Legal Issues

Where Things Stand With SOPA

Matt Cutts has a great summary of what's happening with SOPA: Progress against SOPA: He has a list of things you can do:

- Sign up at American Censorship to send a note to Congress and get updates.
- Call your congressperson with Tumblr’s easy web page.
- I believe anyone inside or outside the United States can sign this White House petition. If you’re outside the United States, you can also sign this petition.
- Follow groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Twitter.
- Sign up with United Republic, a new organization dedicated to the larger problem of money in politics.
- Sign up to have Senator Ron Wyden read your name on the Senate floor when he filibusters against this legislation.

The Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine

The Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine
As the transition from physical to streaming or cloud-based digital distribution continues, further divorcing copyrighted works from their traditional tangible embodiments, it will increasingly be the case that consumers do not own the information goods they buy (or, rather, think they've bought). Under the court's decision in Vernor, all a copyright owner has to do to effectively repeal the statutory first sale doctrine is draft a EULA that (1) specifies that the user is granted a license; (2) significantly restricts the user's ability to transfer the software; and (3) imposes notable use restrictions. Sad to say, it's about as easy as falling off a log.

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Ex-Mayor of Detroit to Speak at Library...via Skype

Kwame Kilpatrick is coming to the Detroit Public Library -- sort of -- in two weeks. The controversy is already there.

Jonathan Kinloch, vice president of the library commission, said Friday that residents have called him to complain about the former Detroit mayor's book signing, scheduled for the evening of Oct. 19. Kilpatrick plans to appear via Skype, an audio and video service that allows people to interact over the Internet. The co-author of his memoir will appear in person.

At issue is an e-mail the library sent out Friday that said people who attend will "learn the truth behind (Kilpatrick's) meteoric rise in politics, the crippling controversies surrounding his administration, his downfall and, ultimately, his redemption."

Story from the Detroit Free Press.

Copyright confusion dogs European digitisation push

Copyright confusion dogs European digitisation push

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.

The British Library looked into ways to speed up the digitisation of books, journals and other printed materials held by Europe's libraries.

It considered 10 works from every decade between 1870 and 2010.

About 43% of the sample were orphan works suggesting a large part of Europe's media may never go online.

Federal Courts Making It More Expensive To Access Records, Even As They're Swimming In Cash

from the the-public-domain-is-expensive dept

The Federal Court's PACER system is really quite misguided. It's the system that the federal courts use to distribute judicial records (court filings, rulings, etc.), but rather than making that info available to the public, it's basically locked up behind a paywall, and it costs people 8 cents per page to download documents. Well, it did cost 8 cents per page. They've just announced that they're jacking up the fees to 10 cents per page, and that can add up pretty quickly when accessing a lot of court documents or some rather long filings or rulings.

Full article

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Google lawyers get more time for digital library

Google, lawyers get more time for digital library
Lawyers for authors, publishers and Google on Thursday bought themselves more time to reach a deal to create the world's largest digital library, telling a judge they were making progress in settlement talks but had agreed to proceed toward a trial of the 6-year-old copyright case on a slow track.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan approved a pretrial schedule that calls for written submissions and depositions that extend into next summer, but he made it clear that he would prefer a settlement and offered to help the parties in their talks if it might help. He called the amount of time in the schedule "generous but acceptable." No trial date was set.

Lawsuit Seeks the Removal of a Digital Book Collection

Lawsuit Seeks the Removal of a Digital Book Collection
Three major authors’ groups and eight individual authors filed suit against a partnership of research libraries and five universities on Monday, arguing that their initiative to digitize millions of books constituted copyright infringement.

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MI Court rules state can not meddle with library fees

Court rules state can't meddle with library fees
State education officials can't interfere with local libraries that charge fees to patrons who live in other communities, the Michigan Court of Appeals said in a decision released Wednesday.

Hagens Berman Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against Apple and Publishers

Hagens Berman Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against Apple and Publishers
Hagens Berman, a consumer rights class-action law firm, today announced it has filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit claiming that Apple Inc. and five of the nation's top publishers, including HarperCollins Publishers, a subsidiary of News Corporation , Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group Inc., a subsidiary of Pearson PLC , and Simon & Schuster Inc., a subsidiary of CBS , illegally fix prices of electronic books, also known as e-books.

British government agrees that copyright has gone too far

British government agrees that copyright has gone too far
The British government today pledged (PDF) to enact significant changes to copyright law, including orphan works reforms and the introduction of new copyright exceptions. And the tone of the comments was surprising: the government agrees that "copyright currently over-regulates to the detriment of the UK." CD (and perhaps DVD) ripping for personal use should become legal at last—and the government is even keen to see that the consumer rights granted by law can't simply be taken away by contract (such as a "EULA" sticker on a CD demanding that a disk not be ripped).

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