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Copyright reform

Joseph E. Stiglitz on knowledge, scholarly open access, and copyright
November 11, 2014 | 10:25 am

Joseph Stiglitz at CEU 2014Former World Bank chief economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz, lecturing on the topic "Can Illiberal Democracies Create Shared and Sustained Prosperity?" at Central European University in Budapest, had quite a bit to say on copyright and intellectual property in the course of his address. Given that the subject of his latest co-authored book, as well as much of his lecture, is Creating a Learning Society: A New Approach to Growth, Development, and Social Progress, this may come as no surprise, but since Stiglitz is former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, he has had more of an insider's view on U.S. intellectual...

Photographer explains why piracy is driving him out of business
September 24, 2014 | 10:37 pm

We hear about Internet piracy and its deleterious effect on creators dozens or hundreds of times every year. In most cases, it’s about music, movies, games, or books that are circulating on peer-to-peer. The arguments rage on and on about whether this piracy is a good thing or a bad thing, whether it provides much-needed exposure to the artist and whether any, many, most, or all of the people who pirate the work would actually have paid for it under other circumstances. Odds are, most regular readers of TeleRead or any other media blog can recite most of the arguments...

World’s libraries and archives disappointed after latest WIPO talks in Geneva
July 16, 2014 | 2:35 pm

22-09-2009wipo.jpgOrganizations and pressure groups involved in intellectual property rights and global copyright issues for libraries and archives expressed disappointment after the inconclusive conclusion of the Twenty-Eighth Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva."the Committee continued discussion to work towards an appropriate international legal instrument or instruments (whether model law, joint recommendation, treaty and/or other forms) in relation to limitations and exceptions [on customary copyright restrictions] for libraries and archives," stated the chair's conclusions, but "there was no agreement on recommendations to the WIPO General Assembly." Little progress appears to...

New author advocacy group Authors Alliance seeks to counterbalance Authors Guild on fair use issues
May 14, 2014 | 11:28 am

Origin 5142014 112418 AM.bmpA group of writers and copyright experts concerned over Authors Guild overreach has formed its own new author advocacy group, the Authors Alliance, to advocate in favor of fair use of works. Publishers Weekly has a fairly long interview with one of its directors, law professor Pamela Samuelson of the UC Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. (Samuelson’s name has popped up a few times on TeleRead as one of the critics of the proposed Google Books settlement and the Authors Guild’s role in it, and an organizer of the Berkeley Digital Library Copyright Project.) The Authors...

How Many Times Did You Violate Copyright Today?
May 8, 2014 | 10:26 am

copyrightIn today's Morning Links, there was a great little piece from the always-reliable folks at Techdirt, featuring a video by Tom Bell which humorously draws attention to the ridiculousness of overly restrictive copyright law by pointing out just how much 'accidental' infringement an innocent person might do without even thinking. Most people, Filthy Pirates notwithstanding, are decent, honest folks who really do pay for books and music and media when they use them---the popularity of iTines, Netflix, Spotify, Pandora et al attests to that! But do you mentally dock yourself karma points every time you sing Happy Birthday? In the spirit of...

Morning roundup: Of copyright and treaties, OSX Redesign, authors and agents, and a discounted Nook Glowlight
May 2, 2014 | 2:07 am

New Paper Says It's Time To Reasonably Decrease Copyright Term And Rethink Putting Copyright In Treaties (Techdirt) The full paper is well worth reading, detailing just how distorted copyright has become from its original purpose. -- Apple Will Reportedly Unveil 'End-to-End' OSX Redesign at WWDC (GigaOM) Apple will focus on Mac OS X at its upcoming developer’s conference on June 2, according to a new report. -- Authors’ Views on the Value of an Agent (Digital Book World) Are agents worth their fifteen percent? The 2014 Digital Book World and...

UK intellectual property review frees up copying, parody
March 31, 2014 | 2:20 pm

The UK government has introduced a series of changes to copyright law across various media, including books. "These changes will affect how you can use content like books, music, films and photographs," says the introductory text at the UK Intellectual Property Office. "They will also introduce greater freedoms in copyright law to allow third parties to use copyright works for a variety of economically and/or socially valuable purposes without the need to seek permission from copyright owners." These remove the UK's anomalous legal restrictions on, for instance, ripping CDs and DVDs for backup and private home use, and open up...

SFWA to participate in Copyright Office orphan works roundtables
March 9, 2014 | 5:42 pm

The SFWA actually can do some useful things when it’s not getting embroiled in scandals. A press release on its web site notes that former SFWA President Michael Capobianco will be attending some US Copyright Office roundtables on the problem of orphan works on March 10th and 11th. The problem posed by orphan works is becoming more obvious the longer copyright lasts. However, the SFWA suggests that the problems may not be as severe as some copyright reform advocates claim. The SFWA’s full position on the orphan works matter is laid out in a white paper (PDF) that it...

An Interesting Perspective on Life+70 Copyright
December 9, 2013 | 12:15 pm

copyrightTechdirt has a story trending right now on the copyright extension debate. Their write-up is a fairly standard one: the US Copyright Office has finally caught on to the possible detriments of the absurdly long 'Life+70' copyright extension and there is talk of lowering it, or not lowering it, or who knows what. The true gem in the story, though, comes from the comments. A poster named 'oldgeezer' had this analysis to offer: Let's do some math. I am 61 and was 12 when I first heard the Beatles. Paul McCartney is 71. Let's assume he lives to 80. (Year 2022). Ringo...

LSE study suggests creative industries don’t gain from copyright enforcement
October 8, 2013 | 10:20 am

The Department of Media and Communications at the UK's prestigious London School of Economics has just released a policy brief, entitled "Copyright & Creation: A Case for Promoting Inclusive Online Sharing," which suggests that policy-makers and Big Media are gaining little from their efforts to enforce heavy and restrictive copyright rules. Online piracy, in fact, could bring more benefit than harm to the creative sector. "Evidence does not support claims about overall revenue reduction due to individual copyright infringement," claims the brief, in its introduction. "The experiences of other countries that have implemented punitive measures against individual online copyright infringers indicate...

Copyright vs. Common Sense
September 12, 2013 | 11:21 am

Two tales of copyright idiocy crossed my inbox yesterday. The first, by Techdirt's Mike Masnick tells the tale of the Village People's Victor Willis, who has regained the right's to many of his band's famous songs under the 'termination rights' clause, which allows artists to regain copyright of their songs after 35 years, no matter to whom they had assigned it. Willis, as Masnick reports, is trying to use his new ownership rights to stop the current version of the band from performing songs such as YMCA for which they are known. The second story comes my way via BoingBoing, who...

Does copyright still help hold back Martin Luther King’s dream?
August 29, 2013 | 10:08 am

The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's march on Washington seems a good time to resurrect, as many columnists have, the controversy over the copyright status of his "I have a dream" speech, delivered 50 years ago yesterday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The conundrum was typified by the 1999 court case Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. v. CBS, Inc., which hinged on whether the speech had gone into the public domain by being broadcast. King's estate held that it hadn't. The parties settled out of court, so a final judicial ruling was never made, but the...