Intellectual Property

U.S. Greatly Increases Budget for Copyright Enforcement

The U.S. Department of Justice\'s new budget includes greatly expanded funding for enforcement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act:

The Senate has earmarked $10 million for copyright prosecutions, enough money for 155 agents and attorneys in the fiscal year starting in October. That\'s up from a current $4 million allocated for 75 positions. . . \"We are very pleased with the amount. It\'s going to be used to prevent a whole lot of Internet piracy and mischief,\" said Patricia Schroeder, president of the Association of American Publishers. \"If someone crashed the international banking community, it wouldn\'t be too funny,\" Schroeder said. \"The Department of Justice wants to send the message that this is not a joke. You really could put someone out of business.\" (More from Wired.)

U.S. Will Not Free Sklyarov

The U.S. Attorney\'s office has indicated that it will not drop charges against Dmitri Sklyarov:

Representatives of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) met with representatives of the U.S. Attorney\'s office in San Francisco today. There was a productive dialog, however the U.S. Attorney\'s office gave no indication of dropping the prosecution against Dmitry Sklyarov. Having explored good faith negotiations, the Electronic Frontier Foundation rejoins the call for nonviolent protests worldwide to secure the immediate release of Dmitry Sklyarov and dropping of all criminal charges against him. A protest is already scheduled in San Francisco for 11:30am this Monday, July 30, at the Federal Courthouse at 450 Golden Gate Ave. Additional protests will occur in 25 or more cities worldwide in coming weeks.

( More from Thanks to Slashdot.)

Napster Given Deadline to File with Appeals Court

A Federal Appeals Court has given Napster until August 9 to file an emergency appeal which will allow them to come back online. They\'ve been offline since July 2. [more...] from The Nando Times.

Why Can\'t Johnny Respect Copyrights?

Interesting piece from Salon on plans by the British government to inculcate school children with a respect for copyright law:

If members of the U.K.\'s Creative Industries Task Force have their way, British teenagers will soon be cramming for tests on intellectual property law and the legal implications of file-sharing. Schoolkids who download illicit MP3 files, cut and paste newspaper articles or e-mail them, or exchange JPEG files of Britney Spears will learn the error of their ways -- at least according to the copyright officials.

Thanks to Slashdot.

Consumer Rights Change When Copyrighted Works Go Digital

For The Florida Times Union, Anick Jesdanun writes...

\"When you buy a book or a video cassette, you can lend it to a friend, sell it on eBay, even toss it in the trash. Or you can keep it to read or watch again and again. It\'s all legal under the \'\'first-sale doctrine\'\' of U.S. copyright law, the provision that allows libraries to exist. But your rights shrink when you\'re dealing with an electronic book or a movie downloaded from the Internet. [more...]
For a related story, \"Behind Digital Copyright, Click Here.

Tasini, Round 2

The National Writers Union plans to file suit over the terms of the New York Times\' recently rewritten contract with its freelancers:

National Writers Union president Jonathan Tasini asserted yesterday that a Times contract - crafted in the wake of the Supreme Court decision - that seeks freelancers\' permission to keep their work in the paper\'s archives without additional compensation is illegal and unenforceable. \'\'They\'re demanding people sign away all their past and future rights to those articles,\'\' Tasini said in an interview yesterday. \'\'We would rather negotiate this and they\'ve just taken a very hard line.\'\' He said that unless the Times changed its policy within 24 hours, a suit would be filed today in New York. An attorney representing the writers union said the likely venue would be federal court.

[More from the Boston Globe]

Temptation Plagiarism

From the Associated Press, via CNet News, someone writes... \"Before her students write term papers, Melanie Hazen makes sure they understand one small thing: You can\'t put your name on someone else\'s work. Still, they don\'t see the harm in borrowing from a Web site. ``Taking something straight off the Internet and using it as their own, they don\'t seem to think that\'s stealing at all,\'\' said Hazen, an English teacher at Montgomery Central High School in Clarksville, Tenn. At a time when most schools and public libraries are wired to the Internet, students of all ages are being tempted more than ever to cut-and-paste others\' work and pass it off as their own. For students, plagiarism has never been easier. For teachers, combating it has never been more of a challenge.\" [more...]

Post-Tasini: Pity the Librarians

Kendra Mayfield writes...
\"For publishers reeling from a recent Supreme Court loss, it\'s time to pay freelancers whose work has been republished in electronic databases without their permission. But rather than pay up or face billions in liabilities, publishers are deleting tens of thousands of freelance articles spanning decades. So who will bear the brunt of that extra work? The librarians, of course.\" [more...] from Wired.

Copyright Victory Could be a Catch 22 for Freelance Writers

Wired reports today that the recent victory for freelance writers may not be so great afterall. According to the article, \"A major problem for writers is that many publishers, anticipating a loss in the Tasini case, have begun demanding that freelancers sign away all rights to their articles, including electronic rights, for no additional payment,\" said freelance writer Miriam Raftery in an e-mail. This sign-or-else mentality forces freelancers to choose between short-term survival and long-term stability.\" [more...]

Limited Copyright Exemption for Distance Learning Doesn\'t Include Libraries

Brian Krebs writes...
\"Legislation that would provide a limited copyright exemption for distance learning received a cozy reception from a House Judiciary subcommittee and its panelists today. The bill, S. 487, unanimously passed the Senate in a voice vote earlier this month, but only after a lengthy standoff between educational groups and the publishing industry...another bill would have extended the same exemptions to not-for-profit libraries, a possibility that was rejected during discussions on the bill in the Senate.\"
[more...] from NewsBytes.


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