Items tagged "Public Domain"

Post

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.

Read More
Post

Owning History

January 23, 2009 DMCA , Public Domain

Much blog ink has been spilt over HBO's handling of the Inaugural Concert broadcast. Setting aside the omission of Rev. Robinson from the live broadcast, word is that HBO made YouTube remove people's personal recordings of the concert.

The details of this remain scant, but the ongoing implications of such actions are alarming.

Read More
Post

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.

Read More
Post

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.

Read More
Post

On the Civil Society Seoul Declaration

June 23, 2008 DRM , Internet Protocol , Network Neutrality , Open Access to Research , Public Domain

For the past couple of days, I've been in South Korea, attending the OECD's Ministerial on the Future of the Internet Economy. Rather than try to give a blow-by-blow account, I've tried to package some of my thoughts in a series of posts. Here's one:

The OECD Ministerial has ended with the signing of the Seoul Declaration, a document signed by the member nations of the OECD, as well as the European Community and observer countries Chile, Egypt, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Latvia, Senegal and Slovenia.

Read More
Post

Searching for the Possible in the Orphan Works Debate

May 20, 2008 Orphan Works , Public Domain

I never like to disagree with my friends in public; particularly friends like Larry Lessig, who I greatly admire and who, through his 24-7 work as the first populist copyright reformer, made the existence of organizations like Public Knowledge possible.

Read More
Post

Don’t Trust the Media to Get Copyright Right: Scrabulous Coverage Scores Few Points

January 22, 2008 Fair Use , Public Domain , Trademark

There's a lot that's interesting in the recent controversy over Hasbro and Mattel, joint owners of the Scrabble trademark, asking Facebook to remove the third-party application, Scrabulous. On the academic side of things, it's fascinating to think about to what extent various aspects of board games are protectable by different areas of intellectual property law.

Read More
Post

PK In the Know Podcast 28

May 23, 2007 Policy Blog , Public Domain

Last month, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) introduced HR 2033, the "Design Piracy Prohibition Act," to the House Judiciary Committee to extend copyright protection to the fashion industry. In this episode of the In The Know Podcast, I discuss the implications of fashion copyright with Christopher Sprigman, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Virginia.

Episode 28 mp3

Read More
Post

Why Copyrights Must Expire: a reply to Mark Helprin

May 21, 2007 Orphan Works , Policy Blog , Public Domain

Mark Helprin has published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for a perpetual copyright. This seems more of a philosophical rant than a serious legislative proposal, but it's an eloquent expression of illogical and incomplete ideas, mixed with a little indirect name-calling.

Helprin begins by comparing intellectual property to real property, saying that, if land shouldn't be confiscated from people after so many years, neither should copyrights. This is a sloppy comparison of two very different concepts, and a quick rundown of the differences between the two should disabuse people of the notion that ending a copyright terms is like confiscating land.

Read More
Post

Fashion protection bill reintroduced–stock-up on your “little black dresses” now

April 26, 2007 Policy Blog , Public Domain

UPDATE: We now have a bill number: HR 2033.

Although we don't have a formal House bill number yet, news reports are saying that Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Bill Delahunt have reintroduced last year's bill, renamed Design Piracy Prohibition Act, which aims to protect fashion designs that are registered. Protection would cover not only clothing but accessories as well, for a three-year duration starting at the date of registry, though the article suggests that some would like to extend the protection from the three years from date of last manufacturer instead. We anticipate the bill will be introduced in otherwise the same form as last year.

Read More