Legal Issues

Legal Issues

Government Requests For Info And Censorship Are Increasing Rapidly

Google's latest transparency report is out and the notable bit of info is that governments continue to increase how often they're seeking info about users. The increase there is a steady growth which is immensely worrisome. There's also an equally troubling increase in the attempts to censor content via Google, though in that case, it was relatively flat until the first half of this year when it shot way, way up.

Via TechDirt...

SCOTUS shows concern for libraries

Supreme Court seeks a way around "perpetual copyright" on foreign goods
"If you were the lawyer for the Toyota distributor, [or] if you were the lawyer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or you are the lawyer for a university library," said Breyer. "Your client comes to you and says, 'My God, I just read the Supreme Court opinion. It says that we can't start selling these old books, or lending them, or putting them in our word processor, or reselling the Toyota, [or] displaying the Picasso without the permission of the copyright holder.' What, as their lawyer, do you tell them? Do you tell them, 'hey, no problem?' Or, do you tell them, 'you might become a law violator?' Or, do you tell them, 'I better litigate this?' What do you tell them?"

Notably, Olson didn't back away from the more extreme consequences of his client's win at the 2nd Circuit. If Wiley wins, he said, institutions like museums and libraries might need to get licenses from copyright owners for their activities.

Libraries, Copyright and Fair Use

"I bet you don’t know that librarians have, right from the start, been at the forefront of the digital information age. Librarians recognized the potential for providing even more information-based services with the advent of Internet based hypermedia. Libraries and librarians have also been stalwart in protecting the intellectual property of content creators and at the same advocating for ‘fair use’ of information all kinds. I’m pretty sure that a very important court decision slipped under your radar this week. So you’re hearing it first on Carpe Librum."

Michigan libraries can't ban guns, court of appeals rules

Though it said the idea of people openly carrying weapons into libraries is “alarming,” libraries can’t ban weapons, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled today.
In a 2-1 decision, the court said it’s up to the state, not local government units, to regulate matters related to firearms.
“Certainly, at a time where this country has witnessed tragic and horrific mass shootings in places of public gathering, the presence of weapons in a library where people of all ages — particularly our youth — gather is alarming and an issue of great concern,” Judges Jame Beckering and Henry William Saad said in the majority opinion.
However, guns are a matter for the state to regulate while complying with the federal constitution, the judges said.

Kindle Book Credit

Amazon has been sending out this email as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states.

Dear Kindle Customer,

We have good news. You are entitled to a credit for some of your past e-book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories, including yours. You do not need to do anything to receive this credit. We will contact you when the credit is applied to your Amazon.com account if the Court approves the settlements in February 2013.

Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have settled an antitrust lawsuit about e-book prices. Under the proposed settlements, the publishers will provide funds for a credit that will be applied directly to your Amazon.com account. If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books. While we will not know the amount of your credit until the Court approves the settlements, the Attorneys General estimate that it will range from $0.30 to $1.32 for every eligible Kindle book that you purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. Alternatively, you may request a check in the amount of your credit by following the instructions included in the formal notice of the settlements, set forth below. You can learn more about the settlements here:
www.amazon.com/help/agencyebooksettlements

In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices. We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future.

Thank you for being a Kindle customer.

The Amazon Kindle Team

Judge Says Fair Use Protects Universities in Book Scanning Project

Excellent! A federal judge on Wednesday said universities had a fair-use defense to charges of copyright infringement when they systematically pooled millions of books they had digitized without permission from rights holders.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer of New York dismissed an infringement lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild. The guild accused the University of California, University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, Cornell University and University of Michigan of wanton copyright infringement for scanning and placing the books into the so-called HathiTrust Digital Library.

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U.S. Supreme Court To Hear First-Sale Doctrine in Copyright Law Case

Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s busy agenda this fall is a little-known case that could upend your ability to resell everything from your grandmother’s antique furniture to your iPhone 4.

At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products.

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Attorney sues library over ban on plaza exhibits

David J. Kolhoff is suing the Allen County Public Library after it barred him from having a demonstration against the federal health care law.

Full article

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Librarian of Congress Names Interim Copyright Royalty Judge

The Librarian of Congress has named an interim copyright royalty judge to serve for the next six months or until the vacancy is filled.

Richard Strasser has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by Judge Stanley Wisniewski, who retired at the end of August. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, appoints copyright royalty judges in consultation with the register of copyrights.

The Contemporary Analog to Jarndyce v Jarndyce

Should L.A. give Undocumented Immigrants I.D. (library) Cards?

Important story from the LA Times earlier this week: Los Angeles is considering a major step in providing ID cards to illegal immigrants. The Los Angeles Public Library card could one day become a form of identification for the city's large illegal immigrant population that would allow them to open bank accounts and access services.

Here's the follow-up in the Opinion Pages.

How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards

The site for all things sci-fi and fantasy, iO9, has the story:

"Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fiction's most prestigious award ceremonies. No, you're not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service Ustream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, "The Doctor's Wife." Where Gaiman's face had been were the words, "Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement." What the hell?"

Not Illegal Yet in California: New Bans

In Southern California — once legendary for its love of freedom — cities, school districts and even libraries have been outlawing beach bonfires, napping and perfume.

Full article

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Authors destroy legal e-book lending

Roughly two weeks ago, the popular e-book lending site LendInk was taken offline thanks to a group of terrified authors who couldn’t be bothered to read the fine print. LendInk was a website dedicated to helping book lovers lend books to each other through features implemented by Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The site’s only purpose was to serve as a front end — it hosted no e-book files, linked no torrents, and never directed users to a file locker.

Justice Scalia Writes Guide for Interpreting the Law

 

Interview with Scalia on the PBS News Hour about his new book - Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts

Did Google create Library Project to crush Amazon?


After years of battling
, the fight between Google and the Authors Guild is finally coming to a head, and the Guild has just presented a key piece of evidence, showing what Google’s intentions may have been all along, and possibly blowing up Google's entire case.

The Used Ebook Opportunity

Once you buy an ebook you're pretty much stuck with it. That's yet another reason why consumers want low ebook prices. They're lacking some of the basic features of a print book so of course they should be lower-priced. I realize that's not the only reason consumers want low ebook prices, but it's definitely a contributing factor. I'd be willing to pay more for an ebook if I knew I could pass it along to someone else when I'm finished with it.

U.S. Is Pursuing a British Middleman in Web Piracy

An antipiracy case against a British college student, Richard O’Dwyer, is unusual because he did not publish pirated content himself but pointed the way for others.

Full article

Support the Restoration of Copyrights to their Original Duration of 28 Years

Our Founding Fathers established an initial copyright duration of 28-years, but that has been repeatedly extended to up to 120 years to favor corporations like Disney and Sony and authors’ descendants at the expense of the public. Such durations ignore the Constitution’s requirement that copyrights be for limited times and promote progress in science and the useful arts. They actually inhibit scientific progress by restricting the free flow of information, preventing global digital libraries, and withholding information that future generations need to freely exchange and build upon. The original copyright duration provides ample incentive for companies and authors to create, so we ask the President to urge Congress to pass a bill restoring copyrights to their original duration of 28 years.

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Appeals Court: Librarian of Congress Must Be Able To Fire Copyright Judges

The Copyright Royalty Board, as currently constituted, violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on Friday according to Reuters.

The Board sets the rates that broadcasters must pay for copyright licenses. The three-judge panel is appointed by the Librarian of Congress, and the court held that giving the Librarian of Congress more ability to fire the judges would resolve the constitutional dilemma.

Full article

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