Legal Issues

UK Government takes important step towards modernising copyright

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-takes-important-step-towards-modernising-copyr...

Changes to bring UK copyright law up to date for the digital age have taken an important step forward today (27 March 2014), as the government publishes the final Exceptions to Copyright regulations for consideration by Parliament.

The changes make small but important reforms to UK copyright law and aim to end the current situation where minor and reasonable acts of copying which benefit consumers, society and the economy are unlawful. They also remove a range of unnecessary rules and regulations from the statute book in line with the government’s aim to reduce regulation.

How Copyright Laws Keep E-Books Locked Up

Many publishing houses don't allow their products to be lent out by digital libraries for fear of piracy. Articles and books by researchers are also affected. Readers are the ones who have to pay the price.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/how-copyright-laws-prevent-easy-sharing-of-e-b...

Judge Rules for HarperCollins in Open Road E-Book Dispute

In a significant ruling regarding backlist e-book rights, a New York court this week held that e-book publisher Open Road infringed HarperCollins’ copyright with its e-book edition of Jean Craighead George’s 1973 bestselling children’s book Julie of the Wolves.

“Having accordingly relied on the words of the contract, this Court holds that, by its language, the contract grants to HarperCollins the exclusive right to license electronic publications, a right which was infringed by Open Road in its unlicensed e-book publication of Julie of the Wolves,” held judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

Full article

Guns @ Your Library

This story from the Seattle Public Library is a bit dated, but worth reading.

When Seattle Public Library lifted its ban on guns in early November, officials there said they had done so because patrons had complained.

Internal library emails reveal that there was just one patron complaint in several years – a man with a Yahoo email account who didn’t identify himself as either a patron or Seattle resident.

That man, Dave Bowman, lives in Seattle and has a library card (which he uses, he noted in an email to KUOW), and said that he demanded the policy change on behalf of all gun owners. He described himself as “neither a conservative, nor liberal, but a libertarian.”

“I noticed one day that the library’s rules stated that firearms were not allowed on library property except by law enforcement,” Bowman said by email to KUOW. “I knew this rule was in violation of state law (and common sense) and brought it to their attention.”

Joe Fithian, the head of security for the library, replied to Bowman: “Much the same as eating and sleeping or being intoxicated are not against the law, (guns) are against our rules of conduct.”

But Bowman refused to back down and within two months, the library announced to its staff that it would drop the gun ban. Staff members could ask questions, but administrators were firm: On Nov. 4, the library would allow guns.

Do you allow guns at your library? Are there specific restrictions? Please comment below.

Arizona HB 2439 - unnecessary legislation that will hurt Arizona libraries

Library districts need to adapt to the needs of their communities. A one-size-fits-all tax levy simply will not work. The library districts in Arizona have never been accused of abusing their authority, and, what’s more, they provide valuable service to all of the libraries in their geographic areas.

Read more from The Hipster Librarian.

Porn at libraries: Morris official's advice isn't an ethics violation, state says

An ethics complaint by a self-described "library watchdog" alleging a prominent Morris County official misled local libraries, telling them they have to allow pornography on publicly accessible computers, has been dismissed.

In the complaint, Dan Kleinman, who runs SafeLibraries.Blogspot.com, said Ann Grossi "has materially mislead the communities of Roxbury and Montville into allowing pornography in the public libraries, despite community desires to remove it and despite the law."

http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2014/01/porn_at_libraries_attorneys_advice_isnt_an_ethics...

The awkward copyright collision of Fair Use and Creative Commons

But Fair Use is an exemption from copyright enforcement- it is not a transfer of rights. There is no conceivable reading of Fair Use that allows an image user to then broker permissions for other users. Journal X cannot license my work away from me without my say so. They do not have standing to apply a CC license to my work.

The solution should be easy enough. Journal X could exempt contributed images from their blanket CC-license, and they should ensure the images are not atomized and separated from the rest of the paper. The Fair Use of images depends on their context within the publication, anyway.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/compound-eye/2014/01/19/the-awkward-copyright-collision-...

Conan Doyle Estate Says Sherlock Not Free Yet

In a follow up to an earlier story, the Conan Doyle estate may appeal the ruling against it's copyright claim according to this Publishers Weekly story.

"Is Sherlock Holmes truly a free man? Not so fast say attorneys for the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In a December 23 decision, an Illinois federal court held that Holmes and other characters and story elements in more than 50 Sherlock Holmes stories are in the public domain. But attorneys for the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle this week insisted that the complete characters of Holmes and Watson won’t be freed until the final 10 stories published after 1922 enter the public domain, in 2022."

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2014?

http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2014/pre-1976

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2014?
The books On the Road, Atlas Shrugged, and The Cat in the Hat, the films The Bridge on the River Kwai, Funny Face, and The Prince and the Showgirl, the play Endgame (“Fin de Partie”), and more. . .
Congress Shrugged

Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years – an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1957 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2014, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” (Mouse over any of the links below to see gorgeous cover art from 1957.) Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2053.1 And no published works will enter our public domain until 2019. The laws in Canada and the EU are different – thousands of works are entering their public domains on January 1.

Sherlock Holmes Is in the Public Domain, American Judge Rules

This New York Times story has the details.

"A federal judge has issued a declarative judgment stating that Holmes, Watson, 221B Baker Street, the dastardly Professor Moriarty and other elements included in the 50 Holmes works Arthur Conan Doyle published before January 1, 1923, are no longer covered by United States copyright law, and can be freely used by new creators without paying any licensing fee to the Conan Doyle estate."

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