Archive for the 'Digital Copyright Wars' Category

Taiwan Passes “Three Strikes” Law to Curb Illegal File Sharing

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on April 26th, 2009

Taiwan's parliament has passed a "three strikes" copyright law, which is intended to curb illegal file sharing.

Read more about it at "Net Service Providers Now Can 'Strike Out' Pirating Surfers" and "Taiwan Boosts Intellectual Property Protection."

A Win for Musicians, a Loss for the Public Domain: EU Parliament Extends Copyright Term for Music Recordings

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on April 23rd, 2009

By a vote of 377 to 178 (with 37 abstentions), the European Parliament has extended the copyright term for music recordings to 70 years from the first publication or performance of the work.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The European Commission had previously proposed an extension of the copyright protection up to 95 years. According to Mr Crowley, the compromise reached by the Parliament on 70 years takes into account Council's resistance and would facilitate an agreement with national governments. . . .

A dedicated fund for session musicians was also supported by the Parliament. This fund would be financed by contributions from producers, who would be obliged to set aside for this purpose, at least once a year, at least 20% of the revenues gained from the proposed extension of copyright term. This fund will reward those session musicians who gave up their rights when signing the contract for their performance. . . .

The Parliament also asks the Commission to launch an impact assessment of the situation in the European audiovisual sector by January 2010, with a view to deciding whether a similar copyright extension would benefit the audiovisual world.

Copyright, Content and Class Action Lawsuits: A Debate on the Google Book Search Settlement

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

In "ALA Participates in ITIF Google Book Settlement Panel at Library of Congress," District Dispatch describes an ITIF meeting on "Copyright, Content and Class Action Lawsuits: A Debate on the Google Book Search Settlement" at the Library of Congress.

Here's an excerpt:

Yesterday, Dr. Alan Inouye, Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy, participated in a panel called Copyright, Content and Class Action Lawsuits: A Debate on the Google Book Search Settlement. The talk was sponsored by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), and held at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Dr. Inouye offered remarks on the proposed Google Book Settlement from the library and public interest perspective. Also contributing to the panel were Dr. Daniel Clancy, Engineering Director for Google Book Search, Allan Adler, VP of Government Affairs for the Association of American Publishers, and Peter Brantley, Director of Access for the Internet Archive. Daniel Castro, Senior Analyst at ITIF, moderated the panel discussion.

A digital video of the debate is available at the meeting web site.

“Will Copyright Law Prevent a Digital Library from Becoming Reality?”

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Rights Management, Licenses on April 22nd, 2009

In "Will Copyright Law Prevent a Digital Library from Becoming Reality?," Cynthia Gillespie provides an overview of how restrictive copyright laws, licensing, and DRM may hamper the development of digital libraries.

Peter Hirtle on the Impact of the Google Book Settlement on Foreign Copyright Holders

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

In "Google Book Settlement, Orphan Works, and Foreign Works," Peter Hirtle discusses the impact of the Google Book Settlement on foreign copyright holders.

Here's an excerpt:

The scope of the foreign land grab could be considerable. Some initial estimates suggest that 7 million books could be included in the settlement. Of these it is estimated that 1 million are in the public domain. That would leave 6 million in-copyright but out-of-print books. Early efforts to try to understand the nature of the library collections that were being used to build the Google books database suggested that 50% of the works in the libraries were not in English, so it would be safe to say that at least 3 million of the books in the settlement will be foreign works. (Since Google added many European partners after this study was done, the number is likely to be much higher.) Some of these are going to be orphan works—but many more are going to have easily locatable rights holders that have chosen not to be active participants in the settlement. Their royalties are destined for the pockets of the Registry. I am willing to bet that a goodly percentage of the operating expenses of the Registry will come not from orphan works, but rather from foreign authors who do not understand the need to participate in the settlement.

Letters Fly over Anticipated Appointment of PRO-IP Act’s “Copyright Czar”

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on April 21st, 2009

Copyright reform groups, such as Public Knowledge, and information industry groups, such as the Copyright Alliance, are staking out their positions with letters to the White House regarding the anticipated appointment of the Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement, a position which was mandated by the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act. Copyright reformers have been unhappy about the recent appointment of former RIAA lawyers to key Justice Department posts.

Read more about it at "Copyright Debate Heats Up over Obama Appointments."

“The Google Book Search Settlement: Ends, Means, and the Future of Books”

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on April 19th, 2009

James Grimmelmann of the New York Law School has self-archived "The Google Book Search Settlement: Ends, Means, and the Future of Books" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

The settlement tackles the orphan works problem, but through the judicial process. Laundering orphan works legislation through a class action lawsuit is both a brilliant response to legislative inaction and a dangerous use of the judicial power. Many of the public interest safeguards that would have been present in the political arena are attenuated in a seemingly private lawsuit; the lack of such safeguards is evident in the terms of the resulting settlement. The solution is to reinsert these missing public interest protections into the settlement.

Pamela Samuelson: “Legally Speaking: The Dead Souls of the Google Booksearch Settlement”

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on April 19th, 2009

Pamela Samuelson, Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information at the University of California, Berkeley, has posted an eprint of "Legally Speaking: The Dead Souls of the Google Booksearch Settlement" on O'Reilly Radar.

Here's an excerpt:

This column argues that the proposed settlement of this lawsuit is a privately negotiated compulsory license primarily designed to monetize millions of orphan works. It will benefit Google and certain authors and publishers, but it is questionable whether the authors of most books in the corpus (the "dead souls" to which the title refers) would agree that the settling authors and publishers will truly represent their interests when setting terms for access to the Book Search corpus.

(Note: See the Wikipedia entry on Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls.)

Internet Archive Asks to Intervene in Authors Guild v. Google

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on April 17th, 2009

The Internet Archive has sent a letter to Judge Denny Chin asking for a conference about a motion to intervene in the Author's Guild v. Google suit.

Here's its letter.

“The Google Book Search Settlement: A New Orphan-Works Monopoly?”

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on April 16th, 2009

Randal C. Picker of the University of Chicago Law School has self-archived "The Google Book Search Settlement: A New Orphan-Works Monopoly?" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

The settlement agreement is exceeding complex but I have focused on three issues that raise antitrust and competition policy concerns. First, the agreement calls for Google to act as agent for rights holders in setting the price of online access to consumers. Google is tasked with developing a pricing algorithm that will maximize revenues for each of those works. Direct competition among rights holders would push prices towards some measure of costs and would not be designed to maximize revenues. As I think that level of direct coordination of prices is unlikely to mimic what would result in competition, I have real doubts about whether the consumer access pricing provision would survive a challenge under Section 1 of the Sherman Act.

Second, and much more centrally to the settlement agreement, the opt out class action will make it possible for Google to include orphan works in its book search service. Orphan works are works as to which the rightsholder can't be identified or found. That means that a firm like Google can't contract with an orphan holder directly to include his or her work in the service and that would result in large numbers of missing works. The opt out mechanism—which shifts the default from copyright's usual out to the class action's in—brings these works into the settlement. . . .

Third, there is a risk that approval by the court of the settlement could cause antitrust immunities to attach to the arrangements created by the settlement agreement. As it is highly unlikely that the fairness hearing will undertake a meaningful antitrust analysis of those arrangements, if the district court approves the settlement, the court should include a clause—call this a no Noerr clause—in the order approving the settlement providing that no antitrust immunities attach from the court's approval.

Scholars and Open Access Trust Ask to Intervene in Authors Guild v. Google

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

A group of scholars and the Open Access Trust have sent a letter to Judge Denny Chin asking for a conference about a motion to intervene in the Author's Guild v .Google suit.

Here's their letter.

France’s “Three-Strikes” Copyright Bill Strikes Out

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on April 9th, 2009

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.

Read more about it at: "France Rejects 3 Strikes Anti-Piracy Law," "France Rejects Plan to Curb Internet Piracy," and "French Lawmakers Reject Internet Piracy Bill."


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