Legal Issues

Associated Press sues FBI over fake news story

The AP sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI last year seeking documents related to the 2014 sting. It also seeks to know how many times the FBI has used such a ruse since 2000. The FBI responded to the AP saying it could take two years or more to gather the information requested. Unsatisfied with the response, the Associated Press has taken the matter to court.

From Associated Press sues FBI over fake news story | Ars Technica

ALA Questions Bid for Independent Copyright Office

Via Publishers Weekly:

The American Library Association is joining a chorus of Internet and tech businesses in questioning a proposal to remove the U.S. Copyright Office from the purview of the Library of Congress, and to establish it as its own independent agency.

EU Launches Antitrust Probe Of Amazon's E-Book Business

European regulators have launched a formal investigation into Amazon's practices in the e-book market.

In a statement released Thursday, the European Commission announced that its antitrust investigation will focus on Amazon's contracts with publishers — and whether the Internet retailer is abusing its dominant position as the largest e-book distributor in Europe.

The commission, the 28-member executive arm of the European Union, is especially concerned with a few key parts of those contracts.

In particular, NPR's Lynn Neary reports, "The commission is concerned about specific clauses that require publishers to inform Amazon about more favorable or alternative terms offered by its competitors."

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/11/413676630/eu-launches-antitrust-probe-of-a...

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NSA phone surveillance not authorized: U.S. appeals court

(Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Thursday revived a challenge to a controversial National Security Agency program that collected the records of millions of Americans' phone calls, saying the program was not authorized by Congress.

From NSA phone surveillance not authorized: U.S. appeals court | Reuters

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Congress must end mass NSA surveillance with next Patriot Act vote |Trevor Timm | Comment is free | The Guardian

In less than 60 days, Congress - whether they like it or not - will be forced to decide if the NSA’s most notorious mass surveillance program lives or dies. And today, over 30 civil liberties organizations launched a nationwide call-in campaign urging them to kill it.

From Congress must end mass NSA surveillance with next Patriot Act vote |Trevor Timm | Comment is free | The Guardian

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Fair Use Is Not An Exception to Copyright, It's Essential to Copyright

Unfortunately, there is tremendous pressure in DC right now to rewrite the law and undermine that balance. Fair use has been under assault for decades, thanks to laws like Section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it illegal to bypass a technical protection measure under most circumstances even if your conduct is an otherwise lawful fair use. Now, more than ever, we must insist that fair use is indispensable to copyright. That’s how we take copyright back.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/01/fair-use-not-exception-copyright-its-essential-copyright

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Infighting in Libraryland

From The Annoyed Librarian in LJ:

A librarian named Joe Murphy is suing two female librarians for $1.25 million for claiming he sexually harasses women at library conferences. As sex scandals go, that’s pretty mild, but the standards for scandal are lower in libraryland.

You can go give them a donation or sign a petition asking Murphy to drop the lawsuit if those are your kinds of thing.

I haven’t seen a corresponding Support Joe Murphy’s Lawsuit website or petition, but if there is one someone can post it in the comments.

He’s also suing them in Canadian court, even though as far as I can tell both he and one of the defendants are Americans. Canadian libel laws are more friendly to plaintiffs, it seems, whereas American libel laws tend to favor something librarians are supposed to favor, free speech. So he’s a cunning little fella, you have to give him that.

I’m seeing the story pop up in more and more places, so it looks like Murphy has a growing reputation among librarians.

Just How "Legal" Are Seed Libraries?

http://www.postcarbon.org/article/2339769-just-how-legal-are-seed-libraries
After the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture cracked down on a community seed library, hundreds of seed libraries in the U.S. are suddenly wondering if they are breaking the law. According to PA regulators, in order to give out member-donated seeds, the Simpson Seed Library in Cumberland County would have to put around 400 seeds of each variety through prohibitively impractical seed testing procedures in order to determine quality, rate of germinability, and so on. The result of the PA crackdown is that the library can no longer give out seeds other than those which are commercially packaged.

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The right to resell ebooks — major case looms in the Netherlands

Infringing company is pointing to a 2012 ruling by Europe’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the case of UsedSoft v Oracle. That case was about reselling licenses for downloadable software, and the court ruled that – even when the software license explicitly forbids resale – the buyer should have the right to resell that licence, just as they would be allowed to resell a boxed software copy.

Full article

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Justice Scalia -- "like a library card"

Aereo's TV Streaming Service Is Illegal, Supreme Court Says

Aereo, the company that lets subscribers watch TV stations' video that it routes onto the Internet, violates U.S. copyright law, the Supreme Court has ruled. The court's 6-3 decision reverses a lower court on what has been a hotly contested issue.

'Unlike video-on-demand services, Aereo does not provide a prearranged assortment of movies and television shows," Scalia wrote. "Rather, it assigns each subscriber an antenna that — like a library card — can be used to obtain whatever broadcasts are freely available."

Full story here.

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