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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.
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.
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."
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.
On buttons, posters and Web sites, the image was everywhere during last year's presidential campaign: A pensive Barack Obama looking upward, as if to the future, splashed in a Warholesque red, white and blue and underlined with the caption HOPE.
While Stephen deals with the stress of moving, he asked that I fill in for him for a special episode of LISTen - The LISNews Podcast. As my alter-ego, The Faceless Historian, I'll take you on a journey through history back to the distant past and the origins of the DRM and copying controversies we deal with today.
Stephen and the regular LISTen gang will be back next week with your regularly scheduled podcast. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy something a little different about something related to issues we face in libraries today.
If you're in the mood for more of my historical meanderings, you can catch my podcast (Hyperlinked History) on iTunes or via the Hyperlinked History website.27:45 minutes (8 MB)
If you've been following along with OCLC’s recently revised—and suspended—policy regarding record-sharing, here's a couple of stories you'll want to check out.
OCLC’s recently revised—and suspended—policy regarding record-sharing: Norman Oder covers a Lively discussion at Midwinter Meeting, he writes OCLC's Karen Calhoun defends intent, apologizes about communication while others question OCLC’s path.
DON'T MISS Consideration of OCLC Records Use Policy: "We build bibliographic records as surrogates for the desired object, meaning that the surrogate is a means to an end – retrieving the described object – and not an end onto itself. We build indexes of these surrogates for patrons to use to discover information. All other factors held constant, the better the surrogate, the greater the chance the user will find the information they are seeking. The following discussion looks at the sources of records, the way they are built, and what it means to try to share them."
A proposed OCLC Policy got Tim thinking about compiling all the arguments against the Policy. He wants to start with the process and legal ones, which have gotten very short shrift. OCLC spokespeople are persuasive personalities, and OCLC's "Frequently Asked Questions" allay fears, but the Policy itself is a scary piece of legal writing and, as it explictly asserts, the only writing that matters. He finishes with a call to action:
Librarians and interested parties have only a month before the OCLC Policy goes into effect. It is time to put up or shut up.
* The New York Public Library is hosting a moderated discussion with OCLC Vice President Karen Calhoun from 1-4pm on Friday, January 17. Show up and make your displeasure known.
* Visit and link to the Code4Lib page on OCLC Policy change.
* Sign the Internet Archive/Open Library petition to stop the OCLC Policy.
* Sign librarian Elaine Sanchez's petition.
Richard Stallman Says: Something strange and dangerous is happening in copyright law. Under the U.S. Constitution, copyright exists to benefit users — those who read books, listen to music, watch movies, or run software — not for the sake of publishers or authors. Yet even as people tend increasingly to reject and disobey the copyright restrictions imposed on them “for their own benefit,” the U.S. government is adding more restrictions, and trying to frighten the public into obedience with harsh new penalties.
How did copyright policies come to be diametrically opposed to their stated purpose? And how can we bring them back into alignment with that purpose? To understand, we should start by looking at the root of United States copyright law: the U.S. Constitution.