The Copyright Principles Project: Directions for Reform

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Reports and White Papers on October 3rd, 2010

Pamela Samuelson and members of the Copyright Principles Project have released The Copyright Principles Project: Directions for Reform.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

A group of leading experts on copyright law and policy released a report today that explores ideas for meaningful reforms to the U.S. copyright system. Crafted over three years by a group of legal academics, private practitioners, and corporate attorneys, the report examines several ways to improve and update the law in an era of rapid technological change.

The Copyright Principles Project: Directions for Reform (CPP) report attempts to ignite an informed debate about how to best balance the interests of copyright owners and users. The group reached consensus on a number of significant ideas, as well as guiding principles for copyright reform. The project was led by Berkeley Law distinguished professor Pamela Samuelson.

"The report intelligently informs the copyright debate, and the identification and discussion of issues is well done and important," said Marybeth Peters, the head of the U.S. Copyright Office. "The recommendations are thoughtful, and in many cases, I support them. This entire project significantly reinvigorates efforts to bring the copyright law up-to-date, either incrementally or as a major revision." . . .

One of the project's ideas would provide non-commercial uses of copyrighted works better shelter from liability, particularly as users lift parts of existing works to create new ones. The report also suggests a more efficient and technologically-driven approach to copyright registration, so that works can be freely reused if their authors agree.

Copyright law reform has been a challenging issue for stakeholders, many of whom have starkly different ideas about how to balance public and private interests. To its credit, the project team explored controversial subjects openly and with vigorous debate. In cases where the participants could not settle on a specific reform proposal, they were able to draft guiding principles for future reform efforts. . . .

One common problem the report addresses is peer-to-peer file-sharing of commercial movies and music. Although some file-sharing services have been shut down, the illegal practice has not abated. The report suggests the creation of a "safe harbor" to protect online service providers from excessive damage claims if they take reasonable, voluntary, measures to limit file-sharing—or other unlawful distributions of commercial works. Companies that comply would be shielded from liability for user infringements.

The report also suggests development of reasonable and consistent statutory guidelines for damage awards. Current law allows courts to award between $750 and $30,000 in damages per infringed work—and up to $150,000 per work if the infringement is willful. This has led to awards that seem arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with awards in similar cases, and grossly excessive or disproportionate.

Other ideas include:

Modernize the Copyright Office: Instead of one registry for all copyrighted works, the office could certify third-party registries for different types of works, such as photos, films, and computer programs. The model is akin to the domain name registration system. Other suggestions include adopting a small claims procedure for small-scale disputes.

Reinvigorate copyright registration: Encourage copyright owners to register so that it's simple to find out who owns what. The idea is to make registration easy and worthwhile for copyright owners so that the public can have better information about protected works and their owners.

Refine exclusive rights for authors: Weigh commercial value and risk of harm to copyright markets when determining whether someone's exclusive right has been infringed; this shields non-harmful activity from the threat of highly punitive copyright claims.

Revise the common practice of automatic injunctions: Courts could consider whether a preliminary or permanent injunction is needed to prevent irreparable harm, as well as whether having access to the work is in the public’s best interest.

Limit Orphan Works liability: Enable libraries and others to preserve a part of our cultural heritage by using copyrighted materials whose owners cannot readily be found.

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    Head, Specialized Content & Services at MIT

    Posted in Digital Library Jobs on October 3rd, 2010

    The MIT Libraries are recruiting a Head, Specialized Content & Services. Salary: $90,000 minimum.

    Here's an excerpt from the ad:

    This is an exciting opportunity to provide leadership in the planning, coordination, implementation, delivery, administration, and assessment of an important array of 21st century library services and content which are used across multiple disciplines and communities. This position will oversee the coordination and delivery of a suite of robust and growing services focused around specialized, technology-intensive data types. Among the library services included in the current SCS portfolio are images, GIS, bioinformatics, science/engineering and social science data, community video sharing, classroom video capture, and music.

    The Head of this new department will spearhead the development and execution of a shared vision and strategic plan for Specialized Content and Services. S/he will lead an entrepreneurial and service-focused staff in establishing and achieving customer-oriented goals and service standards for the work of SCS and will oversee the development of appropriate assessment activities that measure and ensure the effectiveness of the group’s operations. Within this staff of over two dozen library, IT, other professional and support staff, the Head will foster a working environment that promotes and supports productivity, creativity, innovation and collaboration. S/he will manage human, fiscal and technology resources to optimize support of current and future initiatives.

    The SCS Department works synergistically with other units of the MIT Libraries including instruction and reference, digital preservation, research, technical development, and marketing to deliver an integrated portfolio of services to the MIT community. The Head of SCS will lead and support these internal partnerships and will work to cultivate and strengthen collaborative relationships with other MIT departments and appropriate external partners. The Head of SCS will also participate and contribute to professional networks of others engaged in similar work.

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      New Ruling in Georgia State University E-Reserves Copyright Case

      Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Reserves on October 3rd, 2010

      U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans has issued a ruling about the defendants' and plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment in the Cambridge University Press et al. v. Patton et al. case.

      Here's an excerpt:

      Overall, the evidence presented does not indicate that Defendants "profited directly from" or "had a direct financial interest in" the infringement alleged by Plaintiffs. There is absolutely no evidence in the record showing that Georgia State benefitted financially from the alleged infringements. At most, if the Court takes the inferential steps suggested by Plaintiffs, any benefit the infringement provides to students constitutes "just an added benefit" rather than a clear "draw" to Georgia State. Therefore, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to the third claim, vicarious copyright infringement and DENIES Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment as to the third claim. . . .

      The record before the Court on the motions for summary judgment does not speak to the question of whether in practice the Current Policy is encouraging improper application of the fair use defense. The Court therefore DENIES both Defendants' and Plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment as to the contributory infringement claim. . . .

      Going forward, in order to show that Defendants are responsible for the copyright infringements alleged in this case, Plaintiffs must show that the 2009 Copyright Policy resulted in ongoing and continuous misuse of the fair use defense. To do so, Plaintiffs must put forth evidence of a sufficient number of instances of infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights to show such ongoing and continuous misuse. Defendants will have the burden of showing that each specified instance of 2009 Copyright Policy infringement was a fair use. Both sides will be limited to the list of claimed infringements produced in response to the Court's August 11, 2010 and August 12, 2010 orders. The parties are DIRECTED to confer and determine whether further discovery is needed before resolving the remaining contributory infringement claim. Within twenty (20) days, the parties shall present a proposed scheduling order.

      Read more about it at "Going Forward with Georgia State Lawsuit."

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        Daily Tweets 2010-10-03

        Posted in Current News: DigitalKoans Twitter Updates on October 3rd, 2010
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            Library Application Administrator (Systems Specialist) at University of Kansas

            Posted in Digital Library Jobs, Library IT Jobs on September 30th, 2010

            The University of Kansas Libraries are recruiting a Library Application Administrator (Systems Specialist).

            Here's an excerpt from the ad:

            This position reports to the Manager, Library Applications and works as part of a team of library technology professionals who manage foundational library and scholarly systems and accompanying application services within KU Libraries.

            KU Libraries' management and scholarly applications are built on both vendor and open source products that include Voyager, ILLiad, Luna Insight, DSpace, Open Journal Systems, XTF (the Extensible Text Framework), EZProxy, the CNRI Handles Server, web servers, and various applications developed in-house. These systems are core to the mission of KU Libraries and provide services to support teaching, learning and research at the university. Application support underpins a variety of services that our faculty, staff, and students depend on every day: the library catalog, interlibrary loan and document delivery services, KU ScholarWorks as our open access institutional repository, digital publishing and data services, and access to rich visual resources, online collections, and physical materials.

            Application administration responsibilities include oversight for all aspects of application administration including systems planning, application upgrades, configuration, maintenance, integration, quality assurance and testing, and support for library staff responsible for service delivery. Teamwork is required. In some cases, this position will work closely with the other technology specialists in KU Libraries or campus IT staff to manage technology services effectively for KU Libraries.

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              Self-Archiving Study: PEER Annual Report—Year 2

              Posted in Open Access, Publishing, Reports and White Papers, Self-Archiving on September 30th, 2010

              The PEER (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research) project has released PEER Annual Report—Year 2.

              Here's an excerpt from the press release:

              Reporting on the past 12 months of activity in this ground breaking collaboration between publishers, repositories and the research community investigating the effects of Green Open Access, the PEER Annual Report highlights the complexity of the infrastructure required for PEER and the substantial progress achieved towards the project’s objectives.

              To simulate the large-scale, systematic depositing of authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted for journal publication, 12 participating publishers are providing content and associated metadata from 241 participating journals. Half of the manuscripts are being submitted directly to PEER, while for the other half, authors are invited by publishers to self-deposit into the project.

              All submitted content is being received by the PEER Depot, a central repository created specifically for the project by INRIA, which undertakes filtering for EU research content, metadata matching and transformations, and embargo management prior to distribution to participating repositories.

              By the end of year 2 (August 2010), almost 25,000 unique publisher provided manuscripts had been processed by the PEER Depot, resulting in 10,000 EU manuscripts after processing (some still under embargo), with embargo expired manuscripts distributed to participating repositories.

              The three areas of usage, economic and behavioural research commissioned by PEER are well underway, with the Baseline Behavioural Report already publicly available from the PEER website.

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                New Shared Support Membership Option from BioMed Central

                Posted in Open Access, Publishing on September 30th, 2010

                BioMed Central now offers a Shared Support Membership option.

                Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                Today, BioMed Central officially announced the launch of Shared Support Membership — a new and innovative Membership package for institutions that want to provide financial support for their researchers open access publications, but at the same time manage their expenditure.

                Whilst many institutes encourage their researchers to publish in open access journals, with limited publication budgets, it is often a complicated process to apportion the right amount of funds to cover Article Processing Charges (APC’s). To alleviate some of the financial burdens, Shared Support combines the best of BioMed Central’s other Membership types (Prepay and Supporter) and splits the costs of publishing with BioMed Central down the middle — the institute pays 50% and the submitting author pays the remaining 50%.

                This new Membership type therefore offers a more balanced, easier way to handle the cost associated with open access publication. It also allows both parties to benefit from significant discounts of between 5-15% depending on how much funding the institute decides to pre-pay into their Membership account.

                There is no joining fee for Shared Support Membership. Members can also immediately benefit from the supply of automated repository feeds using SWORD, which ensure that any articles published in BioMed Central journals will be automatically deposited into their institutional repositories.

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