Posted tagged ‘copyright’


April 23, 2009

There’s nothing I could say today that could possible top this bit from Tim Spalding today:

Somehow institutions dedicated to the idea that knowledge should be freely available to all have come to the conclusion that knowledge about knowledge—book data—should not, and traditional library mottos like Boston‘s “Free to All” and Philadelphia‘s Liber Libere Omnibus (“Free books for all!”) given way to:

“No part of any Data provided in any form by WorldCat may be used, disclosed, reproduced, transferred or transmitted in any form without the prior written consent of OCLC except as expressly permitted hereunder.”

You can (and should) read the rest of the post here, it’s equally brilliant.

The A.P. Steps Up

April 6, 2009

This is something that’s been looming for a while, and it looks like it’s finally happening.  As reported in the Times, the Associated Press is beginning a crack down of the use of its articles by news aggragators such as Yahoo, Google, and the Huffington Post.  From the tone of the article this sounds like the calmest copyright kerfluffle to date.  Although not all of the A.P.’s members are in agreement with this course of action (some like getting the added traffic a link from Google can send their way).

This is definitely a story worth watching.

The Aftermath

December 4, 2008

Wow!  This was a good day.  My workshop went amazingly well and the responses I received for it were more than I possibly could have hoped for.  Huge thanks must go out to Janet Eckert and WMRLS who organized everything and served as the most gracious hosts imaginable.  And the attendees were just as wonderful, everyone seemed engaged, there was a good amount of participation (that I hope will continue online), and they let me rant a bit on copyright, RDA, and the new OCLC records policy.  

And I even got to show off my favorite website of the week, which had nothing to do with anything, (Thanks Jason).  Sadly the answer we got from it was yes, and that prediction proved accurate.  But even the rain (ok snow while driving back over the mountain), couldn’t bum me out today.  Because I have a handfull of feedback forms that almost uniformly say the one improvement that could be made to the workshop, was to add more time to it.  And in the positive column I got some of the best praise possible, that it was actually practical and useful.

And to top it all off, lunch at the Black Sheep, home of the greatest cookie I know, the Repulican National Convention cookie (full of fruit and nuts).  They started making these back in ’04, they’re basically giant macaroons filled with whatever nuts, fruit, and bits of chocolate they had left over in the kitchen from all their other baked goods.  If you’re ever in Amherst you must stop in, the baguettes are amazing too.

Digitization Part 2

November 1, 2008


Library Scientist

Library Scientist

I’m a little late posting this due to an epic fail by my Internet connection yesterday.  Anyway, yesterday was the WMRLS Digital Barn Raising, on behalf of the Digital Treasure project.  I was there doing my best John Hodgman impression as a resident expert (albeit on cataloging and copyright issues instead of hobos and spam).  

It being Halloween and all I opted to resurrect my library scientist get up.  Really I just don’t get enough excuses to wear the lab coat.  The workshop went very well and it made a nice counterpoint to the larger digitization event on Tuesday.  Plus I managed to get through my whole portion with only one look at my note cards.  So I think I’m getting better (but I can handle criticism).  Besides my bit on copyright there was also a nice overview of what Digital Treasures has to offer, their success to date and how to use Dublin Core (not to mention the correct subject heading for cupolas).  The whole made for another great WMRLS workshop and a very nice finish to one of my more hectic weeks.

Think of the Orphans Update

September 30, 2008

Well that didn’t take long.  Threat Level just reported that the orphaned works act is not making any progress in the House, and that they probably will nto even address the issue until after the election.

Think of the Orphans!

September 30, 2008

The Senate has just passed its version of the proposed Orphan Works Bill, which has the potential to completely upset the way in which copyrights are handled.  Jeff Trexler on the Newsarama blog has a good description of the specifics.  But as for the basics it all but removes the current protections on creative works that grant copyright unless the rights holder opts out.

The new system would create a database of copyright information that rights holders would have to pay to register with.  THe rights holder would still have their rights technically without signing on, but the penalty they would gain from any infringers wouldn’t necessarily be enough to cover their legal fees.  Needless to say those working in the arts are not happy with this (Colleen Doran has a particularly good write-up).

Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger

September 26, 2008

Cheers to Florida (how often do you say that in this day and age) for disbarring shyster Jack Thompson.  Thompson is infamous for heading up obscenity cases against 2 Live Crew, Howard Stern, Doom, Grand Theft Auto.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

But in order for their to be the proper balance in the universe something rediculous had to happen today.  And so the Senate unanimously approved the creation of a cabinet level copyright czar, similar to the drug czar (and we all know how well that’s worked).  Can a copyright war be far away?  At least they rejected the proposal that would have forced the Justice Department to lead crusades on the behalf of copyright holders so they weren’t toally nuts.

Copyright vs. the Law UPDATE

September 3, 2008

As a follow up, the Times has just published a great write up of Malamud’s one man crusade to protect the public domain.


Back in May I wrote about Oregon’s copyright claims on its laws, which are exactly the sorts of things that belong in the public domain if anything do.

Now Carl Malamud (via BoingBoing) has begun a personal crusade to make these documents available.  His latest effort was to scan and publish the entire text of California’s 38 volume code of regulations.  He’s ready for a legal battle over his actions, and I wish him the best of luck.  This is a fight worth having, I only hope sanity will prevail.

Free Use for All

August 21, 2008

As reported by Threat Level, a judge has just ruled that copyright holders must consider free and not be allowed to indiscriminately send out take down notices.  You wouldn’t think that people would need a legal ruling to reiterate the basic innocent until proven rule, but there you go.

In a similar rulling this week, a federal judge has thrown out the gag order on a group of MIT students who had prepared a presentation on security vulnerabilities in the Charlie Cards used for the MBTA in Boston.  Sadly this came about far too late for the students to give their planned presentation, but at least future researches can feel a little safer when it comes time to present their unpopular findings.

Morning Links

May 29, 2008

There are just too many good articles that came my way this morning to discuss them all fully, so here’s a bunch of links:

The Times discusses the problems of Congress’ attempt to reform copyright to account for orphaned works.

PC World lists the top 100 new technologies of the past year, and explains why Hulu is so good.

Jenny Levine continues to be the best library technology writer out there with a nice discussion on how to cope with social networking.

Finally, Jon Ippolito has a great paper on why art should be made available for free via the Creative Commons.