Copycense Clippings 0.971
Due to a raft of year-end commitments and continued tinkering with our Clippings format, we postponed last week’s edition until this week. In this edition, we look at Google’s copyright challenges with spidering others’ news feeds; a British report on artists’ uses of CC licenses; international attempts at extending the AHRA; and the U.K.’s attempt to extend copyright terms for recordings as some of the Beatles catalog is about to go into the public domain.
Quote of the Week
“I think that a lot of sharing is being and will be hampered by laws and technology, and things like DRM (digital rights management). Part of it is about the business of helping people share. … The idea of the “sharing economy” is to show that “sharing” isn’t about being a communist or taking value from the economy and giving it away. But it’s important to think about how sharing can help the economy and how hurting sharing can hurt it.” — Joi Ito, chief executive office, Neoteny. Daniel Terdiman. Joi Ito: A Man of Many Hats. News.com. Nov. 27, 2006.
Stephanie Bodoni. Google Stumbles Over Belgian Court Challenge to Newspaper Links. Bloomberg.com. Nov. 28, 2006. Does this seem confusing to you? It should, since you’re probably saying to yourself “I thought Google already settled this.” Here’s the basic recap. Within a week of this story being published, news surfaced the Google had settled copyright claims with Belgian news photographers and writers over links to Belgian news content. This story, however, is about Google having similar copyright problems with the newspaper publishers. As always, we note a handful of observations. First, this story illustrates that creators and copyright owners often are two entirely separate entities. This is why we chuckle when Big Content claims their business decision to litigate first and ask questions later is primarily about compensating creators (be they writers, musicians, photographers, or actors). That strategy has nothing to do with compensating creators; it has everything to do with maintaining corporate revenue.
Second, why is Big Content’s first, almost reflexive thought to litigate whenever another, smaller company uses technology and finds more innovative and profitable ways to leverage content than they have themselves. At a minimum, one would thing it would be more advantageous to content provider and innovator to partner. Instead of wasting all this money on lawyers, Big Content should be using this money to either develop their own solutions or just buy out the companies that are doing neat things.
Third, and this seems like an obvious question: how is it that linking to another’s Web site (or even summarizing that Web site, either by creating original abstract or electronically trolling the site and reproducing the first few words of the lead paragraph) qualifies as a copyright infringement violation? Let’s remove this realm of the legal for a moment: given the nature of the Web and what it does, how silly is this entire premise?
- Frank Ahrens. A Start-Up Fueled by Star Power. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 29, 2006. We really like the actor Morgan Freeman. I mean, we really do. But through ClickStar, he’s going to fight Apple and (now) Wal-Mart for the movie download market? He doesn’t stand a chance, no matter how good an actor he is. Categories: Film; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Web & Online.
- Open Business. Release of Report on UK Artists, Copyright and Creative Commons. Nov. 28, 2006. Too often, one of the underrepresented parties in the global copyright debate is the creators. (In many ways, Big Content has appointed itself the spokesperson for the creators with whom it has a contractual relationship, but suggesting this relationship is beneficent is rather ridiculous.) This report surveys and speaks to artists, who discuss their use of Creative Commons licenses. Categories: International, Licensing & Permissions, Music.
- Rebecca Lenzini. Wiley to Acquire Blackwell Publishing. Information Today. Nov 27, 2006. This deal has been abuzz the past week or so on the Liblicense listserv. This deal has all the juicy tidbits: family squabbles, industry control, and, of course, lots of cash. More practically, it means even more consolidation in the publishing industry, which inevitably means higher prices and worse service for libraries and other purchasers. Categories: Books, Libraries & Information Centers.
- Patricia Sullivan. H. Donald Wilson, 82; Developed LexisNexis. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 25, 2006. Wilson began his career as a lawyer. We wonder what he thought about copyright protection for databases? Also, Law Librarian Blog has an appreciation for Wilson and his pioneering role in developing computer-assisted legal research. Categories: Databases.
- Victoria Shannon. The End User: When It Comes to Digital Hardware, Copyright Levies Are a Taxing Debate. International Herald Tribune. Nov. 22, 2006. As we suspected and reported just last week, the idea of a device tax to “compensate artists” for “piracy” — a la the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 — is beginning to gain currency. This article discusses how the European Union is beginning to investigate the idea. Categories: Music; Law, Legislation & Regulation; International.
- Jennifer Granick. Second Life Will Save Copyright. Wired News. Nov. 20, 2006. Granick details Second Life’s attempt to deal with its Copybot issue not through restrictive software, but through the Second Life licensing agreement. Categories: DMCA; DRM & Copy Protection; Licensing & Permissions; Web & Online.
- James M. O’Neill. Professors Get an ‘F’ in Copyright Protection From Publishers. Bloomberg.com. Nov. 17, 2006. This issue and the Cornell-AAP agreement that it fostered is the culmination of Big Publishing clanging swords for more than a year over alleged revenue loss from e-reserves at institutions of higher learning. Categories: Libraries & Information Science; Books.
- Greg Sandoval. Universal Sues MySpace for Copyright Violations. News.com. Nov. 17, 2006. Ho hum: Big Content is suing over allegations of copyright infringement. Just another mundane tech story. Why, then, are we posting it? We post this story because this lawsuit points to the relevance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in MGM v. Grokster, which held that providers of software that designed to enable “file-sharing” of copyrighted works may be held liable for the copyright infringement that takes place using that software. This so-called “inducement” theory of liability has facilitated copyright portfolio holders’ entree into federal court on infringement cases. To this end, the razor sharp William Patry discusses how copyright owners are extending Grokster beyond music and and file sharing. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Music; Web & Online.
- James Boyle. Breaking the Deal. FT.com. Nov. 16, 2006. Duke law professor James Boyle looks at the U.K.’s attempt to extend copyright terms for sound recordings another two decades, just as copyright on some of the Beatles’ catalog is about to expire. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Who is Britain’s Sonny Bono? Categories: Public Domain & Term; Music.
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