Net Neutrality: U.S. Court of Appeals for DC Rules FCC Lacks Authority to Regulate Comcast's BitTorrent Throttling

Posted in Internet Regulation, Net Neutrality on April 7th, 2010

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled in Comcast v. FCC that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require Comcast to stop throttling BitTorrent traffic.

Here's an excerpt:

Although the Commission once enjoyed broader authority over cable rates, see id. § 543(c)(4), its current authority is limited to setting standards for and overseeing local regulation of rates for "basic tier" service on certain cable systems. See id. § 543(b). In the Order, the Commission does not assert ancillary authority based on this narrow grant of regulatory power. Instead, the Order rests on the premise that section 1 gives the Commission ancillary authority to ensure reasonable rates for all communication services, including those, like video-ondemand, over which it has no express regulatory authority. . . .

It is true that "Congress gave the [Commission] broad and adaptable jurisdiction so that it can keep pace with rapidly evolving communications technologies." Resp't's Br. 19. It is also true that "[t]he Internet is such a technology," id., indeed, "arguably the most important innovation in communications in a generation," id. at 30. Yet notwithstanding the "difficult regulatory problem of rapid technological change" posed by the communications industry, "the allowance of wide latitude in the exercise of delegated powers is not the equivalent of untrammeled freedom to regulate activities over which the statute fails to confer . . . Commission authority." NARUC II, 533 F.2d at 618 (internal quotation marks and footnote omitted). Because the Commission has failed to tie its assertion of ancillary authority over Comcast's Internet service to any "statutorily mandated responsibility," Am. Library, 406 F.3d at 692, we grant the petition for review and vacate the Order.

The FCC issued the following statement about the ruling:

The FCC is firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans. It will rest these policies—all of which will be designed to foster innovation and investment while protecting and empowering consumers—on a solid legal foundation.

Today's court decision invalidated the prior Commission’s approach to preserving an open Internet. But the Court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open Internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end.

Read more about it at "Comcast 1, FCC 0: What to Look For in the Inevitable Rematch"; "Court Rejects FCC Authority Over the Internet"; "Is Net Neutrality Dead? (FAQ)"; and "Public Knowledge Explains: The Comcast-BitTorrent Decision."

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    Fedora Repository Committers Meet to Discuss Software's Future Development

    Posted in Digital Repositories, DuraSpace, Fedora, Institutional Repositories on April 6th, 2010

    Fedora Repository committers held a meeting at the Waterloo Campus of Kings College, London on February 23-24 of this year to discuss the software's future development. DuraSpace has released Chris Wilper's detailed summary of the meeting as well as presentations from it.

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      Web Services Librarian at University of Alabama

      Posted in Library IT Jobs on April 6th, 2010

      The University of Alabama Libraries are recruiting a Web Services Librarian.

      Here's an excerpt from the ad:

      This faculty position reports to the Head of the Web Services Department and works in a team environment with other faculty and staff. The position has numerous responsibilities that include developing interactive web pages that enhance access to collections, providing seamless user services, and facilitating the work of library employees; maintaining existing, and developing new, web applications and software tools; supporting the Drupal Content Management System. The successful candidate will gather, report, and evaluate web statistics and data as well as facilitate the use of assessment and other tools; maintain currency with cutting edge web and mobile technologies, software, tools, and solutions and participate in evaluation and assessment efforts. This position will also provide training and technical support to content providers for Drupal and other web-based software.

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        NDIIPP Podcast: Babak Hamidzadeh Discusses the Library of Congress' Digital Repository

        Posted in Digital Repositories, Research Libraries on April 6th, 2010

        The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program has released a podcast (MP3 file) of Babak Hamidzadeh discussing the Library of Congress' digital repository.

        Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

        Mike Ashenfelder from the Library of Congress talks with Babak Hamidzadeh, Director of Repository Development at the Library of Congress, about the challenges of building an efficient, scalable digital repository. Hamidzadeh describes how the Library's repository works, future plans for the repository and its tools and what will be expected of IT professionals and digital librarians as their roles grow increasingly interdependent.

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          Web Content Manager at Johnson County Library

          Posted in Library IT Jobs on April 6th, 2010

          The Johnson County Library is recruiting a Web Content Manager. Salary: $44,897-$64,851.

          Here's an excerpt from the ad:

          Do you love designing effective, elegant, user-friendly Web sites and online experiences? Does the idea of launching a new interface without usability testing make you cringe? Do you often find yourself discussing interaction design and information architecture philosophies at dinner parties?

          Do words like Kindle, Nook, and iPad cause your heart to thump at the excitement of possibility?

          Would you jump at the chance to lead a team of clever and talented Web Content Developers and Designers in developing the next generation of fully integrated and engaging Library Web sites?

          Johnson County Library, a vibrant, award-winning public library, seeks a dynamic, creative, committed individual to serve as Web Content Manager to provide vision and leadership for the Library’s entire public Web enterprise and guide the work of the Web Content Team. 

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            OCLC Adds Records for Google Books Library Project and HathiTrust Digital Library to WorldCat

            Posted in E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, OCLC on April 6th, 2010

            OCLC is adding bibliographic records for digitized works from the Google Books Library Project and the HathiTrust Digital Library to WorldCat.

            Here's an excerpt from the press release:

            OCLC is working with libraries, Google and the HathiTrust to derive new MARC records that represent these digital collections based on the rich collection of print records contributed to WorldCat by the OCLC membership over the last 40 years. Searchers will begin seeing these records in WorldCat immediately. OCLC will continue to add records for these collections to WorldCat on an ongoing basis.

            WorldCat searchers will be able to locate digitized books from these collections and link to the associated book landing page, and in some cases can access the full text of eBooks available through these significant initiatives.

            "As part of its mission to make the world's information universally accessible and useful, Google is excited to be surfacing its digitized books through WorldCat," said Jon Orwant, Engineering Manager, Google Books. "We've scanned over 12 million books to date, and look forward to the time when every book in the world is discoverable online. Our partnership with OCLC is an important step toward that goal."

            "HathiTrust is enthusiastic about the partnership with OCLC to build our catalog," said John Wilkin, Executive Director of the HathiTrust. "Simultaneously, HathiTrust is striving for greater comprehensiveness in its digital collection, while increasing our attention to coordinating the building of the digital collection with management of our associated print collections. The ability to situate our holdings in the world's most comprehensive and reliable catalog of library materials is a tremendous boon in those endeavors."

            As a digital repository for the nation's great research libraries, the HathiTrust Digital Library brings together the immense collections of partner institutions. HathiTrust was conceived as a collaboration of the 13 universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the University of California system to establish a repository for these universities to archive and share their digitized collections. More about HathiTrust is at www.hathitrust.org/.

            OCLC and the HathiTrust are working together to implement a public interface for the HathiTrust catalog through a WorldCat Local interface, to be introduced later this year.

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              Digital Scholarship 2009 Available from Amazon.com

              Posted in Bibliographies, Digital Scholarship Publications, Scholarly Communication on April 5th, 2010

              Digital Scholarship 2009, a 504-page, 6" by 9" paperback, is now available for purchase from Amazon.com.

              The book includes four bibliographies: the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: 2009 Annual Edition, the Institutional Repository Bibliography, the Electronic Theses and Dissertations Bibliography, and the Google Book Search Bibliography.

              The longest bibliography in the book, the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: 2009 Annual Edition, presents over 3,620 selected English-language articles, books, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding scholarly electronic publishing efforts on the Internet. Most sources have been published between 1990 and 2009; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 1990 are also included.

              Table of Contents

              Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: 2009 Annual Edition
              Dedication
              1 Economic Issues
              2 Electronic Books and Texts
              2.1 Case Studies and History
              2.2 General Works
              2.3 Library Issues
              3 Electronic Serials
              3.1 Case Studies and History
              3.2 Critiques
              3.3 Electronic Distribution of Printed Journals
              3.4 General Works
              3.5 Library Issues
              3.6 Research
              4 General Works
              5 Legal Issues
              5.1 Intellectual Property Rights
              5.2 License Agreements
              6 Library Issues
              6.1 Cataloging, Identifiers, Linking, and Metadata
              6.2 Digital Libraries
              6.3 General Works
              6.4 Information Integrity and Preservation
              7 New Publishing Models
              8 Publisher Issues
              8.1 Digital Rights Management and User Authentication
              9 Repositories, E-Prints, and OAI
              Appendix A. Related Bibliographies
              Appendix B. About the Author

              Institutional Repository Bibliography
              1 General
              2 Country and Regional Institutional Repository Surveys
              3 Multiple-Institution Repositories
              4 Specific Institutional Repositories
              4.1 eScholarship
              4.2 MIT
              4.3 OSU Knowledge Bank
              4.4 Other
              5 Institutional Repository Digital Preservation Issues
              6 Institutional Repository Library Issues
              7 Institutional Repository Metadata Issues
              8 Institutional Repository Open Access Policies
              9 Institutional Repository R&D Projects
              9.1 ARROW
              9.2 DAEDALUS
              9.3 DARE
              9.4 DRIVER
              9.5 FAIR Programme
              9.6 Hydra/REMAP/RepoMMan
              9.7 SHERPA
              9.8 Other
              10 Institutional Repository Research Studies
              11 Institutional Repository Software
              11.1 General
              11.2 DSpace
              11.3 Fedora
              11.4 Other

              Electronic Theses and Dissertations Bibliography

              Google Book Search Bibliography

              Digital Scholarship 2009

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                "The Short-Term Influence of Free Digital Versions of Books on Print Sales"

                Posted in E-Books, Open Access, Publishing on April 5th, 2010

                John Hilton III and David Wiley have published "The Short-Term Influence of Free Digital Versions of Books on Print Sales" in the latest issue of The Journal of Electronic Publishing.

                Here's an excerpt:

                Increasingly, authors and publishers are freely distributing their books electronically to increase the visibility of their work. A vital question for those with a commercial stake in selling books is, "What happens to book sales if digital versions are given away?" We used BookScan sales data for four categories of books (a total of 41 books) for which we could identify the date when the free digital versions of the books were made available to determine whether the free version affected print sales. We analyzed the data on book sales for the eight weeks before and after the free versions were available. Three of the four categories of books had increased sales after the free books were distributed. We discuss the implications and limitations of these results.

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