Archive for the 'Digital Copyright Wars' Category

“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."

Forthcoming: Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars by William Patry

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on April 8th, 2009

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

What is Deep Packet Inspection? A Collection of Essays from Industry Experts

Posted in Digital Copyright Wars, Net Neutrality on April 7th, 2009

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."

Reading Rights Coalition Protests Kindle Read Aloud Limits at Authors Guild

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Publishing on April 7th, 2009

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."


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