"E-Book Monopolies and the Law"

Angela Daly has self-archived "E-Book Monopolies and the Law" in SSRN

Here's an excerpt:

This article will examine the legality of the digital rights management ("DRM") measures used by the major e-book publishers and device manufacturers in the United States, European Union and Australia not only to enforce their intellectual property rights but also to create monopolistic content silos, restrict interoperability and affect the ability for users to use the content they have bought in the way they wish. The analysis will then proceed to the recent competition investigations in the US and EU over price-fixing in e-book markets, and the current litigation against Amazon in the US for an alleged abuse of its dominant position. A final point will be made on possible responses in Australia to these issues taking into account the jurisprudence on DRM in other scenarios.

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"Digital Copyright, ‘Fair Access’ and the Problem of DRM Misuse"

Nicolo Zingales has published "Digital Copyright, 'Fair Access' and the Problem of DRM Misuse" in the Intellectual Property & Technology Forum & Journal at Boston College Law School.

Here's an excerpt:

This article points out one of the ways the development of these new technologies has altered the boundaries of copyright, specifically by enabling copyright holders to strategically expand the scope of protection through the strategic use of Digital Rights Management (hereinafter, DRM). After a brief overview of these technologies and their contribution to the development of online markets for copyrighted works, the article discusses the risks of using DRM as a means of stretching the legal protection conferred by Intellectual Property law.

As a potential solution to such problem, the article looks at the role of the courts and the approach embraced vis a vis specific cases of abuse of DRM in the copyright context. . . . The article then concludes recommending a two-fold approach to the assessment of the legality of such practices, where antitrust analysis and IP principles are intermingled, proposing a legal test to facilitate this complex assessment.

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"Copyright Law in the Digital Environment: Private Ordering and the Regulation of Digital Works"

Primavera De Filippi has self-archived "Copyright Law in the Digital Environment: Private Ordering and the Regulation of Digital Works" in HAL.

Here's an excerpt:

The book begins with an analysis of copyright law as it applies to the physical and the digital world. The challenges that the law has to face in the digital environment are specifically addressed by illustrating how the self-regulating features of the copyright regime have been jeopardized with the advent of Internet and digital technologies. The book subsequently analyses the role of private ordering in the regulation of information and presents the various mechanisms of self-help that have been developed so far to address the challenges of the digital world. The contrast is between the use of end-user licensing agreements and technological measures of protection (e.g. DRM) intended to restrict the consumption of digital works beyond the scope of the copyright regime, and the use of Open Content licenses (e.g. Creative Commons) intended to support a greater dissemination and broader availability of works, amidst other goals. The book finally investigates the corresponding advantages and drawbacks of these two divergent approaches, and concludes by addressing the justifications for governmental intervention in regulating the operations of private ordering.

| Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog | Digital Scholarship |

EFF: "Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers"

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released "Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers."

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

What questions should consumers ask before buying a digital book or reader? Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published "Digital Books and Your Rights," a checklist for readers considering buying into the digital book marketplace.

Over the last few months, the universe of digital books has expanded dramatically, with products like Amazon's Kindle, Google Books, Internet Archive's Text Archive, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and Apple's upcoming iPad poised to revolutionize reading. But while this digital books revolution could make books more accessible than ever before, there are lingering questions about the future of reader privacy, consumers' rights, and potential censorship.

EFF's checklist outlines eight categories of questions readers should ask as they evaluate new digital book products and services, including:

*Does the service protect your privacy by limiting tracking of you and your reading?

*When you pay for a book, do you own the book, or do you just rent or license it?

*Is the service censorship resistant?

"Perspectives on DRM: Between Digital Rights Management and Digital Restrictions Management"

Rafal Kasprowski has published "Perspectives on DRM: Between Digital Rights Management and Digital Restrictions Management" in the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Here's an excerpt:

This report of a panel session organized by the author at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) presents the DRM issue in four contexts: use restrictions in libraries, the anti-circumvention rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), commercial and academic licensing and DRM-free software alternatives. The four panelists were Kristin R. Eschenfelder, associate professor at the School of Library and Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and recipient of multiple grants for her work on DRM; Kevin L. Smith, J.D., scholarly communications officer at Duke University and author of the highly regarded web log Scholarly Communications @ Duke; Bill Burger, vice president of marketing at the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), a leading provider of content licensing solutions for corporations and academic institutions; and John Sullivan, operations manager at the Free Software Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes the development and use of free software and campaigns against DRM. The session was recorded in October 2008 and is complemented in this report with a 2009 update to the DMCA legislation.

Gawronski v. Amazon.com: Amazon's New Kindle Deletion Rules

As a result of the settlement of the Gawronski et al. v. Amazon.com Inc et al. case (about the deletion of George Orwell e-books), Amazon.com will comply with new rules regarding deletion of digital works on Kindles.

Here's an excerpt:

For copies of Works purchased pursuant to TOS granting "the non-exclusive right to keep a permanent copy" of each purchased Work and to "view, use and display [such Works] an unlimited number of times, solely on the [Devices] . . . and solely for [the purchasers'] personal, non-commercial use," Amazon will not remotely delete or modify such Works from Devices purchased and being used in the United States unless (a) the user consents to such deletion or modification; (b) the user requests a refund for the Work or otherwise fails to pay for the Work (e.g., if a credit or debit card issuer declines to remit payment); (c) a judicial or regulatory order requires such deletion or modification; or (d) deletion or modification is reasonably necessary to protect the consumer or the operation of a Device or network through which the Device communicates (e.g., to remove harmful code embedded within a copy of a Work downloaded to a Device). This paragraph does not apply to (a) applications (whether developed or offered by Amazon or by third parties), software or other code; (b) transient content such as blogs; or (c) content that the publisher intends to be updated and replaced with newer content as newer content becomes available. With respect to newspaper and magazine subscriptions, nothing in this paragraph prohibits the current operational practice pursuant to which older issues are automatically deleted from the Device to make room for newer issues, absent affirmative action by the Device user to save older issues.

Read more about it at "Amazon Settles Kindle '1984' Lawsuit" and "Amazon.com to Pay $150,000 to Settle Suit Challenging Take-Back of 1984."

MPAA Attorney Says Even One Personal Backup Copy of DVD is Illegal

Bart Williams, an MPAA attorney, said in a hearing about the Realnetworks v. DVD Copy Control Association case that even if a consumer made single copy of a DVD for acquired for personal use that: "One copy is a violation of the DMCA."

Read more about the case at "DVDs and the Big Picture," "RealNetworks: MPAA Is 'Price-Fixing Cartel'," "Reminder from the MPAA: DRM Trumps Your Fair Use Rights," and "What to Expect from the RealDVD Decision."

Technological Accommodation of Conflicts between Freedom of Expression and DRM: The First Empirical Assessment

Patricia Akester's Technological Accommodation of Conflicts between Freedom of Expression and DRM: The First Empirical Assessment is available in the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law repository.

Here's an excerpt from the abstract:

When technological measures were under consideration in the mid 1990s two stark scenarios presented themselves: on the one hand, an ideal world where copyright owners could use DRM to make their works available under a host of different conditions in a way that responded to the diversity of consumer demand; on the other, a more bleak environment where all users of copyright material (and much non-copyright material) would be forced to obtain permission and pay to access material that previously would have been available to all. . . . Patricia Akester examines how these issues are working out in practice. Based on a series of interviews with key organisations and individuals, involved in the use of copyright material and the development and deployment of DRM, she provides a sober assessment of the current state of affairs.

Controlling Access to and Use of Online Cultural Collections: A Survey of U.S. Archives, Libraries and Museums for IMLS

Kristin Eschenfelder has self-archived a draft of Controlling Access to and Use of Online Cultural Collections: A Survey of U.S. Archives, Libraries and Museums for IMLS in dLIST.

Here's an excerpt:

This report describes the results of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funded study to investigate the use of technological or policy tools to control patron access to or use of digital collections of cultural materials created by U.S. archives, libraries and museums. The technological and policy tools serve primarily to control copying or other reuses of digital materials. The study had the following goals: 1. Assess what technical and policy tools cultural institutions are employing to control access to and use of online digital collections. 2. Investigate motivations for controlling access to or use of collections (e.g., copyright, privacy, protecting traditional restrictions, income generation etc.). 3. Investigate discouragers to the implementation of access and use control systems (e.g., preference for open collections, lack of resources, institutional mission, etc.). 4. Gauge interest in implementing technical systems to control access to and use of collections. 5. Determine what types of assistance IMLS could provide. 6. Identify institutions with innovative controlled online collections for follow up case studies on policy, technical and managerial details.

Like Deja Vu All Over Again: Microsoft's New MSN Mobile Music Service Includes DRM

Microsoft's new MSN Mobile Music service, which has been introduced in the UK, includes DRM protection.

In "Q&A: Microsoft Defends Return to DRM," Microsoft's Hugh Griffiths answers questions about this development.

Read more about it at "MSN Mobile Music Service Launches with Added DRM and Device Locking."

Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future

Noted copyright freedom fighter and science fiction author Cory Doctorow has released a free version of Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future under a Creative Commons U.S. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Doctorow is also a major contributor to the Boing Boing Weblog.

Podcast: Columbia's James Neal Provides Copyright Update

EDUCAUSE has released "EDUCAUSE Live! Podcast: Update on Key U.S. Copyright Developments," in which James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University, discusses recent copyright issues.

Here's a description of the podcast:

Copyright continues to be a core interest of the higher education and academic library communities. This briefing focuses on eight critical legislative and legal arenas where the United States will be working on copyright: orphan works, digital fair use, broadcast flag, Section 1201 anti-circumvention rulemaking, electronic reserves, peer-to-peer file sharing, open access to government-funded research, and the report of the Section 108 Study Group on exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives. The work of the study group is highlighted, including its primary findings and recommendations. In addition, two important recent studies are described and their importance for libraries are cited. The advocacy and educational roles and responsibilities of librarians on copyright also is outlined.

Double Trouble: New Application Strips DRM from Music Files

DRM nemesis DVD Jon (Jon Lech Johansen) has released doubleTwist, a user-friendly application that strips DRM from digital music files.

Read more about it at "doubleTwist Makes DRM-Stripping, Sharing Easy as Pie," "'DVD Jon' Frees Your Media with DoubleTwist," and "Free Your Media With DoubleTwist, a DRM Stripping App Anyone Can Use."

Goodbye Digital Music DRM, Goodbye RIAA?, and Hello Music Watermarking

SONY BMG has moved beyond experimenting with non-DRM-protected music tracks and indicated that its entire catalog will be available as MP3s from Amazon by the end of the month. SONY BMG is the last of the "big four" music labels to offer MP3s via Amazon (the others are the EMI Group, the Universal Music Group, and the Warner Music Group). Napster has also announced that it will offer MP3s for sale this spring (its subscription service will still use DRM). It would appear that the DRM era for digital music is coming to a close.

Meanwhile, rumors continue to circulate that the RIAA is endangered due to a potential withdrawal of funding from the EMI Group.

The decline of digital music DRM does not mean that the labels have given up the fight to stem the tide of illegal downloads. MP3s from Sony and Universal include "anonymous" watermarks that allow them to be traced as they move through the Internet to provide infringement data for music labels and to potentially allow filtering by ISPs.

Nor does the decline of digital music DRM mean that Hollywood will quickly follow, avoiding the mistakes of the music industry.

Read more about it at "DRM Is Dead, but Watermarks Rise from Its Ashes," "Napster to Sell DRM-Free Downloads," "Sony Joins Other Labels on Amazon MP3 Store," and "Under Pressure from EMI, RIAA Could Disappear."

Sony BMG, Last of the Big Music Labels to Use DRM, Drops It for Some Albums

According to "Sony BMG to Sell DRM-Free Music Downloads through Stores," Sony BMG will join EMI, Vivendi's Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group in offering DRM-free MP3 tracks. Initially, this will be for a small number of albums, and it will require that buyers purchase a card at a retail store. In 2005, Sony BMG was embroiled in a major controversy about its use of DRM software.

Read more about it at "Digital Music: 2007 Year in Review," "Labels See New Online Music Options," "Sony BMG Cautiously Exploring DRM-Free Future," and "Sony BMG Plans to Drop DRM."

Canadian DMCA-Stye Copyright Law on Hold . . . for the Moment

Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice didn't introduce a DMCA-style copyright bill yesterday, and there is speculation that this due to increasing protests against the bill.

According to "Industry Canada Holds Off on Copyright Reform Bill," Prentice said that the: "bill would not be tabled [introduced] in the House until such time as myself and the minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Office Languages are satisfied."

Read more about it at "'Canadian DMCA' Delayed, Protestors Cautiously Optimistic," "Canadian Netroots Rise Up Against Tory Copyright Plans," "CBC on the Canadian DMCA Delay," and "Prentice's Moment."

Only 50,000 Signatures Needed for Referendum on New Swiss DMCA-Style Copyright Law

Florian Bösch is organizing a petition drive to put Switzerland's new DMCA-style copyright law to a referendum at the No Swiss DMCA website. Only 50,000 signatures are needed, but they must be collected before January 24, 2008.

Read more about it at "DMCA-Style Laws Coming to Canada, Switzerland"; "Swiss DMCA Coming Down—50,000 Signatures Needed to Unmake It"; "Swiss DMCA Petition—50,000 Signatures Will Kill Switzerland's Copyright Law"; and "Swiss DMCA Quietly Adopted."