Intellectual Property

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.

More on the Freelance Front

NewsBytes has this one today. After winning the Supreme Court case against big media, it seems that Jonathan Tasini wants to extend an \"olive branch\" to the New York Times, et. al. The NYT doesn\'t appear to be interested. Read more here.

\"The Public Library of Science\"

The movement to boycott journal publishers requiring restrictive copyright agreements of their authors is in full swing, as
evidenced by this open letter signed by
an impressive array of scientists and scholars.

We support the establishment of an online public library that would provide the full contents of the published record of research and scholarly discourse in medicine and the life sciences in a freely accessible, fully searchable, interlinked form. . . To encourage the publishers of our journals to support this endeavor, we pledge that, beginning in September, 2001, we will publish in, edit or review for, and personally subscribe to, only those scholarly and scientific journals that have agreed to grant unrestricted free distribution rights to any and all original research reports that they have published . . .

[via New Breed Librarian and The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter]

Ottawa to Modernize Copyright Legislation

Cabot writes:The Canadian federal government is taking a look at copyright issues to ensure legislation is keeping pace with the digital revolution.\" There\'s

This Story And This One on how the Canadian Govt. is moving to change copyright laws in the great white north. They are starting with two consultation papers related to Internet
issues. One outlines possible solutions to digital copyright issues, while the other addresses the rules by which radio and television signals may be retransmitted over the Internet. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters seems to like it, which is probably a bad sign.

\'\'Canada needs a copyright framework that continuously adapts to a fast-changing digital environment,\'\' Industry Minister Brian Tobin said.\"

SF&F Writers Back Captain America Claim

jen writes \"Full Story


The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced that it has joined several other literary groups supporting Captain America creator Joseph H. Simon\'s effort to reclaim his copyright from Marvel Comics. The SFWA joined the Authors Guild Inc., the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Writers Union, Novelists Inc., the Society of Children\'s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Text and Academic Authors Association in an amicus curiae brief supporting Simon\'s claim. \"

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