Archive for the 'Copyright' Category

Copyright Watch Launched

Posted in Copyright on November 15th, 2009

An international group of copyright experts have launched Copyright Watch, which is hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

A single country's copyright law can be truly byzantine (the United States' seems to be the longest at around 130,000 words, although we're pretty sure Afghanistan has the shortest, lacking as it does any copyright regulations at all). And right now, every one of the 184 countries in Copyright Watch's database is struggling to reform their regulations to fit the difficulties and opportunities of the digital age.

It's a real challenge to map all of these laws, and all of these changes. But it's vital that we do so. Every shift in any of those countries might spread: whether it's for good or ill, maximalist or reforming. Lawmakers eagerly look for track records in other nations, or are obliged to adopt another's bad laws through treaty or trade agreement. Japan decides to model their new law's exceptions on the United State's broad fair use principles; politicians see France's three strikes laws, and decide to import them wholesale. We're hoping Copyright Watch will give the public as powerful a tool for monitoring the global copyright outlook as any private interest.

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    Google Book Search Settlement Amended

    Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on November 15th, 2009

    An amended version of the Google Book Search Settlement has been filed by the AAP, the Authors Guild, and Google with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

    The complete amended agreement is available from Google as a Zip file.

    Exhibit 1 provides the primary text of the amended settlement agreement.

    An overview of the amended settlement agreement is available, as is an FAQ.

    Read more about it at "Google Books Settlement Sets Geographic, Business Limits"; "Is the Google Books Settlement Worth the Wait?"; and "Terms of Digital Book Deal with Google Revised."

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      "Economies of Desire: Fair Use and Marketplace Assumptions"

      Posted in Copyright on November 5th, 2009

      Rebecca Tushnet has self-archived the "Economies of Desire: Fair Use and Marketplace Assumptions" in SSRN.

      Here's the abstract:

      At the moment that "incentives" for creation meet "preferences" for the same, the economic account of copyright loses its explanatory power. This piece explores the ways in which the desire to create can be excessive, beyond rationality, and free from the need for economic incentive. Psychological and sociological concepts can do more to explain creative impulses than classical economics. As a result, a copyright law that treats creative activity as a product of economic incentives can miss the mark and harm what it aims to promote. The idea of abundance—even overabundance—in creativity can help define the proper scope of copyright law, especially in fair use. I explore these ideas by examining how creators think about what they do. As it turns out, commercially and critically successful creators resemble creators who avoid the general marketplace and create unauthorized derivative works (fanworks). The role of love, desire, and other passions in creation has lessons for the proper aims of copyright, the meaning of fair use, and conceptions of exploitation in markets.

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        UK Intellectual Property Office: © The Way Ahead: A Strategy for Copyright in the Digital Age

        Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on November 2nd, 2009

        The UK Intellectual Property Office has released © The Way Ahead: A Strategy for Copyright in the Digital Age.

        Here's an excerpt:

        Based on the findings, the Government's reported intentions are:

        • for authors of copyright works; to support fair treatment through new model contracts and clauses and fair returns for use of their work by improving education about and enforcement of rights;
        • for rights holders; to help secure a viable future by encouraging the development of new business models, modernising the licensing process and maintaining support for education about and enforcement of rights;
        • for consumers; to allow them to benefit from the digital age by seeking to legitimise noncommercial use of legitimately-purchased copyright works and improving access to 'orphan works' such as out-of-print books;
        • for educators and researchers; to support them by improving access to works, resolving issues around copyright and contract and ensuring exceptions to copyright are right for the digital age; and
        • for businesses and other users; to work towards a simpler copyright system by, improving the copyright licensing process and encouraging the development of new business models.

        This means:

        • UK action to improve access to orphan works, enable extended collective licensing, encourage the development of model contracts and clauses, and tackle P2P file-sharing; and
        • A willingness on the Government's part to consider European action that provides commonsense rules for private, non-commercial use of copyright material that will give consumers much more freedom to do what they want (such as creating mash-ups) and make clear what they cannot do.
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          "Why Plaintiffs Should Have to Prove Irreparable Harm in Copyright Preliminary Injunction Cases"

          Posted in Copyright on November 1st, 2009

          Pamela Samuelson and Krzysztof Bebenek have self-archived "Why Plaintiffs Should Have to Prove Irreparable Harm in Copyright Preliminary Injunction Cases" in SSRN.

          Here's an excerpt:

          It has become lamentably common for courts to issue preliminary injunctions in copyright cases once rights holders have shown a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits without going on to require them to prove that they will suffer irreparable harm unless the injunction issues. Harm is too often presumed to be irreparable if plaintiffs have made out a prima facie case of infringement. This presumption cannot be squared with traditional principles of equity, as interpreted in numerous Supreme Court decisions, particularly eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange LLC, 547 U.S. 388 (2006).

          While a presumption of irreparable harm is inappropriate in all copyright cases, it is particularly troublesome in cases involving transformative uses of existing works, such as parodies and remixes and mashups, because free expression and free speech interests of creative users are at stake and transformative uses cases often raise plausible non-infringement defenses. Indeed, if any presumption about harm is appropriate in transformative use cases, it should probably run in favor of irreparability of harm to the defendants' free expression and speech interests under First Amendment case law which treats preliminary injunctions as presumptively unconstitutional prior restraints on speech.

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            "Removing All Restrictions: Cornell's New Policy on Use of Public Domain Reproductions"

            Posted in Copyright, Digitization, Public Domain on November 1st, 2009

            Peter Hirtle, Cornell University Library's Senior Policy Advisor, is interviewed in "Removing All Restrictions: Cornell's New Policy on Use of Public Domain Reproductions," which has been published in the latest issue of Research Library Issues.

            Here's an excerpt:

            Restrictions on the use of public domain work, sometimes labeled "copyfraud," are generating increasing criticism from the scholarly community. With significant collections of public domain materials in their collections, research libraries are faced with the question of what restrictions, if any, to place on those who seek to scan or otherwise reproduce these resources with the intention of publication.

            Cornell University Library has responded by adopting new permissions guidelines that open access by no longer requiring users to seek permission to publish public domain items duplicated from its collections. Users planning to scan and publish public domain material are still expected to determine that works are in the public domain where they live (since public domain determinations can vary internationally). Users must also respect noncopyright rights, such as the rights of privacy, publicity, and trademark. The Library will continue to charge service fees associated with the reproduction of analog material or the provision of versions of files different than what is freely available on the Web. The new guidelines are found at

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              "A Defense of the Public Domain: A Scholarly Essay"

              Posted in Copyright, Public Domain on October 29th, 2009

              Laura N. Gasaway, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, has self-archived "A Defense of the Public Domain: A Scholarly Essay" in SelectedWorks.

              Here's the abstract:

              Much has been written for librarians about copyright law. Despite the importance of the public domain, it has attracted much less scholarly attention than has copyright law generally, and yet a healthy and robust public domain is crucial to our society. It provides the building blocks for authors, composers, artists and movie makers who can borrow from public domain works without seeking permission of copyright owners. Unfortunately, the public domain is under attack from expanding the term of copyright, to making it more difficult for works to enter the public domain to the restoration of some foreign copyrights that had entered the public domain in the United States. Some librarians have asked whether vigorous application of fair use could not substitute for the shrinking public domain. It cannot. Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement and is very fact determinate. A court's finding of fair use applies only to the two parties to the litigation while the public domain is available to everyone from individual users of works, to artists and authors and to publishers and producers. It is crucial that the public domain be energetically defended. Today, it is not clear whether an author can even place his or her work in the public domain since copyright attaches automatically. A statutory method must be developed so that authors who wish to do so can easily place their works in the public domain.

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                Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums

                Posted in ARL Libraries, Copyright, Digitization on October 29th, 2009

                The Cornell University Library has published Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums by Peter B. Hirtle, Emily Hudson, and Andrew T. Kenyon. A PDF copy of the book can be freely downloaded and the print version can be purchased from CreateSpace.

                Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                How can cultural heritage institutions legally use the Internet to improve public access to the rich collections they hold?

                "Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums," a new book by published today by Cornell University Library, can help professionals at these institutions answer that question.

                Based on a well-received Australian manual written by Emily Hudson and Andrew T. Kenyon of the University of Melbourne, the book has been developed by Cornell University Library's senior policy advisor Peter B. Hirtle, along with Hudson and Kenyon, to conform to American law and practice.

                The development of new digital technologies has led to fundamental changes in the ways that cultural institutions fulfill their public missions of access, preservation, research, and education. Many institutions are developing publicly accessible Web sites that allow users to visit online exhibitions, search collection databases, access images of collection items, and in some cases create their own digital content. Digitization, however, also raises the possibility of copyright infringement. It is imperative that staff in libraries, archives, and museums understand fundamental copyright principles and how institutional procedures can be affected by the law.

                "Copyright and Cultural Institutions" was written to assist understanding and compliance with copyright law. It addresses the basics of copyright law and the exclusive rights of the copyright owner, the major exemptions used by cultural heritage institutions, and stresses the importance of "risk assessment" when conducting any digitization project. Case studies on digitizing oral histories and student work are also included.

                Hirtle is the former director of the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections, and the book evolved from his recognition of the need for such a guide when he led museum and library digitization projects. After reading Hudson and Kenyon's Australian guidelines, he realized that an American edition would be invaluable to anyone contemplating a digital edition.

                Anne R. Kenney, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell University, noted: "The Library has a long tradition of making available to other professionals the products of its research and expertise. I am delighted that this new volume can join the ranks with award-winning library publications on digitization and preservation."

                As an experiment in open-access publishing, the Library has made the work available in two formats. Print copies of the work are available from CreateSpace, an Amazon subsidiary. In addition, the entire text is available as a free download through eCommons, Cornell University's institutional repository, and from, which already distributes the Australian guidelines.

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                  Publisher Self-Archiving Policies: Major SHERPA RoMEO Upgrade

                  Posted in Author Rights, Copyright, Publishing, Self-Archiving on October 25th, 2009

                  SHERPA has released a major upgrade of its RoMEO service, which lists publishers' self-archiving policies.

                  Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                  A major upgrade to RoMEO has been released today, giving:

                  • Extra Category for the self-archiving of the Publisher's Version/ PDF
                  • Expanded Journal Coverage
                  • Extra Search Options for Journal Abbreviations and Electronic ISSNs
                  • New Tabular Browse View for Publishers
                  • Selective Display of Publishers' Compliance with Funding Agencys' Mandates . . . .

                  Previous versions of RoMEO have concentrated on highlighting information on the use of the pre-print and post-print. There has been great support from the community for also providing clearly labelled information on the use of the publisher's version/PDF as a separate item. This feature has now been included and sits alongside information on self-archiving rights for Pre-prints and Authors' Post-prints. The information is available in both individual publisher entries and in the new Tabular Browse View.

                  RoMEO now provides expanded journal coverage, enabling users to draw from both the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and the Entrez journal list for the Life Sciences, along with the existing resource of the British Library's Zetoc service.

                  In addition to searching for journals by Print ISSN, users are now able to search by Electronic ISSN. They can also search for journals using title abbreviations.

                  The new Tabular Browse View enables users to display comparative charts of publishers, to quickly determine and compare what different Publishers allow them to deposit, and if the Publisher has a Paid OA Option.

                  If you or your authors receive funding from any of the 50 plus agencies listed in JULIET, you will now be able to restrict your search results to display Publishers' compliance with any of the funding agencies' policies listed in JULIET.

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                    European Commission Adopts Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy

                    Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton on October 20th, 2009

                    The European Commission has adopted a Communication from the Commission: Copyright in the Knowledge Economy.

                    Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                    The European Commission today adopted a Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy aiming to tackle the important cultural and legal challenges of mass-scale digitisation and dissemination of books, in particular of European library collections. The Communication was jointly drawn up by Commissioners Charlie McCreevy and Viviane Reding. Digital libraries such as Europeana ( http// ) will provide researchers and consumers across Europe with new ways to gain access to knowledge. For this, however, the EU will need to find a solution for orphan works, whose uncertain copyright status means they often cannot be digitised. Improving the distribution and availability of works for persons with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired, is another cornerstone of the Communication.

                    On adoption, Commissioners McCreevy and Reding stressed that the debate over the Google Books Settlement in the United States once again has shown that Europe could not afford to be left behind on the digital frontier.

                    "We must boost Europe as a centre of creativity and innovation. The vast heritage in Europe's libraries cannot be left to languish but must be made accessible to our citizens", Commissioner McCreevy, responsible for the Internal Market, stated.

                    Commissioner Reding, in charge of Information Society and Media, said: "Important digitisation efforts have already started all around the globe. Europe should seize this opportunity to take the lead, and to ensure that books digitisation takes place on the basis of European copyright law, and in full respect of Europe's cultural diversity. Europe, with its rich cultural heritage, has most to offer and most to win from books digitisation. If we act swiftly, pro-competitive European solutions on books digitisation may well be sooner operational than the solutions presently envisaged under the Google Books Settlement in the United States."

                    The Communication addresses the actions that the Commission intends to launch: digital preservation and dissemination of scholarly and cultural material and of orphan works, as well as access to knowledge for persons with disabilities. The challenges identified by the Commission today stem from last year’s public consultation on a Green Paper ( IP/08/1156 ), the Commission's High Level Group on Digital Libraries and the experiences gained with Europe's Digital Library Europeana ( IP/09/1257 ).

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                      Digital Videos: Presentations from Access 2009 Conference

                      Posted in Copyright, Data Curation, Open Data, and Research Data Management, Digital Curation & Digital Preservation, Digital Repositories on October 13th, 2009

                      Presentations from the Access 2009 Conference are now available. Digital videos and presentation slides (if available) are synched.

                      Here's a quick selection:

                      1. Dan Chudnov, "Repository Development at the Library of Congress"
                      2. Cory Doctorow, "Copyright vs Universal Access to All Human Knowledge and Groups Without Cost: The State of Play in the Global Copyfight"
                      3. Mark Jordan & Brian Owen, "COPPUL's LOCKSS Private Network / Software Lifecycles & Sustainability: a PKP and reSearcher Update"
                      4. Dorthea Salo, "Representing and Managing the Data Deluge"
                      5. Roy Tennant, "Inspecting the Elephant: Characterizing the Hathi Trust Collection"
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                        Google Books Settlement Status Conference Reports

                        Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on October 8th, 2009

                        Kenneth Crews and James Grimmelmann have posted blog reports about the Google Books Settlement status conference on October 7th. An amended agreement is anticipated to be filed by November 9th.

                        Here's an excerpt from the Grimmelmann's post:

                        Judge Chin is trying to move this case, and his overall attitude seemed to be that he wants as clean a record as possible, and soon, so that he can act on it. That would incline me to think that he is hoping to be able to approve the settlement, or at the least to kick some of the legal issues upstairs to the Second Circuit for its guidance.

                        Read more about it at "Amended Google Deal Targeted for November 9."

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