Picking up where I left off several months ago, some recent news on the copyright and academic-IP fronts…
General copyright news/info
- Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante has left the U.S. Copyright Office after being reassigned to other duties.
- The circumstances of these personnel changes have sparked quite a lot of speculation as to who is “really behind” them. Brandon Butler, a copyright specialist at the University of Virginia, gives a good overview of the varied speculation.
- Additional news articles: Techdirt (has its own politics on related issues); Publishers Weekly (somewhat more neutral politically)
- Former Registers of Copyright Marybeth Peters and Ralph Oman have written a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees criticizing the dismissal of Pallante. I am linking to a site with its own political positions on the issue (as is evidenced by their headline), but it links to a full-text PDF of the letter and its extensive historical documentation. The former Registers maintain both that the placement of the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress is an historical accident, and that the missions of the greater organization and this sub-branch are inherently in tension. I disagree as to the latter, but will be looking to learn more about the former.
- WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization, an international NGO that works on international intellectual property law and policy) has adopted an open access policy for their own publications, and it appears they will be truly-open (i.e., open-licensed), not just publicly available.
- Company that develops & distributes casting calls attempted to use copyright law to censor critics. (Lengthy piece, but fascinating.)
- A judge allowed a case to proceed which will consider the question of whether the song “We Shall Overcome” is in the public domain.
- SiriusXM has agreed to pay the copyright owners of pre-1972 sound recordings a $25million settlement, but is preserving their ability to appeal and/or litigate anew on certain claims involved.
Libraries/Higher Ed/Academic news/info
- The Authors Alliance is working to develop a guide to fair use for Nonfiction Authors, and among other first steps, did a survey of existing authors. (The survey is over, but still open to submissions if you’re really motivated!)
- The publisher-plaintiffs have filed their brief in the -second- round of appeals on the Georgia State University copyright case. The defendants’ briefs will be due early next year. This is likely not of great interest to anyone except -highly focused copyright nerds- (like me!), but there is great analysis of the brief, and the publishers’ arguments, from both:
- The Internet Archive is backing itself up outside the United States, in response to the repressive and authoritarian threads gaining ground in the US political climate.