The French National Assembly has rejected a copyright bill aimed at curbing illegal file sharing on the Internet. Violators would have received two warning letters, then be subject to Internet disconnection for up to a year. The fight is not over: a revised bill is anticipated in a few weeks.
Archive for the 'Digital Copyright Wars' Category
Oxford University Press will publish Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars by William Patry, a noted copyright expert and Senior Copyright Counsel at Google.
Here's an excerpt from the ad:
The way we have come to talk about copyright—metaphoric language demonizing everyone involved—has led to bad business and bad policy decisions. Unless we recognize that the debates over copyright are debates over business models, we will never be able to make the correct business and policy decisions
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released What is Deep Packet Inspection? A Collection of Essays from Industry Experts.
Read more about it at "Privacy Commissioner Puts Spotlight on Internet Monitoring Technology."
The Reading Rights Coalition has staged a protest demonstration at the Authors Guild's headquarters about Amazon giving author's and publishers the ability to restrict the Kindle's read aloud function for their works.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
When Amazon released the Kindle 2 electronic book reader on February 9, 2009, the company announced that the device would be able to read e-books aloud using text-to-speech technology. Under pressure from the Authors Guild, Amazon has announced that it will give authors and publishers the ability to disable the text-to-speech function on any or all of their e-books available for the Kindle 2.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The blind and print-disabled have for years utilized text-to-speech technology to read and access information. As technology advances and more books move from hard-copy print to electronic formats, people with print disabilities have for the first time in history the opportunity to enjoy access to books on an equal basis with those who can read print. Authors and publishers who elect to disable text-to-speech for their e-books on the Kindle 2 prevent people who are blind or have other print disabilities from reading these e-books. This is blatant discrimination and we will not tolerate it." . . .
Andrew Imparato, President and Chief Executive Officer for the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), said: "It is outrageous when a technology device shuts out people with all kinds of disabilities. AAPD works to remove barriers to accessibility and usability in technology, and we don’t expect to see people with disabilities singled out by having to pay more for access. New technologies, such as electronic books, should be available to everyone regardless of disability." . . .
The coalition includes: American Association of People with Disabilities, American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, Association on Higher Education and Disability, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Burton Blatt Institute, Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), IDEAL Group, Inc., International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet, International Dyslexia Association, International Dyslexia Association––New York Branch, Knowledge Ecology International, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Disability Rights Network, National Federation of the Blind, NISH, and the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. In addition to the April 7 New York City protest, the coalition will participate in the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 25-26.
Read more about it at "Disabled Group Protests Removal of Kindle's Text-to-Speech."
Consumer Watchdog has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that challenges the terms of the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
The proposed settlement announced last year creates the nonprofit Book Rights Registry to manage book digital rights issues. Here are the deal’s two most troubling aspects, Consumer Watchdog said:
—A "most favored nation" clause guarantees Google the same terms that any future competitor might be offered. Under the most favored nation clause the registry would be prevented from offering more advantageous terms to, for example, Yahoo! or Microsoft, even if it thought better terms would be necessary to enable either to enter into the digital books business and provide competition to Google. It is inappropriate for the resolution of a class action lawsuit to effectively create an "anti-compete" clause, which precludes smaller competitors from entering a market. Given the dominance of Google over the digital book market, it would no doubt take more advantageous terms to allow another smaller competitor to enter the market.
—The settlement provides a mechanism for Google to deal with "orphan works." Orphan works are works under copyright, but with the rights holders unknown or not found. The danger of using such works is that a rights holder will emerge after the book has been exploited and demand substantial infringement penalties. The proposed settlement protects Google from such potentially damaging exposure, but provides no protection for others. This effectively is a barrier for competitors to enter the digital book business.
The most favored nation provision should be eliminated to remove barriers of entry and the orphan works provision should be extended to cover all who digitize books, Consumer Watchdog said.
The French National Assembly has approved a key provision of a new copyright law that is aimed at curbing illegal file sharing on the Internet. Violators would receive two warning letters, then be subject to Internet disconnection for up to a year.
New Zealand has recently decided not to enact a "three-strikes" law, and will rewrite it. Recent enactment of a new Swedish law that requires ISPs to reveal the identity of potential violators has resulted in Internet traffic in that country dropping by a third. The EFF has recently debunked reports that some U.S. ISPs, prodded by the RIAA, would disconnect U.S. violators; however, Wired has reported that the MPAA is now in negotiations with ISPs regarding disconnection.
In "The Orphan Monopoly," Peter Brantley, Executive Director for the Digital Library Federation, examines issues related to orphan works and the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement.
Here's an excerpt:
There is a lot to ponder: This is arguably a massive re-writing of copyright for books without any legislative input; Marybeth Peters (MBP), the U.S. Registrar of Copyrights, observed that the settlement essentially proposes a private agreement for compulsory licensing between a large class of IP holders and world’s largest search engine. The potential scope and policy ramifications are significant. MBP mentioned that there might be treaty implications under international conventions. And despite that, one of the most shocking of her statements was that the Copyright Office has not received a single inquiry from any of the 535 elected representatives of the people of the United States. Not. One.
In "Orphan Works Legislation and the Google Settlement," Paul Courant discusses the possibility of legislation that would extend the treatment of orphan works in the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement to anyone.
Here's an excerpt:
But there is an obvious solution, one that was endorsed at the Columbia meeting by counsel for the Authors Guild, the AAP, and Google: Congress could pass a law, giving access to the same sort of scheme that Google and the BRR have under the Google Settlement to anyone. And they could pass some other law that makes it possible for people to responsibly use orphaned works, while preserving interests for the missing "parents" should they materialize. Jack Bernard and Susan Kornfield have proposed just such an architecture to "foster" these orphans. Google has also made a proposal that would be a huge improvement.
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.
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.
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.
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
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."