Category Archives: Intellectual Property

Google Books Lawsuit Settles

According to Google, a settlement has been reached in the class action lawsuit filed against Google Book Search by a series of authors and publishers, including the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers.  For more information, click here to access Google’s announcement, including information on how Google Book Search will change based on the settlement agreement.  The agreement must still be approved and finalized by the Court.

You can read more about the lawsuit and the settlement in the Guardian’s article “Google Settles Dispute Over Online Books” and in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s article in their Wired Campus section.

New report about P2P compliance on college campuses

A recent Chronicle of Higher Ed article announced that the Campus Computing Project has issued a new report entitled, “The Campus Costs of P2P Compliance, ‘ which finds that colleges are spending money to keep students from downloading pirated music and movies, but generally are not paying for legal alternatives to peer-to-peer piracy.

On its website, The Campus Computing Project states that the paper reports the results of a summer 2008 survey designed to address the campus costs of compliance with the new P2P filesharing mandates in reauthorized Higher Education Act (HEA) that was signed into law on August 14, 2008.  The report is based data from 321 colleges and universities and focuses on P2P compliance costs as reflected in expenditures (e.g., content and software licenses)  and also the time that campus personnel spend on P2P filesharing issues.

This year the report finds that just 3 of 321 institutions have licenses with file sharing services, while a 2005 Educause survey found that dozens of campuses had agreements with services like Napster, Cdigix, and Ruckus.  The Chronicle article discusses how the market has changed for legal downloading services.

Pilot Program for Law Students to Practice Before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will begin a pilot Law School Clinical Certification Program. This program will allow law students to practice Intellectual Property Law before the agency under the strict guidance of a Law School Clinical Faculty Supervisor. The pilot will consist of both a patent program and a trademark program.

Read more about it on the PTO’s Press Release

More Digital Doings at Harvard

As a follow-up to the earlier post of February 12, 2008, the outcome of the Harvard A & S faculty vote on posting scholarly articles appears on the university’s web page, to wit:

"In a move to disseminate faculty research and scholarship more broadly, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) voted Tuesday (Feb. 12) to give the University a worldwide license to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available and to exercise the copyright in the articles, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. "

And you might want to scoot virtually over to Harvard Law, where they are posting a digitization project called "Dying Speeches and Bloody Murders: Crime Broadsides Collected by the Harvard Law School Library." In those days, open access meant …to executions, from the looks of it. Creepy.

Copyright Royalty Board Issues Notices of Proceeding, Comments, and Settlement

In three notices published Jan. 30 in the Federal Register, the Copyright Royalty Board announced the initiation of a proceeding on cable royalty distribution, requested comments related to satellite royalties, and announced a settlement regarding 2005 cable royalties (73 Fed. Reg, 5,596, 1/30/08; 73 Fed. Reg. 5,597, 1/30/08; and 73 Fed. Reg. 5,597, 1/30/08).

Quoting from BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Law Daily – available through the Library’s online databases.

Specter Introduces Bill to Allow Super Bowl Viewing in Churches

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) Feb. 4 introduced a bill (S. 2591) that would allow churches to show professional football game broadcasts such as the Super Bowl to their parishioners without infringing the National Football League’s copyrights. The broadcasts would be permitted so long as the church does not charge a fee, and the broadcast is live.

Quoting from BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Law Daily – available through the Library’s online databases.

Supreme Court Declines Orphan Works Case

If libraries are to get relief regarding the orphan works on their shelves, it looks like it won’t come from the courts. This week the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of Kahle v. Ashcroft, brought by Internet Archive and Open Content Alliance founders Brewster Kahle and Rick Prelinger in 2003, which challenged the constitutionality of the current copyright regime. Although not unexpected, the Supreme Court’s refusal comes after a recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals raised hopes of a review, and lets stand the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection, effectively ending the case.

The Kahle suit was launched in the wake of the unsuccessful 2003 Eldred v. Ashcroft case, which challenged Congess’ extension of copyright terms. In that ruling, the Supreme Court held that changes by Congress to the “traditional contours” of copyright law warranted a First Amendment review. Kahle v. Ashcroft contended that Congress’s sweeping changes to copyright law in 1976 were enough of a change in the “contours of copyright” to require review.

Until 1976, copyright law required creators to register their works. Changes to the law, however, removed the necessity to register works and extended the basic copyright term from 28 years to “life plus 70 years.” The combination of those changes has thrown many works without clear copyright owners into legal limbo, creating the so-called orphan works problem.

The Tenth Circuit, in Fall, 2007, bolstered hopes of a Supreme Court review for Kahle, with its ruling in Golan v. Gonzales, which held that a provision of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) that “restored” copyrights to some works already in the public domain was enough of a change to copyright traditions as to require review. In that ruling, Kahle’s lawyers hoped the Supreme Court would see a legal point of reference and would agree that changing copyright from an opt-in system with a short protection period to an opt-out system with a lengthy protection period was also significant enough to warrant review. [source: LJ’s Academic Newswire, Jan. 10, 2008]

Copyright issues for course reserve

Faculty members are posting class resources online, and they may be violating copyright in the process. William Shell, associate director of academic technology and computing services at Eastern Michigan University, asks: How can a university make faculty members aware of copyright law?

Listen to the short audio program online: Tech Therapy: Setting Professors Right on Rights

-From the Chronicle of Higher Education (KPJ)