Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

Steal My Book!

Why I’m abetting a rogue translation of my novel

"Of course, I wish one of Russia’s two major ebook publishers had given me a couple thousand dollars for the rights, but neither did. Like many novelists I know, I’m just happy to have people reading my work, whether they’re paying me for it or not. I’m also heartened that Russians care enough about reading to sustain a robust literary black market. In the U.S., you get the feeling that hardly anyone is creating pirated ebooks because—well, who’d buy such a thing?"

Turns Out When Random House Said Libraries 'Own' Their Ebooks, It Meant, 'No'

Turns Out When Random House Said Libraries 'Own' Their Ebooks, It Meant, 'No, They Don't Own Them'

"That means they don't want to worry about having the company they bought their books from suddenly lock them out of their collection for reasons they won't explain. It means they want to be able to move those ebooks from platform to platform without permission. It means they want to be able to lend those ebooks to a friend. Some smaller publishers get this, provide DRM free ebooks, and make it easy for this to happen. Random House, on the other hand, doesn't seem to understand the issue at all."

7-Year Battle To Stop Google From Digitizing Libraries Is Ending With A Whimper

A nice, non-legalese summary of the Google Books story from Read Write Web:

"Google's long-running fight to digitize the world's written works has closed two more chapters, but the story hasn't quite reached the end. Despite stakes that include millions of dollars of ad revenue for Google versus the potential loss of revenue and royalties for publishers and authors, however, the epic saga's climax is turning out to be surprisingly muted.

There are three parts to this story so far, with Google Books the protagonist (or antagonist, depending on your point of view) at the center of all of them. Following two separate court decisions this week and last, two of those parts are now concluded, leaving only one more thread of the tale to wrap up."

The Contemporary Analog to Jarndyce v Jarndyce

Another vendor appearing to need education about exactly WHO owns library data

These vendors/collaboratives exist to serve libraries, not the other way around. Libraries vote with their dollars and purchasing choices and to prevent this kind of behavior, they must utilize their power collaboratively. When libraries act separately, vendors/collaboratives frequently apply the "whack-the-mole" approach to divide and conquer. Libraries must band together and through their organizations issue a profession wide policy statement concerning library ownership of data. This policy statement should then be referenced in both purchasing and legal agreements as a requirement to be met.

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?"

Forensic Linguists: You Can Write, But You Can't Hide

According to forensic linguists, the experts who investigate a text’s originator, if they have an individual’s known writings, they can detect with up to 95% accuracy that person’s authorship of any other document. Forensic experts have been called as witnesses in the high profile lawsuit by Paul Ceglia, who has sued Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he owns half of Facebook. They’ve also been expert witnesses in murder trials.

Library catalog metadata: Open licensing or public domain?

As reported a few weeks ago, OCLC has recommended that its member libraries adopt the Open Data Commons Attribution license (ODC-BY) when they share their library catalog data online. The recommendation to use an open license like ODC-BY is a positive step forward for OCLC because it helps communicate in advance the rights and responsibilities available to potential users of bibliographic metadata from library catalogs. But the decision by OCLC to recommend the licensing route — as opposed to releasing bibliographic metadata into the public domain — raises concerns that warrants more discussion.
[Thanks Sarah!]

The Rise of the Virtual-Plagiarist

The Rise of the Virtual-Plagiarist
With that, I have found a new genre of copying that I would like to call virtual-plagiarism. Virtual-plagiarism is where a book is sold with the appearance that it is for the most part original content; yet the buyer often doesn’t know or realize they are buying free content.

Wikipedia and other open source providers have made the world a better place with their free content. But with all that beneficence, there are those who have found a way to misappropriate it.

MIT Economist: Here's How Copyright Laws Impoverish Wikipedia

What do copyright law, baseball, Wikipedia and Google have in common? Read on:

Everyone knows that the flow of information is complex and tangled in society today -- so thank goodness for copyright law! Truly, no part of our national policy is as coherent, in the interest of the public or as updated for the Internet age as that gleaming tome in the US Code.

Not.

But one MIT economist, who recently presented his work recently at Wikimania, has found a way to test how the copyright law affects one online community -- Wikipedia -- and how digitized, public domain works dramatically affect the quality of knowledge.

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

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

Supreme Court silent on illegal music downloads

Libraries are one alternative to illegal downloading of content. Using the library instead of illegally downloading content might be a better idea now that the Supreme Court has allowed a $600,000 judgment to stand.

Full story

Copyright and Open Access: Reconsidering University Ownership of Faculty Research

This Article makes a more controversial suggestion. Universities should exercise their legal right to claim ownership of copyright in the research publications produced by their faculty. Only universities can wield sufficient leverage to compel fundamental change in scholarly publishing. Although traditionally an anathema to faculty, university ownership of copyright in research can be implemented without undermining academic freedom or the economic and reputational interests of university faculty.

Full abstract - You can also download full text of article

Bombing Bridges

CNET's Greg Sandoval reported last year that top Internet Service Providers came to an agreement with the RIAA and MPAA to engage in copyright enforcement. Ryan Whitwam noted at ExtremeTech that the agreement is set to kick in during Summer 2012 and would entail a graduated response system. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that this was not founded by governmental action but instead a Memorandum of Understanding among multiple companies that remains open for other companies to sign on.

By this summer we will see a graduated response system for copyright enforcement arise in the United States. There won't be a firm procedure in place but the general structure calls for six strikes. During later strikes there is the possibility to utilize captive landing pages that would effectively terminate a user's Internet access until they carry out whatever mitigation measure the Internet Service Provider deems appropriate. While there is the possibility of arbitration, there is not generally recourse to governmental involvement in the matter. Contractual obligations and the use of Terms of Service as private legislation come into play.

As seen at Harbor-Topky Memorial Library in the Ashtabula harbor today, signs are posted warning users of library WiFi that using file-sharing applications and peer-to-peer applications on their network may result in the termination of access privileges. That perhaps highlights the danger shared Internet connections present in light of the Memorandum of Understanding entering into force in Summer 2012. If a copyright violation is found, all that can be seen is the account's access point to the ISP's network. There is not necessarily a way to differentiate which particular user committed the infringement, though.

It is regrettably possible that six infringements by six separate users on a shared network access point could result in the termination of service. In an unprotected wireless network it is possible to have parties unknown usurp a connection and cause infringement without the knowledge of the actual account holder. Unless WPA2 and other security measures are employed, an innocent account holder could be blamed for the foul action of a third party. This has already happened which is why normal advice in establishing a wireless network is to engage WPA2 encryption as soon as possible and to keep your network passphrase secret.

A degree of sophistication is required to avoid the very possible nightmare scenarios above. This unfortunately means, though, that networking hardware marketed to consumers needs to be treated as more than "set and forget" devices. With the greater push to frictionless sharing online and reducing burdens in accessing the Internet the possibility of the digital divide widening grows.

In light of an online environment that continues to deteriorate, fallback options are always necessary. For content producers it is very difficult when potential readers/listeners/viewers cannot access the producer's goods. While it can be said by users that the Internet treats censorship and is built to route around it, that notion assumes that routing can continue without interference or disruption. As we now see, the routing of traffic is now going to be subject to intentional interference and accepting that interference will be a condition of access. By private agreement of a group of companies, the trade in information can be restrained at least with regards to information fixed in electronic form.

When it comes to LISNews let alone the rest of the LISHost galaxy this is not an insignificant concern. When the actual means of routing traffic are effectively compromised, relying on a compromised network can result in the effective disappearance of sites. Who needs to burn books when you can just put the functional equivalent of a minefield around content repositories?

Depending upon how this sort of change impacts the Internet at-large, we have looked at workarounds. Since 2009 there have been two proof-of-concept exercises to continue LISNews and other parts of the LISHost galaxy through alternative means. A print edition of LISNews was piloted after being created using tools provided by FedEx Office. Since then we have seen the creation of HP MagCloud which would more easily do what we attempted. On New Year's Eve 2011 we heard LISTen make its debut on shortwave radio through the broadcast resources of WBCQ in Maine.

In both exercises, the general content remained the same while the manifestation differed. This has been a concept seen often in modern librarianship where books have large print editions and unabridged books-on-tape. As an adaptation tactic in terms of content creation, it may soon become quite critical.

It is not necessarily time to begin fundraising to incarnate alternative manifestations of content online perhaps. A few months remain before the private enforcement regime begins. Keeping the thought in the back of one's mind is prduent, though.

Creative Commons License
Bombing Bridges by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

YouTube's Content ID Disputes Are Judged by the Accuser

YouTube's Content ID Disputes Are Judged by the Accuser
The problem is that media companies and scammers are using Content ID as an end run around the DMCA.

With the DMCA, the process works like this. A rightsholder could file a claim against a video with YouTube, and YouTube would immediately take the video offline. If there was a mistake, the uploader could file a counter-notice. The video would then be restored by YouTube within 10-14 business days of the counter-notice, unless it went to court.

It wasn't perfect, by any means, but it was fair. Disputes could always be appealed, and both parties were given equal power. And if a claimant lied about owning the copyright to the material in question, they could face perjury charges.

The current system, led by Content ID, tips the balance far in favor of the claimant.

Unglue, It Could Save Public Libraries

From Mike Cane's blog:

This, for example, is what he means by “unglue,” the concept that lies at the heart of Gluejar: “unglue (v.t.) For an author or publisher to accept a fixed amount of money from the public for its unlimited use of an e-book.”

Hellman wants us to consider, in other words, a world in which those who hold the rights to books agree to license them through a Creative Commons arrangement that protects author/publisher copyrights, enables the rights holders to maintain or pursue additional licensing agreements, and at the same time creates an environment in which public funding helps “unglue” the books for digital distribution.

Crowdfunding — something already in play within organizations as diverse as the Nature Conservancy, NPR, and Kickstarter — provides the fiscal fuel, making sure that both the creators of the book and Gluejar get compensated for their efforts.

Read it all here.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #183

This week's episode looks at the aftermath of the SOPA battle and the take-down of MegaUpload while looking at some consequences thereupon for the knowledge ecology. A draft resolution for any upcoming ALA meeting is also presented. Direct download link: MP3

Creative Commons License
LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #183 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

Public Domain Day 2012: Five things we can do in the US

Public Domain Day 2012: Five things we can do in the US
t’s New Year’s Day again, and in much of the world, this means another year’s worth of works enter the public domain. That’s a cause for celebration, as Europe and many other countries that have “life+70 years” copyright terms welcome works by James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Jelly Roll Morton, and Elizabeth von Arnim into the public domain. The Communia Project’s Public Domain Day website focuses on works by these and many other authors that are entering (in many cases, re-entering) the public domain in “life+70 years” countries. Meanwhie, folks in Canada, New Zealand, and other countries that have held the line at the “life+50 years” terms of the Berne Convention can now freely enjoy the works of people like James Thurber, Ernest Hemingway, and H.D.

There’s not so much excitement about Public Domain Day in the US, where no published works are scheduled to enter the public domain for another 7 years, due to a 20-year copyright extension enacted in 1998. But Americans don’t have to simply sigh and contemplate what might have been if our copyright terms hadn’t been extended. The new year still provides a number of important opportunities for Americans to improve access to the public domain.

"It’s not law — it’s a kind of thuggery"

David Post over at the lawprof blog The Volokh Conspiracy writes about the Stop Online Piracy Act and some of the disturbing consequences if it were enacted in the United States. Any library, and if appropriate their parent organization, should consider the consequences Post outlines if that library provides Internet to users let alone staff.

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