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An issue has emerged over access to a series of unpublished and incomplete manuscripts by Sir Walter Scott held at five US and UK universities and public libraries. For UK band Radiohead, issues arose last autumn concerning the release of their new album, In Rainbows, with fans paying as much, or little, as they wished.
The delicate balance of relationships between creators, rights holders and, above all, consumers is changing and similar tectonic shifts are starting to take place in the academic world. The impact will be felt by everyone involved in the stewardship of the arts and sciences.
Book piracy on the internet will ultimately drive authors to stop writing unless radical methods are devised to compensate them for lost sales.
This is the bleak forecast of the Society of Authors, which represents more than 8,500 professional writers in the UK and believes that the havoc caused to the music business by illegal downloading is beginning to envelop the book trade.
Tracy Chevalier, the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring who also chairs the London-based organisation, said that her members were deeply concerned that the publishing industry was failing to adapt to the digital age.
Pity Poor J.K. Rowling... “I am deeply troubled by the portrayal of my efforts to protect and preserve the copyrights I have been granted in the Harry Potter books,” she wrote in court papers filed against the publisher, RDR Books. Ark is editor of a website containing a fan-created collection of essays and encyclopaedic material on the Potter universe, including lists of spells and potions found in the books, a catalogue of magical creatures and a who’s who in the wizarding world.
“Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities. I find it devastating to contemplate the possibility of such a severe alteration of author-fan relations.”
Article in Wired.com by Chris Anderson called "Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business". I was initially skeptical about the article but after reading it I found several ideas that librarians should think about. For example Stewart Brand is quoted in the article: "Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be expensive ... That tension will not go away."
How can libraries use the ideas presented by this article? What impact will the ideas in this article have on libraries?
Cory Doctorow says "Intellectual property" is one of those ideologically loaded terms that can cause an argument just by being uttered. Fundamentally, the stuff we call "intellectual property" is just knowledge - ideas, words, tunes, blueprints, identifiers, secrets, databases. This stuff is similar to property in some ways: it can be valuable, and sometimes you need to invest a lot of money and labour into its development to realise that value.
The heirs to J. R. R. Tolkien are threatening to block the much-awaited film of The Hobbit over claims that they have not received a share of the $6 billion that the films and DVDs of The Lord of the Rings and related products have taken worldwide.
The two-film prequel to the trilogy faces this obstacle only weeks after New Line Cinema came close to losing the involvement of Peter Jackson, who directed The Lord of the Rings.
Tolkien’s children, Christopher Reuel Tolkien and Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel Tolkien, on behalf of The Tolkien Trust, are involved in the legal action that seeks more than $150 million (£77 million) in compensatory damages from New Line, as well as punitive damages, and a declaration from the court that the plaintiffs have a right to terminate any further rights to the Tolkien works, including The Hobbit.
Back in October, we wrote about a law firm that was claiming a copyright on the cease-and-desist letters it sent out, and insisting that it was a violation to repost them. It's long been believed that cease-and-desist letters that have no new creative expression and are merely boilerplates are likely not covered by copyright. On top of that, preventing someone from copying a cease-and-desist letter or posting it on their own website seems like a pretty severe First Amendment violation. The group Public Citizen hit back against this law firm's claims, but surprisingly, a judge has now agreed that you can copyright cease-and-desist letters.
When Missy Chase Lapine, author of the cookbook “The Sneaky Chef” that suggests ways to hide fruit and vegetables in dishes for finicky children, was angered by the publication of “Deceptively Delicious,” a similar book by Jessica Seinfeld (a k a Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld), she had recourse. This month, she sued for copyright infringement and defamation.
But when Raymond Sokolov, the restaurant columnist for The Wall Street Journal, saw that a new food book was coming out with the same title as the cookbook he had published more than 30 years ago, all he could do was stew because book titles cannot be copyrighted.
A Short Little Post from Chronicle.com quotes one of my favorite librarians, Trisha Davis. She made the remark while discussing the challenges Ohio State faced in building an institutional repository. The university has over 21,000 articles — including conference papers, teaching materials, photographs, and multimedia works — in the archive.
Faculty members will submit research papers to the repository often unaware that they have signed away the rights to their work to a journal publisher, Ms. Davis said. “They are stunned that they have not retained the copyrights,” she said. “They’re vehemently adamant” that they still have rights to the work.
The New York Times has a debate about copyright issues and technology between Rick Cotton, the general counsel of NBC Universal, and Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School.
Should creators insist on technology that will restrict the copying and transmission of copyrighted works? Any lock can eventually be picked. Do these restrictions provide speed bumps to help keep honest people honest? Or do they create a permanent war between creators and users that may hurt everyone?
Read the full debate here.