Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

Why the Supremes Will Consider Costco v. Omega

At first blush, Costco Wholesale Corp v. Omega, S.A., which the U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to hear, doesn't involve the kind of cutting-edge issues that copyright lawyers usually grapple with in the digital age. So why is the Court willing to consider a dispute between a company that makes fancy watches and a company that imports and resells them? It sounds like the kind of lawsuit that should have been resolved 200 years ago.

What's at stake in these disputes is the ability of resellers large (Costco) and small (Liu) to offer legitimate, non-pirated versions of copyrighted goods to U.S. consumers at prices that undercut those charged by the copyright holders—something that's possible thanks to the robust secondary markets provided by major Internet retailers such as eBay and Amazon.

Full story

When can educators make recordings of kids' books?

One of our teachers received a grant to buy iPods to record her reading children’s books. She plans to share the recordings with her students so they can follow along with the stories. Although audio versions of the books can be purchased from iTunes, is this a fair use?

Question and answer here

Copyright information is busting out all over

Copyright information is busting out all over... John Mark Ockerbloom: Like the crocuses and daffodils now coming up all over our front garden, new copyright registration information has been popping up all over the net lately. As I’ve described in various previous posts, this information can be extremely useful for folks who want to revive, disseminate, or reuse works from the past.

Copyright's Wrong Turn

Call it the Magna Carta of copyright – England's Statute of Anne was born 300 years ago this weekend and, for the first time in history, conferred upon authors certain rights to the work. Unfortunately, says Duke Law School professor James Boyle, modern copyright law has strayed far from Anne's original intent. Listen to full piece here.

Secret Meetings Over Trade Agreement Cause Stir

There's a reason you don't hear much about international trade agreements. They are kind of dull, and they're usually not very controversial. But the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is different.

"One feels that you're almost in a bit of a twilight zone," says Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. "I mean, we're talking about a copyright treaty. And it's being treated as akin to nuclear secrets."

Full story at NPR - audio available 7pm et

Copyright Flack

Breaking news is now copied and redistributed on thousands of websites across the Internet within minutes - producing a World Wide Web of carbon copies. First Amendment lawyer David Marburger argues that this redistribution is hurting newspapers financially and that the fault lies with the Copyright Act. If embedded player does not show you can hear and read full story here.

Copyright is not the only thing that matters online

BBC Contributor <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8544935.stm">Bill Thompson chronicles</a> more evidence of a copyright system used as a cudgel; "It seems that copyright, a legal framework developed over 300 years to ensure a balance between the interests of the wider community and those of the creative artist has become so tipped towards those of the "rights holder" that few of us can go through a day without breaking the law in one way or another."

Photographing Public Art: A Legal Waltz in Seattle

To photographer Mike Hipple, the claim is baseless. The photo he took about 10 years ago of a woman standing near the "Dance Steps on Broadway" sculpture in Seattle's Capitol Hill is an example of fair use. If it's not, he reasons, the right of all photographers to take pictures in public will be in jeopardy.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Online Storage Site Ordered To Filter Books

From the article:

Six book publishers have gained an injunction against file-hosting company, RapidShare. The Swiss-based ‘cyberlocker’ service must monitor user uploads to ensure that around 148 titles, many of them textbooks, are never made available to its users. Failure to do so could result in $339,000 fines, or even jail time for company bosses.

For those who don't know, RapidShare is site where one can upload files for off-site storage and distribution. It's that "distribution" that it's well known for as thousands of people upload larger files to the service with the intention of allowing others to download. Though it's well known in certain circles for hosting pirated content, it's strange that the first shot fired against it should come from the publishing industry rather than the recording or motion picture industries.

More from TorrentFreak.

Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars is a book by William Patry. Patry is Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, Inc.

Wikipedia entry on Patry

Book description:

Metaphors, moral panics, folk devils, Jack Valenti, Joseph Schumpeter, John Maynard Keynes, predictable irrationality, and free market fundamentalism are a few of the topics covered in this lively, unflinching examination of the Copyright Wars: the pitched battles over new technology, business models, and most of all, consumers.
In Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, William Patry lays bare how we got to where we are: a bloated, punitive legal regime that has strayed far from its modest, but important roots. Patry demonstrates how copyright is a utilitarian government program--not a property or moral right. As a government program, copyright must be regulated and held accountable to ensure it is serving its public purpose. Just as Wall Street must serve Main Street, neither can copyright be left to a Reaganite "magic of the market."

Beyond "Harry Potter": 5 interesting tales of plagiarism

Beyond "Harry Potter": 5 interesting tales of plagiarism
Rowling is hardly the first well-known writer to face plagiarism charges. The results of such charges tend to vary widely. Some end up dismissed as without merit, others ruin careers, and yet others seem simply to disappear.

Secret Agent

Who controls the internet? Well, at the moment a trade agreement known as ACTA is being negotiated by the U.S., Japan, the European Union, Canada and more than a dozen other countries, and, if ratified, would significantly regulate what you can and can’t do online. ACTA’s rules will supersede each country’s local laws. Oh, and the whole affair is secret. Danny O'Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains the possible impact on net users worldwide. Listen using embedded player above on download MP3 file here.

It's J.K. Rowling's Turn to Get Sued

J.K. Rowling has been named in a lawsuit alleging she stole ideas for her wildly popular and lucrative "Harry Potter" books from another British author reports The Huffington Post.

The estate of the late Adrian Jacobs on Wednesday added Rowling as a defendant in a lawsuit it filed in June against Bloomsbury Publishing PLC for alleged copyright infringement, according to a statement released by the estate's representatives, who are based in Australia.

The lawsuit, filed in a London court, claims Rowling's book "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" copied substantial parts of Jacobs' 1987 book, "The Adventures of Willy the Wizard – No. 1 Livid Land." Jacobs' estate also claims that many other ideas from "Willy the Wizard" were copied into the "Harry Potter" books. Jacobs died in London in 1997.

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is the fourth book in Rowling's series and was published in July 2000.

The Fight over the Google of All Libraries

An (Updated) <a href="http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/02/the-fight-over-the-worlds-greatest-library-the-wiredcom-faq/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher">Wired.com FAQ</a> on the <a href="http://books.google.com/">Google Books Project</a> and the fight over a settlement.

The New World of Copyright?

A novel by a 17-year-old in Berlin has risen high on the best-seller list and become a finalist for a major book prize, but the author has also received scathing criticism because she lifted some passages from someone else’s book. She even admits having copied an entire page with only a few changes. Although she has apologized for not being more open about her sources, she has also defended herself as the representative of a different generation, one that freely mixes and matches from the whirring flood of information across new and old media, to create something new.

Google, copyright, and our future.

Google, copyright, and our future: Lawrence Lessig

The deal constructs a world in which control can be exercised at the level of a page, and maybe even a quote. It is a world in which every bit, every published word, could be licensed. It is the opposite of the old slogan about nuclear power: every bit gets metered, because metering is so cheap. We begin to sell access to knowledge the way we sell access to a movie theater, or a candy store, or a baseball stadium. We create not digital libraries, but digital bookstores: a Barnes & Noble without the Starbucks.

Why Even the Most Pirated E-Books of 2010 Won't Bring Down Publishing

Why Even the Most Pirated E-Books of 2010 Won't Bring Down Publishing
O’Leary’s conversations with execs at digital rights firms suggest that content with smaller markets (selling fewer than 12,000 to 15,000 total units) priced at $100+ are most likely to feel the economic impact of piracy. He adds, “Books that have much wider audiences or that sell for much lower prices may be pirated more often, but the overall impact of piracy (revenue lost as a share of total sales) is not as great for these books.”

Putting the "Public" In Publicly-Funded Research

Putting the "Public" In Publicly-Funded Research

Now, the public has an opportunity to show support for this innovative, common sense idea. Since December, the OSTP has been hosting an involved discussion on their blog, asking for input on every angle of public access, including which federal agencies should adopt public access policies, which file formats could help solve compliance and archival issues, and what the ongoing role of the government should be.

Fahrenheit 451 Book burning as done by lawyers

Fahrenheit 451… Book burning as done by lawyers

For Bradbury’s book, this means that the reading public, the braille printer, the budding playwright, the school library face either higher prices, or legal restrictions on reuse or both. And they get no benefit from it. Clearly, the incentive of 28 + 28 years was enough to encourage him to write the book and the publisher to publish it. The evidence is that.. it happened. Retrospectively extending copyright is deadweight social loss — harm without benefit. But at least the book is available.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #101

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