Archive for the 'Copyright' Category

Controversial Provision in the PRO-IP Act Dropped

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on March 7th, 2008

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property dropped a controversial provision of the Pro-IP Act (HR 4279, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007) that would have made infringers liable for damages for each part of a compilation work (e.g., each song on an album). The Subcommittee then approved the bill.

Read more about it at "House Panel Kills Controversial Copyright Provision," "Public Knowledge Comments on Intellectual Property Bill Action by House Subcommittee," and "Rep. Berman Pulls Controversial 'Compilations' Rule from PRO-IP Act."

Acta Crystallographica Section E Adopts Author-Pays OA Model and Creative Commons License

Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, E-Journals, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on March 6th, 2008

The International Union of Crystallography has adopted a very modest publication fee ($150) to support open access to Acta Crystallographica Section E: Structure Reports Online. It has also put the journal under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Read more about it at "Acta Crystallographica E is Open Access."

EDUCAUSE Urgent Call to Action about the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on March 6th, 2008

EDUCAUSE has issued an urgent call for action by March 7 about the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007, which contains a provision about illegal file sharing.

Here is the provision:

Section 494: Campus Based Digital Theft Prevention

(a) IN GENERAL—Each eligible institution participating in any program under this title shall to the extent practicable—

(2) develop a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity

See EDUCAUSE's talking points, action call template, and file-sharing resources. For further background, see "In a Win for the MPAA and RIAA, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 Is Approved by the House Education and Labor Committee."

You can use Congress Merge to find contact information for your Congressional representatives.

Creative Commons License Option for ETDs at the University of Auckland

Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs), Institutional Repositories, Licenses, Open Access, Self-Archiving on February 29th, 2008

The University of Auckland now gives students submitting an electronic theses or dissertation the option of putting it under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Read more about it "University of Auckland Embeds CC Licensing" and "Guidelines for Formatting a Digital Thesis."

Are Publishers Ready for the JISC/SURF Licence to Publish Author Agreement and Its Principles?

Posted in Author Rights, Copyright, Open Access, Publishing, Self-Archiving on February 29th, 2008

The SURFfoundation has published Acceptance of the JISC/SURF Licence to Publish & accompanying Principles by Traditional Publishers of Journals.

Here's an excerpt from the "Management Survey" section (I have added the link to the Licence to Publish):

In 2006, JISC and SURF drafted several Principles and a model Licence to Publish in order to persuade traditional publishers of journals to move in the direction of Open Access objectives. According to these Principles:

  1. the author merely issues a licence to publish instead of transferring his/her copyright.
  2. the author may freely deposit the publisher-generated PDF files of his/her article in an institutional repository, with an embargo of no longer than 6 months.

To set an example, a model Licence to Publish (hereafter: LtP) was drawn up as well. Yet, using the LtP is not a necessary requirement for meeting the—more important—Open Access objectives of the Principles.

This report presents the results of an enquiry by e-mail among 47 traditional publishers of journals. They were asked whether they would support the Principles and/or the LtP, which had first been explained to them. Two Open Access publishers were also asked for a reaction merely out of interest, since they do not belong to the target group. . .

The results showed that a substantial group of one-third of the contacted publishers conforms to the first aspect of the Principles; they make use of a licence to publish instead of a copyright transfer. Furthermore, the same number of publishers (16) already has a repository policy in place which is compatible with the Principles. Moreover, 7 publishers conform to both aspects and thus they endorse all the Principles. The support for the model LtP developed by SURF and JISC, however was low; no publisher did as yet endorse it.

Intellectual Property? OK, Let's Tax It as Property

Posted in Copyright, Public Domain on February 28th, 2008

Scientist Dallas Weaver has suggested that if copyright holders want "property" rights then they should be subject to a significant fixed annual tax in order to continue to hold the copyright. This tax would encourage copyright holders to put their works in the public domain.

Read more about it at "Copyright This."

Why Digital Copyright and Net Neutrality Should Matter to Open Access Advocates

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Net Neutrality, Open Access on February 26th, 2008

It is highly unlikely that open access would have emerged if the Internet did not exist. The Internet makes the low-cost worldwide distribution of e-prints and other digital documents through institutional and disciplinary repositories possible, and it significantly lowers the cost of publishing, which makes open access journals possible. Open access in a print-only or proprietary network environment would require significant subsidies. The relative cost of providing open access on the Internet is trivial.

It would be a mistake to assume that the Internet will remain as we know it. With the rise of digital media, powerful interests in the music and film/television industries have become alarmed about file sharing of their content, and they have lobbied legislatures across the globe to stop it through restrictive copyright legislation and technological measures.

Since open access doesn't deal with popular music, film, or television, why should open access advocates care? The answer is simple: restrictive measures are unlikely to make fine-grained distinctions about content. New copyright measures won't exempt scholarly material, and new Internet traffic shaping or filtering technologies won't either.

Open access materials won't be limited to simple text documents forever: digital media and data sets will become increasingly important. These files can be large and increase network load. Digital media files may include excerpts from third-party copyrighted material, which are utilized under fair use provisions. Will filtering and traffic shaping technologies exclude them or will they be the inadvertent victims of systems designed for an entirely different purpose?

Even simple text documents will be governed by restrictive copyright laws and subject to potential copyright filtering mechanisms.

For example, the Tennessee State Senate is considering a bill (SB 3974) that would require every higher education institution to "thoroughly analyze its computer network, including its local area and internal networks, to determine whether it is being used to transmit copyrighted works" and to "take affirmative steps, including the implementation of effective technology-based deterrents, to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the school's computer and network resources, including over local area and internal networks."

You'll note that the bill says "transmit copyrighted works" not "transmit digital music and video works." Does this mean that every digital work, including e-prints and e-books, must be scanned and cleared for copyright compliance? That is unlikely to be the real intent of the bill, but, if passed, it will be the letter of the law. Why couldn't academic publishers insist that digital articles and books be vetted as well?

Net neutrality and digital copyright legislation are issues that should be of concern to open access advocates. To ignore them is to potentially win the battle, but lose the war, blind-sided by developments that will ensnare open access materials in legal and technological traps.

Tennessee State Senate Bill Would Force Universities to Stop Copyright Infringement

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on February 25th, 2008

The Tennessee State Senate is considering a bill (SB 3974) that would require every higher education institution to "thoroughly analyze its computer network, including its local area and internal networks, to determine whether it is being used to transmit copyrighted works" and to "take affirmative steps, including the implementation of effective technology-based deterrents, to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the school's computer and network resources, including over local area and internal networks."

Read more about it at "Tennessee Eyes Bill to Make Colleges Stop Online File Sharing" and "Tennessee Legislation Would Turn Schools into Copyright Cops."

Lessig’s Final Free Culture Speech

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture on February 24th, 2008

Lawrence Lessig delivered his last speech on free culture on January 31, 2008 at Stanford University. A digital video is available on blip.tv.

You can follow Lessig's new Change Congress activities, including a possible run for Congress, on his Lessig08 Weblog.

A Legal Issues Primer for Open Source and Free Software Projects, Version 1.5

Posted in Copyright, Open Source Software on February 24th, 2008

The Software Freedom Law Center has published version 1.5 of A Legal Issues Primer for Open Source and Free Software Projects.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The guide, written by members of SFLC's staff, covers a variety of legal topics and their practical application to free software development. These topics include copyrights and licensing, organizational structure, patents, and trademarks.

ARL Publishes NIH Public Access Policy Guide

Posted in Copyright, E-Prints, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on February 18th, 2008

The Association of Research Libraries has published "The NIH Public Access Policy: Guide for Research Universities."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The new NIH Public Access Policy, which becomes effective April 7, 2008, calls for mandatory deposit in PubMed Central of peer-reviewed electronic manuscripts stemming from NIH funding. The change from a voluntary to mandatory policy creates new expectations, not just of funded investigators, but also of the grantee institutions that support those investigators.

The ARL guide, "The NIH Public Access Policy: Guide for Research Universities," includes the following sections:

  • Policy Overview
  • Institutional Responses
  • Retaining Rights
  • How to Deposit
  • Resources

The guide focuses on the implications of the NIH policy for institutions as grantees, although some information for individual investigators is included and links to further details are provided. The guide is helpful to a range of campus constituencies that may be involved in implementing the new policy, including research administrators, legal counsel, and librarians.

In addition to compliance concerns, the guide also considers the benefits of the new policy and institutions' opportunities to build on the policy requirements by seeking additional rights for using funded research to address local needs.

Reflecting the dynamic nature of campus implementation activities, the guide will be updated as more campuses release plans, resources, and tools that can serve as models for their peers.

Three-Strikes Copyright Policy: France, the UK, and Now Australia

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on February 18th, 2008

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian government is evaluating the UK's "three-strikes and you're out" copyright policy, which leaped the English Channel from France. The UK version of the policy involves a warning on the first illegal download offense, a suspension of ISP privileges on the second, and a revocation of ISP access on the third.

Read more about it at "War on Music Piracy."


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