Do I, as an author, have the right to prevent people copying my books for free? Should I have it? Does it matter? “They have taken away my right to own a slave,” wrote Max Stirner, the opening words of the chapter on human rights in his great book, The Ego and its Own (1844). One paradoxical sentence to remind us that what we call rights are no more than what the law concedes to one party or another in any given conflict of interest. There are no rights in nature, only in a society with a legal system and a police force. Rights can be different in different countries, they may be notional or enforced.
“Copyright laws apply to lawyers too. Yet sometimes they seem to forget this seemingly obvious fact.”
A must read for law librarians.
“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
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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”
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.”