The Library Copyright Alliance (of which ALA is a member) has released these comments (pdf) regarding United States negotiating stance on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) questioning whether the United States should negotiate an intellectual property section in the trade agreement given the differences between EU and US copyright laws.
Category Archives: Copyright
I’ll participate on a conference call regarding the World Intellectual Property Organization Treaty (WIPO) for people with print disabilities next week. As usual, there will be 4-5 representatives from the associations for the blind and US libraries that support the treaty, which would allow greater access to reading material for people who are blind or have other print disabilities. All of the others on the call will be opposed to the treaty, maybe 15-20 representatives of the publishing and motion picture industries. I can understand why the publishing industry would be interested in the treaty since we are talking about an exception to copyright for print materials. They hold copyrights for print materials. But why Hollywood? Why do they have a bone to pick when their economic interests focus on copyright holdings – motion pictures and other media – which were excluded from the treaty altogether, hence the purposeful name — Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities?
The treaty would create a copyright exception for authorized entities (non-profit organizations like the National Library for the Blind, Bookshare, and libraries) to make accessible copies of print materials for the print disabled on request. In addition, the treaty would allow nations to share or make accessible copies for the print disabled in other countries – many who have almost no access to reading materials. This is a beneficial policy proposal that includes many already negotiated caveats that would protect the interests of rights holders.
Over the last five years, this treaty has been moving forward in the negotiation process with stops and starts along the way, concessions here and language changes there, but that is expected path of international treaty development. In February of this year, after a weeklong negotiation session, WIPO member nations agreed it was the time for a diplomatic conference, one of the final steps in enacting the treaty. Then (“lights, camera, action”) comes the motion picture industry who has aggressively lobbied the state department and government officials, calling for opposition to the treaty. The industry has gone so far as to contact every foreign embassy to urge their nations’ WIPO representatives to oppose the treaty. Hollywood has usurped the role of the US delegation to WIPO by clamoring to higher echelons of the federal government.
Why the opposition? Chris Dodd, former U.S. Senator and now chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), explained that the treaty has become “a vehicle to weaken copyright and ultimately undermine the global marketplace.” Holy crap! Leave it to the MPAA to come up with some kind of “shock and awe” statement to freak people out. The MPAA still supports a treaty for the print disabled, but it must not weaken copyright protection. Additional provisions to the treaty must be added to make the treaty as weak and as difficult to implement as possible.
The planned diplomatic conference to finalize the treaty will continue to take place this June, but many are not optimistic. Now with United States government support for maximalist copyright on behalf of the motion picture industry (from an earlier, relatively balanced approach to the treaty), this meaningful treaty —to help visually impaired people who have the audacity to hope, the audacity to read —has becomes meaningless.
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) has filed an amicus brief (pdf) in support of Georgia State University in the appeal of Cambridge U. Press et al. v. Mark P. Becker et al. In its brief (pdf), LCA argues that GSU’s e-reserves policy represents the widespread and well-established best practices of fair use that includes limitations to ensure that the use of course materials is fair. The case will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
The case began in 2008 when Cambridge, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publishers sued Georgia State University (GSU) for copyright infringement. The publishers argued that GSU’s use of copyright-protected materials in course e-reserves without a license was a violation of the copyright law. Notably, the Association of American Publishers and the Copyright Clearance Center, the for-profit licensing arm for much of the academic publishing community, continue to finance the legal action. Continue reading
In The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley on Libraries (pdf), Jonathan Band explains the recent landmark copyright decision on the scope of the “first sale” doctrine, its context, and its likely consequences for libraries in the US.
In short, the Supreme Court’s opinion is a landmark victory that strengthens the legal foundation of library lending, and the Court’s extensive reliance on the Library Copyright Alliance’s amicus brief shows the importance of library engagement in policy debates.
Continued vigilance will be necessary, Band explains, as rights holders disappointed with the Court’s majority opinion could go to Congress for a change to the law. Jonathan Band is counsel to the Library Copyright Alliance, whose members are the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries. Band practices law at Policybandwidth, LLC.
To help school librarians and educators better understand copyright law, author Carrie Russell will host the workshop “Copyright for K-12 Librarians and Educators” on April 11, 2013. Russell is also the director of the American Library Association’s Program on Public Access to Information. Register now
In the workshop, Russell will discuss her newly released book Copyright for K-12 Librarians and Educators and offer guidance on ways to legally provide materials to students by exploring common scenarios encountered by school educators and librarians. Registration for this ALA Editions Workshop is available on the ALA Store (registration is available at both the individual and group rates).
With 15 years’ experience as a practicing librarian, Russell is a frequent speaker at state, regional, and national library conferences about the intricacies of copyright law. She is also the author of numerous articles on copyright and information policy that have appeared in such journals as Library Trends, Library Issues, Public Libraries and Library Journal.
WHAT: The American Library Association will host the online workshop
“Complete Copyright for K–12 Librarians and Educators” for educators and school librarians.
WHEN: April 11, 2013, from 2:30-4:00p.m. EST.
WHO: Carrie Russell, author of Complete Copyright for K–12 Librarians and Educators and director of ALA’s Program on Public Access to Information