Tag Archives: Copyright

MIT Economist: Here’s How Copyright Laws Impoverish Wikipedia

“Unless you’re reppin’ the MPAA, you probably know that the modern copyright regime doesn’t work. You don’t have to believe in radical copyleftism — or even progressivism — to understand this. But it’s hard to know how the current body of law governing copyright and intellectual property affects individual works, simply because of the way communication, and ideas in general, work. One thing connects to another, and pulling apart the causes from the effects requires an Aristotle-like familiarity with contemporary culture.

But one MIT economist, who recently presented his work recently at Wikimania, has found a way to test how the copyright law affects one online community — Wikipedia — and how digitized, public domain works dramatically affect the quality of knowledge”

via The Atlantic

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Are College Professors and Librarians Digital Pirates?

Law.com – “In case you hadn’t heard, college students these days consume a lot of their information online, and university faculty have tried to accommodate them by posting more course materials on college library Web sites. But academic publishers are crying foul in federal courts from Georgia to New York to California. Backed by trade groups and copyright enforcement houses, the publishers are litigating aggressively, while the universities—almost all of them public—are zealously defending the practice of putting some portion of course content online. Federal district court judge Orinda Evans in Atlanta is expected to throw down the first marker when she rules on Georgia State University’s “e-reserve” service, where professors post individual chapters of books—or sometimes multiple chapters—when the entire book isn’t necessary for a class. There’s “not a single case in the U.S. at any level that spells out what the standards are for fair use within a university like Georgia State,” Evans said during closing arguments in a three-week bench trial conducted last spring. Lawyers in the case say that they expect the judge to rule any day now.”

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Will Hachette Be The First Big-6 Publisher To Drop DRM On E-Books?

paidContent“DRM is just “a speedbump,” Hachette’s Maja Thomas said at a copyright conference this afternoon. However, opinion within Hachette is clearly divided. DRM “doesn’t stop anyone from pirating,” Hachette SVP digital Thomas said in a publishing panel at Copyright Clearance Center’s OnCopyright 2012. “It just makes it more difficult, and anyone who wants a free copy of any of our books can go online now and get one.”

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Rightsholders Group to Charge Libraries for Reading Books to Kids

The Next Web – “This morning, word got out in Belgian media that SABAM is spending time and resources to contact local libraries across the nation, warning them that they will start charging fees because the libraries engage volunteers to read books to kids. Volunteers. Who – again – READ BOOKS TO KIDS.”

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Fair-Use Guide Hopes to Solve Librarians’ VHS-Cassette Problem

Chronicle of Higher Education – “The Association of Research Libraries might have a solution to what some librarians call “the VHS-cassette problem.” Here’s the scenario: An academic library has a collection of video tapes that is slowly deteriorating, thanks to the fragile nature of analog media. A librarian would like to digitize the collection for future use, but avoids making the copies out of fear that doing so would violate copyright law. And the institution’s attorneys have advised the librarian that the fair-use principle, which might offer a way to make copies legally, is too flexible to rely on.”

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New Fight Breaks Out Over Digital Rights to Old Books

WSJ – “A legal battle between HarperCollins Publishers Inc. and a company run by one of its former chief executives is putting the spotlight on a key issue in book publishing today: Who owns the e-book rights to decades-old titles? Two days before Christmas, HarperCollins filed a copyright-infringement suit against Open Road Integrated Media Inc. in federal court in New York, seeking to block Open Road from selling an e-book edition of Jean Craighead George’s 1972 children’s novel “Julie of the Wolves.”

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Copyright confusion dogs European digitisation push

BBC – “The cultural life of Europe will suffer unless more effort is made to clarify what libraries can do with so-called orphan works, says a study”

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Google, publishers given 9 more months to settle ‘digital library’ dispute

Chicago Tribune – “Google Inc. and authors and publishers groups have about nine more months to untangle their six-year-old legal dispute over plans to create the world’s largest digital library, a federal judge said on Thursday. Manhattan federal court Judge Denny Chin told lawyers at a hearing that he was “still hopeful” they could reach a settlement though “you’re essentially starting from scratch.”

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Second Circuit Copyright Ruling Could Affect Libraries

Publishers Weekly – “Librarians and book re-sellers say their core activities are now in question after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on August 15 upheld a lower court decision finding that the “First Sale” doctrine in U.S. copyright law—the provision that enables libraries to lend and consumers to re-sell books they’ve lawfully purchased—does not apply to works manufactured outside the U.S. While the verdict stands as a major victory for the publishing industry, which has long fought the “illegal importation of foreign works,” especially textbooks, critics say the broad decision goes too far, and could harm libraries and encourage the outsourcing of jobs. The ruling comes in the case of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Supap Kirtsaeng, in which Kirtsaeng, a Thai-born U.S. student was accused of importing and re-selling foreign editions of textbooks, made for exclusive sale abroad, in the U.S. market via online service eBay. In its verdict, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit affirmed by a 2-1 margin that Kirtsaeng “could not avail himself of the first sale doctrine,” because language in the statute says that products must be “lawfully made.” The court ruled that those two words—“lawfully made”—limits First Sale “specifically and exclusively to works that are made in territories in which the Copyright Act is law, and not to foreign-manufactured works.”

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Harry Potter plagiarism case dismissed in UK

Reuters – “A lawsuit which accused J.K. Rowling of copying the work of another children’s book author when writing “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” has been dropped in Britain after the claimant failed to come up with the cash ordered by a judge as security. The estate of late author Adrian Jacobs said that the plot for the Potter novel, the fourth of seven boy wizard stories that have sold more than 400 millions copies, borrowed parts of his book “Willy the Wizard.””

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