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Apple settles e-book anti-trust damages with states, class-action plaintiffs
June 17, 2014 | 5:49 am

Well, there’s a thing. Reuters reports that Apple has agreed to settle the e-book anti-trust lawsuit filed by 33 state attorneys general and class-action lawyers for consumers from other states. Details of the settlement have not been released; it still needs approval from the court. Judge Cote has ordered the complainants and Apple to submit a filing to seek approval of the settlement within 30 days. As I understand it, this renders the $840 million damages phase of the trial effectively moot. Apple is still going to fight the guilty verdict in the Department of Justice case, and the...

Appeals court rules HathiTrust book scanning is fair use
June 10, 2014 | 3:43 pm

Ars Technica reports that the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on the HathiTrust case, the legal sibling to the Google Books lawsuit. HathiTrust is the organization of university libraries that provided books to Google for scanning purposes in return for receiving copies for themselves. A Federal judge ruled HathiTrust to be fair use in October, 2012, and now the appeals court has upheld that ruling (PDF). The court found that, in scanning the books but not making their full text available (save to handicapped users, who have a special exemption under copyright law), the libraries were...

European newspaper publishers argue web browsing is copyright infringement
June 5, 2014 | 3:46 pm

One of the points often made by supporters of the Google Books fair use ruling is that if copying material to build a search index is not legal, then so is the entire underpinning of the web, which relies on being able to make digital copies and index them. Lest you believe nobody would try to make that claim, Ars Technica reports on a European Union Court of Justice ruling which saw an organization of newspapers try to claim that browsing the web amounted to copyright infringement due to the digital copies of material made on people’s computers while...

House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: Public Knowledge, John Villasenor, The Software Alliance (BSA)
June 4, 2014 | 7:31 am

Previously in this series: House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: John Wiley & Sons, ReDigi House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: Graphic Artists Guild, Owners’ Rights Initiative House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: Matthew B. Glotzer, New York Public Library Here’s the last batch (so far) of documents from the first sale House subcommittee hearing. If any additional material becomes available, I’ll pick that up down the line. Public Knowledge The first document for this entry comes from Sherwin Siy,...

Apple damages trial delayed to August 25
June 3, 2014 | 8:45 pm

In the wake of Apple’s recent failure to obtain a stay on the damages trial, Andrew Albanese reports at Publishers Weekly, the trial has been postponed again, to August 25. There may not actually be a trial as such after all, however; it’s possible Cote might issue a summary judgment deciding the case without recourse to a jury, or a partial judgment setting a damages floor for the jury to consider. Both parties have asked Judge Cote to consider issuing her ruling before the August 1 deadline for submission of their Joint Pretrial Order, which would discuss what is to...

Department of Justice asks settling publishers, ‘Done any more colluding lately?’
June 3, 2014 | 7:45 pm

The Wall Street Journal reports hearing from “people familiar with the situation” that the first three publishers to settle—Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and News Corp’s own HarperCollins—have received letters of inquiry from the Department of Justice, seeking information about “any recent pricing discussions they may have had with others in the industry.” The rest of the article is basically background reminding folks of the price-fixing lawsuit the publishers settled, and the trouble Amazon is having with Hachette. There’s really not a lot on which to speculate. It does seem clear, though, that given that the publishers are approaching the...

Wall Street Journal misses boat again with anti-Amazon hit piece
June 3, 2014 | 4:40 pm

newscorp_thumb[1]The Wall Street Journal has posted another scathing anti-Amazon editorial. It might be paywalled; if so you can bypass it by googling the headline. But I’m willing to bet you can guess pretty much exactly what it says without even reading it. Let’s review: the Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which also owns Big Five nee Six publisher HarperCollins. HarperCollins was originally going to stay out of the agency pricing cabal until Steve Jobs reached out to Murdoch’s son James only two days before the iPad was going to launch, asking him to pressure...

Robinson-Patman, Amazon, the publishers, and the ABA: Where’s the lawsuit? (Updated)
June 3, 2014 | 3:16 pm

Two different op-eds have popped up on CNN and Al Jazeera suggesting that Amazon, big bully that it is in the Hachette negotiation, needs to be taken down a peg under the Robinson-Patman Act. (If you didn’t hear a raspy voice say “I’m Patman” when I mentioned the name of that law, I’m pretty sure you did just now.) Robinson-Patman is an anti-predatory-pricing regulation that’s on the books dating back to the ‘30s, intended to prevent businesses from charging different prices in different towns to undercut local competition, or from using their size to bully suppliers into giving...

House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: Matthew B. Glotzer, New York Public Library
June 3, 2014 | 12:14 pm

Previously in this series: House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: John Wiley & Sons, ReDigi House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: Graphic Artists Guild, Owners’ Rights Initiative This post continues a theme from the last couple, in which one side’s statement is for preserving/extending first sale, and the other is against it. Which is kind of stretching a point, given that the “pro” post really isn’t about digital resale and the con post isn’t against physical resale, but still, I take what I can get. This time...

House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: Graphic Artists Guild, Owners’ Rights Initiative
June 3, 2014 | 5:04 am

oriPreviously in this series: House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: John Wiley & Sons, ReDigi Here are two more documents from yesterday’s first sale hearing. Like yesterday’s pair, they’re a half-and-half split: one in favor of expanding first sale, the other concerned over what the implications might be. We begin with the concerned one. Graphic Artists Guild Writing on behalf of the Graphic Artists Guild, Ed Shems explains graphic artist concerns over the possible expansion of fair use in a 5-page PDF. Graphic artists, Shems explains, frequently license their work rather than selling it outright. This allows them to tailor their fees...

House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: John Wiley & Sons, ReDigi
June 2, 2014 | 4:54 pm

We’ve covered the history of efforts to implement resale of digital goods before (more than once, in fact), and there’s been quite a discussion of why it would be a bad idea. Now it’s Congress’s turn to talk about it. Today a House subcommittee held a hearing concerning first sale and how it related to digital items. InfoDocket has links to the prepared remarks of a number of the attendees, as well as the opening statement by Representative Bob Goodlatte. Noting the importance of the first sale doctrine, Goodlatte said Although some legal doctrines...

Judge Cote awards patent troll victim legal fees under new Supreme Court precedent
June 2, 2014 | 4:50 am

Speaking of Judge Cote, turns out she’s got her head on straight in other ways than just the Apple trial. Ars Technica covers her ruling on a patent troll lawsuit, the first of its kind under a new Supreme Court precedent stating that patent trolls who lose their case can be required to pay the victor’s legal fees. Judge Cote didn’t give the troll victim, FindTheBest, everything it wanted—she threw out their attempt to file a RICO anti-extortion case against the troll—but she rejected the patent and declared that the legal fee award “will serve as an instrument of...