Jammie Thomas-Rasset's File Sharing Fine Drops to $2,250 per Song from $80,000 per Song

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on January 24th, 2010

Michael J. Davis, Chief Judge of the Minnesota United States District Court, has ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset's file sharing fine be reduced to $2,250 per song from $80,000 per song.

Here's an excerpt from the ruling:

After long and careful deliberation, the Court grants in part and denies in part Thomas-Rasset's motion and remits the damages award to $2,250 per song—three times the statutory minimum. The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music. Moreover, although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages.

The Court has labored to fashion a reasonable limit on statutory damages awards against noncommercial individuals who illegally download and upload music such that the award of statutory damages does not veer into the realm of gross injustice. Finding a precise dollar amount that delineates the border between the jury's wide discretion to calculate its own number to address Thomas-Rasset's willful violations, Plaintiffs' far-reaching, but nebulous damages, and the need to deter online piracy in general and the outrageousness of a $2 million verdict is a considerable task. The Court concludes that setting the limit at three times the minimum statutory damages amount in this case is the most reasoned solution.

This award constitutes the maximum amount a jury could reasonably award to both compensate Plaintiffs and address the deterrence aspect of the Copyright Act. This reduced award is significant and harsh. It is a higher award than the Court might have chosen to impose in its sole discretion, but the decision was not entrusted to this Court. It was the jury's province to determine the award of statutory damages and this Court has merely reduced that award to the maximum amount that is no longer monstrous and shocking. Plaintiffs have seven days from the date of this Order to decide whether to accept the remittitur or request a new trial on the issue of damages.

The Court denies Thomas-Rasset's motion for a new trial based on the admission of evidence collected by MediaSentry. It further denies her motion for a new trial based on Plaintiffs' failure to produce certified copies of the sound recordings deposited with the Copyright Office.

Finally, the Court grants Plaintiffs' request to amend the Judgment to include a permanent injunction.

Read more about it at "Court Reduces 'Shocking' File Sharing Award" and "Judge Slashes RIAA's $1.92 Million Fine against Minnesota Mom."

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    "Five Dozen Doctoral Students Chose Bits and Bytes over Ink and Paper"

    Posted in Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) on January 21st, 2010

    In "Five Dozen Doctoral Students Chose Bits and Bytes over Ink and Paper," Kathleen J. Sullivan discusses Stanford University's ETD program.

    Here's an excerpt:

    Most of the Stanford graduate students who uploaded their dissertations—47 out of 60—chose to display their dissertations in their entirety.

    Most of the students—52 out of 60—selected the "attribution non-commercial" license from Creative Commons. . . .

    More than half of the doctoral students—36 out of 60—chose to release their dissertation immediately. Ten of them chose to delay the release for six months; nine chose a one-year embargo; five chose a two-year delay.

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      Web Services Librarian at Dominican University

      Posted in Library IT Jobs on January 21st, 2010

      The Rebecca Crown Library of Dominican University is recruiting a Web Services Librarian.

      Here's an excerpt from the ad:

      The Web Services Librarian will lead in the planning, usability testing and assessment of the Library's web site and services. This position will guide a redesign of the website following current best practices in web graphics, layout and navigation and be responsible for ongoing maintenance of web resources.

      The Web Services Librarian will be responsible for maintaining electronic resource subscriptions and work with database vendors as appropriate, creating reports and compiling statistics as required. The Librarian will pursue new tools and applications to promote library web services, participate in the planning and implementation of other library digital and online instruction initiatives. This position will collaborate with Information Technology and the Office of Marketing and Communication departments.

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        Amazon to Release Kindle Development Kit for Active Content

        Posted in E-Books, Publishing on January 21st, 2010

        Amazon will release a beta version of the Kindle Development Kit next month.

        Here's an excerpt from the press release:

        For the past two years, Amazon has welcomed authors and publishers to directly upload and sell content in the Kindle Store through the self-service Kindle publishing platform. Today, Amazon announced that it is inviting software developers to build and upload active content that will be available in the Kindle Store later this year. The new Kindle Development Kit gives developers access to programming interfaces, tools and documentation to build active content for Kindle—the #1 bestselling, most wished for, and most gifted product across all categories on Amazon. Developers can learn more about the Kindle Development Kit today at http://www.amazon.com/kdk/ and sign up to be notified when the limited beta starts next month.

        "We've heard from lots of developers over the past two years who are excited to build on top of Kindle," said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "The Kindle Development Kit opens many possibilities–we look forward to being surprised by what developers invent."

        The Kindle Development Kit enables developers to build active content that leverages Kindle's unique combination of seamless and invisible 3G wireless delivery over Amazon Whispernet, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, and long battery life of seven days with wireless activated. For example, Handmark is building an active Zagat guide featuring their trusted ratings, reviews and more for restaurants in cities around the world, and Sonic Boom is building word games and puzzles.

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          Senior Program Developer, Library Technology at Lehigh University

          Posted in Library IT Jobs on January 21st, 2010

          Library & Technology Services (LTS) at Lehigh University is recruiting a Senior Program Developer, Library Technology.

          Here's an excerpt from the ad:

          The Senior Library Services Developer on the Library Technology team will work on the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE) project, as well as other library technology projects. The Kuali OLE project is a multi-institution collaboration working to build a community-source next -generation library management system platform based on service-oriented architecture technologies and design principles. This Senior Developer will play a lead role with high-level responsibilities for major programming and design deliverables, including representing Lehigh University on the Kuali OLE Technical Council. The Senior Developer must work with agile development teams at multiple institutions around the world, as well as with subject matter experts from the other LTS teams. The Kuali OLE project will produce software for use on the Lehigh University campus and beyond. The bulk of software developed by the Senior Developer will be used within Lehigh University connecting Kuali OLE to enterprise services and applications used on campus.

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            Cornell Establishes Collaborative Business Model for arXiv Repository

            Posted in Digital Repositories, Disciplinary Archives on January 21st, 2010

            The Cornell University Library has established a collaborative business model for the arXiv repository.

            Here's an excerpt from the press release:

            arXiv will remain free for readers and submitters, but the Library has established a voluntary, collaborative business model to engage institutions that benefit most from arXiv.

            "Keeping an open-access resource like arXiv sustainable means not only covering its costs, but also continuing to enhance its value, and that kind of financial commitment is beyond a single institution's resources," said Oya Rieger, Associate University Librarian for Information Technologies. "If a case can be made for any repository being community-supported, arXiv has to be at the top of the list."

            The 200 institutions that use arXiv most heavily account for more than 75 percent of institutional downloads. Cornell is asking these institutions for financial support in the form of annual contributions, and most of the top 25 have already committed to helping arXiv.

            Institutions that have already pledged support include:

            • California Institute of Technology
            • University of California, Berkeley
            • University of Cambridge (UK)
            • CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research (Switzerland)
            • CNRS – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)
            • Columbia University
            • DESY – Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (Germany)
            • Durham University (UK)
            • ETH Zurich – Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (Switzerland)
            • Fermilab
            • Harvard University
            • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
            • Imperial College London (UK)
            • Los Alamos National Laboratory
            • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
            • Max Planck Society (Germany)
            • University of Michigan
            • University of Oxford (UK)
            • University of Pennsylvania
            • Princeton University
            • SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
            • Texas A&M University . . .

            The proposed funding model is viewed as a short-term strategy, and the Library is actively seeking input on a long-term solution. Currently, Cornell University Library supports the operating costs of arXiv, which are comparable to the costs of the university's collection budget for physics and astronomy. As one of the most influential innovations in scholarly communications since the advent of the Internet, arXiv's original dissemination model represented the first significant means to provide expedited access to scientific research well ahead of formal publication.

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              Selected Comments of Publishers to the White House OSTP Consultation on Open Access

              Posted in Open Access, Publishing on January 20th, 2010

              Below are selected comments of association and commercial publishers to the White House OSTP public consultation on Public Access Policy.

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                Systems Librarian at George Washington University Law School

                Posted in Library IT Jobs on January 20th, 2010

                The Jacob Burns Law Library at the George Washington University Law School is recruiting a Systems Librarian.

                Here's an excerpt from the ad:

                Reporting directly to the assistant director for information services, the systems librarian’s responsibilities include administering the library’s interdepartmental systems, particularly the ILS, and providing configuration advice and technical support for the library’s departmental systems; coordinating installation, upgrade, maintenance, and troubleshooting of library systems and services with IT staff, users, and vendors; coordinating data backup and system security; providing operational support to internal systems users; collaborating on the implementation of the ILS webpac and related discovery tools; facilitating systems training opportunities; monitoring systems user group discussions; serving as a general liaison to other campus libraries regarding library systems; and assisting with technology planning, project implementation, and other duties as assigned.

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                  Metadata and Systems Librarian at Colorado College

                  Posted in Library IT Jobs on January 20th, 2010

                  The Colorado College Tutt Library is recruiting a Metadata and Systems Librarian.

                  Here's an excerpt from the ad (Posting #021):

                  Reporting to the Library Director, the Metadata and Systems Librarian assumes the role of principal investigator and coordinator of technological initiatives that will help shape the future of Tutt Library. Serves a key role in planning cataloging and systems projects and ensuring resource accessibility, functionality and reliability. Provides leadership in integrating digital information technologies, serving as a resource on national and regional initiatives and supporting Colorado College participation. Works with librarians and staff in a highly collaborative and collegial environment to serve the students and faculty of Colorado College.

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                    Updated: "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States" Chart

                    Posted in Copyright, Digitization, Public Domain on January 20th, 2010

                    Peter Hirtle has updated his useful "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States" chart as of 1/1/2010.

                    Read more about it at "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States—2010 Update—An Interview with Peter Hirtle."

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                      Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (1/20/10)

                      Posted in Bibliographies, Digital Scholarship Publications, Scholarly Communication on January 20th, 2010

                      The latest update of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (SEPW) is now available. It provides information about new works related to scholarly electronic publishing, such as books, e-prints, journal articles, magazine articles, technical reports, and white papers.

                      Especially interesting are: "Copyright Renewal for Libraries: Seven Steps toward a User-Friendly Law"; "Data Curation Program Development in U.S. Universities: The Georgia Institute of Technology Example"; "D-Lib Magazine: Its First 13 Years"; "Open Access: Advice on Working with Faculty Senates"; "A Metadata Best Practice for a Scientific Data Repository"; "Metadata Decisions for Digital Libraries: A Survey Report"; "Metadata for Special Collections in CONTENTdm: How to Improve Interoperability of Unique Fields through OAI-PMH"; "Open Access in 2009"; " Paying for Open Access? Institutional Funding Streams and OA Publication Charges"; "Preservation in the Age of Google: Digitization, Digital Preservation, and Dilemmas"; "Technologies Employed to Control Access to or Use of Digital Cultural Collections: Controlled Online Collections"; and "Sticker Shock and Looming Tsunami."

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                        "Open Content Alliance (OCA) vs. Google Books"

                        Posted in E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton on January 19th, 2010

                        Heather Morrison has self-archived "Open Content Alliance (OCA) vs. Google Books: OCA as Superior Network and Better Fit for an Emerging Global Public Sphere" in the SFU Institutional Repository.

                        Here's an excerpt:

                        The Open Content Alliance (OCA) is a network of libraries and similar organizations committed to digitizing and providing broadest possible access to books and other materials; over 1.6 million books are already online under OCA principles. OCA is analyzed in contrast with Google Books (as per the preliminary Google Books Settlement, November 2009), using Castell’s network theory and theories of an emerging global public sphere, based on the work of Habermas and Fraser. OCA is seen as a superior network to Google Books, with particular strengths in connectedness, consistency (shared goals), flexibility, scalability, survivability, networking (inclusion / exclusion) power, and network-making power, including the ability to form strategic alliances. The lawsuit against Google Books, and the settlement, illustrate some of the limitations of Google Books as a network, for example the lawsuit per se is a challenge to Google Books’ rights to make decisions on inclusion and exclusion, and illustrates poor connectedness and consistency, two attributes Castells points to as essential to the performance of a network. The respectful, law-abiding approach of OCA is a good fit for a global public sphere, while the Google Books Settlement takes a key issue that has traditionally been decided by governments (orphan books), and brings the decision-making power into private contract negotiations, diminishing democracy. The current Google Books Settlement is fractured on a national (geographic) basis; consequences could include decreased understanding of the rest of the world by a leading nation, the U.S. This works against the development of a global public sphere, and has potential negative economic and security implications for the U.S.. OCA is presented as one node of an emerging library network for the global public sphere, a global public good increasing access to knowledge everywhere, increasing the potential for informed public debate towards global consensus.

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