Intellectual Property

Authorities Drop Charges Against Sklyarov in Exchange for Testimony

Many librarians and opponents of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) are rejoicing at the news that charges have been dropped against Russian hacker Dmitry Sklyarov for violation of copyright laws. If convicted, he could have spent 5 years in prison and been fined $500,000.More from Wired News.

Copyright Law Foes Lose Big

Wired has a good Wrap Up on some bad luck the good guys had in US courts last week.

Wednesday a pair of federal courts siding with the music and record industry, the Electronic Frontier Foundation lost two of its most important intellectual property cases so far.

Many had pinned their hopes on these lawsuits as a way to eviscerate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Historians Ready for Fight Over Release of Presidential Papers

Some historians fear that President Bush\'s recent act which limits access to the papers of former presidents is going to hinder historical research. A group of history professors are considering filing a lawsuit against the government in order to challenge the act. More

Why Copyright Laws Hurt Culture

Wired has a Story by Karlin Lillington on American copyright laws, and how crazy they have gotten.

The laws are causing the death of culture and the loss of the world\'s intellectual history. Lawrence Lessig says copyright has grown from providing 14 years of protection a century ago to 70 years beyond the creator\'s death, and has become a tool of large corporations eager to indefinitely prolong their control of a market.

The web isn\'t going to kill libraries, the laws are.

Who Owns Academic Work

The Chronicl has an Interview with Corynne McSherry on her new book, \"Who Owns Academic Work: Battling for Control of Intellectual Property\".

She says profs who are fighting to claim copyright for their lectures and other course materials may be helping to promote a notion that courses are commodities and that professors are just like workers in other sectors.

Road Rage on the Information Superhighway

Aaron Tunn sent along
This Transcript of an excellent interview with from Radio National down in Australia.

I\'m not even sure how to summarize this one. It\'s about copyright, control of information, the information services industry, the publishing industry, libraries, and who owns what.

It really is worth a read.

\"So in that process there are a whole series of players, and how this will all shake out ultimately electronically, is going to be one of the fascinating questions. Either it will increase to a few very small, dominant, very great profit-making multinationals, or there\'ll be a deconstruction of the vast majority of the literature back to the authors for self-archiving and distributing in the old electronic college way.\"

Creativity v. Intellectual Property

In a bid to lampoon the current state of copyright law, two Australian composers have secured the rights to 100,000,000,000 telephone tone sequences:

With the aid of a computer, [Nigel] Helyer and [Jon] Drummond have notated the tones of every imaginable phone number combination and, in turn, claimed the melodies as their own. Next time you make a phone call, therefore, chances are you\'ll be in breach of international copyright law.

If business can claim ownership over the elemental building blocks of human life, the composers say it\'s only fitting that artists lay claim to the \"DNA\" of business and are paid for it.

\"We\'re saying to (big business), \'Okay guys, the boot is on the other foot. If you really believe in copyright, you\'ve got to pay\',\" Helyer says.

More from The Age. More information (e.g. whether they own YOUR number) can be found at the project\'s website.

Intellectual Property v. Creativity

Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity holds forth on just that in today\'s
Wired News:

\"It\'s hard to ask people to pay attention to the state of music in America right now,\" Vaidhyanathan said. \"However, the larger issue is about the richness of our democratic culture.\"

As more and more \"speech\" goes digital and as those digits get locked down with increasingly stronger clickwrap -- copyright and copy protection measures -- speech faces the very impediments the Constitution\'s framers took pains to avoid, Vaidhyanathan says.

\"It\'s very clear that reckless copyright enforcement can chill speech,\" he said. \"The message of my book is that we\'ve gone too far. There are ways in which the copyright system becomes an engine for democratic culture. But once you increase the protection to an absurd level, you end up having a negative effect on this process.\"

More. Sample chapters from Vaidhyanathan\'s new book are available at his homepage.

NY Times blacklists Tasini supporters

Fiona writes \"Village Voice reports that writers who were plaintiffs in the New York Times vs Tasini case have been blacklisted by the Times. The names of 13 writers are on the list. Nice to see that the paper has resolved this issue constructively!

More Here \"

Post-Boycott Scientific Publishing: The First Wave

Here\'s a press release from BioMed Central with information on the first free, peer-review scientific journals to emerge in the wake of the Public Library of Science boycott:

Today BioMed Central announces the first group of research journals to be launched in a new publishing initiative. This initiative is designed to allow groups of researchers to publish online journals representing their community and to offer free access to the research articles within these new journals. The journals will use BioMed Central\'s established publishing infrastructure, comprising an online submission system, electronic tools for peer-review, and the ability to publish accepted articles in both PDF and HTML formats. The peer-reviewed research articles in these journals will be indexed in the National Library of Medicine\'s bibliographic database, PubMed (widely used by researchers, clinicians and the general public) and deposited without delay in PubMed Central, the electronic repository of complete publications. . .

More. Thanks to the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog.

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