Legal Issues

Legal Issues

Release of the Full TPP Text After Five Years of Secrecy Confirms Threats to Users’ Rights

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Now that we finally have the final text of this agreement, we'll be digging deeper into the implications of this sprawling agreement in the days and weeks to come. However, if there's one thing we can take away from this, it's that the TPP's secretive, lobbyist-controlled policymaking process has led to a deal that upholds corporate rights and interests at the direct expense of all of our digital rights. We’re going to do all we can to ensure this agreement never gets ratified by the United States Congress or any other country that is a party to this deal.

The Samuelson Clinic releases "Is it in the Public Domain?" handbook - Berkeley Law

The Samuelson Clinic is excited to provide a
handbook, “Is it in the Public Domain?,” and accompanying
visuals. These educational tools help users to evaluate the
copyright status of a work created in the United States between
January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1977—those works that were
created before today’s 1976 Copyright Act. Many important
works—from archival materials to family photos and movies—were created during this time, and it can be
difficult to tell whether they are still under copyright.

Google book-scanning project legal, says U.S. appeals court

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A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that Google's massive effort to scan millions of books for an online library does not violate copyright law, rejecting claims from a group of authors that the project illegally deprives them of revenue.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected infringement claims from the Authors Guild and several individual writers, and found that the project provides a public service without violating intellectual property law.

N.H. Public Library Resumes Support Of 'Tor' Internet Anonymizer

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The Kilton Public Library in West Lebanon had decided to use its spare bandwidth to serve as a relay for the network. New Hampshire Public Radio reports the library had turned off the relay node after police and Homeland Security warned the library that, among other bad things, the network could allow criminals to move child pornography anonymously.

Appeals court strikes a blow for fair use

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In an opinion (PDF) published this morning, the three-judge panel found that Universal Music Group's view of fair use is flawed. The record label must face a trial over whether it wrongfully sent a copyright takedown notice over a 2007 YouTube video of a toddler dancing to a Prince song. That toddler's mother, Stephanie Lenz, acquired pro bono counsel from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF in turn sued Universal in 2007, saying that its takedown practices violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Users to USTR: Don't Sign Away Our Ability to Fix the Orphan Works Problem

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The United States' excessive copyright terms have led to an orphan works crisis in this country. Tens of thousands of books, films, music recordings, and other cultural works across decades have been made completely inaccessible by copyright's strict monopoly, which can last more than 140 years. That casts a shroud of legal uncertainty over orphan works—works where the author or rightsholder cannot be identified or located—which makes using, preserving, or sharing them risky and essentially renders them culturally invisible and forbidden.

NH library at center of internet privacy debate in shutting off its Tor server

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A public library in Lebanon finds itself at the center of a complicated debate over internet privacy and safety, after questions from the Department of Homeland Security led the library to think twice about participating in the global anonymous web-surfing network known as Tor.

“I was surprised at the reaction,” said Sean Fleming, director of the Lebanon Public Libraries, who turned off a Tor server last month until the library’s board of trustees can decided whether to proceed with the project.