Intellectual Property

How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards

The site for all things sci-fi and fantasy, iO9, has the story:

"Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fiction's most prestigious award ceremonies. No, you're not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service Ustream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, "The Doctor's Wife." Where Gaiman's face had been were the words, "Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement." What the hell?"

Forensic Linguists: You Can Write, But You Can't Hide

According to forensic linguists, the experts who investigate a text’s originator, if they have an individual’s known writings, they can detect with up to 95% accuracy that person’s authorship of any other document. Forensic experts have been called as witnesses in the high profile lawsuit by Paul Ceglia, who has sued Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he owns half of Facebook. They’ve also been expert witnesses in murder trials.

Library catalog metadata: Open licensing or public domain?

As reported a few weeks ago, OCLC has recommended that its member libraries adopt the Open Data Commons Attribution license (ODC-BY) when they share their library catalog data online. The recommendation to use an open license like ODC-BY is a positive step forward for OCLC because it helps communicate in advance the rights and responsibilities available to potential users of bibliographic metadata from library catalogs. But the decision by OCLC to recommend the licensing route — as opposed to releasing bibliographic metadata into the public domain — raises concerns that warrants more discussion.
[Thanks Sarah!]

The Rise of the Virtual-Plagiarist

The Rise of the Virtual-Plagiarist
With that, I have found a new genre of copying that I would like to call virtual-plagiarism. Virtual-plagiarism is where a book is sold with the appearance that it is for the most part original content; yet the buyer often doesn’t know or realize they are buying free content.

Wikipedia and other open source providers have made the world a better place with their free content. But with all that beneficence, there are those who have found a way to misappropriate it.

MIT Economist: Here's How Copyright Laws Impoverish Wikipedia

What do copyright law, baseball, Wikipedia and Google have in common? Read on:

Everyone knows that the flow of information is complex and tangled in society today -- so thank goodness for copyright law! Truly, no part of our national policy is as coherent, in the interest of the public or as updated for the Internet age as that gleaming tome in the US Code.

Not.

But one MIT economist, who recently presented his work recently at Wikimania, has found a way to test how the copyright law affects one online community -- Wikipedia -- and how digitized, public domain works dramatically affect the quality of knowledge.

U.S. Is Pursuing a British Middleman in Web Piracy

An antipiracy case against a British college student, Richard O’Dwyer, is unusual because he did not publish pirated content himself but pointed the way for others.

Full article

Appeals Court: Librarian of Congress Must Be Able To Fire Copyright Judges

The Copyright Royalty Board, as currently constituted, violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on Friday according to Reuters.

The Board sets the rates that broadcasters must pay for copyright licenses. The three-judge panel is appointed by the Librarian of Congress, and the court held that giving the Librarian of Congress more ability to fire the judges would resolve the constitutional dilemma.

Full article

Supreme Court silent on illegal music downloads

Libraries are one alternative to illegal downloading of content. Using the library instead of illegally downloading content might be a better idea now that the Supreme Court has allowed a $600,000 judgment to stand.

Full story

Copyright and Open Access: Reconsidering University Ownership of Faculty Research

This Article makes a more controversial suggestion. Universities should exercise their legal right to claim ownership of copyright in the research publications produced by their faculty. Only universities can wield sufficient leverage to compel fundamental change in scholarly publishing. Although traditionally an anathema to faculty, university ownership of copyright in research can be implemented without undermining academic freedom or the economic and reputational interests of university faculty.

Full abstract - You can also download full text of article

Bombing Bridges

CNET's Greg Sandoval reported last year that top Internet Service Providers came to an agreement with the RIAA and MPAA to engage in copyright enforcement. Ryan Whitwam noted at ExtremeTech that the agreement is set to kick in during Summer 2012 and would entail a graduated response system. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that this was not founded by governmental action but instead a Memorandum of Understanding among multiple companies that remains open for other companies to sign on.

By this summer we will see a graduated response system for copyright enforcement arise in the United States. There won't be a firm procedure in place but the general structure calls for six strikes. During later strikes there is the possibility to utilize captive landing pages that would effectively terminate a user's Internet access until they carry out whatever mitigation measure the Internet Service Provider deems appropriate. While there is the possibility of arbitration, there is not generally recourse to governmental involvement in the matter. Contractual obligations and the use of Terms of Service as private legislation come into play.

As seen at Harbor-Topky Memorial Library in the Ashtabula harbor today, signs are posted warning users of library WiFi that using file-sharing applications and peer-to-peer applications on their network may result in the termination of access privileges. That perhaps highlights the danger shared Internet connections present in light of the Memorandum of Understanding entering into force in Summer 2012. If a copyright violation is found, all that can be seen is the account's access point to the ISP's network. There is not necessarily a way to differentiate which particular user committed the infringement, though.

It is regrettably possible that six infringements by six separate users on a shared network access point could result in the termination of service. In an unprotected wireless network it is possible to have parties unknown usurp a connection and cause infringement without the knowledge of the actual account holder. Unless WPA2 and other security measures are employed, an innocent account holder could be blamed for the foul action of a third party. This has already happened which is why normal advice in establishing a wireless network is to engage WPA2 encryption as soon as possible and to keep your network passphrase secret.

A degree of sophistication is required to avoid the very possible nightmare scenarios above. This unfortunately means, though, that networking hardware marketed to consumers needs to be treated as more than "set and forget" devices. With the greater push to frictionless sharing online and reducing burdens in accessing the Internet the possibility of the digital divide widening grows.

In light of an online environment that continues to deteriorate, fallback options are always necessary. For content producers it is very difficult when potential readers/listeners/viewers cannot access the producer's goods. While it can be said by users that the Internet treats censorship and is built to route around it, that notion assumes that routing can continue without interference or disruption. As we now see, the routing of traffic is now going to be subject to intentional interference and accepting that interference will be a condition of access. By private agreement of a group of companies, the trade in information can be restrained at least with regards to information fixed in electronic form.

When it comes to LISNews let alone the rest of the LISHost galaxy this is not an insignificant concern. When the actual means of routing traffic are effectively compromised, relying on a compromised network can result in the effective disappearance of sites. Who needs to burn books when you can just put the functional equivalent of a minefield around content repositories?

Depending upon how this sort of change impacts the Internet at-large, we have looked at workarounds. Since 2009 there have been two proof-of-concept exercises to continue LISNews and other parts of the LISHost galaxy through alternative means. A print edition of LISNews was piloted after being created using tools provided by FedEx Office. Since then we have seen the creation of HP MagCloud which would more easily do what we attempted. On New Year's Eve 2011 we heard LISTen make its debut on shortwave radio through the broadcast resources of WBCQ in Maine.

In both exercises, the general content remained the same while the manifestation differed. This has been a concept seen often in modern librarianship where books have large print editions and unabridged books-on-tape. As an adaptation tactic in terms of content creation, it may soon become quite critical.

It is not necessarily time to begin fundraising to incarnate alternative manifestations of content online perhaps. A few months remain before the private enforcement regime begins. Keeping the thought in the back of one's mind is prduent, though.

Creative Commons License
Bombing Bridges by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. -- Read More

Syndicate content