Copyright Section 108 Spinner Tool for Libraries and Librarians…02.13.09

13 02 2009

This is a really cool tool was brought to my attention by Jill Hurst-Whal’s post Section 108 Spinner on her Digitization 101 blog:

“Thanks to DigitalKoans for pointing this out. The American Libraries Association (ALA) has created a Section 108 Spinner that helps libraries and archives to understand if they can copy or digitize an item using the limitations provided in Section 108. Due to how Section 108 is written, anything that helps to make it intelligible is a benefit! This tools is definitely worth bookmarking.”

Yes, indeed!


Kindle 2 Audio Feature Brews Copyright Charge…02.11.09

11 02 2009

LISNews  post Author’s Guild Claims Kindle 2 Copyright Infringement today:

The Kindle 2 has a feature which allows the book to be read out loud. And wow, does this have the Author’s Guild up in a tizzy.

‘They don’t have the right to read a book out loud,’ said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. ‘That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.’

Amazon is moving forward with the rather logical opinion that there’s no way a person would confuse the computerized text to speech voice with an audiobook.

So all of you youth librarian types doing story time? STOP IT. You’re violating copyright and you’re probably doing it more ways than one since you’re not only reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom out loud, but you’re putting on a public performance.

Boing Boing Gadgets has the run down. More on this story from the Wall Street Journal.”

Google Copyright Controversy…02.02.09

2 02 2009

There is a good article entitled Google & the Future of Books in the upcoming Feb. 12 issue of The New York Review of Books by Robert Darnton excerpted here:

“How can we navigate through the information landscape that is only beginning to come into view? The question is more urgent than ever following the recent settlement between Google and the authors and publishers who were suing it for alleged breach of copyright. For the last four years, Google has been digitizing millions of books, including many covered by copyright, from the collections of major research libraries, and making the texts searchable online. The authors and publishers objected that digitizing constituted a violation of their copyrights. After lengthy negotiations, the plaintiffs and Google agreed on a settlement, which will have a profound effect on the way books reach readers for the foreseeable future. What will that future be?

Libraries exist to promote a public good: ‘the encouragement of learning,’ learning ‘Free To All.’ Businesses exist in order to make money for their shareholders—and a good thing, too, for the public good depends on a profitable economy. Yet if we permit the commercialization of the content of our libraries, there is no getting around a fundamental contradiction. To digitize collections and sell the product in ways that fail to guarantee wide access would be to repeat the mistake that was made when publishers exploited the market for scholarly journals, but on a much greater scale, for it would turn the Internet into an instrument for privatizing knowledge that belongs in the public sphere. No invisible hand would intervene to correct the imbalance between the private and the public welfare. Only the public can do that, but who speaks for the public? Not the legislators of the Mickey Mouse Protection Act.

You cannot legislate Enlightenment, but you can set rules of the game to protect the public interest. Libraries represent the public good. They are not businesses, but they must cover their costs. They need a business plan. Think of the old motto of Con Edison when it had to tear up New York’s streets in order to get at the infrastructure beneath them: ‘Dig we must.’ Libraries say, ‘Digitize we must.’ But not on any terms. We must do it in the interest of the public, and that means holding the digitizers responsible to the citizenry…

Google is not a guild, and it did not set out to create a monopoly. On the contrary, it has pursued a laudable goal: promoting access to information. But the class action character of the settlement makes Google invulnerable to competition. Most book authors and publishers who own US copyrights are automatically covered by the settlement. They can opt out of it; but whatever they do, no new digitizing enterprise can get off the ground without winning their assent one by one, a practical impossibility, or without becoming mired down in another class action suit. If approved by the court—a process that could take as much as two years—the settlement will give Google control over the digitizing of virtually all books covered by copyright in the United States…

As an unintended consequence, Google will enjoy what can only be called a monopoly—a monopoly of a new kind, not of railroads or steel but of access to information. Google has no serious competitors. Microsoft dropped its major program to digitize books several months ago, and other enterprises like the Open Knowledge Commons (formerly the Open Content Alliance) and the Internet Archive are minute and ineffective in comparison with Google. Google alone has the wealth to digitize on a massive scale. And having settled with the authors and publishers, it can exploit its financial power from within a protective legal barrier; for the class action suit covers the entire class of authors and publishers. No new entrepreneurs will be able to digitize books within that fenced-off territory, even if they could afford it, because they would have to fight the copyright battles all over again. If the settlement is upheld by the court, only Google will be protected from copyright liability...”

Copyright © 1963-2008, NYREV, Inc. All rights reserved.

“Time to Put Up or Shut Up” About OCLC Policy Change…01.11.09

11 01 2009

The following excerpt from Thingology (LibraryThing’s ideas blog) entitled “Why libraries must reject the OCLC Policy (part 1)” [] seems to be a pretty good assessment of the OCLC policy change debate that has been ongoing.  I would recommend reading the complete post along with the forthcoming “part 2).

“…1. The Policy fundamentally changes the character of OCLC, a “member” institution, with no formal member approval and with little member input…
2. The Policy is a legal document. No other statements matter….

3. The Policy is illegitimately retroactive…
4. The Policy is perpetual and will create a perpetual monopoly….

5. OCLC can change the Policy at any time, in any way….

6. If you violate the policy your library automatically loses the right to any “OCLC-derived” records you have….

7. OCLC has sole discretion to declare a library in violation and strip it of its records…

Call to action

Librarians and interested parties have only a month before the OCLC Policy goes into effect. It is time to put up or shut up.

Public Domain Blog–New Authors in the Public Domain…01.05.09

5 01 2009

From the Public Domain blog [] which lists new authors in the public domain:

“…January 1st, which means that this morning at midnight a batch more ‘life-plus’ copyrights expired in those countries — most of them — where copyright expires at the end of the Nth year following the death of the author.

Yes, folks, it’s Public Domain Day! And it’s international! There are little Public Domain Day virtual commemorations going on in places like Poland and Switzerland. Spread the word!

In the life+50 universe, which constitute the largest cohort of countries, including Canada, which collectively have the majority of the world’s population, life-plus copyrights expired at midnight for those authors, or last-surviving of multiple authors, who died in 1958. Some notable life+50 entries into the public domain include life+50 copyrights for authors such as:

Australian politician (and sheep breeder) James Guthrie (“A world history of sheep and wool”)
American film composer Edward H. Plumb (“Bambi” and many other Disney films)
American hymnist George Bennard (“The Old Rugged Cross”)
British painter and illustrator Lucy Kemp-Welch (the original edition of “Black Beauty”)
American screenwriter Jack Henley (“Bonzo Goes to College”)
American writer J. P. McEvoy (“Dixie Dugan”)
American author Betty MacDonald (“Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle”)
British poet Robert Service (“The Cremation of Sam McGee”, etc.)
English poet Alfred Noyes (“The Highwayman”)
English music scholar Percy Scholes (“The Oxford Companion to Music”)
American artist and author Marjorie Flack (“The Story About Ping”)
American writer Johnston McCulley (creator of “Zorro”)
British aircraft manufacturer Alliott Verdon Roe (as in Avro, as in the Arrow)
Serbian geophysicist Milutin Milanković (early proponent of ice ages)
British author and translator Lionel Giles (translator of the most widely-published English edition of Sun-Tzu’s “Art of War”)
Romanian-British rabbi and scholar Shulem Moshkovitz (the Shotzer Rebbe)
American financial analyst John Moody (of Wall Street fame)

A more extensive, but nowhere near complete list is reproduced below. See also Wikipedia’s list of deaths in 1958 and the New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors 1958 deaths page.

Across the pond in the European Union, some other non-EU countries, and certain other countries around the world, being the second-largest copyright universe where the general term is “life plus seventy”, copyrights by sole authors, or the last-surviving of multiple authors, who died in 1938, expired today. 1938 was an especially bad year in Europe, where many literary, scientific, political, and religious creators fell victim to Nazi persecution and Stalinist purges.

Some of the more interesting members of the 1938 class of deceased authors include:

Danish bacteriologist Hans Christian Gram (of Gram staining fame) 
British-Canadian author, conservationist, and literary fraud Archie Belaney (Grey Owl) 
Latvian-born ethnologist and musicologist Abraham Zevi Idelsohn (to whom the lyrics to “Hava Nagila” are attributed) 
American cartoonist E. C. Segar (creator of “Popeye”) 
American illustrator Johnny Gruelle (creator of “Raggedy Ann”) 
American lawyer Clarence Darrow (of “Scopes Monkey Trial” fame) 
American songwriter James Thornton (“When You Were Sweet Sixteen”, written in 1898) 
Japanese martial artist Kano Jigoro (founder of judo) 
American industrialist Harvey Samuel Firestone (of tire fame)

A more extensive, but again far from complete list is reproduced below. See also Wikipedia’s list of deaths in 1938 and the New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors 1938 deaths page…”

Copyright “Gone Wild”…12.13.08

13 12 2008

Copyright madness is spreading.  Now India claims the Taj Mahal is copyrighted.  Read this post from BoingBoing []:


(Stereoscope photo from 1906)

A wealthy film director is spending £40 million to build an exact replica of the Taj Mahal in Bangladesh, but Indian officials are trying to block its constructing, claiming the Taj Mahal, which was completed in 1653 is protected by copyright.

For their part, Bangladeshi officials are incensed by suggestions that the Taj Mahal – which was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and completed in 1653 – is protected by some sort of copyright.“I’m not sure what they are talking about,” one said. “Show me where it says that emulating a building like this can be illegal.”

To make his Taj, Mr Moni imported marble and granite from Italy and diamonds from Belgium to add to 160kg (350lb) of bronze. He hopes that his version of the mausoleum will attract tourists to Bangladesh, a country that is well off the beaten track for Western holidaymakers.

India is trying to block Bangladesh’s copycat Taj Mahal

Creative Commons Survey Deadline Extended…12.08.08

8 12 2008

From Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing  []:

Creative Commons has had such a great set of responses to their challenging, though-provoking survey on what constitutes “non-commercial use” that they’ve extended the deadline until Dec 14 — you’ve got six more days to weigh in!

Creative Commons is conducting a study on the meaning of “NonCommercial” and you can weigh in by answering a detailed questionnaire on the subject. We’ve extended the deadline for participation to December 14 (originally December 7) as we’re still getting healthy response via all those who blogged about the questionnaire this week.

NonCommercial study questionnaire extended to December 14