Intellectual Property

Bootlegging Dickens: Author Looks At 'Bookaneers'

Hollywood is constantly battling overseas bootleggers. But in the 19th century, publishers in the United States made a fortune bootlegging British authors — even the biggest, like Charles Dickens. That's the backdrop of Matthew Pearl's latest work of historical fiction, The Last Dickens. Pearl talks to Guy Raz about "bookaneers" and the perils of early author tours across America.

Story on "All Things Considered"

Print Books Are Target of Pirates on the Web

<A HREF="">This New York Times story</A> covers the latest dust ups between authors and their work showing up on the Web. "Ursula K. Le Guin, the science fiction writer, was perusing the Web site Scribd last month when she came across digital copies of some books that seemed quite familiar to her. No wonder. She wrote them, including a free-for-the-taking copy of one of her most enduring novels, “The Left Hand of Darkness.”"

Steinbeck Heirs Seek To Slow Google Books Settlement

A group of authors and the heirs of others, including representatives of the estate of John Steinbeck, and of the musician Arlo Guthrie, are asking a federal judge to delay by four months the deadline for authors to decide whether or not to participate in the settlement of a landmark class-action lawsuit against Google.

The settlement, which would establish a complex mechanism for authors to grant rights to digital versions of their books, has been criticized by various parties. Some groups plan to oppose some of its provisions.

Full story in the NYT

'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.

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, [email protected]. 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.


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