Intellectual Property

Publishers, Libraries & Booksellers Await Supreme Court Decision in Key Copyright Case

The Supreme Court this week heard oral arguments in a copyright case that publishers say holds major implications for their businesses—even though the case doesn’t involve books. In Costco Wholesale Corporation v. Omega, S.A, the court will decide whether retail giant Costco can re-sell copyright-protected, foreign-made Omega wristwatches exclusively licensed for sale abroad in the U.S. market. But wristwatches aside, the copyright case holds larger implications for the publishing industry, as well as for libraries and booksellers, as it could also apply to the sale and importation of foreign-made editions.

The conflict began after Costco purchased Omega watches from third parties overseas which had legally acquired the watches from licensed Omega dealers. Costco then imported and sold the foreign-made watches in the U.S. at a steep discount, exploiting the foreign price differential. Omega watches, however, are subject to copyright, and after authorized Omega dealers in the U.S. complained about Costco’s price-cutting tactics, Omega sued to enjoin Costco from selling the foreign watches.

Full article at Publisher's Weekly

Why offshore ebook customers are so often frustrated

Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin

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Lawrence Lessig: Re-examining the remix

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An Un-'Common' Take On Copyright Law

Piece on NPR about the book Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership.

Excerpt: Some people believe that not only are current copyright laws too stringent, but that the assumptions the current laws are based on are artificial, illogical and outdated.

Among them is Lewis Hyde, a professor of art and politics who has studied these issues for years. In his new book Common As Air, Hyde says he's suspicious of the concept of "intellectual property" to begin with, calling it "historically strange." Hyde backs it up with an impressive amount of research; he spends a significant amount of time reflecting on the Founding Fathers, who came up with America's initial copyright laws.

Hyde is a contrarian, but he's not a scorched-earth opponent of all copyright laws.

Full story here

Now legal in the U.S.: Jailbreaking your iPhone, ripping a DVD for educational purposes

It’s no longer illegal under the DMCA to jailbreak your iPhone or bypass a DVD’s CSS in order to obtain fair use footage for educational purposes or criticism. These are the new rules that were handed down moments ago by the U.S. Copyright Office. This is really big. Like, really big.

[Full article at TechCrunch]

Rarities and B-Sides...and Copyright, Besides

David Pogue has an interesting opinion piece in the New York Times regarding amateur scanning and archiving of sheet music on the internet...which, naturally, brings up copyright issues. It also touches on whether or not the past generations of information professionals have done as good a job as they should have in preserving non-book materials.

The Perils of Automatic Copyright Protection

A cautionary tale about copyright, and the automated systems that enforce it.

If you post a video on YouTube, using one of their very own video creation tools, don't you expect it to go up and be viewable without any problems? Because of YouTube's Content ID system, it might not be so easy ...

Read the full story here.

Publisher misses out on e-book rights

A dead author is making a big splash in the publishing industry. William Styron wrote towering works of literature -- "Sophie's Choice" among them. Styron died four years ago. His work is about to be published as electronic books. But the author's long-time publisher will not be collecting the profits.

Why the Supremes Will Consider Costco v. Omega

At first blush, Costco Wholesale Corp v. Omega, S.A., which the U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to hear, doesn't involve the kind of cutting-edge issues that copyright lawyers usually grapple with in the digital age. So why is the Court willing to consider a dispute between a company that makes fancy watches and a company that imports and resells them? It sounds like the kind of lawsuit that should have been resolved 200 years ago.

What's at stake in these disputes is the ability of resellers large (Costco) and small (Liu) to offer legitimate, non-pirated versions of copyrighted goods to U.S. consumers at prices that undercut those charged by the copyright holders—something that's possible thanks to the robust secondary markets provided by major Internet retailers such as eBay and Amazon.

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