Intellectual Property

Pirates of the Amazon Abandon Ship

Earlier this week, two students from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, made headlines by releasing a plug-in for the Firefox Web browser that made it easy for people who were browsing books, music and movies on to download the same products free through the Pirate Bay, the illicit BitTorrent site.

Lawyers for promptly served the students’ Internet service provider with a take-down notice, and on Thursday the students complied and removed the tool.

In an interesting twist, the students now say their project was a parody and an “experiment on interface design, information access and currently debated issues in media culture,” according to their Web site. One of the students, John, who did not give his last name, tried to explain further in an e-mail message.

Full story in the New York Times.

Creative Commons Tech Summit - December 12th

For those of you interested in the metadata production and use in web technologies:

Creative Commons will hold its second technology summit on December 12, 2008, in Cambridge, MA. The summit will focus on the application of Semantic Web technologies to Creative Commons', Science Commons' and ccLearn's missions. Topics covered will include ccREL/RDFa, the Neurocommons project and an update on the Universal Education Search (metadata-enhanced search) project.

Full program information and registration available here

"The Technology Summits are about connecting the larger developer and technical community that’s sprung up around Creative Commons licenses and technology, so we want to provide a venue where people doing interesting work can share it." - Nathan Yergler, CTO

E-LIS To Resume Functioning

Late news via e-mail notes that E-LIS, the E-prints in Library and Information Science, will soon resume functioning. The note indicated that E-LIS was moved to a new server as part of an upgrade by the site to Eprints 3.0. E-LIS Chief Executive Imma Subirats noted that e-mail alerts from the old version site were not migrated to the new version. Subirats suggested that e-mail alerts be re-created by users once the site is fully restored.

OCLC Claims Ownership of Data In OPACs

OCLC may be trying to pull something sneaky with its new policy of claiming contractual rights over the subsequent use of data created by OCLC. In other words, the data in library catalogues couldn't be used to make anything which competes with OCLC in any way.

Needless to say, this would have a hash chilling effect on the creation of open databases of library content.

As you might expect, the library blogosphere is on fire with the news. The podcast presenter at LISNews gave a commentary in the matter during LISTen #47.

Story from Slashdot.

Stifled by Copyright, McCain Asks YouTube to Consider Fair Use

After seeings its videos repeatedly removed from YouTube, John McCain's campaign on Monday told the Google-owned video site that its copyright infringement policies are stringent to the point of stifling free speech, and that its lawyers need to revamp the way they evaluate copyright infringement claims.

"We fully understand that YouTube may receive too many videos, and too many take-down notices, to be able to conduct full fair-use review of all such notices," wrote Trevor Potter, the campaign's general counsel, in a letter to YouTube and Google. "But we believe it would consume few resources — and provide enormous benefit — for YouTube to commit a full legal review of all take-down notices on videos posted from accounts controlled by (at least) political candidates and campaigns."

Full article here.

DRM In Your Library? Consider This...

Thinking about utilizing a service in your library which uses Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

Consider the wise comic of Randall Munroe:

TextBook Torrents Turns The Final Page and Closes Down

From relative obscurity, Textbook Torrents, the world’s largest BitTorrent index of textbooks, found itself in the world spotlight during July 2008 and was forced to close down by its host. The site returned weeks later, growing massively in the process, but now, just a couple of months on, the site has closed for good.

Full article here

Wal-Mart's DRM Nightmare Just Won't End

Wal-Mart has decided to keep the music that it sold wrapped in a layer of copyright protection playable, following a flurry of customer complaints about legally purchased music becoming unplayable. The probably wishes it had never tangled with digital rights management, because it's going to keep paying for it long after its switch to selling DRM-free MP3s.

An e-mail sent to Wal-Mart digital music store customers said the company will continue to support the DRM-ed song files sold on starting in 2003. The e-mail reversed last month's announcement that Wal-Mart would shut down the servers that authenticate the copyright protected music it no longer sells. Unfortunately, doing so would render all protected music purchased from the store in the past five years unplayable.

Full story at

This story is something to think about for libraries that collect materials that have DRM.

'Orphan Works' Copyright Law Dies Quiet Death

Lost in the House of Representatives' push to pass $700 billion bailout legislation is the so-called Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008.

Late Friday, the Senate passed the measure and sent it to the House, where it landed dead on arrival.

The act changes the rules and reduces and sometimes nullifies damages for infringing uses of so-called "orphaned" works as long as there was a "diligent" effort to locate the copyright owner. Orphaned creative works are those in which the copyright holder cannot be promptly located.

Full story here.

Jimmy Wales Interview on Open Licenses

Ellyssa Kroski, who writes at iLibrarian, also teaches a class at San Jose State University on the Open Movement and Libraries (Fall of 2008). As part of the class shes has done interviews with such notable figures as Stephen Downes of the National Research Council in Canada, and Nicole Engard of LibLime. Her guest a couple weeks ago was Jimmy Wales. You can hear the full 10 minutes interview with Jimmy Wales here.


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