"Shrinking the Commons: Termination of Copyright Licenses and Transfers for the Benefit of the Public"

Timothy K. Armstrong has self-archived "Shrinking the Commons: Termination of Copyright Licenses and Transfers for the Benefit of the Public" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

Federal law limits the free alienability of copyright rights to prevent powerful transferees from forcing authors into unremunerative bargains. The limiting mechanism is a statutory provision that permits authors or their heirs, at their sole election, to terminate any transfer or license of any copyright interest during a defined period. Indeed, the applicable provisions of the Copyright Act go so far as to invalidate purported waivers by authors of their statutory termination powers.

These statutory provisions may constitute an impediment to the effective grant of rights for the benefit of the public under widely used "open content" licensing arrangements, such as the GNU General Public License ("GPL") for software or the Creative Commons family of licenses for other sorts of expressive works. Although recent case law suggests that such open-source or open-content licensing arrangements should be analyzed under the same rules that govern other copyright licenses, doing so necessarily raises the possibility of termination of the license. If GPL or Creative Commons-type licenses are subject to later termination by authors (or their heirs), and this termination power cannot validly be waived, then users of such works must confront the possibility that the licenses may be revoked in the future and the works effectively withdrawn from public use, with potentially chaotic results.

Although a number of judge-made doctrines may be invoked to restrict termination of a license granted for the benefit of the public, the better course would be for Congress to enact new legislation expressly authorizing authors to make a nonwaiveable, irrevocable dedication of their works, in whole or in part, to the use and benefit of the public—a possibility that the Patent Act expressly recognizes, but the Copyright Act presently does not.

Visiting Research Programmer at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois Library's Grainger Engineering Library is recruiting a Visiting Research Programmer (1 year initial appointment; funded for a maximum of 3 years).

Here's an excerpt from the ad:

The Research Programmer will be appointed to support current digital library research projects, including grant-funded projects. Appointee will work on at least two different projects, reporting to project PIs or co-PIs. May also provide programming support towards design & development of internally funded new or experimental digital library services. . . .

Research and grant funded position(s) will provide an opportunity to participate in design, development, and testing of innovative, cutting-edge digital library systems. Incumbent will collaborate with experienced Research Programmers in Grainger and the Library's Office of Library Information Technology Planning and Policy. Grainger has been home for a series of externally funded digital library research projects continuously since it opened in 1994 and staff at Grainger has established an international reputation in the digital library research community. Technologies involved are complimentary and overlapping with those used in production library services. Grainger hosts its own developmental Linux and Windows servers, virtual server cluster, and SAN. Research projects are implemented using a wide range of programming languages and technologies, including: Microsoft ASP & ASP.Net, Ruby on Rails, Java, C++, Perl, PHP, JavaScript, VBScript/AJAX, SQL, XHTML, CSS, XML, XSL-T, XSL-FO, OAI-PMH, and OAI-ORE. Responsibilities of the position will vary over time but will include: development and/or customization of Web, Windows, and Linux applications and tools; installation, maintenance, and administration of Web services and potentially other networked applications; database design, administration, and programming; writing documentation and discussion of technical results for inclusion in conference papers and reports to project sponsors; providing technical assistance to and consultation with Library & GSLIS faculty and staff collaborating in research.

"Digital Library Europeana Said to Be Europe’s Answer to Google Books Settlement"

In "Digital Library Europeana Said To Be Europe’s Answer to Google Books Settlement," Dugie Standeford examines Google Book Search in the European context and considers whether Europeana can compete with it.

Here's an excerpt:

Europeana has the potential to be the "Google-like service Europe needs" but as part of a broader vision, said Europeana Marketing and Communications Manager Jonathan Purday. The EC has enabled Europeana to become operational and laid the foundations for an integrated platform providing access from museums, archives, libraries and audiovisual collections. But the digital library's future "depends on countries scaling up their digitisation efforts" and unifying their fragmented legal framework, he said.

"Is Creative Commons Good for Copyright?"

Copycense has published an editorial asking "Is Creative Commons Good for Copyright?"

Here's an excerpt:

We conclude now, as we did in 2007, that the continued use and prominence of Creative Commons licenses actually obscures the real copyright issues we face in this country, and keeps Americans from settling on the proper parameters of digital information use, access, retrieval and preservation in the 21st century.

"Google and the Proper Antitrust Scrutiny of Orphan Books"

Jerry A. Hausman and J. Gregory Sidak have self-archived "Google and the Proper Antitrust Scrutiny of Orphan Books" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

We examine the consumer-welfare implications of Google's project to scan a large proportion of the world's books into digital form and to make these works accessible to consumers through Google Book Search (GBS). In response to a class action alleging copyright infringement, Google has agreed to a settlement with the plaintiffs, which include the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. A federal district court must approve the settlement for it to take effect. Various individuals and organizations have advocated modification or rejection of the settlement, based in part on concerns regarding Google's claimed ability to exercise market power. The Antitrust Division has confirmed that it is investigating the settlement. We address concerns of Professor Randal Picker and others, especially concerns over the increased access to 'orphan books,' which are books that retain their copyright but for which the copyright holders are unknown or cannot be found. The increased accessibility of orphan books under GBS involves the creation of a new product, which entails large gains in consumer welfare. We consider it unlikely that Google could exercise market power over orphan books. We consider it remote that the static efficiency losses claimed by critics of the settlement could outweigh the consumer welfare gains from the creation of a valuable new service for expanding access to orphan books. We therefore conclude that neither antitrust intervention nor price regulation of access to orphan books under GBS would be justified on economic grounds.

DSpace@Cambridge Support and Liaison Officer

The Electronic Services and Systems Division of the Cambridge University Library is recruiting a DSpace@Cambridge Support and Liaison Officer (position ends in October 2012).

Here's an excerpt from the ad:

Applications are invited for the post of DSpace@Cambridge Support and Liaison Officer (part-time) to provide technical support and guidance to all users of the DSpace@Cambridge institutional repository—including academic and research staff at all levels, librarians, museum curators, archivists, and administrative staff depositing digital files—and to liaise between users and the system manager. The post is available on a three days per week basis, with the postholder working Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week.

Working within a team of five, including a system manager, developer, repository manager and a further part-time Support and Liaison Officer, the postholder will be responsible on a day-to-day basis for ensuring that users are able to deposit files in DSpace and for providing continuing support by e-mail and telephone. He or she will promote the service, provide advice to users on intellectual property rights and organise and give training in using the system. The post-holder will oversee metadata standards within DSpace and ensure standards compliance.

European Commission Report: Europeana—Next StepsEuropean Commission Report: Europeana—Next Steps

The European Commission has published Europeana—Next Steps.

Here's an excerpt:

Europeana—Europe's online library, museum and archive—opened in November 2008 as part of the Commission's digital libraries initiative, aiming to make Europe's cultural and scientific heritage accessible to all on the internet. The European Parliament and the Council have highlighted the importance of Europeana both as a showcase of the cultural heritage of the Member States on the internet and to provide access for everyone to that heritage. At the same time they have underlined the economic potential of making our cultural treasures available online as a source for creativity and new products and services in areas such as tourism and learning.

This document looks ahead to the next phase of development of Europeana and its orientation for the future. It sets out the main challenges for the coming years in relation to 1) enriching Europeana’s content with both public domain and in copyright material of the highest quality and relevance to users, and 2) a sustainable financing and governance model. The objective is to ensure that Europeana and the underlying policies for digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation give European culture a lasting visibility on the internet and turn our common and diverse heritage into an integral part of Europe's information infrastructure for the future.

In order to gather input on the best way to achieve this objective, the Commission is launching a consultation on the basis of a series of questions that can be found in the staff working paper accompanying this Communication. Interested parties are invited to submit their comments on any or all of the questions by 15 November 2009.

See also "Questions for the Public Consultation 'Europeana—Next Steps'."

Read more about it at "EU Divided over Google Books"; "EU Urges Google, Libraries to Cooperate to Put Books On-line"; "Europe's Digital Library Doubles in Size but also Shows EU's Lack of Common Web Copyright Solution"; and "Europe's Digital Library: Frequently Asked Questions."

Senior Systems Administrator, Digital Asset Management Infrastructure at Yale

The Yale Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure is recruiting a Senior Systems Administrator, Digital Asset Management Infrastructure.

Here's an excerpt from the ad:

Yale’s Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure (ODAI) is charged with developing a digital information management strategy for Yale and building digital collections and technical infrastructure in a coordinated and collaborative manner across the entire campus. Programs include the development and deployment of large-scale digital asset management systems, long-term preservation repositories for Yale digital content in all formats, cross-collection search capabilities to enable discovery of collections hosted by numerous departments, and many other innovative initiatives.

Reporting to the Digital Information Architect, the Systems Administrator, Digital Asset Management (DAM) Infrastructure will manage the reliable operation of hardware and software systems comprising the ODAI infrastructure and related support services. This includes but is not limited to digital asset management systems, digital library systems, knowledge management systems, media processing systems and storage systems.

The Google Books Settlement and the Future of Information Access Conference

The University of California School of Information's Google Books Settlement and the Future of Information Access Conference was held on August 28, 2009. Below is a selection of articles and posts about the conference.

Open Book Alliance Outlines Arguments against Google Book Search Settlement

In "Opening the Book," Peter Brantley and Gary Reback outline the Open Book Alliance's objections to the Google Book Search Settlement.

Here's an excerpt:

The settlement is bad for libraries and schools: While a handful of large and well-funded university libraries participated in the Google book-scanning effort, many other educational institutions and libraries will be forced to pay monopoly prices for access to a wide swath of knowledge, straining already-stretched budgets and creating a system of haves and have-nots in our nation's education system. Community libraries would get at a single terminal to Google's private book database, and libraries serving our nation's children in K-12 schools would get absolutely nothing. The settlement widens the digital divide by limiting access to digital books in financially hard-hit communities that have budget-constrained libraries.

JISC Releases Web2practice Web 2.0 Guides

JISC has released a series of Web2practice Web 2.0 guides.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

How-to guides on web 2.0 technologies are now available from JISC Netskills for lecturers and researchers which complement five short animations about getting started.

Anyone interested in social media, RSS, collaborative writing, podcasting and microblogging can download the Web2practice guides in both video and PDF format from the website. . . .

Video creator Steve Boneham, JISC Netskills consultant trainer, said: “While we’ve aimed the tools at the UK higher and further education audiences, the internet and Twitter knows no national boundaries—we’re really pleased that people from so far afield are taking such an interest.”

He continued: "I'm particularly pleased that people have started embedding the materials as well as this is just what we wanted to encourage people to do—the materials are completely free for people to use, copy, adapt, comment on and above all, share."

University of Tampere Adopts Open Access Policy

The University of Tampere has adopted an open access policy.

Here's an excerpt:

According to the proposal of the work group the Rector would

  • request researchers working at the University as of 1 January 2011 to deposit copies of their research articles accepted for publication in scientific journals in the institutional repository provided by the University of Tampere and
  • encourage researchers to deposit copies of their publications in the University's repository before the decision comes into force.

Research articles refers in this Decision to single articles to be published in scientific refereed journals, in the University's own publication series, in conference publications or other compilations. The final publisher's version of the article should be deposited in the repository or then the author's last version of the article revised in response to referees' comments (according to the publisher's policy).

The University of Tampere hereby undertakes to provide researchers with the support services required for parallel depositing. The University of Tampere will endeavour to improve publication information systems and to design the process of depositing in a researcher-centred manner.

In addition to the research articles referred to in the Decision, other kinds of publications which may be stored in the open depository provided by the University of Tampere include popular articles, other published written texts, serial publications of University departments, teaching material and, if the publication agreements allow, also monographs.

University of Texas Big Deal Contracts Released to Researchers

The Texas Attorney General has ruled that the University of Texas’ contracts with Elsevier and Springer must be released to Paul Courant, Ted Bergstrom, and Preston McAfee (these researchers run the Big Deal Contract Project).

Here's the ruling (also see the PDF version):

Texas Attorney General Ruling

Read more about it at "Texas Attorney General Orders ‘Big Deal’ Bundle Contracts Released."

Over One Million Public Domain E-Books from Google Now Available in EPUB Format

Over one million public domain e-books from Google are now also available in the standard EPUB format.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

I'm excited to announce that starting today, Google Books will offer free downloads of these and more than one million more public domain books in an additional format, EPUB. By adding support for EPUB downloads, we're hoping to make these books more accessible by helping people around the world to find and read them in more places. More people are turning to new reading devices to access digital books, and many such phones, netbooks, and e-ink readers have smaller screens that don't readily render image-based PDF versions of the books we've scanned. EPUB is a lightweight text-based digital book format that allows the text to automatically conform (or "reflow") to these smaller screens. And because EPUB is a free, open standard supported by a growing ecosystem of digital reading devices, works you download from Google Books as EPUBs won't be tied to or locked into a particular device. We'll also continue to make available these books in the popular PDF format so you can see images of the pages just as they appear in the printed book.

An Evaluation of Private Foundation Copyright Licensing Policies, Practices and Opportunities

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society has released An Evaluation of Private Foundation Copyright Licensing Policies

Here's an excerpt:

This project, a joint effort of the Berkman Center, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Ford Foundation and the Open Society Institute, with funding from Hewlett and Ford, undertook to examine the copyright licensing policies and practices of a group of twelve private foundations. In particular, it looked at the extent to which charitable foundations are aware of and have begun to use open licenses such as Creative Commons or the GPL. We surveyed foundation staff and leaders and examined a number of examples where foundations have begun to take advantage of new licensing models for materials and resources produced by their own staff, their consultants and their grantees. The complete results of our study and our comprehensive analysis and recommendations are contained in the full Report of this project.

Repository Staff and Skills Set Revised

SHERPA has released a revised Repository Staff and Skills Set.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The original document was developed in response to requests the SHERPA core team received for examples of repository job descriptions. The content of the 2009 version is largely unchanged with the main additions being advice on how the document can be used in planning hosted repositories and in the addition of a link to the JISC Recruitment Toolkit released earlier this year.

The original Staff and Skill Set document was not designed to describe the skills set required of a particular repository post but rather is a list of the entire set of skills, knowledge and abilities required for the development and management of a successful institutional repository. Due to requests from the community we provide here a generic job description of a technical repository post. This description was development from actual job advertisements and using advice and templates from the JISC Recruitment Toolkit.

The concise nature of the document continues to be popular and feedback from the community shows that it has been used to develop job descriptions, plan repository development and staffing, seek funding from institutions, renegotiate salaries/job profiles and regrading and in identifying skill gaps and areas for staff training.

Although primarily aimed at the UK repository community, it has also proved useful to the repository community and projects in Australia, Spain and Ireland.

Senior Developer at Columbia's Center for Digital Research and Scholarship

The Columbia University Libraries/Information Services' Center for Digital Research and Scholarship is recruiting a Senior Developer.

Here's an excerpt from the ad:

Working in a multi-host and heterogeneous application environment, the Senior Developer helps implement CDRS' online platform and applications by designing the information architecture and by coding, integrating, and maintaining services and applications that support the projects of the center. Duties include:

  • Building applications and systems for CDRS' projects using XQuery/XForms, Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, or another agreed-upon software development model.
  • Designing the information architecture and user interface scheme of sites and applications.
  • Manipulating large metadata sets and digital objects.
  • Authoring schemas or technical specifications for applications.
  • Performing related duties and responsibilities as assigned/requested.

Ph.D Dissertation: "Scholarly Communication Changing: The Implications of Open Access"

Tove Faber Frandsen's Ph.D dissertation, "Scholarly CommunicationCchanging: The Implications of Open Access," is now available.

Here's an excerpt:

The dissertation aims at investigating the changing scholarly communication in general and more specifically the implications of open access on scholarly communication. The overall research question is: What are the effects of open access on scholarly communication? The dissertation consists of five empirical studies of various aspects of the implications of open access on scholarly communication.

The five studies, published as journal articles, are bibliometric studies conducted on three different levels. The first level consists of two studies of a general, more explorative character. The first general study analyses the coverage of open access base resources and the second the use of open access journals in the sciences. The next level of analysis consists of two specific studies that look into two widespread assumptions of the implications of open access. The first is the assumption that the developing countries are great beneficiaries of open access and the second is the belief that open access causes more citations. The third level consists of a concluding, perspectival study. The levels in the thesis to some extent also follow the chronological order of the studies.

Sony Announces New E-Book Reader, the Reader Daily Edition, Plus Library Finder Application

Sony has announced a new e-book reader, the Reader Daily Edition, and the Library Finder application.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Delivering on its promise to give consumers a variety of choices, Sony today announced the third member of its new Reader family – the Reader Daily Edition™, a highly-anticipated wireless model with 3G connectivity. The Daily Edition caps its new line of Reader products, joining the Reader Pocket Edition™ and the Reader Touch Edition™ which were announced earlier this month.

The Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition are available immediately, and the Reader Daily Edition will be available this December in time for the holidays at SonyStyle stores and SonyStyle.com. . . .

The Reader Pocket Edition sports a five-inch electronic paper display packaged in a stylish chassis and is available in a variety of colors, including navy blue, rose and silver. It is available for the ground-breaking price of $199, making it the most affordable dedicated reading device on the market.

The Reader Touch Edition features a responsive, menu-driven six-inch touch screen panel that enables quick, intuitive navigation, page turning, highlighting and note taking with the swipe of a finger or by using the included stylus pen. It comes in red, black or silver and retails for about $299.

The Reader Daily Edition gives consumers wireless access via AT&T's 3G mobile broadband network to Sony's eBook store from just about anywhere in the U.S. Book lovers will be able to browse, purchase and download books as well as select newspapers and magazines when and where they want. There are no monthly fees or transaction charges for the basic wireless connectivity and users still have the option to side load personal documents or content from other compatible sites via USB.

The seven-inch wide, touch screen display provides for intuitive navigation and comfortable layout of content, including newspapers and magazines, whether you're reading in portrait or landscape orientation. In portrait mode, about 30-35 lines of text are visible, making the experience very similar to that of a printed paperback book. A high contrast ratio with 16 levels of grayscale ensures that text and images are crisp and easy to read. The Daily Edition also boasts an attractive aluminum body with an integrated cover for durability. It has enough internal memory to hold more than one thousand standard eBooks and expansion slots for memory cards to hold even more. It will sell for about $399.

All three models feature Sony's award-winning industrial design and an E Ink® Vizplex™ electronic paper display that emulates the look of ink on paper. Sony's eBook Library software 3.0, which now includes support for many Apple® Macintosh® computers as well as PCs, makes it easy to transfer and read any Adobe® PDF (with reflow capability), EPUB, Microsoft® Word®, BBeB® files, or other text file formats on the Reader. . . .

Today also marks the launch of Sony's Library Finder application. Sony, working with OverDrive (www.overdrive.com), the leading global digital distributor of eBooks and to libraries, will now offer visitors to the eBook Store by Sony easy access to their local library's collection of eBooks. Thousands of libraries in the OverDrive network offer eBooks optimized for the Sony Reader, and visitors can now find these libraries by typing their zip code into the Library Finder. Through the selected library's download website, visitors can check out eBooks with a valid library card, download them to a PC and transfer to their Reader. At the end of the library's lending period, eBooks simply expire, so there are never any late fees.

Read more about it at "Sony to Link Readers with Libraries, Allow E-Book Borrowing" and "Sony Unveils New High-End Reader Daily Edition, Expanded Library Partnership."

Six TexTreasures Digitization Grants Awarded

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has awarded digitization grants to six TexShare member libraries.

Here's an excerpt from the press release :

The exciting projects that have been funded are:

  • "Houston Oral History Project" ($25,000) – The Houston Public Library is partnering with Houston Mayor Bill White to preserve and make the video-recordings of significant Houstonians available on the web. This grant will convert an additional 288 hours of audiotapes from cassette or reel-to-reel to digital format along with transcripts for the collection.
  • "The Bexar Archives" ($19,930) – The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin will create a research tool, called Bexar Archives Online, which joins digital images of the original Spanish documents with the corresponding English-language translations.
  • "Marion Butts Photography Negatives Project" ($17,571) – The Dallas Public Library will use the photographic records produced by Marion Butts, an African-American photographer and editor of the Dallas Express, as well as other primary source materials such as maps, Negro city directories and oral histories to develop a series of online Texas-focused, TEKS-based lesson plans targeting seventh grade students. The records chronicle Dallas and Texas history during the segregation and civil rights eras.
  • "Lady Bird Johnson Photo Collection Project" ($16,610) – The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin will digitize and provide access to a unique collection of photographs of Claudia Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson. She is the wife of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, and was born in Karnack, Texas. As the First Lady of the United States from 1963-69, she was an advocate for nature, beautification and conservation of natural resources. Most of the photographs in this collection date after her return to Texas.
  • "Itinerant Photographer Collection" ($14,389) – The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin will preserve and digitize a collection of glass plate negatives depicting local businesses owners and employees in Corpus Christi, which were taken by an unidentified photographer in February 1934 during the Depression. The center will provide an online finding aid, an online catalog record and an online exhibit of the fragile items now in danger of emulsion loss.
  • "Tejano Voices Project" ($6,500) – The University of Texas at Arlington Library will digitize and describe 13 oral history interviews from notable Tejanos and Tejanas from across Texas conducted in 1992-2003 by Dr. Jose Angel Gutierrez, associate professor of political science at UT Arlington. Many of the interviews emphasize the personal struggles, from individuals of Mexican decent, who are the first in their communities elected or appointed to government offices. The interviews also reflect the history of the Tejano community as it pressed for an end to racial segregation in the state and access to political power in the post-WWII period.

Digital Archivist at Yale

The Yale University Library is recruiting a Digital Archivist.

Here's an excerpt from the ad (STARS Requisition number: 8022BR):

Purpose: Reporting to the Senior Archivist for Digital Information Systems/Head of the University Archives, the Digital Archivist will join a dynamic group of archivists and helps to ensure effective acquisition, description, preservation, future migration, access to and security of digital component of manuscripts collections acquired by the department. Primary focus will be on the management, appraisal, description, and preservation of born-digital components of manuscripts collections.

Publishers Weekly Surveys on the Google Book Search Settlement

In "Unsettled: The PW Survey on the Google Book Settlement," Andrew Richard Albanese summarizes the findings of a survey of readers of Publishers Weekly newsletters about the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement.

Here's an excerpt:

If there is good news for the architects of the deal, it is that net support for court approval outweighs opposition—overall, 41% of respondents supported approval of the settlement, while 23% opposed the deal. Just weeks before the September 4 deadline for opting out or objecting to the settlement, however, it is notable that more than a third (36%) remain unsure of or indifferent to the settlement. Publishers (52%) support the settlement in the greatest numbers, followed by authors (42%) and librarians (29%).

In "PW Survey: Librarians On the Fence Regarding Google Settlement," Norman Oder summarizes the findings of a survey of 225 librarians about the settlement.

Here's an excerpt:

Regarding court approval of the settlement, 37% said they were unsure, while 29% supported the settlement and 21.5% said they opposed it.

Copenhagen Business School Adopts Open Access Policy

The Copenhagen Business School has adopted an open access policy.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

If articles are published in publication channels that are not readily accessible to the general public or that require a subscription, copies of the article must be made available through OpenArchive@CBS. If an embargo is required by the publishing house an embargo period of up to one year may be respected.

In cases where the publisher refuses to allow open access depositing and / or further use of the scholarly work and where the publication in this specific channel is deemed necessary the Research Dean and the CBS Library will handle the demands for opting-out. The individual author must send a written notification to the library which proposes to the dean whether he should grant the opt-out possibility. The articles not archived for this reason must be registered in OpenArchive@CBS with bibliographical information, a short résumé and information about publication channel.

In the first 3 year period of implementing this policy the questions of opting-out will be dealt with very carefully. The intention of the open access policy is to promote and disseminate as widely as possible the research form CBS not to prevent publishing.

The Executive Management Team, Heads of Departments and Directors of Centers are expected to actively support and encourage faculty in living up to the principles in this policy.