Legal Issues

Legal Issues

Gunfire @ Your Library (Miami-Dade)

A simmering feud between two men led to gunfire, disorienting panic and calls to police of possible mass casualties at Miami-Dade’s main library yesterday.

In the end, only the gun-wielding man was shot — by a police officer who was off duty in uniform working at the downtown library. Dozens of patrons, some of whom witnessed the altercation, were led to safety. Do we still think open carry is a good idea?

Marrakesh Treaty will limit copyright, easing book access for blind and print-disabled worldwide

The Marrakesh Treaty is a proposed set of rules designed by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a division of the U.N. that helps alleviate cross-border IP issues. Marrakesh would create exceptions to copyright laws, allowing reproduction of works in accessible formats like Braille, audio or e-book, and easing restrictions on passing those works between countries. The range of disabilities, needs and means of access are very wide: A person who is paralyzed or lacks hands has very different requirements from someone who is blind, or someone suffering from dyslexia.
From Marrakesh Treaty will limit copyright, easing book access for blind and print-disabled worldwide | TechCrunch
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Libraries And User Content Platforms Take the Heat for Artists' Struggles at WIPO

However Europe is equally resistant to even discussing copyright limitations and exceptions that don't currently exist in its law, and unfortunately the United States delegation doesn't care enough to push the matter, leaving the heavy lifting to nonprofit stakeholders such as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Meanwhile, industry groups refuse to countenance any limit on their own monopoly powers, even when such a limit is plainly in the public interest and addresses a pressing need. For example, libraries and archives seek the legal authority to preserve orphan works, and to source and lend works across national borders, while people with disabilities other than blindness or vision impairment need similar flexibilities to those now extended to print-disabled people.
From User Content Platforms Take the Heat for Artists' Struggles at WIPO | Electronic Frontier Foundation
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White House wants more sharable, reusable code

The White House is looking to make software code used by the federal agencies more open, sharable and reusable. In a March 10 blog post, federal CIO Tony Scott announced a new draft Federal Source Code policy that would create a new set of rules for custom code developed by or for the federal government. Once the new policy takes effect, software developed at agencies or created by contractors specifically for government use will be available to share and reuse across agencies.
From White House wants more sharable, reusable code -- FCW
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WI Libraries can now report overdue fines to collection agencies or police

Senate Bill 466 – permits a library to report to a collection agency or, under some circumstances, a law enforcement agency, information about delinquent accounts of any individual who borrows or uses the library’s documents, materials, resources, or services.  Authored by Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R – River Falls) and Representative Nancy VanderMeer (R – Tomah), the bill passed the Senate on a voice vote and was concurred by the Assembly on a voice vote.  It is Act 169.

From Governor Scott Walker Signs 46 Bills Into Law | Office of the Governor - Scott Walker

Apple and the FBI: Why is this relevant to libraries?

Why is this relevant to libraries? I think it’s past time that we start paying very close attention to the details of our data in ways that we have, at best, hand-waved as a vendor responsibility in the past. There have been amazing strides lately in libraryland in regards to the security of our data connections via SSL (LetsEncrypt) as well as a resurgence in anonymization and privacy tools for our patrons (Tor and the like, thank you very much Library Freedom Project).

Data about our patrons and their interactions that isn’t encrypted at rest in either the local database or the vendor database hosted on their servers (and our electronic resource access, and our proxy logins, and, and, and…) is data that is subject to subpoena and could be accessed in ways that we would not want. It is the job of the librarian to protect the data about the information seeking process of their patrons. And while it’s been talked about before in library circles (Peter Murray’s 2011 article is a good example of past discussions) this court case brings into focus the lengths that some aspects of the law enforcement community will go to in order to have the power to collect data about individuals.

From Apple, the FBI, and Libraries | Pattern Recognition

Justice Scalia’s copyright legacy-and what his loss means for e-book cases

It’s perhaps a little surprising, but it seems that Scalia was often on the same side as copyright reformers—helping to define fair use, insisting trademark not be permitted to trump the public domain, and feeling Aereo should have been permitted to continue. Of course, the cases where he wasn’t were some of the more important ones—most notably Eldred v. Ashcroft and Golan v. Holder.

From Justice Scalia’s copyright legacy—and what his loss means for e-book cases - TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond

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Simplifying Legalese For The Internet Age

The current User Agreement is too complicated, which allows large companies to take advantage of user ignorance. What can be done to change it?

Wikimedia Foundation removes The Diary of Anne Frank due to copyright law requirements

Today, in an unfortunate example of the overreach of the United States’ current copyright law, the Wikimedia Foundation removed the Dutch-language text of The Diary of a Young Girl—more commonly known in English as the Diary of Anne Frank—from Wikisource.[1]
We took this action to comply with the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), as we believe the diary is still under US copyright protection under the law as it is currently written. Nevertheless, our removal serves as an excellent example of why the law should be changed to prevent repeated extensions of copyright terms, an issue that has plagued our communities for years.

From Wikimedia Foundation removes The Diary of Anne Frank due to copyright law requirements « Wikimedia blog

Online legal publishers squabble over the right to copyright the law

Two big-name legal research companies are battling in federal court over the right to exclusively publish the law—in this case, the Georgia Administrative Rules and Regulations.

The lawsuit (PDF) comes as states across the nation partner with legal research companies to offer exclusive publishing and licensing deals for digitizing and making available online the states' reams of laws and regulations. The only problem is that the law is not copyrightable—or so says one of the publishers involved in the Georgia litigation.

From Online legal publishers squabble over the right to copyright the law | Ars Technica

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Leading authors press for Supreme Court review of Google's digitised library

The web giant’s digitisation of millions of books – many in copyright – faces a fresh legal challenge, backed by authors including Margaret Atwood, Peter Carey, Ursula Le Guin and Malcolm Gladwell

From Leading authors press for Supreme Court review of Google's digitised library | Books | The Guardian

E-Books and User Privacy

Article in the Creighton Law Review

Down the Rabbit Hole: E-Books and User Privacy in the 21st Century

https://goo.gl/37VZlv (PDF)

Authors Guild Petitions Supreme Court to Rule on Google Copying Millions of Books Without Permission

Today, the Authors Guild, the nation’s largest and oldest society of professional writers, filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the United States requesting that it review a lower court ruling that allowed Google, Inc. to copy millions of copyright-protected books without asking for authors’ permission or paying them. At stake, the Guild claims, is the right of authors to determine what becomes of their works in the digital age. Read the full press release here.

From Authors Guild Petitions Supreme Court to Rule on Google Copying Millions of Books Without Permission - The Authors Guild

'Mein Kampf' Enters Public Domain; Arguably, Anne Frank's Diary May, Too

It's been more than 70 years since the end of the Holocaust, but by a fluke of fate — and international copyright law — two stark reminders of the genocide may be entering the public domain in Europe on Friday. Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto, sees its European copyright expire after Dec. 31; so too for Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, according to several French activists.

http://goo.gl/KTo9i5 (NPR)

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‘Happy Birthday’ Copyright Case Reaches a Settlement

After more than two years of litigation, “Happy Birthday to You” — often called the most popular song in the world, but one that has long been under copyright — is one step closer to joining the public domain.

From ‘Happy Birthday’ Copyright Case Reaches a Settlement - The New York Times

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Librarians and privacy advocates ally to condemn cybersecurity bill

US librarians have joined with a host of civil liberties groups to condemn a cybersecurity bill now passing through Congress they claim will be both “unhelpful” and “dangerous to Americans’ civil liberties”.

From Librarians and privacy advocates ally to condemn cybersecurity bill | US news | The Guardian

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How the TPP Will Affect Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Excessive copyright terms harm the availability of books, photographs, and all creative works in the public domain. It also worsens the orphan works problem, when obtaining permission to use works is impossible because the rightsholder is unknown, deceased, or is nowhere to be found, and so preserving or archiving copies of them could be legally risky.
Heavy penalties for infringement, in the form of pre-established statutory damages that are not connected to the actual harm from infringement, chills preservation and archival efforts, where copying or changing the format of existing works is already legally risky.
Research and quotation can be hampered by bans on circumventing DRM on books or other kinds of digital content, and also limit the availability of digital works
Despite explicit exception for libraries and museums, a ban on tools for circumvention limits their ability to take advantage of it because they often lack the knowledge or tools to do so.
Weak exceptions and limitations language gives no incentive for countries to give legal certainty to activities of libraries, archives, and museums that involve technical acts of copying or DRM circumvention—such as enabling the use of copyrighted works for research and quotation, preservation, and copying material for educational purposes.

From How the TPP Will Affect You and Your Digital Rights | Electronic Frontier Foundation

New copyright law in Poland heralds new era for libraries

The new Polish Copyright Act [link in Polish] enters into force on 20th November 2015 bringing library services in Poland into the twenty-first century.

Major new provisions enabling digitization for socially beneficial purposes, such as education and preservation of cultural heritage, are the centrepiece for libraries of the new law.

The law also implements a European Directive enabling the use of orphan works (in-copyright works where the copyright holder cannot be identified or found to obtain permission), and an EU Memorandum of Understanding on the use of works that are no longer commercially available. In addition, the introduction of public lending right is limited to works in public libraries.

From New copyright law in Poland heralds new era for libraries | EIFL

TPP's Copyright Trap

One of the defining battles in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations is whether its signatory countries will standardize copyright terms lengths to a minimum term of the life of the author plus 70 years. This would effectively set the maximum duration of copyright holders' monopoly rights to over 140 years. This is the demand from rightsholder groups such as the RIAA and MPAA who advise the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). A precedent for such a provision has been set in previous Free Trade Agreements with countries like Australia and Singapore.

From TPP's Copyright Trap | Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Official Release of TPP Text Confirms Massive Loss to Canadian Public Domain

Unchanged from the leaked text is the confirmation of the extension of the term of copyright to life of the author plus an additional 70 years. This marks a 20 year extension in the term of copyright, dealing a massive blow to access to Canadian heritage and resulting in hundreds of millions in cost.  For example, there are 22 Governor-General award winning fiction and non-fiction authors whose work will not enter the public domain for decades.  These include Margaret Laurence, Gabrielle Roy, Marian Engel, Marshall McLuhan, and Donald Creighton.

From Official Release of TPP Text Confirms Massive Loss to Canadian Public Domain - Michael Geist

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