Intellectual Property

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

YouTube's Content ID Disputes Are Judged by the Accuser

YouTube's Content ID Disputes Are Judged by the Accuser
The problem is that media companies and scammers are using Content ID as an end run around the DMCA.

With the DMCA, the process works like this. A rightsholder could file a claim against a video with YouTube, and YouTube would immediately take the video offline. If there was a mistake, the uploader could file a counter-notice. The video would then be restored by YouTube within 10-14 business days of the counter-notice, unless it went to court.

It wasn't perfect, by any means, but it was fair. Disputes could always be appealed, and both parties were given equal power. And if a claimant lied about owning the copyright to the material in question, they could face perjury charges.

The current system, led by Content ID, tips the balance far in favor of the claimant.

Unglue, It Could Save Public Libraries

From Mike Cane's blog:

This, for example, is what he means by “unglue,” the concept that lies at the heart of Gluejar: “unglue (v.t.) For an author or publisher to accept a fixed amount of money from the public for its unlimited use of an e-book.”

Hellman wants us to consider, in other words, a world in which those who hold the rights to books agree to license them through a Creative Commons arrangement that protects author/publisher copyrights, enables the rights holders to maintain or pursue additional licensing agreements, and at the same time creates an environment in which public funding helps “unglue” the books for digital distribution.

Crowdfunding — something already in play within organizations as diverse as the Nature Conservancy, NPR, and Kickstarter — provides the fiscal fuel, making sure that both the creators of the book and Gluejar get compensated for their efforts.

Read it all here.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #183

This week's episode looks at the aftermath of the SOPA battle and the take-down of MegaUpload while looking at some consequences thereupon for the knowledge ecology. A draft resolution for any upcoming ALA meeting is also presented.

Direct download link: MP3

Creative Commons License
LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #183 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

Public Domain Day 2012: Five things we can do in the US

Public Domain Day 2012: Five things we can do in the US
t’s New Year’s Day again, and in much of the world, this means another year’s worth of works enter the public domain. That’s a cause for celebration, as Europe and many other countries that have “life+70 years” copyright terms welcome works by James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Jelly Roll Morton, and Elizabeth von Arnim into the public domain. The Communia Project’s Public Domain Day website focuses on works by these and many other authors that are entering (in many cases, re-entering) the public domain in “life+70 years” countries. Meanwhie, folks in Canada, New Zealand, and other countries that have held the line at the “life+50 years” terms of the Berne Convention can now freely enjoy the works of people like James Thurber, Ernest Hemingway, and H.D.

There’s not so much excitement about Public Domain Day in the US, where no published works are scheduled to enter the public domain for another 7 years, due to a 20-year copyright extension enacted in 1998. But Americans don’t have to simply sigh and contemplate what might have been if our copyright terms hadn’t been extended. The new year still provides a number of important opportunities for Americans to improve access to the public domain.

"It’s not law — it’s a kind of thuggery"

David Post over at the lawprof blog The Volokh Conspiracy writes about the Stop Online Piracy Act and some of the disturbing consequences if it were enacted in the United States. Any library, and if appropriate their parent organization, should consider the consequences Post outlines if that library provides Internet to users let alone staff.

Authors Guild finds author of so-called “orphaned work” in just two minutes

About two minutes of googling turned up a professor emeritus of one of the HathiTrust “orphan works” candidates. He lives in suburban Maryland. His second book sold a reported one million copies, and he’s listed in IMDb (two of his books were turned into movies: one starred Elvis Presley, the other Warren Beatty). He has a literary agent, and he signed an e-book contract earlier this month.

No, we’re not making this up.

Full blog post

Violate Terms & Conditions, Get Indicted

The Bits Blog online with The New York Times reports that programmer Aaron Swartz was indicted for allegedly stealing 4 million documents from MIT and JSTOR. According to documents posted to Scribd, the arrest warrant cites alleged violation of 18 USC 1343, 18 USC 1003(a)(4), 18 USC 1003(a)(2), 18 USC 1003(a)(5)(B), and 18 USC 2.

The Boston Globe summed up the charges stating:

Aaron Swartz, 24, was charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. He faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Activist group Demand Progress, of which Swartz previously served as Executive Director, has a statement posted. Internet luminary Dave Winer also has a thought posted as to the indictment. Wired's report cites the current Executive Director of Demand Progress as likening the matter to checking too many books out of a library.

(h/t Evan Prodromou and Dave Winer)

(Update at 1641 Eastern: The Register has reporting here) -- Read More

Research Libraries See Google Decision as Just a Bump on the Road

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Research Libraries See Google Decision as Just a Bump on the Road to Widespread Digital Access
By Jennifer Howard

Tuesday, a federal judge tossed out the proposed settlement in the lawsuit over Google's vast book-digitization project. Still, research libraries with a stake in that work said they were undeterred. They emphasized that widespread digital access is key to scholars' work, and reiterated their commitment to making as much material available to as many people as possible, whether or not the settlement is revived in some form. And they said they hoped the ruling, by Judge Denny Chin, would galvanize efforts to solve the vexing problem of orphan works, which are under copyright but whose rights-holders are unknown or unfindable......Read the rest here.

Open letter to Cory Doctorow

A letter to Cory Doctorow asking him to allow purchasers of his ebooks to OWN them.

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