Copycense Clippings 1.11
Guest editor Kim Hagedorn helms a special interim edition of Copycense Clippings.
Article of the Week
60 Minutes. Under the Influence. April 1, 2007. We often have said that we think Chapter 1 of Jessica Litman‘s Digital Copyright is one of the best pieces of writing available about how American copyright legislation gets made. (Think sausage.) While this 60 Minutes segment has nothing to do with copyright, it is a fascinating look at how large players within an industry can control a legislative agenda. Categories: Law, Legislation & Regulation; Politics & Government.
Quote of the Week
“Section 108 of the law, which provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives, does not adequately address many of the issues unique to digital media …” — Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights
U.S. Copyright Office. Future of Digital Libraries. March 26, 2007. Marybeth Peters is to copyright followers what Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke is to the financial markets: whenever she speaks, copyright lawyers and activists listen. Two things strike us as interesting about Ms. Peters’ quote. First, she makes the quote while The Section 108 Study Group continues to work through some very thorny issues related to the statutes application in the digital age. The Study Group originally was due to conclude its work and report to the Librarian of Congress by December 2006, but for a variety of reasons, it has extended its work into this year.
Second, while Peters’ quote articulates what most information professionals involved in copyright think is obvious, her comments suggest that only recently is she acknowledging the effect of copyright law on this nation’s de facto national library. Library representative organizations have been complaining openly about the overly protectionist slant copyright law has taken, and consistently urging changes for the past decade. But somehow it seems that Ms. Peters is just now beginning to realize that as the Library of Congress gets involved in the digitization and digital work so many other libraries already are involved in, that august institution also may be hamstrung by copyright.
I can hear librarians nationwide muttering, “Welcome to our world, Ms. Peters.” Categories: Libraries & Information Centers; Research; U.S. Copyright Office.
- Juan Carlos Perez. AFP-Google Settlement Leaves Open Questions. InfoWorld. April 6, 2007. Google dodges another bullet. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Cases & Litigation; Web & Online.
- Freedom to Tinker. EMI To Sell DRM-Free Music. April 3, 2007. Princeton computer science professor Edward Felten discusses his views on EMI’s decision to eliminate locks from digital music content sold through Apple’s iTunes store. Interestingly, Felten posits that part of this decision may help Apple quell the incessant criticism it has received in the European Union over its own copy protection scheme, FairPlay. Categories: DRM & Copy Protection; Music.
- Bob Tedeschi. Hoping to Move Guitar Notations Into the Legal Sunshine. The New York Times. April 2, 2007. The music industry long has considered guitar tablature sites to be forms of illegal reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works, and has threatened such Web sites with lawsuits in recent years. Now MusicNotes.com, an online provider of sheet music, has made an arrangement with music publisher representative Harry Fox Agency to provide Fox with a portion of advertising revenue from its subsidiary tablature site Mxtabs.net. We’ll be interested in knowing what happens if the advertising revenue does not meet the music publishers’ desire or expectations. Categories: Music. Web & Online.
- Jill E. Grogg and Beth Ashmore. Google Book Search Libraries and Their Digital Copies. Searcher. April 2007. A pair of university librarians review the Google Book Search project and its immediate and continuing effect on libraries’ digital preservation efforts. Categories: Books; Digitization; Libraries & Information Centers.
- Maria Glod. McLean Students Sue Anti-Cheating Service. WashingtonPost.com. March 29, 2007. A half dozen high school students, all minors, have sued Turnitin, alleging the anti-plagiarism site violates copyright laws. The complaint (.pdf) seeks $900,000 in damages — $150,000 for each of the six students involved in the lawsuit — for Turnitin’s archiving of the students’ work. While the lawsuit positions this as a copyright infringement lawsuit, it is more likely that the issue will turn on Turnitin’s Usage Policy, which acts as a license that likely will trump the provisions of the Copyright Act. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Education; Licensing & Permissions.
- Peter Cohen. ‘1984’ Owner Speaks Out on Obama YouTube Video. Macworld. March 28, 2007. Apple’s epic 1984 advertisement introducing the Macintosh computer has been remixed into a set of competing political ads that support the presidential candidacies of Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton, respectively. The owner of the film and television rights to George Orwell’s 1984, on which Apple’s advertisement and the politically-oriented remixes are based, has objected to the new versions. Interestingly, a spokesperson for Rosenblum Productions, owner of the aforementioned film and television rights, claims that the reason the Apple advertisement only has appeared once on television (during the 1984 Super Bowl) is because Rosenblum sent a cease and desist letter to Apple, claiming a “commercial infringement.” University of Michigan law professor Jessica Litman asks whether any of this is fair use. Categories: Fair Use; Politics & Government; Web & Online.
- CNet Politics Blog. Musicians Back Net Neutrality Laws. March 28, 2007. Rock the Net is sponsored by the Future of Music Coalition, and includes acts such as The Donnas, R.E.M., and Pearl Jam. We’re surprised that the musicians have coalesced around this issue, instead of the seemingly more direct issue of increased Webcasting royalty rates. While one could argue that artists could gain more money upfront from increased Webcasting royalties, the flip side of the argument is that increased rates threaten independent Web radio — which is more likely to play a wider range of music that includes more artists (especially alternative artists) — much more than the giant broadcasters who maintain Web presences, which is reserved exclusively for the largest selling music acts. Categories: Politics & Government; Music.
- Alex Veiga. EMI, Napster Lawsuit Settled. Time.com (via The Associated Press). March 27, 2007. Let’s forget this lawsuit for a minute, and instead talk about Shawn Fanning, the founder and technical architect of the original Napster program. If there is any person who is responsible for creating a single technological innovation that simultaneously disrupted business models and legal constructs, it’s Fanning. We contend that Fanning “got it” to an extent that most of us still fail to, and that his contributions to the digital society in which we now live are greatly underappreciated. Categories: Cases & Litigation; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Music.
- ArsTechnica. Students Largely Ignore RIAA Instant Settlement Offers. March 26, 2007. It turns out that only about a quarter of the students that have received received RIAA pre-litigation letters have sought settlement. Most of the other 75 percent will default. Is it possible the best answer to the RIAA litigation attempt is to avoid answering at all? Categories: Cases & Litigation; Education; File Sharing & P2P; Infringement; Music.
- Sivacracy.net. The Camel Library. March 26, 2007. This story made us realize how much we take having access to books for granted. The Camel Library, which shuttles books between Somalia and Kenya, is requesting donations. Now, an Amazon.com customer has created a Wish List that will allow folks to make donations to the library. Categories: International; Library & Information Science.
- ArsTechnica. Music Publishers Sue XM Radio Over “Downloads.” March 23, 2007. The music industry has thrown another lawsuit against XM Radio, claiming that XM Radio users have the ability to download broadcasts, thereby making. As XM tries wrestles with antitrust regulators over the implications of its proposed merger with Sirius, this lawsuit is likely the last thing Washington, DC-based XM wants to have to deal with right now. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Cases & Litigation; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Music; Web & Online.
- News.com (via Reuters). Starz Sues Disney Over Movie Downloads. March 23, 2007. Big name lawsuits over video downloads seem to be increasing in number. Starz alleges that providing iTunes and Walmart downloads of such movies as “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” is a breach of its contract with Disney. Categories: Cases & Litigation; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Film; Web & Online.
- ArsTechnica. News Corp. and NBC Announce Partnership to Create YouTube Competitor. March 22, 2007. NBC has “complained” about show clips appearing on YouTube, all the while stoking the publicity those clips receive on the Google video network. News Corp. and NBC probably won’t have copyright infringement concerns since they are providng broadcasting of their programs such as My Name is Earl and Saturday Night Live. They have also are a little different from YouTube in that they are in control of the content. Perhaps now we can watch SNL at a time when we’re actually awake. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Film; Multimedia.
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