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.”
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.”
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.””
Copyright Librarian – “Trial is currently under way in a copyright suit against Georgia State University brought by a number of academic publishers (and funded by an interesting additional party). We won’t know the outcome of the trial for a while, and the losing party (whoever it ends up being) will almost certainly appeal the district court’s decision, so the case hasn’t attracted much attention outside of academic spheres. But it has the potential to set some far-reaching precedents on fair use, and anyone interesting in copyright and tech policy should be following.”
COHE – “If Nancy Sims had to pick one word to describe how researchers, students, and librarians feel about copyright, it would probably be “confused.” A lawyer and a librarian, Ms. Sims is copyright-program librarian at the University of Minnesota Libraries. She’s there to help people on campus and beyond—both users and owners of protected material—understand their rights. “I’m not sure anybody has a very good knowledge” of copyright, she says.”
Computerworld – “Libraries may have to close their public internet services if the process used to identify offenders infringing copyright by downloading and uploading is allowed to stand, says the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (Lianza).
In a submission on the Ministry of Economic Development’s discussion document about scales of penalties and charges for policing the law, Lianza continues to claim the definitions in the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Regulations and the associated parts of the amended Copyright Act are misconceived and potentially unfair to libraries and their users.”
Reuters – “Baidu Inc was sued on Wednesday by eight New York residents who accused China’s biggest search engine of conspiring with the country’s government to censor pro-democracy speech.
The lawsuit claims violations of the U.S. Constitution and according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer is the first of its type.
It was filed more than a year after Google Inc declared it would no longer censor search results in China, and rerouted Internet users to its Hong Kong website.”
Globes – “A lawsuit has been filed against Google Books with the Jerusalem District Court, with a request to recognize it as a class-action lawsuit. The petitioner, Yonatan Brauner, the author of “Things you see from there” (in Hebrew), claims that the project infringes authors’ copyright “on the greatest scale in human history”.
Brauner claims that Google continuously scans, collects, copies, and makes publicly available millions of books, thereby grossly and systematically infringing copyright without first obtaining the authors’ consent. He said it was not yet possible to estimate the damage caused to authors because he lacks precise figures about the quantity of creations affected or the extent of the copyright infringement for each work, but he provisionally estimates the damage at “tens of millions of shekels or more”. “