Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

Copyright Holders Challenge Sites That Excerpt

As copyrighted material is excerpted online, some owners would rather have clicks than credit.

Full article in the NYT

Could You Go to Jail for Jailbreaking Your iPhone?

There is something deeply exasperating about the debate, spotlighted Thursday, about whether unlocking an iPhone violates Apple’s copyright on the cellphone’s software. There’s a real issue at stake, but it isn’t fundamentally about copyrights.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a filing with the Copyright Office, argues that the government should allow iPhone owners to circumvent technical barriers meant to keep them from changing the phone’s software, a process called jailbreaking. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act bans people from defeating technical protections for copyrighted materials (such as the encryption on DVDs). The act requires the government to consider exemptions to this ban every three years.

Apple, not surprisingly, filed an objection, saying that jailbreaking a phone indeed violates copyright law and that no exception should be granted.

One of the key legal arguments is whether installing software on an iPhone that is not sold through Apple’s iTunes store is an infringement of Apple’s copyright. The E.F.F. argues that it does not and that Apple’s motivation is simply to preserve its revenue from software sales.

Full story here.

Author's Guild Claims Kindle 2 Copyright Infringement

The Kindle 2 has a feature which allows the book to be read out loud. And wow, does this have the Author's Guild up in a tizzy.

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."

Amazon is moving forward with the rather logical opinion that there's no way a person would confuse the computerized text to speech voice with an audiobook.

So all of you youth librarian types doing story time? STOP IT. You're violating copyright and you're probably doing it more ways than one since you're not only reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom out loud, but you're putting on a public performance.

Boing Boing Gadgets has the run down. More on this story from the Wall Street Journal.

Libraries and copyfraud : Special collections and the public domain

Steve Lawson has an Interesting Post based on This One about someone who has been exchanging emails with curators at the Huntington Library about their use policies for digital images. Lawson: "In addition to charging a reproduction fee, the Huntington asked about Ross’s intended use and quoted further fees based on what the use might be. When Ross pointed out they can’t do that with a public domain image, the library said, in effect, “all libraries do this,” to which Ross replied something along the lines of “so what?” It is, he says, a crime called copyfraud."

Copyright Research Bill ReIntroduced

The Fair Copyright in Research Works bill, a controversial measure that would ban public access policies similar to those of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was reintroduced in Congress last night, after being shelved at the end of 2008.

The bill resurfaces as proponents in the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division holds its annual conference today in Washington, DC. Although the text of HR 801 has yet to be posted online, those who have seen it say it has much the same text as HR 6845, which was the subject of a spirited hearing held before a Congressional subcommittee last year.

In a statement, AAP officials praised the bill's reintroduction, and said the legislation "would help keep the Federal Government from undermining copyright protection for journal articles." The library community, however, strongly opposses the measure.

Full article at Publisher's Weekly.

AP alleges copyright infringement of Obama image


On buttons, posters and Web sites, the image was everywhere during last year's presidential campaign: A pensive Barack Obama looking upward, as if to the future, splashed in a Warholesque red, white and blue and underlined with the caption HOPE.

Full story here.

LISTen and Hyperlinked History by The Faceless Historian

While Stephen deals with the stress of moving, he asked that I fill in for him for a special episode of LISTen - The LISNews Podcast. As my alter-ego, The Faceless Historian, I'll take you on a journey through history back to the distant past and the origins of the DRM and copying controversies we deal with today.

Stephen and the regular LISTen gang will be back next week with your regularly scheduled podcast. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy something a little different about something related to issues we face in libraries today.

OCLC Defends Records Policy, Faces Questions, Suggestions, and Criticisms

If you've been following along with OCLC’s recently revised—and suspended—policy regarding record-sharing, here's a couple of stories you'll want to check out.

OCLC’s recently revised—and suspended—policy regarding record-sharing: Norman Oder covers a Lively discussion at Midwinter Meeting, he writes OCLC's Karen Calhoun defends intent, apologizes about communication while others question OCLC’s path.

DON'T MISS Consideration of OCLC Records Use Policy: "We build bibliographic records as surrogates for the desired object, meaning that the surrogate is a means to an end – retrieving the described object – and not an end onto itself. We build indexes of these surrogates for patrons to use to discover information. All other factors held constant, the better the surrogate, the greater the chance the user will find the information they are seeking. The following discussion looks at the sources of records, the way they are built, and what it means to try to share them."

Why libraries must reject the OCLC Policy: A Call To Action

A proposed OCLC Policy got Tim thinking about compiling all the arguments against the Policy. He wants to start with the process and legal ones, which have gotten very short shrift. OCLC spokespeople are persuasive personalities, and OCLC's "Frequently Asked Questions" allay fears, but the Policy itself is a scary piece of legal writing and, as it explictly asserts, the only writing that matters. He finishes with a call to action:
Librarians and interested parties have only a month before the OCLC Policy goes into effect. It is time to put up or shut up.

* The New York Public Library is hosting a moderated discussion with OCLC Vice President Karen Calhoun from 1-4pm on Friday, January 17. Show up and make your displeasure known.
* Visit and link to the Code4Lib page on OCLC Policy change.
* Sign the Internet Archive/Open Library petition to stop the OCLC Policy.
* Sign librarian Elaine Sanchez's petition.

Misinterpreting Copyright

Richard Stallman Says: Something strange and dangerous is happening in copyright law. Under the U.S. Constitution, copyright exists to benefit users — those who read books, listen to music, watch movies, or run software — not for the sake of publishers or authors. Yet even as people tend increasingly to reject and disobey the copyright restrictions imposed on them “for their own benefit,” the U.S. government is adding more restrictions, and trying to frighten the public into obedience with harsh new penalties.

How did copyright policies come to be diametrically opposed to their stated purpose? And how can we bring them back into alignment with that purpose? To understand, we should start by looking at the root of United States copyright law: the U.S. Constitution.

The Huffington Post Slammed for Content Theft

The Huffington Post, a venture-capital-backed new media site that mixes links to other sites content with hundreds of celebrity and volunteer blogger posts, is being accused of slimy business practices by a handful of smaller publications who say the site is unfairly copying and publishing their content.

http://blog.wired.com/business/2008/12/huffpo-slammed.html

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Pirates of the Amazon Abandon Ship

Earlier this week, two students from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, made headlines by releasing a plug-in for the Firefox Web browser that made it easy for people who were browsing books, music and movies on Amazon.com to download the same products free through the Pirate Bay, the illicit BitTorrent site.

Lawyers for Amazon.com promptly served the students’ Internet service provider with a take-down notice, and on Thursday the students complied and removed the tool.

In an interesting twist, the students now say their project was a parody and an “experiment on interface design, information access and currently debated issues in media culture,” according to their Web site. One of the students, John, who did not give his last name, tried to explain further in an e-mail message.

Full story in the New York Times.

Creative Commons Tech Summit - December 12th

For those of you interested in the metadata production and use in web technologies: Creative Commons will hold its second technology summit on December 12, 2008, in Cambridge, MA. The summit will focus on the application of Semantic Web technologies to Creative Commons', Science Commons' and ccLearn's missions. Topics covered will include ccREL/RDFa, the Neurocommons project and an update on the Universal Education Search (metadata-enhanced search) project. Full program information and registration <a href="http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Creative_Commons_Technology_Summit_2008-12-12">available here</a> "The Technology Summits are about connecting the larger developer and technical community that’s sprung up around Creative Commons licenses and technology, so we want to provide a venue where people doing interesting work can share it." - Nathan Yergler, CTO

E-LIS To Resume Functioning

Late news via e-mail notes that E-LIS, the E-prints in Library and Information Science, will soon resume functioning. The note indicated that E-LIS was moved to a new server as part of an upgrade by the site to Eprints 3.0. E-LIS Chief Executive Imma Subirats noted that e-mail alerts from the old version site were not migrated to the new version. Subirats suggested that e-mail alerts be re-created by users once the site is fully restored.

OCLC Claims Ownership of Data In OPACs

OCLC may be trying to pull something sneaky with its new policy of claiming contractual rights over the subsequent use of data created by OCLC. In other words, the data in library catalogues couldn't be used to make anything which competes with OCLC in any way.

Needless to say, this would have a hash chilling effect on the creation of open databases of library content.

As you might expect, the library blogosphere is on fire with the news. The podcast presenter at LISNews gave a commentary in the matter during LISTen #47.

Story from Slashdot.

Stifled by Copyright, McCain Asks YouTube to Consider Fair Use

After seeings its videos repeatedly removed from YouTube, John McCain's campaign on Monday told the Google-owned video site that its copyright infringement policies are stringent to the point of stifling free speech, and that its lawyers need to revamp the way they evaluate copyright infringement claims.

"We fully understand that YouTube may receive too many videos, and too many take-down notices, to be able to conduct full fair-use review of all such notices," wrote Trevor Potter, the campaign's general counsel, in a letter to YouTube and Google. "But we believe it would consume few resources — and provide enormous benefit — for YouTube to commit a full legal review of all take-down notices on videos posted from accounts controlled by (at least) political candidates and campaigns."

Full article here.

DRM In Your Library? Consider This...

Thinking about utilizing a service in your library which uses Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

Consider the wise comic of Randall Munroe:

TextBook Torrents Turns The Final Page and Closes Down

From relative obscurity, Textbook Torrents, the world’s largest BitTorrent index of textbooks, found itself in the world spotlight during July 2008 and was forced to close down by its host. The site returned weeks later, growing massively in the process, but now, just a couple of months on, the site has closed for good.

Full article here

Wal-Mart's DRM Nightmare Just Won't End

Wal-Mart has decided to keep the music that it sold wrapped in a layer of copyright protection playable, following a flurry of customer complaints about legally purchased music becoming unplayable. The probably wishes it had never tangled with digital rights management, because it's going to keep paying for it long after its switch to selling DRM-free MP3s.

An e-mail sent to Wal-Mart digital music store customers said the company will continue to support the DRM-ed song files sold on walmart.com starting in 2003. The e-mail reversed last month's announcement that Wal-Mart would shut down the servers that authenticate the copyright protected music it no longer sells. Unfortunately, doing so would render all protected music purchased from the store in the past five years unplayable.

Full story at Wired.com

This story is something to think about for libraries that collect materials that have DRM.

'Orphan Works' Copyright Law Dies Quiet Death

Lost in the House of Representatives' push to pass $700 billion bailout legislation is the so-called Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008.

Late Friday, the Senate passed the measure and sent it to the House, where it landed dead on arrival.

The act changes the rules and reduces and sometimes nullifies damages for infringing uses of so-called "orphaned" works as long as there was a "diligent" effort to locate the copyright owner. Orphaned creative works are those in which the copyright holder cannot be promptly located.

Full story here.

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