Legal Issues

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

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.

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).

Librarian Tells It As She Sees It, is Fired, and Sues

Maybe you've blogged about a disturbing patron, or posted something on a tumblr account about the not-quite-with-it daily visitor to your library.

From M (Michigan) Live: Former library assistant Sally Stern-Hamilton (under the pen name Anne Miketa) wrote a fictionalized book about about her experiences in the library and was fired for it. Now she's suing.

Stern-Hamilton’s literary work, entitled 'Library Diaries' — a disturbing look at life in the library — wound up on the shelves at Mason County District Library. It got her fired there as a library assistant.

Now the author has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the library violated her free-speech rights by firing her.

“(Stern-Hamilton’s) First Amendment interests, combined with the interests of the public, outweigh the government’s interest in the efficient performance of the workplace,” her attorney, David Blanchard wrote. “(She) was explicitly fired for engaging in protected speech.”

Library director Robert Dickson declined to comment. Attorney Kathleen Klaus, representing the library, Dickson, and Marilyn Bannon, president of the library board, said she would respond to the complaint next month. The controversy created headlines three years ago when Stern-Hamilton was fired from her job of 14 years.

"After working at a public library in a small, rural Midwestern town (which I will refer to as Denialville, Michigan, throughout this book) for 15 years, I have encountered strains and variations of crazy I didn’t know existed in such significant portions of our population,” Stern-Hamilton wrote in the introduction. -- Read More

Britons Sue Government for Closing Libraries

Is closing a library comparable to child abuse? At least one Brit thinks so.

Campaigners are seeking a ruling that decisions to close six libraries in the London (UK) borough of Brent are legally flawed.

The Brent case is expected to be followed in the near future by similar challenges to library cuts proposed by Gloucestershire and Somerset county councils, and on the Isle of Wight.

Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, the Pet Shop Boys and Goldfrapp are among those who have contributed to campaign legal costs.

Playwright Alan Bennett launched a scathing attack when he spoke at a church benefit to raise legal funds to save Kensal Rise library, one of the six under threat in Brent. He compared the loss to ''child abuse''.

Brent campaign lawyers yesterday applied for judicial review, arguing council officers unlawfully failed to assess local needs and the likely impact of closing half the borough's libraries.

From the Telegraph UK.

Economic Contributions Of Industries relying On Fair Use

Industries that rely on fair use exceptions to U.S. copyright law have weathered the recent slow economy better than other businesses, according to a new study released by a tech trade group.
Economic Contributions Of Industries relying On Fair Use[PDF]

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