Intellectual Property

'Digital Barbarism' Wages Online Copyright Battle

On "All Things Considered"

Author Mark Helprin wrote the novels A Soldier of the Great War and Winter's Tale. And two years ago, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that inspired a huge online backlash.

In the op-ed, Helprin argued that the term for copyright protection should be extended to protect the author's individual voice from the pressures of the digital age. For his boldness, he faced the digital wrath of those who feel the term of copyright protection should be reduced or eliminated altogether.

He's responded to the backlash in the form of a book, Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto.

One of the most prominent opponents to Helprin's idea to extend copyright has been Lawrence Lessig. He's a professor of law at Stanford University and the founder of Creative Commons, a system that allows creators to opt out of certain copyright protections.

Full piece here.

Japanese publisher fighting comic bootlegs

A Japanese publisher says it will post Japanese manga comics online in English for U.S. residents in order to fight bootlegging.
Shogakukan Inc. said by offering an authorized version of the Japanese language comics online, it hopes to limit the spread of illegal copies of its comic books in Europe and the United States, Japan Today said Sunday.

The appearance of the comic copies online mere days after the published works are released in Japan has become a major problem for Japanese manga publishers.

Full story here.

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Dissemination of Unpublished Pre-1972 Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives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

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