Intellectual Property

Little Orphan Artworks

Op-ed by Lawrence Lessig in the New York Times:

CONGRESS is considering a major reform of copyright law intended to solve the problem of “orphan works” — those works whose owner cannot be found. This “reform” would be an amazingly onerous and inefficient change, which would unfairly and unnecessarily burden copyright holders with little return to the public.

Full op-ed here.

Libraries: Eliminate DRM!

Hey Hey Ho Ho This DRM Has Got To Go! DefectiveByDesign asks you to send a message to all libraries that they too should respect their patrons' freedom, and urges you to sign their open letter. To take action against your local library, they urge you to customize a letter from the template.

Calls Needed TODAY to HOUSE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE Opposing “Dark Archive” Provision of Orphan Works Act

The American Association of Law Libraries on their "Washington Blawg" has the following appeal: Take Action! Calls Needed TODAY to HOUSE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE Opposing “Dark Archive” Provision of Orphan Works Act

See: http://aallwash.wordpress.com/

Copyright and the World's Most Popular Song

Copyright and the World's Most Popular Song: Happy Birthday to You" is the best-known and most frequently sung song in the world. Many - including Justice Breyer in his dissent in Eldred v. Ashcroft - have portrayed it as an unoriginal work that is hardly worthy of copyright protection, but nonetheless remains under copyright. Yet close historical scrutiny reveals both of those assumptions to be false. The song that became "Happy Birthday to You," originally written with different lyrics as "Good Morning to All," was the product of intense creative labor, undertaken with copyright protection in mind. However, it is almost certainly no longer under copyright, due to a lack of evidence about who wrote the words; defective copyright notice; and a failure to file a proper renewal application.

Stealing via the internet is like stealing a kiss.

I was reading the Patent,Trademark, and Copyright Journal and there is a story today titled "Indian Film Maker Faults Failure To Address Counterfeit Movie Sales in U.S.". The gist of his argument is that a massive amount of Indian films are pirated in the U.S. and that just like Hollywood is cracking down in India, Bollywood needs to crack down here. I did some quick reading about the film maker Bobby Bedi and found that he presented a paper to WIPO (WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION). The paper has many of the arguments that were discussed in the Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Journal article.

It also has some great quotes:
"At the end of the day, the creative space is an emotional
space and if ever there is a solution to the piracy issue it will be emerge out of emotion and passion, not technology and logic."

There is a “Robin Hood” in all of us that believes that it is less of a crime to steal from the rich than it is to steal from the poor. We think we are stealing from limo driving, red carpet walking stars, not the two hundred people who helped create the IP and still struggle to make ends meet.

Stealing via the internet is like stealing a kiss. “There’s plenty more there, isn’t it?”.

You can read his full report here. (And you can see the quotes in context, which is important)

A new kind of pirated books

A shiny new $100 book features the contents of an art blog, including interviews with assorted illustrators and reproductions of their work. The book publishers, however, have no affiliation with the blog nor the artists. They simply "scraped" and printed the work. And, of course, are not sharing the proceeds.

http://apefluff.com/colorful-illustrations-93c-please-do-not-buy-this-book/

BBC wins battle over Dalek book

A BBC book about Doctor Who's legendary foes the Daleks has been cleared of infringing copyright in London.

The case was brought by publishers JHP, who printed four books with stories by Dalek creator Terry Nation in the 60s.

Harry Potter case illustrates blurry line in copyright law

In short, by deciding to sell his material, Vander Ark was stepping across a line. He was no longer just an enthusiastic fan, but a professional and potential competitor — fair game for the lawyers.

The question now for the courts is whether the lexicon itself violates copyright law, and the decision may not be easy.

U.S. rules allow for the "fair use" of copyrighted material in unauthorized works, but there are limits. Journalists may quote from films and books when writing a review. Scholars can use excerpts from a novel while penning an author's biography.

Trial Over Potter Lexicon Ends With an Olive Branch

J. K. Rowling held out an olive branch on Wednesday to the Harry Potter look-alike who wants to publish a guide to her books and whose publisher she is suing for copyright infringement.

Ms. Rowling seemed clearly wounded after the previous day’s testimony by the writer of the guide, Steven Jan Vander Ark. Mr. Vander Ark broke into sobs on the witness stand Tuesday as he said that he had once been one of her biggest fans, but now felt cast out of the “Harry Potter community” by her lawsuit.

Ms. Rowling told the judge in Federal District Court in Manhattan that she had been misunderstood. Mr. Vander Ark watched from the back of the room as the trial drew to a close.

Full story in the New York Times.

Publishers Sue Georgia State on Digital Reading Matter

Article in the New York Times: Three prominent academic publishers are suing Georgia State University, contending that the school is violating copyright laws by providing course reading material to students in digital format without seeking permission from the publishers or paying licensing fees.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in United States District Court in Atlanta, the publishers — Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications — sued four university officials, asserting “systematic, widespread and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works” by Georgia State, which the university distributes through its Web site

Full article here.

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