Legal Issues

Jon Stewart: SOPA Will Drive Us To Libraries "Like A Common Masturbator"

Jon Stewart: SOPA Will Drive Us To Libraries "Like A Common Masturbator"
The Daily Show featured not one but two segments on SOPA last night, and with Wikipedia "dark," Jon Stewart had a dickens of a time figuring out just what the hell SOPA means. (What was he supposed to do to learn things, "go to the library like a common masturbator?") And so Stew-Beef reluctantly turned to the "notoriously unreliable news" for answers, discovering, to his horror, that this law could send violators to jail for up to five years for merely streaming copyrighted material.

Can First Sale Doctrine exist in a digital age?

Can First Sale Doctrine exist in a digital age?
If publishers could get together and agree on a service like this which would allow the right of first sale to exist on digital files it would go a long way towards not only adopting digital media but literally "buying" in. This is, of course, assuming you do not already prefer physical books, are not a collector of books and said books are not first editions, signed copies, leather bound, etc. In those instances this discussion is moot.

What do you think about digital books? Would a legal re-selling service make you more likely to buy e-books?

Great Librarian SOPA and Protect-IP Links

SOPA and Protect-IP Links

The harm that does to ordinary, non-infringing users is best described via a hypothetical user: Abe. Abe has never even so much as breathed on a company’s copyright but he does many of the things typical of Internet users today. He stores the photos of his children, now three and six years old, online at PickUpShelf* so that he doesn’t have to worry about maintaining backups. He is a teacher and keeps copies of his classes accessible for his students via another service called SunStream that makes streaming audio and video easy. He engages frequently in conversation in several online communities and has developed a hard-won reputation and following on a discussion host called SpeakFree. And, of course, he has a blog called “Abe’s Truths” that is hosted on a site called NewLeaflet. He has never infringed on any copyright and each of the entities charged with enforcing SOPA know that he hasn’t.

The Concerned Librarian’s Guide to the 2012 ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall

The Concerned Librarian’s Guide to the 2012 ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall
With a number of issues floating around libraryland at the present moment, there has been talk in some of the my social circles about what to do about them. Specifically, how to approach tackling them as it relates to library vendors who have expressed support for legislation that has the potential to impede or block access to information (directly or as collateral damage). As the ALA Midwinter Meeting is just around the corner, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for librarians to meet with company representatives to discuss their concerns about current contentious legislation (such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Research Works Act (RWA)) as well as ongoing concerns (such as library eBook lending). Lest some perseverate or advocate for delaying action, our professional conferences are the best venue to voice our concerns face-to-face for the wide array of actions that have the potential to interfere with information access and exchange. This is not the time to waiver on our values and principles.

Getting serious about SOPA - what librarians need to do

Getting serious about SOPA – what librarians need to do
Jessamyn West: "So, I think we need to do a few things: understand how this bill is supposed to work, be clear in our opposition to it as a profession, work with other people to inform and educate others so that people can make their own informed choices. Here is a short list of links to get you started."

Entities supporting SOPA of interest to the library community?

How many vendors you deal with are on the list? The House Judiciary Committee has an official List of SOPA Supporters [PDF]. There's an unofficial crowdsourced list of every other company supporting SOPA with web address, Twitter feed, contact emails and phone numbers.

[Thanks Bob!]

How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship

How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship
"This is a major concern with SOPA/PIPA, and one that supporters of the bill keep trying to brush off, because they have no good answer to these concerns other than "trust us, the US government doesn't want to censor." I'd like to believe that's true. In fact, it very likely is true for many people in the government. But the scenarios Sanchez predicts are not out of line with what we already see regularly today. It happens so frequently, in fact, that it's difficult to imagine how Congress won't expand the law to make use of this censorship apparatus."

Ex-Chicago teacher sues, claims book led to firing

Ex-Chicago teacher sues, claims book led to firing
A former teacher is suing the Chicago public school district for more than $300,000, claiming administrators fired him in 2009 after a parent took issue with his memoir, entitled "Gabriel's Fire," which recounts his own relationship with a teacher in his youth.

The stupidity of SOPA in Scholarly Publishing

The stupidity of SOPA in Scholarly Publishing
This is of course, just an example of why SOPA is entirely the wrong approach to dealing with online piracy. But with supposedly technically savvy organisations lined up to support it, they should be aware of what it might cost them. A fortune in responding to take down requests, a fortune in checking over every piece of every paper? Is that figure “sufficiently different”? Enjoy. Or perhaps time for a re-think about copyright in scholarly works?

Belarus: Browsing Foreign Websites a Misdemeanor

Belarus: Browsing Foreign Websites a Misdemeanor

As stated in an explanatory note published together with the Law, this act was issued to implement the Decree of the Belarusian President of February 1, 2010, on Improvements to the Usage of the National Segment of the Internet. The newly published Law imposes restrictions on visiting and/or using foreign websites by Belarusian citizens and residents. Under this new Law, the violation of these rules is recognized as a misdemeanor and is punished by fines of varied amounts, up to the equivalent of US$125. (Id.)

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