Intellectual Property

Apple Sued Over Touch-Screen Rights

Taiwanese firm Elan Microelectronics has sued Apple Computer alleging infringement of two of its touch-screen patents, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The suit was filed late Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, said spokesman Dennis Liu, speaking by phone from the chip design firm’s headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

“We couldn't find a common viewpoint with Apple, so we decided we had to take action,” he said, adding that the companies had been in licensing talks for about two years.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple products including its MacBook computer, iPhone and iPod Touch use technology that infringes on two of Elan’s “multi-touch” patents, the company said in a statement.

Wonder what this will mean for all those Apple products already in use.

Dissemination of Unpublished Pre-1972 Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives

Copyright and Related Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Unpublished Pre-1972 Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives

This report addresses the question of what libraries and archives are legally empowered to do to preserve and make accessible for research their holdings of unpublished pre-1972 sound recordings. The report's author, June M. Besek, is executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School.

Executive summary of report.

Full report and synopsis here.

Books, young man, books!

AT&T Learns From Mom in Fighting File Sharing

How much are the big Internet service providers going to cooperate with the record and movie industry’s requests that they hector and eventually punish customers who are exchanging copyrighted files?

So far, not so much. But AT&T has released data that a compromise plan — nagging with no punishment — may be almost as effective.

Full story here.

In a First, Oregon State University Library Faculty Adopts Strong OA Policy

They say change starts at home. On March 13, the library faculty at Oregon State University (OSU) announced the school has adopted its own, Harvard-like OA (open access) mandate, the first in the nation for a library faculty.

Under the policy, library faculty members are now required to give an electronic copy of “the final published version of the work,” in an appropriate format (such as PDF), to be made available in the libraries’ institutional repository, ScholarsArchive@OSU. OSU librarian Karyle Butcher told the LJ Academic Newswire that she was proud that OSU faculty “took this path and made the informed decision to walk the talk.”

Full story at Library Journal.

Copyright Holders Challenge Sites That Excerpt

As copyrighted material is excerpted online, some owners would rather have clicks than credit.

Full article in the NYT

Could You Go to Jail for Jailbreaking Your iPhone?

There is something deeply exasperating about the debate, spotlighted Thursday, about whether unlocking an iPhone violates Apple’s copyright on the cellphone’s software. There’s a real issue at stake, but it isn’t fundamentally about copyrights.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a filing with the Copyright Office, argues that the government should allow iPhone owners to circumvent technical barriers meant to keep them from changing the phone’s software, a process called jailbreaking. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act bans people from defeating technical protections for copyrighted materials (such as the encryption on DVDs). The act requires the government to consider exemptions to this ban every three years.

Apple, not surprisingly, filed an objection, saying that jailbreaking a phone indeed violates copyright law and that no exception should be granted.

One of the key legal arguments is whether installing software on an iPhone that is not sold through Apple’s iTunes store is an infringement of Apple’s copyright. The E.F.F. argues that it does not and that Apple’s motivation is simply to preserve its revenue from software sales.

Full story here.

Author's Guild Claims Kindle 2 Copyright Infringement

The Kindle 2 has a feature which allows the book to be read out loud. And wow, does this have the Author's Guild up in a tizzy.

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."

Amazon is moving forward with the rather logical opinion that there's no way a person would confuse the computerized text to speech voice with an audiobook.

So all of you youth librarian types doing story time? STOP IT. You're violating copyright and you're probably doing it more ways than one since you're not only reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom out loud, but you're putting on a public performance.

Boing Boing Gadgets has the run down. More on this story from the Wall Street Journal.

Libraries and copyfraud : Special collections and the public domain

Steve Lawson has an Interesting Post based on This One about someone who has been exchanging emails with curators at the Huntington Library about their use policies for digital images. Lawson: "In addition to charging a reproduction fee, the Huntington asked about Ross’s intended use and quoted further fees based on what the use might be. When Ross pointed out they can’t do that with a public domain image, the library said, in effect, “all libraries do this,” to which Ross replied something along the lines of “so what?” It is, he says, a crime called copyfraud."

Copyright Research Bill ReIntroduced

The Fair Copyright in Research Works bill, a controversial measure that would ban public access policies similar to those of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was reintroduced in Congress last night, after being shelved at the end of 2008.

The bill resurfaces as proponents in the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division holds its annual conference today in Washington, DC. Although the text of HR 801 has yet to be posted online, those who have seen it say it has much the same text as HR 6845, which was the subject of a spirited hearing held before a Congressional subcommittee last year.

In a statement, AAP officials praised the bill's reintroduction, and said the legislation "would help keep the Federal Government from undermining copyright protection for journal articles." The library community, however, strongly opposses the measure.

Full article at Publisher's Weekly.

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