Items tagged "Orphan Works"

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Public Knowledge Files Brief Opposing Amended Google Books Settlement

January 29, 2010 Antitrust , Competition , Google Book Search , Orphan Works

Today is the last day for commenters and objectors to weigh in on the amended Google Book settlement before the district court in New York that’s overseeing the case. Yesterday, Public Knowledge filed its amicus brief in opposition to the new settlement.

Our concerns are the same as they were when the settlement deal was first announced—that, if approved, it would result in Google becoming the only company that can sell access to orphan books without risking a massive lawsuit.

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What Do Ebooks, Zombies, and Copyright Terms Have in Common Besides this Headline?

December 14, 2009 Orphan Works , Public Domain

Two articles in Sunday’s New York Times might appear unrelated at first, but together they illustrate some interesting points about copyright. The first discussed problems related to getting “backlist books” (books that were published a number of years ago but are still actively being sold) into an ebook format. The second had to do with zombies.

The ebook article was interesting, but it should not have surprised anyone who has been looking at digital copyright issues for the past few years. Actually, it is more of a contract issue than anything else. Before about 1994 publishing contracts did not contain any language that explicitly granted publishers the right to print books in an electronic form.

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The New Google Book Settlement: First Impressions on Orphan Works

November 17, 2009 Antitrust , Competition , Google Book Search , Orphan Works

Late on Friday, a federal court in New York received a new version of the Google Book Search settlement. As with the old version, the new one was drafted jointly by Google and its erstwhile litigation opponents: the publishers and authors who sued Google for scanning their books without permission.

Substantively, the new settlement bears a great resemblance to the old one.

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DOJ Weighs in on Google Book Search Settlement

September 21, 2009 Competition , Fair Use , Google Book Search , Monopoly , Orphan Works

On Friday, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division submitted a "Statement of Interest of the United States of America" to the court about the proposed Google Book Search settlement. Its conclusion: "the Proposed Settlement does not meet the legal standards this Court must apply." It seems the DOJ shares both our hopes for and appreciation of the Google Book Search service and many of the concerns about the settlement that we expressed in our amicus brief filed two weeks ago.

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Public Knowledge Files on the Google Book Search Settlement

September 10, 2009 Antitrust , Competition , Fair Use , Google Book Search , Orphan Works

This Tuesday, Public Knowledge filed a brief asking the court not to approve the proposed Google Book Search settlement as it is currently constructed. The proposed settlement raises significant antitrust and class action procedural concerns. In plain English, these concerns are that the settlement represents an attempt to license a lot of books belonging to people who are unable to protest, set up a system to pay other people for the use of those books, and give a single party the exclusive right to use many of those books indefinitely. Read on for some more detail about our concerns.

But first, let’s be clear: We want online access to all books for everyone. We want a world without orphan works, where one can either find a copyright’s owner and seek to license use of their work, or else that work is available for use by all. We want all books to be made accessible so that the blind can read everything the sighted can. We are happy with Google’s current lawful scanning, indexing, and excerpting of all books, and the ability it provides to locate works which would otherwise lay dormant. We would like to find a way that anyone who wants to can offer the public even more complete access. And we have no doubt that whatever happens, Google will continue to offer searches of all books, offer full, accessible access to the books it has licensed, and find ways to locate as many rightsholders as possible to obtain more licenses.

But access through a single party is not true access: What we do not want is for books to be made available only through a single company that has, through judicial gymnastics, obtained the only possible license to those works. What we don’t want is a system where the books of absent authors are being sold and the unclaimed proceeds are going to those who should be finding those authors in the first place.

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Public Knowledge and the Google Book Search Settlement

May 1, 2009 Fair Use , Orphan Works

This week, the Honorable Judge Chin of the Southern District of New York granted us permission to file an amicus brief regarding the proposed Google Book Search settlement. Since the proposal’s announcement back in October, we’ve been poring over the 320 pages of text and attachments, meeting with parties on all sides of the issue, and weighing the upsides and the downsides of the deal. In the end, we have some serious concerns about aspects of the proposed settlement, and plan to bring those concerns to the attention of the Court before Judge Chin makes a final ruling. On Wednesday, he granted a 4-month extension for those who wish to file, so there is still much to be done, but we thought we’d give you a preview of the issues we plan to raise.

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‘Tis the Season Part III: USPTO Transition

December 18, 2008 Broadcast Flag , DRM , Fair Use , Orphan Works , Patent

Today PK, along with the Center for Democracy and Technology, Knowledge Ecology International, the Public Patent Foundation and representatives of the library community met with some of the members of transition team for the US Patent and Trademark Office. PK Advisory Board member and Duke University Professor Arti Rai, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Executive Vice President for Global Legal Policy Shira Perlmutter and National Inventors Hall of Fame IP Counsel Joyce Ward were the team members who met with us.

Most of the discussion focused on the USPTO's role in International Copyright policymaking.

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Google Book Search and Orphan Works

October 31, 2008 Fair Use , Orphan Works , Public Domain

By now, you’ve probably heard about the proposed settlement in the Google Book Search lawsuit. By the terms of the deal (assuming it is approved by the court), Google gets the risk-free ability to scan, index, and in many cases, post portions of pretty much every book which has gone into U.S. Copyright by the end of the year. Clearly this is a win for getting the public access to large swaths of books which would otherwise been effectively lost to them. But is it really a win in the fight to make orphan works usable, as Professor Lawrence Lessig suggests? While it’s a step in the right direction (and has the benefits described), it’s not a very big one, nor is it enough to obviate the need for Congress to step in.

The short version of why is that while it helps Google index orphaned books and helps the public get access to them, it does nothing for non-book works or for anyone other than Google who wants to make use of orphaned books. The long version is detailed below.

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Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of the Sonny Bono Act

October 29, 2008 Analog Hole , Broadcast Flag , DRM , Fair Use , Orphan Works

The 10th anniversary of the DMCA is not the only infamous 10th anniversary that Public Knowledge gets to “celebrate” this week. Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998. That law extended copyright terms from 50 years after the life of an author and 70 years in the case of corporations, to 70 years beyond the life of an author and 95 years in the case of corporations. Named after Sonny Bono, the late Congressman best known for his musical and personal partnership with the performer Cher, the law has taken countless works out of the public domain, greatly weakening the wellspring of creativity and knowledge from which new creativity emerges.

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Google Book Search Lawsuit Settled, Fair Use Questions Remain : Settlement proposes Book Rights Regi

October 28, 2008 Fair Use , Orphan Works , Public Domain

It's been announced today that Google has settled the massive lawsuits filed against it by a series of publishers and authors for its Book Search program. The program had scanned in tons of books into a database, making public domain works available online to the public, while providing a searchable database of copyrighted books that would display only snippets of text to the searcher.

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