Intellectual Property

U.S. Register of Copyrights Slams Google Book Search Settlement

In testimony before the House Judiciary subcommittee this morning, Marybeth Peters, U.S. Register of Copyrights, in her first detailed comments on the subject, blasted the Google Book Search Settlement as “fundamentally at odds with the law.” In a blistering assessment of the deal, Peters told lawmakers that the settlement is in essence a compulsory license that would give Google the ability to engage in activities, such as text display and sale of downloads, that are “indisputable acts of copyright infringement.”

More at Publisher's Weekly

Tolkien estate settles 'Lord of the Rings' wrangle

The estate of fantasy writer J.R.R Tolkien has reached a settlement with the studio behind the "Lord of the Rings" movies after alleging it had not received "even one penny" of royalties from the trilogy of money-spinning films, officials said Tuesday.

Utah State University's OpenCourseWare Project shuts down

The Utah State University OpenCourseWare project has shut down because it ran out of money, making it perhaps the biggest venture to close in the burgeoning movement to freely publish course materials online. The project’s director was laid off on June 30th and while the Web site remains up for now, it no longer has any dedicated staff and is no longer adding new courses.
http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Utah-State-Us-OpenCourseWare/7913/

Why The Associated Press Plans to Hold Some Web Content off the Wire

In a break with tradition, The Associated Press plans to prevent members and customers from publishing some AP content on their websites. Instead, those news organizations would link to the content on a central AP website — a move that could upend the consortium’s traditional notions of syndication.

That’s one revelation from a document we obtained (labeled “AP CONFIDENTIAL — NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION”) that offers new insight into how the AP is planning to reinvent itself on the Internet according to Neiman Lab, Harvard University.

The seven-page briefing, entitled “Protect, Point, Pay — An Associated Press Plan for Reclaiming News Content Online,” was distributed to AP members late last month. It provides greater detail about the tracking device that will be attached to AP content and describes their plans to create topic pages around news stories to rival Wikipedia and major aggregation sites. And in an hour-long interview last night, the AP’s general counsel, Srinandan Kasi, also shed light on how the consortium views reuse of its material across the Internet.

A.P. Ready to Recieve Your Payments...Even For Articles in the Public Domain

Article in BoingBoing:
James Grimmelman sez,

The Associated Press -- which thinks you owe it a license fee if you quote more than four words from one of its articles -- doesn't even care if the words actually came from its article. They'll charge you anyway, even if you're quoting from the public domain.

I picked a random AP article and went to their "reuse options" site. Then, when they asked what I wanted to quote, I punched in Thomas Jefferson's famous argument against copyright. Their license fee: $12 for an educational 26-word quote. FROM THE PUBLIC FREAKING DOMAIN, and obviously, obviously not from the AP article. But the AP is too busy trying to squeeze the last few cents out of a dying business model to care about little things like free speech or the law.

Thanks to Bill Drew & Michael Sauers for the tip.

Should Copyright Be Abolished On Academic Work?

Full Paper [PDF]: The conventional rationale for copyright of written works, that copyright is needed to foster their creation, is seemingly of limited applicability to the academic domain. For in a world without copyright of academic writing, academics would still benefit from publishing in the major way that they do now, namely, from gaining scholarly esteem. Yet publishers would presumably have to impose fees on authors, because publishers
would not be able to profit from reader charges. If these publication fees would be borne by academics, their incentives to publish would be reduced. But if the publication fees would usually be paid by universities or grantors, the motive of academics to publish would be unlikely to decrease (and could actually increase) – suggesting that ending academic copyright would be socially desirable in view of the broad benefits of a copyright-free world. If so, the demise of academic copyright should be achieved by a change in law, for the ‘open access’ movement that effectively seeks this objective without modification of the law faces fundamental difficulties.

RIAA says DRM is dead!

"Indeed, some of the most prominent online-based music retailers like Amazon and Apple sell without the stuff (the former never has, far as we know; Apple is more recent), but to hear the RIAA say it, especially after all the negative attention they've given themselves, well, it's quite something."

http://www.neoseeker.com/news/11316-riaa-says-drm-is-dead/

Webinar Next Week on Google Library Project Settlement

Advance registration for the webinar scheduled Wednesday, July 29, 2 pm ET Time – 60 minutes.

The webinar is being promoted for publishers, but hey, why shouldn't librarians attend too...sponsors are Google (of course), AAP and PW.
Here's Google's blurb about it:

"In a webinar first, the leaders involved with the crafting of the Google Library Project Settlement will share with the publishing industry the benefits of the agreement for publishers and authors. If approved by the Court in October, the agreement will create one of the most far-reaching intellectual, cultural, and commercial platforms for access to digital books for the reading public, while granting publishers unprecedented opportunities and protections. Presented in collaboration with Google, The Association of American Publishers, and Publishers Weekly, the web session is a must-attend event for publishers everywhere."

A 'Restored' Edition of Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" by His Grandson

What happens to a book published posthumously? It seems a life can be written, edited, rewritten and reedited long after the author's death.

This is what's transpiring with Hemingway's posthumous memoir of his early days in Paris, “A Moveable Feast." Along with portraits of other famous ex-pats (F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein), it provides a heart-wrenching depiction of marital betrayal.

Much married, Hemingway's fourth and final wife Mary was the one who edited the first edition of “A Moveable Feast,” published by Scribner in 1964 (she became his widow upon the authors death in July 1961). She created a final chapter that dealt with the dissolution of Hemingway’s first marriage to Hadley and the beginning of his relationship with his second wife, Pauline, building some of it from parts of the book he had indicated he did not want included.

Early next month, Scribner, now an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is publishing a new edition of the book, what it is calling “the restored edition,” and this time it is edited by Seán Hemingway, a grandson of Hemingway and Pauline. Among the changes he has made is removing part of that final chapter from the main body of the book and placing it in an appendix, adding back passages from Hemingway’s manuscript that Seán believes paint his grandmother in a more sympathetic light. -- Read More

Chris Anderson Apologizes For Plagiarizing Wikipedia

Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired magazine, copied portions of his forthcoming book, “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” from Wikipedia, without attribution. The passages were discovered by a reviewer for the Virginia Quarterly Review, who was reading an advance galley of the book, which is being published by Hyperion Books early next month.

Full article here.

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