Copyright Troubles for SeeqPod and The Pirate Bay Search Engines

It is anticipated that the Swedish government will soon charge The Pirate Bay, a torrent search engine, with copyright violations. The Pirate Bay has received over 4,000 pages of evidence related to possible violations from the government. It has been reported that The Pirate Bay serves as many as 10 million peer computers, providing access to about one million torrents.

This news comes hard on the heels of Warner Music Group's suit against SeeqPod, a digital music search engine. The SeeqPod case will likely be determined by the court's interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's "safe harbor" provision, with SeeqPod claiming immunity and Warner claiming that it does not apply.

Read more about it at "Do Search Engines Promote Piracy?," "Latest Test for DMCA Safe Harbors: Warner Sues SeeqPod," "The Pirate Bay Now Tracks 1 Million Torrents, 10 Million Peers," "Swedish Prosecutors Close in on The Pirate Bay," "Swedish Prosecutors Dump 4,000 Legal Docs on The Pirate Bay," "Sweden to Charge Pirate Bay in Copyright Case," "Warner Sues Music Search Engine SeeqPod," and "Warner Sues 'Playable Search Engine,' Tests DMCA Safe Harbor."

Against Intellectual Monopoly Freely Available

The forthcoming book Against Intellectual Monopoly, which will be published by Cambridge University Press, is now freely available in digital form.

Here's an excerpt from the introduction:

Our reasoning proceeds along the following lines. Everyone wants a monopoly. No one wants to compete against his own customers, or against imitators. Currently patents and copyrights grant producers of certain ideas a monopoly. Certainly few people do something in exchange for nothing. Creators of new goods are not different from producers of old ones: they want to be compensated for their effort. However, it is a long and dangerous jump from the assertion that innovators deserve compensation for their efforts to the conclusion that patents and copyrights, that is monopoly, are the best or the only way of providing that reward. Statements such as "A patent is the way of rewarding somebody for coming up with a worthy commercial idea" abound in the business, legal and economic press. As we shall see there are many other ways in which innovators are rewarded, even substantially, and most of them are better for society than the monopoly power patents and copyright currently bestow. Since innovators may be rewarded even without patents and copyright, we should ask: is it true that intellectual property achieves the intended purpose of creating incentives for innovation and creation that offset their considerable harm?

This book examines both the evidence and the theory. Our conclusion is that creators’ property rights can be well protected in the absence of intellectual property, and that the latter does not increase either innovation or creation. They are an unnecessary evil.

REPOMAN-L (Institutional Repository Managers' Mailing List) Launched

Richard Griscom, University of Pennsylvania, and Leah Vanderjagt, University of Alberta, have launched REPOMAN-L (Institutional Repository Managers' Mailing List).

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

We have created REPOMAN-L (Institutional Repository Managers' Mailing List) as an open forum for the discussion of issues, great and small, that confront repository managers. We hope that you will subscribe and participate enthusiastically, and use this list for problem-solving and sharing of advice; for example:

  • to poll the group on practices at their institutions
  • to ask about any aspect of development from policy to outreach
  • initiatives to software evaluation
  • to share links to useful tools and references
  • to explore rationale around decisions you're making about your repository. . . .

The list is purposefully unaffiliated with any institution, initiative, repository software platform, or conceptual idea such as open access; the list would of course not exclude discussion of these areas, but we ask subscribers to consider initiating these discussions on lists set up specifically for the topics and then bring summaries of relevance to this list.

Are There 200,000 "Duplicate" Articles in Journals Indexed by Medline?

Based on a recent study published in Nature, it is possible that there may be as many as 200,000 duplicate articles (either articles that were published in multiple journals or plagiarized) in journals indexed by Medline. To conduct the study, Mounir Errami and Harold Garner utilized the eTBLAST software to analyze samples of Medline article abstracts in order to estimate the prevalence of duplicate articles.

Duplicate detection is an issue of great concern to both publishers and scholars. The CrossCheck project is allowing eight publishers to test the duplicate checking as part of the editorial process in a closed-access environment. In the project's home page, it states:

Currently, existing PD [plagiarism detection] systems do not index the majority of scholarly/professional content because it is inaccessible to crawlers directed at the open web. The only scholarly literature that is currently indexed by PD systems is that which is available openly (e.g. OA, Archived or illegitimately posted copies) or that which has been made available via third-party aggregators (e.g. ProQuest). This, in turn, means that any publisher who is interested in employing PD systems in their editorial work-flow is unable to do so effectively. Even if a particular publisher doesn't have a problem with plagiarized manuscripts, they should have an interest in making sure that their own published content is not plagiarized or otherwise illegitimately copied.

In order for CrossRef members to use existing PD systems, there needs to be a mechanism through which PD system vendors can, under acceptable terms & conditions, create and use databases of relevant scholarly and professional content.

Open access advocates have pointed out that one advantage of OA is that it allows the unrestricted analysis and manipulation of the full text of freely available works. Open access makes it possible for all interested parties, including scholars and others who might not have access to closed duplicate verification databases, to conduct whatever analysis as they wish and to make the results public without having to consider potential business impacts.

Read more about it at: "Copycat Articles Seem Rife in Science Journals, a Digital Sleuth Finds" and "How Many Papers Are Just Duplicates?"

MPAA Now Says That College Students Account for 15%, Not 44%, of Illegal Movie Downloads

The Motion Picture Association of America has said that a 2005 study that claimed that college students accounted for 44% of illegal downloads of movies is incorrect: the correct number is 15%. The MPAA had used the higher figure to argue for measures that would address higher education downloading abuse.

Meanwhile, the EFF Deeplinks blog is reminding its readers ("Troubling 'Digital Theft Prevention' Requirements Remain in Higher Education Bill) that the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007, which the House may take up in February, still contains this wording asking institutions to "develop a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity."

Read more about it at: "Downloading by Students Overstated," "MPAA Admits Mistake on Downloading Study," "Oops: MPAA Admits College Piracy Numbers Grossly Inflated," and "Why the MPAA and RIAA Can't Stand College Students."

Cultural Industries in Europe Committee Votes Down Copyright Filtering and Term Extension Amendments

The European Parliament's Cultural Industries in Europe Committee has voted against amendments to the Cultural industries in the Context of the Lisbon Strategy report that would have filtered the Internet, removed or blocked infringing content, terminated the connectivity of infringers, and extended the term of copyright protection. The report will next be voted on in a European Parliament plenary meeting.

Read more about it at "Filtering and Copyright Extension Fail to Find a Home in EU" and "Proposed EU ISP Filtering and Copyright Extension Shot Down."

International Study of Peer Review

The Publishing Research Consortium has released "Peer Review in Scholarly Journals: Perspective of the Scholarly Community—An International Study."

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

The survey thus paints a picture of academics committed to peer review, with the vast majority believing that it helps scientific communication and in particular that it improves the quality of published papers. They are willing to play their part in carrying out review, though it is worrying that the most productive reviewers appear to be overloaded. Many of them are in fact willing to go further than at present and take on responsibility for reviewing authors’ data. Within this picture of overall satisfaction there are, however, some sizeable pockets of discontent. This discontent does not always translate into support for alternative methods of peer review; in fact some of those most positive about the benefits of peer review were also the most supportive of post-publication review. Overall, there was substantial minority support for post-publication review as a supplement to formal peer review, but much less support for open review as an alternative to blinded review.

Read more about it at "Peer Review Study."

Book to Be Published by MIT Press Undergoing Blog-Based Open Peer Review

Noah Wardrip-Fruin's draft of Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies, which will be published by MIT Press, is undergoing an open peer-review process on the Grand Text Auto Weblog using a new plug-in version of CommentPress. The book is also undergoing a conventional peer-review process.

Read more about it at "Blog Comments and Peer Review Go Head to Head to See Which Makes a Book Better"and "Expressive Processing: An Experiment in Blog-Based Peer Review."

Copy Belgium: Canadian Recording Industry Association Asks for Copyright Filtering of the Internet

According to "Canadian Copyright Lobby Seeking Mandated ISP Filtering," the Canadian Recording Industry Association is asking the Canadian government to consider copyright filtering of the Internet.

Here's an excerpt:

[CRIA's] Henderson cites with approval several initiatives to move toward ISP filtering of content, pointing to a French report, comments from the UK that such legislation could be forthcoming, and the AT&T negotiations in the U.S. Later in the conversation, the group is asked what their dream legislation would look like. The first response? ISP liability, with the respondent pointing to Belgium as an example of an ideal model ("the file sharing issue will go away there as ISPs take down people"). Last summer, a Belgian court ordered an ISP to install filtering software to identify and block copyrighted content (the decision is currently being appealed).

If this reflects the current strategy—and there is reason to believe it does—it marks a dramatic change in the lobbying efforts. It suggests that not only are these groups seeking a Canadian DMCA, but they would like Industry Minister Jim Prentice to go even further by enacting constitutionally-dubious legislation requiring ISPs to identify and filter out content that is alleged to infringe copyright.

Humanities Cyberinfrastructure: The TextGrid Project

The Humanities-oriented TextGrid Project is part of the larger German D-Grid initiative.

Here's an excerpt from the About TextGrid page:

TextGrid aims to create a community grid for the collaborative editing, annotation, analysis and publication of specialist texts. It thus forms a cornerstone in the emerging e-Humanities. . . .

Despite modern information technology and a clear thrust towards collaboration, text scientists still mostly work in local systems and project-oriented applications. Current initiatives lack integration with already existing text corpora, and they remain unconnected to resources such as dictionaries, lexica, secondary literature and tools. . . .

Integrated tools that satisfy the specific requirements of text sciences could transform the way scholars process, analyse, annotate, edit and publish text data. Working towards this vision, TextGrid aims at building a virtual workbench based on e-Science methods.

The installation of a grid-enabled architecture is obvious for two reasons. On the one hand, past and current initiatives for digitising and accessioning texts already accrued a considerable data volume, which exceeds multiple terabytes. Grids are capable of handling these data volumes. Also the dispersal of the community as well as the scattering of resources and tools call for establishing a Community Grid. This establishes a platform for connecting the experts and integrating the initiatives worldwide. The TextGrid community is equipped with a set of powerful software tools based on existing solutions and embracing the grid paradigm.

Peter Brantley Critiques Google Book Search

In "Reading Bad News Between the Lines of Google Book Search" (Chronicle of Higher Education subscription required), Peter Brantley, Executive Director of the Digital Library Federation, discusses his concerns about Google Book Search.

Here's an excerpt:

Q. Why are you concerned about Google Book Search?

A. The quality of the book scans is not consistently high. The algorithm Google uses to return search results is opaque. Then there's the commercial aspect. Google will attempt to find ways to make money off the service.

Digital Video on JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments)

In a digital video from the Google Tech Talks series, Moshe Pritsker, Editor-in-Chief of JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), discusses that video-based journal.

Here's an excerpt from the abstract:

Contrasting the rapid advancement of scientific research itself, scientific communication still heavily relies on traditional print journals. Print journals however, lack the necessary characteristics to allow enable an effective transfer of knowledge, which is significantly impeding scientific progress. Addressing this problem, the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE, implemented a novel, video-based approach to scientific publishing, based on visualization of experimental studies. Created with the participation of scientists from leading research institutions (e.g. Harvard, MIT, and Princeton), JoVE provides solutions to the "bottleneck" of the contemporary biological research: transparency and reproducibility of biological experiments. JoVE has so far released 9 monthly issues that include over 150 video-protocols on experimental approaches in developmental biology, neuroscience, microbiology and other fields.

Mellon Foundation Awards Four Grants for Cooperative University Press Projects

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded grants to four groups of university presses to support the cooperative publication of scholarly books and digital works in the fields of American Literatures, Ethnomusicology, Slavic Studies, and South Asian Studies. The Ethnomusicology project will develop a plan for publishing printed and digital works, and the American Literatures project will utilize a "a shared, centralized, external editorial service dedicated solely to managing the production of books in the initiative."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The four projects and participating presses are:

  • Slavic Studies: University of Wisconsin Press, Northwestern University Press, and the University of Pittsburgh Press;
  • American Literatures: New York University Press, Fordham University Press, Rutgers University Press, Temple University Press, and the University of Virginia Press;
  • South Asian Studies: Columbia University Press, the University of California Press, and the University of Chicago Press;
  • Ethnomusicology: Indiana University Press, Kent State University Press, and Temple University Press. . . .

Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Pittsburgh will use the Mellon funds to support the publication and promotion of first monographs in Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies. Although all three presses have strong publication lists in this field, this initiative will enable them to accept more first books by junior scholars, to work closely with those scholars to develop their authorial skills, and in some cases to underwrite the publication of works in paperback or the incorporation of expensive elements (such as color images). . . .

The American Literatures Initiative, led by NYU in collaboration with Fordham, Rutgers, Temple and Virginia, also seeks to publish promising scholars’ first books in their focus field of English-language literatures of Central and North America and the Caribbean. The most innovative aspect of the program will be the establishment of a shared, centralized, external editorial service dedicated solely to managing the production of books in the initiative. This service will handle all copyediting, design, layout, and typesetting costs, and manage each title through to the point where it is ready for printing. Mellon funds will also be used to pay authors modest royalty advances and develop robust, collaborative marketing efforts among the five presses—which will reduce costs for advertising and electronic marketing, publicity, academic conference exhibits, and other efforts. . . .

Major editorial goals of the Columbia-led South Asian Studies series will be to open up new archival material to scholars, to explore new theories and methods, and to develop scholarship that is both deep in expertise and broad in appeal across disciplines. . . .

The ethnomusicology project received a one-year planning grant, the first phase in establishing a cooperative publishing program that will include the digital publication of related field materials. Through their cooperative series Indiana, Kent State, and Temple will seek to broaden publishing opportunities for emerging scholars in ethnomusicology, and to offer scholars in ethnomusicology and related fields enhanced means of accessing these materials via the Web. In so doing the presses’ goal is to assist in disseminating scholarship and developing new methodologies in both research and publication. The project will be eligible to apply for continued funding at the completion of the planning stage.

British MEP Asks European Parliament to Filter Internet, Remove/Block Infringing Content, and Terminate Connectivity of Infringers

Chris Heaton-Harris, a British Member of European Parliament (MEP), has proposed an amendment to the draft Cultural industries in the Context of the Lisbon Strategy report that asks the EP to filter infringing content from the Internet, to remove or block infringing content, and to terminate the connectivity of infringers.

Urges the Commission to oblige all those active in the sector to join forces and seek solutions equitable to all with the aim to develop the offer of legitimate online content and to make sure that all the involved stakeholders act responsibly. In the event that adequate solutions have not been found within a reasonable period of time that should not exceed 1 year, calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt legislative measures obliging Internet service providers to cooperate in the fight against online piracy. This cooperation of Internet service providers should include the use of filtering technologies to prevent their networks being used to infringe intellectual property, the removal from the networks or the blocking of content that infringes intellectual property, and the enforcement of their contractual terms and conditions, which permit them to suspend or terminate their contracts with those subscribers who repeatedly or on a wide scale infringe intellectual property; draws Member States’ attention on this point to the fact that legislative measures which oblige Internet services providers to cooperate in the fight against online piracy would be more effective than the legal pursuit of users who infringe intellectual property;

Read more about it at "Copyright Extensions and ISP Filtering: Breaking EU Culture, One Amendment at a Time" and "MEP Says Providers Should Cut the Line If Copyright Is Infringed."

Another Denial-of-Service Attack on Digital-Scholarship.Org

There has been another denial-of-service attack on and its version of DigitalKoans. If you have access problems, use the .com site instead. A second feed is also available.

Hello Internet Meter: Time Warner Cable to Test Usage-Based Internet Fees

The number two ISP in the U.S., Time Warner Cable, will test charging Beaumont, Texas users based on the level of their downloading activity.

Read more about it at "Time Warner: Download Too Much and You Might Pay $30 a Movie," "Time Warner Links Web Prices with Usage," "Time Warner Metered Pricing: Not the Solution," and "Time Warner to Test Metered Web Use."

Tim Wu vs. Rick Cotton on Copyright

The New York Times Bits blog running run an interesting debate this week between Tim Wu, Professor of Law at the Columbia Law School, and Rick Cotton, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, NBC Universal, about copyright issues.

Postings so far include:

Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership Grant Applications Due in March

Applications for Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership grant program are due on March 18, 2008.

Here's an excerpt from the guidelines:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) invite proposals for innovative, collaborative humanities projects using the latest digital technologies for the benefit of the American public, humanities scholarship, and the nation's cultural institutions. These grants require substantive collaborations among libraries, museums, archives, universities, and other cultural organizations. Grants support projects that explore new ways to share, examine, and interpret humanities collections in a digital environment; that develop new uses and audiences for existing digital resources; or that result in extensible and transferable methodologies or tools.

Eligible projects might:

  • advance the role of cultural repositories in online teaching, learning, and research for public audiences, teachers, students, and scholars;
  • develop collaborative approaches involving the scholarly community and cultural repositories for the creation, preservation, use, and presentation of reusable digital collections and products;
  • use innovative approaches in digital technology to provide new perspectives on humanities resources or offer new interpretive contexts for scholars, students, and public audiences; or
  • examine and coordinate community-based approaches and standards for making resources available online and allowing them to be widely shared.

Podcasts from Clever Collections: A National Showcase of Technical Innovations for Digital Collections

Podcasts of sessions at APSR's Clever Collections: A National Showcase of Technical Innovations for Digital Collections conference are now available.

Here are the titles of some repository-oriented presentations:

  • "Enhancing Research Collections by Harvesting Community Annotations"
  • "Integrating Repositories with Researcher Environments"
  • "Object Re-Use and Exchange (ORE): Practice and Experience in the Open Language Archives Community"
  • "The Repository Interoperability Framework"
  • "Taking Aim and (Mostly) Hitting Our Targets: from DART to ARCHER"