Archive for the 'Copyright' Category

“Google & Books: An Exchange”

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

In "Google & Books: An Exchange," Paul N. Courant, Ann Kjellberg, J. D. McClatchy, Edward Mendelson, Margo Viscusi, Tappan Wilder et al. have commented on Robert Darnton's "Google & the Future of Books," and Darnton has replied.

Here's an excerpt:

[Darnton] Monopolies tend to charge monopoly prices. I agree that the parallel between the pricing of digital and periodical materials isn't perfect, but it is instructive. If the readers of a library become so attached to Google's database that they cannot do without it, the library will find it extremely difficult to resist stiff increases in the price for subscribing to it. As happened when the publishers of periodicals forced up their prices, the library may feel compelled to cover the increased cost by buying fewer books. Exorbitant pricing for Google's service could produce the same effect as the skyrocketing of periodical prices: reduced acquisitions of monographs, a further decline in monograph publishing by university presses, and fewer opportunities for young scholars to publish their research and get ahead in their careers.

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    Copyright and Related Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Unpublished Pre-1972 Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives

    Posted in Copyright, Digital Curation & Digital Preservation on March 13th, 2009

    The Council on Library and Information Resources has released Copyright and Related Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Unpublished Pre-1972 Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives .

    Here's an excerpt:

    This report addresses the question of what libraries and archives are legally empowered to do to preserve and make accessible for research their holdings of unpublished pre-1972 sound recordings. The report's author, June M. Besek, is executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School.

    Unpublished sound recordings are those created for private use, or even for broadcast, but that have not been distributed to the public in copies with the right holder's consent. Examples include tapes of live musical performances or of interviews conducted as part of field research or news gathering. Such recordings may find their way into library and archive collections through donations or purchase. Some may be the only record of a particular performance or event, and therefore may have considerable cultural and historical significance. The rights for use of unpublished recordings are distinct from those for use of commercial sound recordings, which are made with the authorization of rights holders and are intended for reproduction and sale to the public.

    Using examples of specific types of sound recordings, the Besek study (1) describes the different bodies of law that protect pre-1972 sound recordings, (2) explains the difficulty in defining the precise contours of the law, and (3) provides guidance for libraries evaluating their activities with respect to unpublished pre-1972 sound recordings.

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      "Know Your Copyright from Wrong: A Guide to UK Copyright Law"

      Posted in Copyright on March 12th, 2009

      Christine Riefa, Brunel Law School, has made "Know Your Copyright from Wrong: A Guide to UK Copyright Law" available on SSRN.

      Here's the abstract:

      Copyright law in the UK is heavily influenced by European law and international treaties. The rationale for protection is anchored in utilitarian theories, based on the idea that an author should be rewarded for his time, effort, and creativity and that he should also be able to control the work as property. The economic protection granted to the author or copyright owner remains a strong feature of UK copyright law and shapes its contours. Our exploration of UK copyright law starts with the subsistence of Copyright to then move on to consider its duration and how copyright is transferred to third parties. Infringements and defences to infringements as well as the acts permitted by Statute are reviewed before concluding by taking into consideration moral rights, a fairly recent addition to UK copyright law.

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        Senate Spending Bill Includes NIH Open Access Provision

        Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on March 10th, 2009

        The Senate spending bill, which has been reported by the Washington Post and others as having passed, includes an NIH open access provision.

        Here's an excerpt from "In 2009 Appropriations Bill, NIH Public Access Mandate Would Become Permanent":

        In the section funding the NIH, section 217, pertaining to public access, reads:

        "The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require in the current fiscal year and thereafter [emphasis added] that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law."

        In his "Congress Makes NIH Policy Permanent (but for Conyers Bill) post," Peter Suber points out that because of the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act the NIH Public Access policy is still in danger.

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          Lawrence Lessig Replies to Rep. John Conyers about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

          Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on March 10th, 2009

          Lawrence Lessig has replied to Rep. John Conyers' "A Reply to Larry Lessig," which was written in response to "Is John Conyers Shilling for Special Interests?" by Lawrence Lessig and Michael Eisen.

          Here's an excerpt:

          Supporting citizens' funding of the nation's elections—as Mr. Conyers has—is an important first step. That one change, I believe, would do more than any other to restore trustworthiness in Congress.

          But that's not all you could do, Mr. Conyers. You have it within your power to remove any doubt about the reasons you have for sponsoring the legislation you sponsor: Stop accepting contributions from the interests your committee regulates. This was the principle of at least some committee chairmen in the past. It is practically unheard of today. But you could set an important example for others, and for America, about how an uncorrupted system of government might work. And you could do so without any risk to your own position—because the product of your forty years of extraordinary work for the citizens of Michigan means that they'll return you to office whether or not you spend one dime on a reelection. Indeed, if you did this, I'd promise to come to Michigan and hand out leaflets for your campaign.

          Until you do this, Mr. Conyers, don't lecture me about "crossing a line." For I intend to cross this line as often as I can, the outrage and scorn of Members of Congress notwithstanding. This is no time to play nice. And yours is just the first in a series of many such stories to follow—targeting Republicans as well as Democrats, people who we agree with on substance as well as those we don't, always focusing on bad bills that make sense only if you follow the money.

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            New York Action Alert: Rep. Carolyn Maloney Sponsors Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

            Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access, Publishing on March 9th, 2009

            Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) has become the first sponsor of the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act who is not a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

            If you are in her district and oppose the bill, you can contact her to express your opposition in the following ways:

            • DC Office: Phone: (202) 225-7944; Fax: (202) 225-4709
            • New York Office: Phone: (212) 860-0606, Fax: (212) 860-0704
            • Web Form: The Hill form; Maloney's form

            The ALA call to action and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access call to action have example text and talking points that you can use. (Note that the ALA call Web form cannot be used to contact Maloney.)

            Peter Suber offers this advice:

            As usual, you will be more persuasive if you can explain why the NIH policy matters to you, your work, or your organization. Be specific and be personal. Speak for yourself, but if you can, get your institution to send a letter as well. Save your message; you may need to adapt and reuse it later. And please spread the word to your NY colleagues.

            For further information about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, see Suber's article "Re-introduction of the Bill to Kill the NIH Policy" and his post "Aiming Criticism at the Right Target."

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              The Google Library Project: Is Digitization for Purposes of Online Indexing Fair Use Under Copyright Law?

              Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on March 9th, 2009

              The Congressional Research Service has released The Google Library Project: Is Digitization for Purposes of Online Indexing Fair Use Under Copyright Law?. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

              Here's an excerpt:

              The Google Book Search Library Project, announced in December 2004, raised important questions about infringing reproduction and fair use under copyright law. Google planned to digitize, index, and display "snippets" of print books in the collections of five major libraries without the permission of the books' copyright holders, if any. Authors and publishers owning copyrights to these books sued Google in September and October 2005, seeking to enjoin and recover damages for Google's alleged infringement of their exclusive rights to reproduce and publicly display their works. Google and proponents of its Library Project disputed these allegations. They essentially contended that Google's proposed uses were not infringing because Google allowed rights holders to "opt out" of having their books digitized or indexed. They also argued that, even if Google's proposed uses were infringing, they constituted fair uses under copyright law.

              The arguments of the parties and their supporters highlighted several questions of first impression. First, does an entity conducting an unauthorized digitization and indexing project avoid committing copyright infringement by offering rights holders the opportunity to "opt out," or request removal or exclusion of their content? Is requiring rights holders to take steps to stop allegedly infringing digitization and indexing like requiring rights holders to use meta-tags to keep search engines from indexing online content? Or do rights holders employ sufficient measures to keep their books from being digitized and indexed online by publishing in print? Second, can unauthorized digitization, indexing, and display of "snippets" of print works constitute a fair use? Assuming unauthorized indexing and display of "snippets" are fair uses, can digitization claim to be a fair use on the grounds that apparently prima facie infringing activities that facilitate legitimate uses are fair uses?

              On October 28, 2008, Google, authors, and publishers announced a proposed settlement, which, if approved by the court, could leave these and related questions unanswered. However, although a court granted preliminary approval to the settlement on November 17, 2008, final approval is still pending. Until final approval is granted, any rights holder belonging to the proposed settlement class—which includes "all persons having copyright interests in books" in the United States—could object to the agreement. The court could also reject the agreement as unfair, unreasonable, or inadequate. Moreover, even assuming final court approval, future cases may raise similar questions about infringing reproduction and fair use.

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                Michael Eisen Replies to Rep. John Conyers about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

                Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on March 8th, 2009

                Michael Eisen has replied to Rep. John Conyers' "A Reply to Larry Lessig," which was written in response to "Is John Conyers Shilling for Special Interests?" by Lawrence Lessig and Michael Eisen. (Thanks to Open Access News.)

                Here's an excerpt:

                Unfortunately, Representative Conyers actions do not reflect his words. This bill was introduced in the last Congress. The Judiciary Committee then held hearings on the bill, in which even the publishers' own witnesses pointed out flaws in its logic and approach. In particular, a previous Registrar of Copyrights, clearly sympathetic to the publishers' cause, acknowledged that the NIH Policy was in perfect accord with US copyright law and practice. If Conyers were so interested in dealing with a complex issue in a fair and reasonable way, why then did he completely ignore the results of this hearing and reintroduce the exact same bill—one that clearly reflects the opinions of only one side in this debate?

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