Archive for the 'Copyright' Category

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

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."

Presentations from the Open Access Collections Workshop

Posted in Copyright, Digital Repositories, E-Journal Management and Publishing Systems, Institutional Repositories, Open Access on February 18th, 2008

Presentations from the Open Access Collections workshop are now available.

Here are selected presentations:

France's Three-Strikes Copyright Proposal Crosses the English Channel

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

A draft of a forthcoming Green Paper from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport ("The World’s Creative Hub") promises that the UK will "move to legislate to require internet service providers to take action on illegal file-sharing." It appears that the UK version of France's controversial "three-strikes and you're out" digital copyright proposal will involve 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 "Britain Considers Anti-Piracy Steps," "Internet Users Could Be Banned over Illegal Downloads," "ISPs Demand Record Biz Pays Up If Cut-Off P2P Users Sue," "Report: Three-Strikes Copyright Enforcement May Come to UK," and "UK ISPs Don't Want to Play Umpire to 'Three Strikes' Rule."

EU Commissioner Wants 95-Year Copyright Term for Musicians

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

Charlie McCreevy, the European Union's Internal Market and Services Commissioner has said that he would like to extend musicians copyright protection to a 95-year term. Unlike composers and lyricists, who get a lifetime plus 70-year term, performers currently have a 50-year term. McCreevy plans to introduce legislation to support his 95-year term plan.

Read more about it at "Bands Set for Longer Music Rights," "EU Commissioner: Let’s Extend Music Copyrights to 95 years. Ars: 50 Years Is Plenty," "EU Looks to Extend Copyright and Blank Media Levies," and "EU Suggests Singers and Musicians Should Earn Copyright Fees for 95 years."

Commons-Research Mailing List Launched

Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Public Domain on February 15th, 2008

Giorgos Cheliotis has launched the Commons-Research mailing list.

Here's an excerpt from the list's home page that describes it:

Discussion among researchers studying the commons, for example the use and impact of peer production methods and communities and open licensing. We welcome researchers studying the commons in a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, economics, law, media studies, sociology. . .

House Passes College Opportunity and Affordability Act with File-Sharing Provision Intact

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, P2P File Sharing on February 8th, 2008

Despite lobbying by EDUCAUSE and others, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed, 354 to 58, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act with its Sec. 494 illegal file sharing provision intact.

Here's the provision:


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

(1) make publicly available to their students and employees, the policies and procedures related to the illegal downloading and distribution of copyrighted materials required to be disclosed under section 485(a)(1)(P); and

(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.

(b) Grants—

(1) PROGRAM AUTHORITY— The Secretary may make grants to institutions of higher education, or consortia of such institutions, and enter into contracts with such institutions, consortia, and other organizations, to develop, implement, operate, improve, and disseminate programs of prevention, education, and cost-effective technological solutions, to reduce and eliminate the illegal downloading and distribution of intellectual property. Such grants or contracts may also be used for the support of a higher education centers that will provide training, technical assistance, evaluation, dissemination, and associated services and assistance to the higher education community as determined by the Secretary and institutions of higher education.

(2) AWARDS— Grants and contracts shall be awarded under paragraph (1) on a competitive basis.

(3) APPLICATIONS— An institution of higher education or a consortium of such institutions that desires to receive a grant or contract under paragraph (1) shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing or accompanied by such information as the Secretary may reasonably require by regulation.

(4) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS— There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2009 and for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years.

Read more about it at: "Controversial College Funding Bill Passed—P2P Proviso Intact," "Educause Lobbies Against Piracy Measure in House Bill," "House, Focusing on Cost, Approves Higher Education Act," and "House Approves MPAA-Backed College Antipiracy Rules."

Are Photographs Derivative Works?

Posted in Copyright on February 7th, 2008

Is a photograph of a vodka bottle a derivative work? How about a photograph of a toy? A sculpture? Noted copyright expert William Patry examines cases dealing with these questions in "Photographs and Derivative Works," finding that the court's interpretation isn't always correct.

Here's an excerpt:

Photographs of other objects are not derivative works of those objects. First, a photograph of an object is not "based on" that object: It is a mere depiction of it. Second, even if one were to find that a photograph of an object is based on that "preexisting work" within the meaning of the definition of "derivative work" in Section 101, such a photograph must still "recast, transform, or adapt" the authorship in the preexisting work to be considered a derivative work.

Danish Court Orders Nordic ISP to Block Access to Torrent Search Engine Pirate Bay

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

Tele2, a major Nordic ISP, must block its customers access to torrent search engine The Pirate Bay due to a Danish court order. Recently, four persons associated with The Pirate Bay were charged with assisting copyright infringement.

Read more about it at "Danish ISP Shuts Access to File-Sharing Pirate Bay," "Pirate Bay Admins Charged with Assisting Copyright Infringement," "Pirate Bay: Big Revenue Claims Fabricated by Prosecutors," "The Pirate Bay Fights Danish ISP Block," and "Pirate Bay Future Uncertain after Operators Busted."

Library Copyright Alliance and 7 Other Organizations Argue against the PRO-IP Act in White Paper

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on February 6th, 2008

Eight organizations have submitted a white paper to the U.S. Copyright Office that critiques the PRO IP Act. The organizations are Library Copyright Alliance, Computer & Communications Industry Association, NetCoalition, Consumer Electronics Association, Public Knowledge, Center for Democracy & Technology, Association of Public Television Stations, and Printing Industries of America.

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

Not only is there a complete lack of evidence for the need to modify existing law, the proposed change would cause significant collateral damage across the economy, including, for instance, technology and Internet companies, software developers, telecommunications companies, graphics and printed materials industries, libraries, and consumers. Allowing plaintiffs to disaggregate components of existing works would—

  • Incentivize “copyright trolls” by providing plaintiffs with the leverage to assert significantly larger damage claims and obtain unjustified “nuisance settlements” from innovators not able to tolerate the risk of a ruinous judgment.
  • Stifle innovation by discouraging technologists from using or deploying any new technology or service that could be used to engage in infringing activities by third parties.
  • Create unprecedented risk for licensees of technologies powered by software. Because licensees may be unable or unwilling to obtain meaningful indemnifications from every upstream contributor to a particular product, the proposed change will decrease companies’ willingness to outsource software solutions or use open source software.
  • Chill lawful uses, suppress the development of fair use case law, and exacerbate the orphan works problem.

Read more about it at "Groups Submit Paper Opposing Higher Copyright Damages" and "PRO-IP Act Is Dangerous and Unnecessary, Say Industry Groups."

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