Intellectual Property

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copyright laws too stringent, but that the assumptions the current laws are based on are artificial, illogical and outdated.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.

Full story

When can educators make recordings of kids' books?

One of our teachers received a grant to buy iPods to record her reading children’s books. She plans to share the recordings with her students so they can follow along with the stories. Although audio versions of the books can be purchased from iTunes, is this a fair use?

Question and answer here

Copyright information is busting out all over

Copyright information is busting out all over... John Mark Ockerbloom: Like the crocuses and daffodils now coming up all over our front garden, new copyright registration information has been popping up all over the net lately. As I’ve described in various previous posts, this information can be extremely useful for folks who want to revive, disseminate, or reuse works from the past.

Copyright's Wrong Turn

Call it the Magna Carta of copyright – England's Statute of Anne was born 300 years ago this weekend and, for the first time in history, conferred upon authors certain rights to the work. Unfortunately, says Duke Law School professor James Boyle, modern copyright law has strayed far from Anne's original intent.

Listen to full piece here.

Secret Meetings Over Trade Agreement Cause Stir

There's a reason you don't hear much about international trade agreements. They are kind of dull, and they're usually not very controversial. But the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is different.

"One feels that you're almost in a bit of a twilight zone," says Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. "I mean, we're talking about a copyright treaty. And it's being treated as akin to nuclear secrets."

Full story at NPR - audio available 7pm et

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