Intellectual Property

Featured Commoner: PLoS Biology

madtom writes "Staff members of the Creative Commons, an organization seeking alternatives to copyright in the face of increasingly restrictive default rules, recently interviewed Michael Eisen, biologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and UC Berkeley and co-founder of the Public Library of Science, about the launch of PLoS Biology, its publication under a Creative Commons license, and its promise to transform open access models, the scientific community, and the world. This week, PLoS moved closer to realizing this dream with the release of its first open access publication: PLoS Biology, a world-class, peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Creative Commons Featured Commoner, October 2003."

Copyright distorts the market

Copyright distorts the market is an interesting coulmn from The Age.
The main focus in on The RIAA and file swapping, but they do a good job at looking at the larger issues involved with copyright. The author, Graeme Philipson, says then that copyright, and the very idea of intellectual property are comparatively recent phenomena in human history. There is nothing sacrosanct about them, and the ease with which music, or text, or software can now be copied indicates that their days may be numbered.

Librarians to P2P critics: Shhh!

The Globe And Mail is running a CNET Story on the five major U.S. library associations filing a legal brief Friday siding with Streamcast Networks and Grokster in the California suit, brought by the major record labels and Hollywood studios. The development could complicate the Recording Industry Association of America's efforts to portray file-swapping services as rife with spam and illegal pornography.

Students Deaf to Copyright Conversation

Gary Deane shares a NY Times Story that says when it comes to downloading music or movies off the Internet, students at Penn State compare it with under-age drinking: illegal, but not immoral. Like alcohol and parties, the Internet is easily accessible. Why not download, or drink, when "everyone" does it?

This set of commandments has helped make people between the ages of 18 and 29, and college students in particular, the biggest downloaders of Internet music.

Hitler at Home on the Internet

The NYTimes reports that a 1938 article from Homes & Gardens which describes Hitler's home in the Bavarian Alps is now being replicated on the Internet. The article was originally scanned in by Simon Waldman, a director of digital publishing, for his personal website. The editor of Homes & Gardens asked him to remove it - he did, but not before others had downloaded it to be shared.

The episode is an object lesson in the topsy-turvy world of copyright and "fair use" — an area made far murkier by the distributive power of the Internet and the subsequent crisscrossing of international legal codes. In the United States, the posting would most likely be considered fair use, said Wendy Seltzer, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. "Reprinting the article now, 65 years after its original publication, strikes me as more like reporting or commenting on a news story, or fair use, than photocopying a current scientific article to save the cost of buying more magazines," she said.

Britain's Copyright, Design and Patents Act of 1988 considers use of "reasonable portions" of some copyrighted material to be "fair dealing," provided they are used in private study, criticism and review, or news reporting. Simply posting an article on the Web might not qualify.

Indeed, the Internet has ensured that copyright can never be just about one nation's laws. "All copyright issues are international copyright issues," said Edwin Komen, an intellectual property lawyer in Washington. On the Web, he added, "you become vulnerable to just about any jurisdiction in the world."

Who owns a dance?

The NYTimes discusses the recent ruling in the case of Martha Graham's heir, Ronald Protas. The Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance believes that when she sold her school to the Center that it became its employee -- and has the right to her body of work.

"This is definitely a success problem," Charles Reinhart, the director of the American Dance Festival, said in an interview. "These problems would never have existed 50 years ago, because the concept of a penny being made by a choreographer or from a dance was unheard of. So now that the commercial aspect of making money has prevailed in this nonprofit world of dance, and the valuable asset is the dance itself — hey, that's a success story. Now we've got to straighten it out and make sure we keep that value with the creator, the choreographer."

Music Downloading is Today's Pot Smoking

Gary Deane writes about another weigh- in on music downloading.

Slashdot Coverage of Database Protection Bill

David Dillard writes "A Slashdot post about current activity in Congress regarding legislation for database protection served as a spring board for a
substantial NetGold post about database
protection legislation discussion and document sources that have been produced over a period of time.

Here is a sampling of the links found in the
NetGold message about database protection legislation: -- Read More

Ethics of Database Use

An anonymous patron pointed out this New York Times Magazine Column "The Ethicist" (second entry) about sharing library database passwords. In this case a university library user's password was offered a non-enrolled high school sibling. The Ethicist concludes that each "user must pay his or her fair share." Most university library database contracts provide for public access from within the library, however. This issue also comes up with serving non-affiliated users via consortial virtual reference systems.

Lawmakers to Weigh Database Protection Bill

Slashdot points to This Reuters article that says Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are circulating a proposed bill that would prevent wholesale copying of school guides, news archives and other databases which do not enjoy copyright protection.

The proposed bill would provide a legal umbrella for publishers of factual information, such as courtroom decisions and professional directories, similar to the copyright laws that protect music, novels and other creative works.

"Information, when not copyrighted, is something that can be shared. Once you start putting fences around information ... there's no freedom of inquiry, That doesn't make us smarter, it makes us dumber."

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