Archive for the 'Digital Copyright Wars' Category

Google D.C. Talk: ACTA—The Global Treaty That Could Reshape the Internet

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on January 14th, 2010

The Google Public Policy channel has released Google D.C. Talk: ACTA—The Global Treaty That Could Reshape the Internet. ACTA stands for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a very important intellectual property rights treaty that is being secretly negotiated.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The panel will tackle important questions like: Will ACTA preserve the existing balance in intellectual property laws, providing not just enforcement for copyright holders but also appropriate exceptions for technology creators and users? Will it undermine the legal safe harbors that have allowed virtually every Internet service to come into existence? And will it encourage governments to endorse "three strikes" penalties that would take away a user's access to the Internet?

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    "Google Book Search and the Future of Books in Cyberspace"

    Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on January 13th, 2010

    Pamela Samuelson has self-archived "Google Book Search and the Future of Books in Cyberspace" in SSRN.

    Here's an excerpt:

    The Google Book Search (GBS) initiative once promised to test the bounds of fair use, as the company started scanning millions of in-copyright books from the collections of major research libraries. The initial goal of this scanning was to make indexes of the books’ contents and to provide short snippets of book contents in response to pertinent search queries. The Authors Guild and five trade publishers sued Google in the fall of 2005 charging that this scanning activity was copyright infringement. Google defended by claiming fair use. Rather than litigating this important issue, however, the parties devised a radical plan to restructure the market for digital books, which was announced on October 28, 2008, by means of a class action settlement of the lawsuits. Approval of this settlement would give Google—and Google alone—a license to commercialize all out-of-print books and to make up to 20 per cent of their contents available in response to search queries (unless rights holders expressly forbade this).

    This article discusses the glowingly optimistic predictions about the future of books in cyberspace promulgated by proponents of the GBS settlement and contrasts them with six categories of serious reservations that have emerged about the settlement. These more pessimistic views of GBS are reflected in the hundreds objections and numerous amicus curiae briefs filed with the court responsible for determining whether to approve the settlement. GBS poses risks for publishers, academic authors and libraries, professional writers, and readers as well as for competition and innovation in several markets and for the cultural ecology of knowledge. Serious concerns have also been expressed about the GBS settlement as an abuse of the class action process because it usurps legislative prerogatives. The article considers what might happen to the future of books in cyberspace if the GBS deal is not approved and recommends that regardless of whether the GBS settlement is approved, a consortium of research libraries ought to develop a digital database of books from their collections that would enhance access to books without posing the many risks to the public interest that the GBS deal has created

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      Objections to the Google Books Settlement and Responses in the Amended Settlement: A Report

      Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on December 10th, 2009

      The Public-Interest Book Search Initiative at the New York Law School has released Objections to the Google Books Settlement and Responses in the Amended Settlement: A Report.

      Here's an excerpt:

      This report collects information about the objections raised to the original proposed settlement in the Authors Guild v. Google litigation. We identified 76 distinct issues, which we grouped into 11 categories. This report briefly summarizes each issue, provides an illustrative quotation from a filing with the court, and indicates any related changes in the amended settlement. . . .

      This report is descriptive, not evaluative. Inclusion of an issue means only that at least one party made the full argument in a filing to the court. It does not represent any judgment about whether the objection accurately characterizes the settlement or the underlying facts. Nor does it represent any judgment about the legal merits of the objection. Our classification and ordering of the objections are meant as an aid to the reader, not substantive commentary. Our choice of representative quotations is not meant as an endorsement of any particular filer’s arguments. Similarly, inclusion of changes from the amended settlement does not represent a judgment about whether the changes address the relevant objection.

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        A Guide for the Perplexed Part III: The Amended Settlement Agreement

        Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on November 29th, 2009

        The American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries have released A Guide for the Perplexed Part III: The Amended Settlement Agreement.

        Here's an excerpt from the press release:

        The guide describes the major changes in the amended settlement agreement (ASA), submitted to the Court by Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers on November 13, 2009, with emphasis on those changes relevant to libraries.

        While many of the amendments will have little direct impact on libraries, the ASA significantly reduces the scope of the settlement because it excludes most books published outside of the United States. In addition, the ASA provides the Book Rights Registry the authority to increase the number of free public access terminals in public libraries that had initially been set at one per library building, among other changes.

        Looking ahead, the Court has accepted the parties’ recommended schedule and set January 28, 2010, as the deadline for class members to opt out of the ASA or to file objections, and February 4, 2010, as the deadline for the Department of Justice to file its comments. The Court will hold the fairness hearing on February 18, 2010.

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          Digital Video: The Google Books Settlement: Issues and Options

          Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on November 22nd, 2009

          The UCLA Library has made The Google Books Settlement: Issues and Options, a digital video featuring copyright expert Jonathan Band, available on YouTube.

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            Preliminary Approval Granted for Amended Google Book Search Settlement

            Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on November 20th, 2009

            US District Court Judge Denny Chin has granted preliminary approval of the amended Google Book Search Settlement.

            Here's the order.

            Read more about it at "Judge Gives Preliminary Approval to Google Deal, Sets Feb. 18 for Final Hearing" and "Judge Sets February Hearing for New Google Books Deal."

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              Google Book Search Settlement Amended

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

              An amended version of the Google Book Search Settlement has been filed by the AAP, the Authors Guild, and Google with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

              The complete amended agreement is available from Google as a Zip file.

              Exhibit 1 provides the primary text of the amended settlement agreement.

              An overview of the amended settlement agreement is available, as is an FAQ.

              Read more about it at "Google Books Settlement Sets Geographic, Business Limits"; "Is the Google Books Settlement Worth the Wait?"; and "Terms of Digital Book Deal with Google Revised."

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                UK Intellectual Property Office: © The Way Ahead: A Strategy for Copyright in the Digital Age

                Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on November 2nd, 2009

                The UK Intellectual Property Office has released © The Way Ahead: A Strategy for Copyright in the Digital Age.

                Here's an excerpt:

                Based on the findings, the Government's reported intentions are:

                • for authors of copyright works; to support fair treatment through new model contracts and clauses and fair returns for use of their work by improving education about and enforcement of rights;
                • for rights holders; to help secure a viable future by encouraging the development of new business models, modernising the licensing process and maintaining support for education about and enforcement of rights;
                • for consumers; to allow them to benefit from the digital age by seeking to legitimise noncommercial use of legitimately-purchased copyright works and improving access to 'orphan works' such as out-of-print books;
                • for educators and researchers; to support them by improving access to works, resolving issues around copyright and contract and ensuring exceptions to copyright are right for the digital age; and
                • for businesses and other users; to work towards a simpler copyright system by, improving the copyright licensing process and encouraging the development of new business models.

                This means:

                • UK action to improve access to orphan works, enable extended collective licensing, encourage the development of model contracts and clauses, and tackle P2P file-sharing; and
                • A willingness on the Government's part to consider European action that provides commonsense rules for private, non-commercial use of copyright material that will give consumers much more freedom to do what they want (such as creating mash-ups) and make clear what they cannot do.
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