Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

Returning Scientific Publishing to Scientists

The Public Library of Science-organized boycott of journals not allowing free distribution after six months of the articles they\'ve published begins September 1. Here\'s a useful round-up of those pushing for freer, cheaper distribution of scientific information:

Out of old bookes, in good faithe,
Cometh al this new science that men lere.

--Geoffrey Chaucer, The Assembly of Fowles
Taking License

As Chaucer\'s \"old bookes\" give way to the Information Age, I\'ve been asking myself whether or not these books -- and today, principally journals -- have morphed into something else entirely. Scientific communication is increasingly driven by factors that have little to do with researchers and more to do with commercial publishers\' profits. Even amid talk of the Internet-driven rise of scientific publishing, the researcher and the lab -- where scientific communication originates -- seem to be forgotten entirely. Restoring the researcher in research publishing requires long-term, cultural shifts to right the balance in favor of the scientist.

(More from the Journal of Electronic Publishing. Thanks again to New Breed.)

U.S. Greatly Increases Budget for Copyright Enforcement

The U.S. Department of Justice\'s new budget includes greatly expanded funding for enforcement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act:

The Senate has earmarked $10 million for copyright prosecutions, enough money for 155 agents and attorneys in the fiscal year starting in October. That\'s up from a current $4 million allocated for 75 positions. . . \"We are very pleased with the amount. It\'s going to be used to prevent a whole lot of Internet piracy and mischief,\" said Patricia Schroeder, president of the Association of American Publishers. \"If someone crashed the international banking community, it wouldn\'t be too funny,\" Schroeder said. \"The Department of Justice wants to send the message that this is not a joke. You really could put someone out of business.\" (More from Wired.)

U.S. Will Not Free Sklyarov

The U.S. Attorney\'s office has indicated that it will not drop charges against Dmitri Sklyarov:

Representatives of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) met with representatives of the U.S. Attorney\'s office in San Francisco today. There was a productive dialog, however the U.S. Attorney\'s office gave no indication of dropping the prosecution against Dmitry Sklyarov. Having explored good faith negotiations, the Electronic Frontier Foundation rejoins the call for nonviolent protests worldwide to secure the immediate release of Dmitry Sklyarov and dropping of all criminal charges against him. A protest is already scheduled in San Francisco for 11:30am this Monday, July 30, at the Federal Courthouse at 450 Golden Gate Ave. Additional protests will occur in 25 or more cities worldwide in coming weeks.

( More from FreeSklyarov.org. Thanks to Slashdot.)

Napster Given Deadline to File with Appeals Court

A Federal Appeals Court has given Napster until August 9 to file an emergency appeal which will allow them to come back online. They\'ve been offline since July 2. [more...] from The Nando Times.

Why Can\'t Johnny Respect Copyrights?

Interesting piece from Salon on plans by the British government to inculcate school children with a respect for copyright law:

If members of the U.K.\'s Creative Industries Task Force have their way, British teenagers will soon be cramming for tests on intellectual property law and the legal implications of file-sharing. Schoolkids who download illicit MP3 files, cut and paste newspaper articles or e-mail them, or exchange JPEG files of Britney Spears will learn the error of their ways -- at least according to the copyright officials.

Thanks to Slashdot.

Consumer Rights Change When Copyrighted Works Go Digital

For The Florida Times Union, Anick Jesdanun writes...

\"When you buy a book or a video cassette, you can lend it to a friend, sell it on eBay, even toss it in the trash. Or you can keep it to read or watch again and again. It\'s all legal under the \'\'first-sale doctrine\'\' of U.S. copyright law, the provision that allows libraries to exist. But your rights shrink when you\'re dealing with an electronic book or a movie downloaded from the Internet. [more...]
For a related story, \"Behind Digital Copyright, Click Here.

Tasini, Round 2

The National Writers Union plans to file suit over the terms of the New York Times\' recently rewritten contract with its freelancers:

National Writers Union president Jonathan Tasini asserted yesterday that a Times contract - crafted in the wake of the Supreme Court decision - that seeks freelancers\' permission to keep their work in the paper\'s archives without additional compensation is illegal and unenforceable. \'\'They\'re demanding people sign away all their past and future rights to those articles,\'\' Tasini said in an interview yesterday. \'\'We would rather negotiate this and they\'ve just taken a very hard line.\'\' He said that unless the Times changed its policy within 24 hours, a suit would be filed today in New York. An attorney representing the writers union said the likely venue would be federal court.

[More from the Boston Globe]

Temptation Plagiarism

From the Associated Press, via CNet News, someone writes... \"Before her students write term papers, Melanie Hazen makes sure they understand one small thing: You can\'t put your name on someone else\'s work. Still, they don\'t see the harm in borrowing from a Web site. ``Taking something straight off the Internet and using it as their own, they don\'t seem to think that\'s stealing at all,\'\' said Hazen, an English teacher at Montgomery Central High School in Clarksville, Tenn. At a time when most schools and public libraries are wired to the Internet, students of all ages are being tempted more than ever to cut-and-paste others\' work and pass it off as their own. For students, plagiarism has never been easier. For teachers, combating it has never been more of a challenge.\" [more...]

Post-Tasini: Pity the Librarians

Kendra Mayfield writes...
\"For publishers reeling from a recent Supreme Court loss, it\'s time to pay freelancers whose work has been republished in electronic databases without their permission. But rather than pay up or face billions in liabilities, publishers are deleting tens of thousands of freelance articles spanning decades. So who will bear the brunt of that extra work? The librarians, of course.\" [more...] from Wired.

Copyright Victory Could be a Catch 22 for Freelance Writers

Wired reports today that the recent victory for freelance writers may not be so great afterall. According to the article, \"A major problem for writers is that many publishers, anticipating a loss in the Tasini case, have begun demanding that freelancers sign away all rights to their articles, including electronic rights, for no additional payment,\" said freelance writer Miriam Raftery in an e-mail. This sign-or-else mentality forces freelancers to choose between short-term survival and long-term stability.\" [more...]

Limited Copyright Exemption for Distance Learning Doesn\'t Include Libraries

Brian Krebs writes...
\"Legislation that would provide a limited copyright exemption for distance learning received a cozy reception from a House Judiciary subcommittee and its panelists today. The bill, S. 487, unanimously passed the Senate in a voice vote earlier this month, but only after a lengthy standoff between educational groups and the publishing industry...another bill would have extended the same exemptions to not-for-profit libraries, a possibility that was rejected during discussions on the bill in the Senate.\"
[more...] from NewsBytes.

More on the Freelance Front

NewsBytes has this one today. After winning the Supreme Court case against big media, it seems that Jonathan Tasini wants to extend an \"olive branch\" to the New York Times, et. al. The NYT doesn\'t appear to be interested. Read more here.

\"The Public Library of Science\"

The movement to boycott journal publishers requiring restrictive copyright agreements of their authors is in full swing, as
evidenced by this open letter signed by
an impressive array of scientists and scholars.

We support the establishment of an online public library that would provide the full contents of the published record of research and scholarly discourse in medicine and the life sciences in a freely accessible, fully searchable, interlinked form. . . To encourage the publishers of our journals to support this endeavor, we pledge that, beginning in September, 2001, we will publish in, edit or review for, and personally subscribe to, only those scholarly and scientific journals that have agreed to grant unrestricted free distribution rights to any and all original research reports that they have published . . .

[via New Breed Librarian and The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter]

Ottawa to Modernize Copyright Legislation

Cabot writes:The Canadian federal government is taking a look at copyright issues to ensure legislation is keeping pace with the digital revolution.\" There\'s

This Story And This One on how the Canadian Govt. is moving to change copyright laws in the great white north. They are starting with two consultation papers related to Internet
issues. One outlines possible solutions to digital copyright issues, while the other addresses the rules by which radio and television signals may be retransmitted over the Internet. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters seems to like it, which is probably a bad sign.

\'\'Canada needs a copyright framework that continuously adapts to a fast-changing digital environment,\'\' Industry Minister Brian Tobin said.\"

SF&F Writers Back Captain America Claim

jen writes \"Full Story


The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced that it has joined several other literary groups supporting Captain America creator Joseph H. Simon\'s effort to reclaim his copyright from Marvel Comics. The SFWA joined the Authors Guild Inc., the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Writers Union, Novelists Inc., the Society of Children\'s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Text and Academic Authors Association in an amicus curiae brief supporting Simon\'s claim. \"

Napster CEO talks @ ALA

News.com has a Short Story on Napster Chief Executive Hank Barry speaking at the ALA.

They give a little mention to Docster, but the story is very limited on any details of the panel discussion or anything else.
Anyone have a better link to what went on there?
I\'d love to hear more about what was said.

Technology and the corruption of copyright

ZDNet has an interesting Story on the corruption of copyright laws.

If you\'ve read most of the other stories I posted on this subject there isn\'t much new here, but he makes some good points. Joshua S. Bauchner says the corruption of copyright harms the public interest, and contravene the principles of a democratic society.

Since copyright holders, often not the creative authors, ensured the massive expansion of their monopoly, many of the new laws we are seeing around the world work against the people who were supposed to be protected in the first place.

Defining the Future of the Book

Coalition for Networked Information director Clifford Lynch holds forth on \"competing visions for the future of the book in the digital environment.\"

Commercial publishing interests are presenting the future of the book in the digital world through the promotion of e-book reading appliances and software. Implicit in this is a very complex and problematic agenda that re-establishes the book as a digital cultural artifact within a context of intellectual property rights management enforced by hardware and software systems. With the convergence of different types of content into a common digital bit-stream, developments in industries such as music are establishing precedents that may define our view of digital books. At the same time we find scholars exploring the ways in which the digital medium can enhance the traditional communication functions of the printed work, moving far beyond literal translations of the pages of printed books into the digital world. This paper examines competing visions for the future of the book in the digital environment, with particular attention to questions about the social implications of controls over intellectual property, such as continuity of cultural memory. [from First Monday ]

It\'s true: They are copyrighting the law

The bad news about the copyright grab just keeps on coming. It really looks like we are losing something important, and we have to act. Here is a story in the San Diego Union Tribune about how actual laws are being copyrighted - and the copyright found to be valid in court cases, including a Federal appeals court. In other words, governments are not free to distribute the whole of the law - in some cases you have to buy it from a private party in order to read it, or your library has to buy it (as long as that is still allowed - publishers are working on that now). This is so bad you\'d think it is a hoax, but it seems to be real. Slashdot has a discussion on this article from a few days ago.

Wanted: Loveable Hero for Copyright Battle

Lisa Bowman writes...
Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association and EFF have been wildly successful overturning crackdowns on Internet content, including the Communications Decency Act. But so far, they\'ve been on the losing side of battles to protect free speech in the face of corporate copyright owners seeking unprecedented digital privileges--battles such as the DeCSS case. [more...] from ZDNet.

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