Archive for the 'Copyright' Category

Against Intellectual Monopoly Freely Available

Posted in Copyright, Patents on January 25th, 2008

The forthcoming book Against Intellectual Monopoly, which will be published by Cambridge University Press, is now freely available in digital form.

Here's an excerpt from the introduction:

Our reasoning proceeds along the following lines. Everyone wants a monopoly. No one wants to compete against his own customers, or against imitators. Currently patents and copyrights grant producers of certain ideas a monopoly. Certainly few people do something in exchange for nothing. Creators of new goods are not different from producers of old ones: they want to be compensated for their effort. However, it is a long and dangerous jump from the assertion that innovators deserve compensation for their efforts to the conclusion that patents and copyrights, that is monopoly, are the best or the only way of providing that reward. Statements such as "A patent is the way of rewarding somebody for coming up with a worthy commercial idea" abound in the business, legal and economic press. As we shall see there are many other ways in which innovators are rewarded, even substantially, and most of them are better for society than the monopoly power patents and copyright currently bestow. Since innovators may be rewarded even without patents and copyright, we should ask: is it true that intellectual property achieves the intended purpose of creating incentives for innovation and creation that offset their considerable harm?

This book examines both the evidence and the theory. Our conclusion is that creators’ property rights can be well protected in the absence of intellectual property, and that the latter does not increase either innovation or creation. They are an unnecessary evil.

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    MPAA Now Says That College Students Account for 15%, Not 44%, of Illegal Movie Downloads

    Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, P2P File Sharing on January 24th, 2008

    The Motion Picture Association of America has said that a 2005 study that claimed that college students accounted for 44% of illegal downloads of movies is incorrect: the correct number is 15%. The MPAA had used the higher figure to argue for measures that would address higher education downloading abuse.

    Meanwhile, the EFF Deeplinks blog is reminding its readers ("Troubling 'Digital Theft Prevention' Requirements Remain in Higher Education Bill) that the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007, which the House may take up in February, still contains this wording asking institutions to "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."

    Read more about it at: "Downloading by Students Overstated," "MPAA Admits Mistake on Downloading Study," "Oops: MPAA Admits College Piracy Numbers Grossly Inflated," and "Why the MPAA and RIAA Can't Stand College Students."

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      Cultural Industries in Europe Committee Votes Down Copyright Filtering and Term Extension Amendments

      Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Net Neutrality on January 23rd, 2008

      The European Parliament's Cultural Industries in Europe Committee has voted against amendments to the Cultural industries in the Context of the Lisbon Strategy report that would have filtered the Internet, removed or blocked infringing content, terminated the connectivity of infringers, and extended the term of copyright protection. The report will next be voted on in a European Parliament plenary meeting.

      Read more about it at "Filtering and Copyright Extension Fail to Find a Home in EU" and "Proposed EU ISP Filtering and Copyright Extension Shot Down."

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        University of Minnesota Libraries Tutorial on Author Rights

        Posted in Author Rights, Copyright, Publishing, Self-Archiving on January 23rd, 2008

        The University of Minnesota Libraries have released a brief (about six minutes) Adobe Presenter overview of author rights issues aimed at faculty and other researchers.

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          Copy Belgium: Canadian Recording Industry Association Asks for Copyright Filtering of the Internet

          Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, Net Neutrality on January 22nd, 2008

          According to "Canadian Copyright Lobby Seeking Mandated ISP Filtering," the Canadian Recording Industry Association is asking the Canadian government to consider copyright filtering of the Internet.

          Here's an excerpt:

          [CRIA's] Henderson cites with approval several initiatives to move toward ISP filtering of content, pointing to a French report, comments from the UK that such legislation could be forthcoming, and the AT&T negotiations in the U.S. Later in the conversation, the group is asked what their dream legislation would look like. The first response? ISP liability, with the respondent pointing to Belgium as an example of an ideal model ("the file sharing issue will go away there as ISPs take down people"). Last summer, a Belgian court ordered an ISP to install filtering software to identify and block copyrighted content (the decision is currently being appealed).

          If this reflects the current strategy—and there is reason to believe it does—it marks a dramatic change in the lobbying efforts. It suggests that not only are these groups seeking a Canadian DMCA, but they would like Industry Minister Jim Prentice to go even further by enacting constitutionally-dubious legislation requiring ISPs to identify and filter out content that is alleged to infringe copyright.

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            Presentations from eResearch Australasia 2007

            Posted in Copyright, Cyberinfrastructure/E-Science, Data Curation, Open Data, and Research Data Management, Digital Humanities, Digital Repositories, Institutional Repositories, Metadata on January 22nd, 2008

            Presentations from eResearch Australasia 2007 are now available.

            Here are selected presentations:

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              British MEP Asks European Parliament to Filter Internet, Remove/Block Infringing Content, and Terminate Connectivity of Infringers

              Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Net Neutrality on January 20th, 2008

              Chris Heaton-Harris, a British Member of European Parliament (MEP), has proposed an amendment to the draft Cultural industries in the Context of the Lisbon Strategy report that asks the EP to filter infringing content from the Internet, to remove or block infringing content, and to terminate the connectivity of infringers.

              Urges the Commission to oblige all those active in the sector to join forces and seek solutions equitable to all with the aim to develop the offer of legitimate online content and to make sure that all the involved stakeholders act responsibly. In the event that adequate solutions have not been found within a reasonable period of time that should not exceed 1 year, calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt legislative measures obliging Internet service providers to cooperate in the fight against online piracy. This cooperation of Internet service providers should include the use of filtering technologies to prevent their networks being used to infringe intellectual property, the removal from the networks or the blocking of content that infringes intellectual property, and the enforcement of their contractual terms and conditions, which permit them to suspend or terminate their contracts with those subscribers who repeatedly or on a wide scale infringe intellectual property; draws Member States’ attention on this point to the fact that legislative measures which oblige Internet services providers to cooperate in the fight against online piracy would be more effective than the legal pursuit of users who infringe intellectual property;

              Read more about it at "Copyright Extensions and ISP Filtering: Breaking EU Culture, One Amendment at a Time" and "MEP Says Providers Should Cut the Line If Copyright Is Infringed."

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                Tim Wu vs. Rick Cotton on Copyright

                Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture on January 18th, 2008

                The New York Times Bits blog running run an interesting debate this week between Tim Wu, Professor of Law at the Columbia Law School, and Rick Cotton, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, NBC Universal, about copyright issues.

                Postings so far include:

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                  AAP Reaches Agreement with Three Universities about E-Reserves Guidelines

                  Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Reserves, Licenses, Publishing, Scholarly Communication on January 17th, 2008

                  The Association of American Publishers has announced it has reached agreement with Hofstra University, Marquette University, and Syracuse University about copyright guidelines for e-reserves.

                  The guidelines are below:

                  Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                  The guidelines, which were developed separately by the three universities, govern how librarians and faculty members distribute copyrighted content through library electronic course reserves systems, course management systems, faculty and departmental web pages and other digital formats.

                  AAP worked with each of the three universities in cooperative efforts to establish easily understood and common-sense standards that help faculty and staff understand and interpret their rights and responsibilities when using copyrighted content in educational settings. Each of the guidelines reflects the specific needs of the particular university and is consistent with the principles of fair use while providing helpful guidance as to when permission from the copyright holder is required to copy or post materials in digital formats. AAP believes the guidelines, which are similar to those adopted by Cornell University last year, will serve as models for others colleges and universities. . . .

                  In the last two years AAP has initiated discussions with a number of universities after observing that unlicensed digital copies of course materials were gradually replacing the licensed physical copying of articles, book chapters and other copyrighted works. While it is well established that physical copying of materials for distribution to multiple students, often in compilations known as coursepacks, generally requires permission from the copyright holder, faculty and staff seem less aware that permission is similarly required for distribution of electronic copies of such copyrighted materials.

                  Read more about it at "AAP Pressures Universities to Limit Fair Use" and "Despite Skeptics, Publishers Tout New 'Fair Use' Agreements With Universities" (Chronicle of Higher Education subscribers only).

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                    The Future of Ideas Is Now Freely Available Under a Creative Commons License

                    Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Digital Copyright Wars on January 16th, 2008

                    Lawrence Lessig has announced that The Future of Ideas is now under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License and that a PDF version of the book can be freely downloaded. All of Lessig's books are now under a Creative Commons license.

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                      Israeli vs. Canadian Copyright Law

                      Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on January 15th, 2008

                      A translation of the Israel's Copyright Act of 2007, which takes effect on May 25, 2008, is now available.

                      Last December, Ariel Katz, Innovation Chair in Electronic Commerce, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, wrote an interesting analysis of the Israeli law ("What Can Canada Learn from Israel about Copyright Reform?"), which contrasted it to Canadian copyright law. In summary, he said:

                      Israel's new act has revealed its copyright priorities. Overall, Israel decided to increase the flexibility of its copyright law and make it more open and friendlier to users, educators and innovators. It decided to reduce the ways in which copyright law can work to restrict competition. For the time being, it decided not to enact anticircumvention rules that have the potential to work in the other direction. This choice is compatible with Israel's innovative and creative record. This choice is essential for a small economy whose citizens' brain is the only natural resource. Canada should seriously consider doing the same.

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                        EFF Files Amicus Brief in Atlantic v. Howell: Atlantic Is Trying to Prosecute Attempted Infringement

                        Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on January 15th, 2008

                        An amicus brief filed by the EFF suggests that Atlantic is suing Pamela and Jeffrey Howell based on attempted, rather than actual, infringement and that there is no evidence of infringement other than hearsay evidence by Atlantic's hired investigator (MediaSentry).

                        Here's en excerpt from the brief:

                        Plaintiffs' investigator, MediaSentry, did not observe Defendant's disseminating any materials to third parties. Nor do Plaintiffs contend that MediaSentry invited Defendants to make any unauthorized reproductions. Nor have Plaintiffs established that MediaSentry's downloads constitute circumstantial evidence that the Howell's computer disseminated copies of the 11 songs in question to any other KaZaA user. In fact, Plaintiffs' own evidence makes this seem particularly unlikely. According to Plaintiffs' expert, during the period that MediaSentry performed its investigation, there were 2,282,954 KaZaA users online, sharing 292,532,420 files. . . . Even accepting Plaintiffs' hearsay testimony as true, these facts together suggest that it is highly unlikely that, among the millions of KaZaA users who are likely to be sharing them at any time, these 11 songs would have been downloaded from Defendants' computer. At any instant, KaZaA users are likely to have thousands of sources for these particular songs to choose from and no reason to choose the Defendants' computer over any other. And while Plaintiffs may be correct that, in the aggregate, KaZaA users engage in a prodigious amount of infringing activity, that general statement tells us nothing about the crucial issue in this case: whether these Defendants transmitted (i.e., uploaded) any of these 11 songs during the time period in question.

                        Here's an excerpt from "EFF Files Brief in Atlantic v. Howell Resisting RIAA's 'Attempted Distribution' Theory":

                        As in more than 20,000 other lawsuits, the recording industry claims that Mr. and Mrs. Howell committed copyright infringement by using P2P file sharing software (in this case, Kazaa). But rather than going to the trouble of proving that the Howells made any infringing copies (by ripping CDs or downloading songs) or any infringing distributions (by uploading to other Kazaa users), the record labels argue that simply having a song in a shared folder, even if no one ever downloaded it from you (i.e., "making available"), infringes the distribution right. This essentially amounts to suing someone for attempted distribution, something the Copyright Act has never recognized (although the DoJ unsuccessfully tried to get something like that from Congress last year).

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