Legal Issues

Legal Issues

The right to resell ebooks — major case looms in the Netherlands

Infringing company is pointing to a 2012 ruling by Europe’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the case of UsedSoft v Oracle. That case was about reselling licenses for downloadable software, and the court ruled that – even when the software license explicitly forbids resale – the buyer should have the right to resell that licence, just as they would be allowed to resell a boxed software copy.

Full article

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Justice Scalia -- "like a library card"

Aereo's TV Streaming Service Is Illegal, Supreme Court Says

Aereo, the company that lets subscribers watch TV stations' video that it routes onto the Internet, violates U.S. copyright law, the Supreme Court has ruled. The court's 6-3 decision reverses a lower court on what has been a hotly contested issue.

'Unlike video-on-demand services, Aereo does not provide a prearranged assortment of movies and television shows," Scalia wrote. "Rather, it assigns each subscriber an antenna that — like a library card — can be used to obtain whatever broadcasts are freely available."

Full story here.

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Appeals Court Rules Digital Library Doesn't Violate Copyright Law

A U.S. appeals court says a digital library of more than 10 million scanned and searchable texts amounts to "fair use," ruling against a group of authors who claimed copyright infringement.

More info here

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What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2014?

The books On the Road, Atlas Shrugged, and The Cat in the Hat, the films The Bridge on the River Kwai, Funny Face, and The Prince and the Showgirl, the play Endgame (“Fin de Partie”), and more. . .
Congress Shrugged

Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years – an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1957 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2014, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” (Mouse over any of the links below to see gorgeous cover art from 1957.) Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2053.1 And no published works will enter our public domain until 2019. The laws in Canada and the EU are different – thousands of works are entering their public domains on January 1.

http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2014/pre-1976

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Free to Forget

Europe's highest court recently ruled that EU citizens have the right to be forgotten—by Google's search engines. Bob talks with Emily Bell, Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, about the impact of this decision on freedom of information and internet privacy.



Download MP3

Individual page for story.

Do We Need This Government Agency? 'Let Me Google That'

Book News: If Jesus Dictates A Book To You, Who Holds The Copyright?

In an unusually metaphysical copyright case, a German court has ruled that an American psychologist — and not Jesus Christ — is the author of a book that she said Christ dictated to her in a "waking dream."

Story originally found here at NPR.

Another blog post commenting on this case.

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Inside the Supreme Court 'gamble' on same-sex marriage

"Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality," follows the five-year legal battle over same sex marriage that ensued after California passed Proposition 8. The book digs beneath the surface with personal narratives of those who had been the public face of this major civil rights case. Jeffrey Brown talks to journalist and author Jo Becker.

Dump the National Technical Information Service: Let Me Google That For You Act

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:S.2206.IS:/

SEC. 3. NATIONAL TECHNICAL INFORMATION SERVICE.

(a) Repeal- Effective on the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the National Technical Information Act of 1988 (subtitle B of title II of Public Law 100-519; 15 U.S.C. 3704b) is repealed.

(b) Transfer of Critical Functions-

(1) CONSULTATION REQUIREMENT- The Secretary of Commerce, the Archivist of the United States, the Comptroller General of the United States, and the Commissioner of Social Security shall consult with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to determine if any function of the National Technical Information Service is critical to the economy of the United States.

(2) GAO CERTIFICATION- The Comptroller General of the United States shall determine which of the critical functions identified pursuant to paragraph (1) are not being carried out by any other agency or instrumentality of the Federal Government.

(3) TRANSFERS AUTHORIZED- Before the effective date set forth in subsection (a), the Secretary of Commerce may transfer the responsibility for any critical function of NTIS (as identified under paragraph (1)) that is not otherwise being carried out (as determined under paragraph (2)) to another office within the Department of Commerce.

(c) Abolition of Functions- Except for the functions transferred pursuant to subsection (b), all functions of the National Technical Information Service immediately before the repeal date described in subsection (a) are abolished on such repeal date.

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UK Government takes important step towards modernising copyright

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-takes-important-step-towards-modernising-copyr...

Changes to bring UK copyright law up to date for the digital age have taken an important step forward today (27 March 2014), as the government publishes the final Exceptions to Copyright regulations for consideration by Parliament.

The changes make small but important reforms to UK copyright law and aim to end the current situation where minor and reasonable acts of copying which benefit consumers, society and the economy are unlawful. They also remove a range of unnecessary rules and regulations from the statute book in line with the government’s aim to reduce regulation.

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How Copyright Laws Keep E-Books Locked Up

Many publishing houses don't allow their products to be lent out by digital libraries for fear of piracy. Articles and books by researchers are also affected. Readers are the ones who have to pay the price.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/how-copyright-laws-prevent-easy-sharing-of-e-b...

Judge Rules for HarperCollins in Open Road E-Book Dispute

In a significant ruling regarding backlist e-book rights, a New York court this week held that e-book publisher Open Road infringed HarperCollins’ copyright with its e-book edition of Jean Craighead George’s 1973 bestselling children’s book Julie of the Wolves.

“Having accordingly relied on the words of the contract, this Court holds that, by its language, the contract grants to HarperCollins the exclusive right to license electronic publications, a right which was infringed by Open Road in its unlicensed e-book publication of Julie of the Wolves,” held judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

Full article

Guns @ Your Library

This story from the Seattle Public Library is a bit dated, but worth reading.

When Seattle Public Library lifted its ban on guns in early November, officials there said they had done so because patrons had complained.

Internal library emails reveal that there was just one patron complaint in several years – a man with a Yahoo email account who didn’t identify himself as either a patron or Seattle resident.

That man, Dave Bowman, lives in Seattle and has a library card (which he uses, he noted in an email to KUOW), and said that he demanded the policy change on behalf of all gun owners. He described himself as “neither a conservative, nor liberal, but a libertarian.”

“I noticed one day that the library’s rules stated that firearms were not allowed on library property except by law enforcement,” Bowman said by email to KUOW. “I knew this rule was in violation of state law (and common sense) and brought it to their attention.”

Joe Fithian, the head of security for the library, replied to Bowman: “Much the same as eating and sleeping or being intoxicated are not against the law, (guns) are against our rules of conduct.”

But Bowman refused to back down and within two months, the library announced to its staff that it would drop the gun ban. Staff members could ask questions, but administrators were firm: On Nov. 4, the library would allow guns.

Do you allow guns at your library? Are there specific restrictions? Please comment below.

Arizona HB 2439 - unnecessary legislation that will hurt Arizona libraries

Library districts need to adapt to the needs of their communities. A one-size-fits-all tax levy simply will not work. The library districts in Arizona have never been accused of abusing their authority, and, what’s more, they provide valuable service to all of the libraries in their geographic areas.

Read more from The Hipster Librarian.

Porn at libraries: Morris official's advice isn't an ethics violation, state says

An ethics complaint by a self-described "library watchdog" alleging a prominent Morris County official misled local libraries, telling them they have to allow pornography on publicly accessible computers, has been dismissed.

In the complaint, Dan Kleinman, who runs SafeLibraries.Blogspot.com, said Ann Grossi "has materially mislead the communities of Roxbury and Montville into allowing pornography in the public libraries, despite community desires to remove it and despite the law."

http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2014/01/porn_at_libraries_attorneys_advice_isnt_an_ethics...

The awkward copyright collision of Fair Use and Creative Commons

But Fair Use is an exemption from copyright enforcement- it is not a transfer of rights. There is no conceivable reading of Fair Use that allows an image user to then broker permissions for other users. Journal X cannot license my work away from me without my say so. They do not have standing to apply a CC license to my work.

The solution should be easy enough. Journal X could exempt contributed images from their blanket CC-license, and they should ensure the images are not atomized and separated from the rest of the paper. The Fair Use of images depends on their context within the publication, anyway.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/compound-eye/2014/01/19/the-awkward-copyright-collision-...

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Conan Doyle Estate Says Sherlock Not Free Yet

In a follow up to an earlier story, the Conan Doyle estate may appeal the ruling against it's copyright claim according to this Publishers Weekly story.

"Is Sherlock Holmes truly a free man? Not so fast say attorneys for the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In a December 23 decision, an Illinois federal court held that Holmes and other characters and story elements in more than 50 Sherlock Holmes stories are in the public domain. But attorneys for the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle this week insisted that the complete characters of Holmes and Watson won’t be freed until the final 10 stories published after 1922 enter the public domain, in 2022."

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2014?

http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2014/pre-1976

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2014?
The books On the Road, Atlas Shrugged, and The Cat in the Hat, the films The Bridge on the River Kwai, Funny Face, and The Prince and the Showgirl, the play Endgame (“Fin de Partie”), and more. . .
Congress Shrugged

Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years – an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1957 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2014, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” (Mouse over any of the links below to see gorgeous cover art from 1957.) Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2053.1 And no published works will enter our public domain until 2019. The laws in Canada and the EU are different – thousands of works are entering their public domains on January 1.

Topic: 

Sherlock Holmes Is in the Public Domain, American Judge Rules

This New York Times story has the details.

"A federal judge has issued a declarative judgment stating that Holmes, Watson, 221B Baker Street, the dastardly Professor Moriarty and other elements included in the 50 Holmes works Arthur Conan Doyle published before January 1, 1923, are no longer covered by United States copyright law, and can be freely used by new creators without paying any licensing fee to the Conan Doyle estate."

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #263

This week we have an essay on information ethics, use the word "lethal" more times than usual in this program, and present a news miscellany that seems biased towards libraries news out of the United Kingdom.

Related links:

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This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

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