DMCA threats against Bluwiki for hosting discussions about iPod interoperability, and Texas Instruments' use of the DMCA to threaten calculator hobbyists trying to write their own operating systems.

"The Amended Google Books Settlement is Still Exclusive"

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on March 3rd, 2010

James Grimmelmann has self-archived "The Amended Google Books Settlement is Still Exclusive" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

This brief essay argues that the proposed settlement in the Google Books case, although formally non-exclusive, would have the practical effect of giving Google an exclusive license to a large number of books. The settlement itself does not create mechanisms for Google's competitors to obtain licenses to orphan books and competitors are unlikely to be able to obtain similar settlements of their own. Recent amendments to the settlement do not change this conclusion.

"Filtering, Piracy Surveillance, and Disobedience"

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on February 28th, 2010

Sonia Katyal, Professor of Law at the Fordham University School of Law, has self-archived "Filtering, Piracy Surveillance, and Disobedience" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

There has always been a cyclical relationship between the prevention of piracy and the protection of civil liberties. While civil liberties advocates previously warned about the aggressive nature of copyright protection initiatives, more recently, a number of major players in the music industry have eventually ceded to less direct forms of control over consumer behavior. As more aggressive forms of consumer control, like litigation, have receded, we have also seen a rise in more passive forms of consumer surveillance. Moreover, even as technology has developed more perfect means for filtering and surveillance over online piracy, a number of major players have opted in favor of “tolerated use,” a term coined by Professor Tim Wu to denote the allowance of uses that may be otherwise infringing, but that are allowed to exist for public use and enjoyment. Thus, while the eventual specter of copyright enforcement and monitoring remains a pervasive digital reality, the market may fuel a broad degree of consumer freedom through the toleration or taxation of certain kinds of activities.

This Article is meant largely to address and to evaluate these shifts by drawing attention to the unique confluence of these two important moments: the growth of tolerated uses, coupled with an increasing trend towards more passive forms of piracy surveillance in light of the balance between copyright enforcement and civil liberties. The content industries may draw upon a broad definition of disobedience in their campaigns to educate the public about copyright law, but the market’s allowance of DRM-free content suggests an altogether different definition. The divide in turn between copyright enforcement and civil liberties results in a perfect storm of uncertainty, suggesting the development of an even further division between the role of the law and the role of the marketplace in copyright enforcement and innovation, respectively.

Google Book Search Settlement Hearing Transcript

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on February 22nd, 2010

A transcript of the 2/18/10 Google Book Search Settlement hearing is now available.

Read more about the hearing at "GBS: Fairness Hearing Report"; "GBS: Fairness Hearing Report Part II"; "Google Settlement Fairness Hearing, Part Two: DOJ Expresses Opposition; Parties Mount Vigorous Defense"; and "Objectors Outnumber Supporters in First Half of Google Settlement Fairness Hearing."

Also see: "Google Book Search Settlement: Updating the Numbers, Part 1."

"Academic Author Objections to the Google Book Search Settlement"

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on February 21st, 2010

Pamela Samuelson has self-archived "Academic Author Objections to the Google Book Search Settlement" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

This Article explains the genesis of the Google Book Search (GBS) project and the copyright infringement lawsuit challenging it that the litigants now wish to settle with a comprehensive restructuring of the market for digital books. At first blush, the settlement seems to be a win-win-win, as it will make millions of books more available to the public, result in new streams of revenues for authors and publishers, and give Google a chance to recoup its investment in scanning millions of books. Notwithstanding these benefits, a closer examination of the fine details of the proposed GBS settlement should give academic authors some pause. The interests of academic authors were not adequately represented during the negotiations that yielded the proposed settlement. Especially troublesome are provisions in the proposed settlement are the lack of meaningful constraints on the pricing of institutional subscriptions and the plan for disposing of revenues derived from the commercialization of "orphan" and other unclaimed books. The Article also raises concerns about whether the parties' professed aspirations for GBS to be a universal digital library are being undermined by their own withdrawals of books from the regime the settlement would establish. Finally, the Article suggests changes that should be made to the proposed settlement to make it fair, reasonable, and adequate to the academic authors whose works make up a substantial proportion of the GBS corpus. Even with these modifications, however, there are serious questions about whether the class defined in the PASA can be certified consistent with Rule 23, whether the settlement is otherwise compliant with Rule 23, whether the settlement is consistent with the antitrust laws, and whether approval of this settlement is an appropriate exercise of judicial power.

EFF: "Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers"

Posted in Copyright, Digital Rights Management, E-Books on February 21st, 2010

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released "Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers."

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

What questions should consumers ask before buying a digital book or reader? Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published "Digital Books and Your Rights," a checklist for readers considering buying into the digital book marketplace.

Over the last few months, the universe of digital books has expanded dramatically, with products like Amazon's Kindle, Google Books, Internet Archive's Text Archive, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and Apple's upcoming iPad poised to revolutionize reading. But while this digital books revolution could make books more accessible than ever before, there are lingering questions about the future of reader privacy, consumers' rights, and potential censorship.

EFF's checklist outlines eight categories of questions readers should ask as they evaluate new digital book products and services, including:

*Does the service protect your privacy by limiting tracking of you and your reading?

*When you pay for a book, do you own the book, or do you just rent or license it?

*Is the service censorship resistant?

U.S. National Archives Become Member of the Flickr Commons

Posted in Copyright, Digital Archives and Special Collections, Public Domain on February 8th, 2010

The U.S. National Archives have become a member of the Flickr Commons. To join the Commons, members must "claim 'no known copyright restrictions' on the content they share." Here's the National Archives' photostream.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

To mark the opening of its photostream in the Commons today, the National Archives is posting a new photo set containing more than two hundred photographs of the American West by renowned American photographer Ansel Adams. The photographs, taken between 1941 and 1942 as part of a Department of the Interior mural project, feature the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier and Zion national parks, in addition to Death Valley, Saguero, and Canyon de Chelly national monuments.

The Ansel Adams photographs join a larger selection of more than 3,000 National Archives images that are part of the National Archives' Flickr photostream. The photostream contains a variety of images from some of the National Archives most popular collections, including images of the Civil War by Mathew Brady and associates; images from the Environmental Protection Agency's 1970s photo-documentary project DOCUMERICA; images from the Records of the Women's Bureau depicting women in the war labor effort during World War II; and a grouping of favorite photos and documents from the National Archives, featuring among others the 1970 photograph of President Nixon shaking hands with Elvis Presley.

Department of Justice Files Statement about Amended Google Book Search Settlement

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on February 7th, 2010

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a statement of interest about the amended Google Book Search settlement with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The Department of Justice today advised the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that despite the substantial progress reflected in the proposed amended settlement agreement in The Authors Guild Inc. et al. v. Google Inc., class certification, copyright and antitrust issues remain. The department also said that the United States remains committed to working with the parties on issues concerning the scope and content of the settlement.

In its statement of interest filed with the court today, the department stated, "Although the United States believes the parties have approached this effort in good faith and the amended settlement agreement is more circumscribed in its sweep than the original proposed settlement, the amended settlement agreement suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement: it is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the court in this litigation."

On Sept. 18, 2009, the department submitted views to the court on the original proposed settlement agreement. At that time, the department proposed that the parties consider changes to the agreement that might help address the United States' concerns, including imposing limitations on the most open-ended provisions for future licensing, eliminating potential conflicts among class members, providing additional protections for unknown rights holders, addressing the concerns of foreign authors and publishers, eliminating the joint-pricing mechanisms among publishers and authors, and providing a mechanism by which Google's competitors can gain comparable access.

In today's filing, the department recognized that the parties made substantial progress on a number of these issues. For example, the proposed amended settlement agreement eliminates certain open-ended provisions that would have allowed Google to engage in certain unspecified future uses, appoints a fiduciary to protect rightsholders of unclaimed works, reduces the number of foreign works in the settlement class, and eliminates the most-favored nation provision that would have guaranteed Google optimal license terms into the future. However, the changes do not fully resolve the United States' concerns. The department also said that the amended settlement agreement still confers significant and possibly anticompetitive advantages on Google as a single entity, thereby enabling the company to be the only competitor in the digital marketplace with the rights to distribute and otherwise exploit a vast array of works in multiple formats.

The department continues to believe that a properly structured settlement agreement in this case offers the potential for important societal benefits. The department stated that it is committed to continuing to work with the parties and other stakeholders to help develop solutions through which copyright holders could allow for digital use of their works by Google and others, whether through legislative or market-based activities.

Read more about it at "Department of Justice Criticizes Amended Google Settlement over Copyright, Antitrust Issues"; "DOJ: Google Book Settlement Better, but Not Yet Good"; an "DOJ on Amended Google Books Settlement: Better, but Still Opposed."


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