Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

BMI asking museums to pay license fees for music

The American Association of Museums has reported that many museums have recently been contacted by BMI, one of the three major performance rights licensing organizations, asking the museums to pay license fees for music played in public spaces. AAM has no relationship with BMI and has not endorsed its products or the use of AAM's name.

A fact sheet has posted on the home page of the AAM website, From the fact sheet:

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Public Domain and Canada

An Anonymous Patron writes "Canadian Public Domain Told To Cease and Desist
"The International Music Score Library Project was a quiet Canadian success story. Using wiki technologies, it emerged over the past two years as a leading source of public domain music scores, hosting thousands of scores uploaded by a community of students, teachers, and others in the music community. The site was very careful about copyright — only those works in the public domain (as many readers will know, public domain in Canada is life of the author plus an additional 50 years) were hosted on Canadian servers and the site was responsive to complaints about possible infringements.

On Friday, the site was taken down. Universal Edition AG, an Austrian publisher, retained a Toronto law firm to send a cease and desist letter to the Canadian-based site claiming that the site was infringing the copyright of various composers. It appears that the issue was not that posting the works in Canada infringed copyright but rather that some of the works were not yet in the public domain in Europe, where the copyright term runs for an additional 20 years at life of the author plus 70 years.""

Amazon's non-DRM mp3's Have a Nasty Surprise

madcow writes "Looks like Amazon's DRM-free music download service isn't completely without strings. One author contacted a lawyer at EFF who agrees that the license may in fact subvert Fair Use. More here."

Wall Street Journal Might Move to Free Access, Too

Yesterday it was announced that the New York Times would be removing the pay-for-access wall from their online archives, and now it seems that News Corp. is considering something similar for the Wall Street Journal.

"I haven't made up my mind yet," [News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch] said, although he added that making the site free "looks like the way we're going."

He predicted that would lead to a small circulation drop of perhaps 15,000 for the print edition and a loss of perhaps $30 million in subscription revenue, but "if the site is good," greater dollars would come via contextual search--and an audience perhaps 10 times higher of "the most affluent, the most influential people in the world" that advertisers would hunger to reach and pay a premium for.

Scientist Must Pay to Read His Own Paper

Imagine how you'd feel if you were a Cambridge University scientist who had to pay $48.00 to read your own paper on the website of the Oxford University happened to Peter Murray Rust.

A Library For Intellectual Property in Vietnam

Want to learn a bit about business in South East Asia? Here's a press release from Vietnam News Agency about the country's first e-library, interestingly enough, financially sponsored by the Japanese Government. By March 2009, the library will hopefully be fully completed.

New Media Alliance Strikes Out at Content Providers Over Copyright

The Computer and Communications Industry Association (members include Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!) has accused content providers such as the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Harcourt, Penguin, Dreamworks, and NBC of "systematic misrepresentation of consumers' rights to use legally acquired content." The complaint to the Federal Trade Commission seeks better copyright notices that more accurately depict the rights of consumers with regard to fair use.

From The New York Times.

Lawrence Lessig on iBookWatch

Lawrence Lessig, author of Code 2.0 and Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity gives a talk to Google employees. He discusses numerous ideas that will be of interest to librarians. The presentation includes a discussion of the dicotomy of a read only culture versus a read/write culture. Even if you have heard Lessig speak before this presentation is particularly informative. Video at iBookWatch

Good Copy Bad Copy: You Know I've Had My Share

Good Copy Bad Copy (Denmark, 2007) is "a documentary about the current state of copyright and culture" by directors Andreas Johnsen, Ralf Christensen, and Henrik Moltke. It was originally made for Danish television, but the filmmakers recently posted a free XviD .torrent file (with English subtitles) on The Pirate Bay (Warning: The Pirate Bay features some iffy-for-work advertisements, though it also makes sense as a distributor for this film because Pirate Bayers Anakata, Tiamo, and Rick Falkvinge are featured in "Good Copy Bad Copy"). For those Firefox users who have yet to install FoxTorrent, here's a great excuse to give it a shot.

Fan Archive Planned for Preserving Fan Fiction

In response to dissatisfaction with's model for bringing fan fiction into the mainstream, members of the fan fiction community, especially on LiveJournal, have launched Fan Archive, a project for archiving and cataloging fan fiction from multiple fandoms for easy searchability and long-term preservation. Fan Archive's originators distinguish the project from mainly on the grounds that 1) Fan Archive is run by fan fiction writers; 2) Fan Archive expresses a willingness to fight legal battles, if need be, to defend public accessibility to fan fiction; 3) while is a commercial venture, Fan Archive founders intend to file for legal nonprofit status. A summary of Fan Archive's goals has been posted on LiveJournal by gchick.

Talk by Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow, science fiction writer and defender of Internet rights gives a talk at Google. He discusses DRM and copyright and several other issues that librarians will find interesting. Video at

Lessig responds to Helprin

Lawrence Lessig, law professor and champion of the public domain, has created a Wiki to respond to the op-ed by Mark Helprin arguing for perpetual copyright.

Police Arrest Polish Subtitlers

At least six Polish translators have been arrested for illegally subtitling foreign films that have no licensed Polish translation. Because the translations are not commercial, they might fall under fair use. However, concerns that the free distribution of such films online might undermine legitimate sales has prompted a crackdown on distributors and downloaders in Poland and worldwide. The Polish translators, affiliated with the popular translation site,, may face up to two years in prison if convicted of illegally distributing copyrighted material.

Anti Piracy Police Photoshop contest

madcow writes "Webtailer is having some fun with the MPAA and RIAA (on the heels of offering a DVD recorder no less) with a contest to imagine what a future anti "piracy" police force might look like.
Get out your GIMP and join in the fun."

Happy World Intellectual Property Day !

mdoneil writes "Wednesday is WIPD, so says the World Intellectual Property Organization.
You can read more about it here.
Celebrate WIPD by not illegally downloading music, or not copying software today. (They probably would like you to refrain from those activities the rest of the year too.)
On a related note, anybody have a list of all the .int TLDs?"

Copyright Issues for Librarians

I am giving a short presentation, to a group of law students that are taking a copyright class. The topic of the talk is about copyright and libraries. I try to focus on how intellectual property law can be used to promote the diffusion of knowledge instead of merely restricting it. I was hoping to share some viewpoints on copyright and libraries that were not my own. If you have any feedback to the questions below or want to mention something you think is a major issue in regards to libraries and intellectual property law I would love to hear your comments.
1) Do you have any personal examples of how copyright law is preventing you from helping your patrons?
2) Do you feel that copyright law needs to be changed in regards to libraries? If so, how?
3) As a librarian what do you think the major issues are in regards to copyright and libraries?
Please do not be limited to these questions if you have any comments in regards to copyright and libraries please share them.
Thanks in advance for considering these questions.

Huck Finn's Pa and the case for the public domain

David Rothman writes "Inspired by characters in the public domain, a new first novel delves into the twisted psyche of Huckleberry Finn's father.

In praising Finn , by Jon Clinch, the Washington Post says that the author "relies on Twain's details, sometimes borrowing whole scenes and patches of dialogue... Clinch reimagines Finn in a strikingly original way, replacing Huck's voice with his own magisterial vision — one that's nothing short of revelatory."

Time to question presidential candidates and others about their positions on the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act? Wouldn't creators, libraries, schools, and the rest of society be better off without it? Remember, some Bono supporters even want eternal or near-eternal copyright, which, had it existed in Twain's case, would have complicated life endlessly for Clinch. More at TeleRead."

The More, the wikier

madcow writes ""The secret to the quality of Wikipedia entries is lots of edits by lots of people" says Nature.
"Three groups of researchers claim to have untangled the process by which many Wikipedia entries achieve their impressive accuracy.... They say that the best articles are those that are highly edited by many different contributors."

"In effect, the Wiki community has mutated since 2001 from an oligarchy to a democracy. The percentage of edits made by the Wikipedia 'elite' of administrators increased steadily up to 2004, when it reached around 50%. But since then it has steadily declined, and is now just 10% (and falling)."

Let the wiki wars (re)begin!"

Internet piracy site in bid for own island to beat copyright laws

The Pirate Bay, one of the world's most popular websites for the illegal downloading of films through filesharing, has said it wanted to buy its own island in a bid to avoid copyright laws.

"It's not only about Pirate Bay, it's more about having a nation with no copyright laws," one of those behind the site, who gave his name only as Peter, told AFP Friday.

The group said it would consider any territory in international waters to avoid copyright legislation. Story continued here.

Net Archive Gets Some DMCA Exemptions

Search Engines WEB writes ""Thanks to the hard work of two great law school students of Peter Jaszi of American University, Jieun Kim and Doug Agopsowicz, the Internet Archive and other libraries may continue to preserve software and video game titles without fear of going to jail...This is a happy moment, but on the other hand this exception is so limited it leaves the overall draconian nature of the DMCA in effect," said the statement. "A total of more than $50,000 of pro-bono lawyer time has been spent to just affect this exemption and its continuation" The Register Has More"


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