RUSA STARS Legislation and Licensing Committee (Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section) Committee
Google Inc. won a major victory in its long-running battle over the company's right to scan tens of millions of books.
A federal judge in New York on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit brought by an authors' group that accused the company of copyright infringement over its digital copying project.
U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled that while Google didn't obtain permission from copyright holders to scan their works, those concerns were outweighed by other factors. He said Google's effort was permitted under copyright law's fair-use doctrine, which allows limited copying of a work for purposes such as criticism, research and news reporting.
"Advocates say the bill is necessary to protect against online threats to government infrastructure and private companies.
Opponents say it endangers individuals’ online privacy.
The bill passed a closed-door vote of the House Intelligence Committee 18-2 last week."
The Center for Copyright Information "announces three major steps toward implementation" April 2nd, 2012: http://www.copyrightinformation.org/node/705 of the Copyright Alert System, principally that they have selected a new executive director, Jill Lessor, and an advisory board to help move them forward with the Copyright Alert System.
Like it or not, nine months ago, content producers and ISPs came to their own agreement on how to monitor, regulate and penalize certain internet behavior. Touted as part of a "progressive educational system to help subscribers understand the significance of protecting copyright" (see http://www.copyrightinformation.org/alerts), it is also part of a behavioral intervention and mitigation system that raises important questions about internet rights, anti-trust practices and due process.
Darlene Storm with Computer World posted a thoughtful, perhaps somewhat alarmist, article on the topic here: http://blogs.computerworld.com/19983/copyright_enforcement_will_isps_beat_fair_use_to_death_with_infringement_clubs?source=rss_blogs
Shawn Flaim's Op-ed here: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/03/op-ed-imminent-six-strikes-copyright-alert-system-needs-antitrust-scrutiny.ars?clicked=related_right is interesting, but focuses primarily on the anti-democratic nature of the agreement, as he says, "(the) Copyright Alert System represents a raw exercise of concerted private power..." and true enough, it does.
Though the system has its good points and intentions, such as providing education to a predominately unaware (or cognitively dissonant) public regarding copyright, ultimately, it circumvents the law. The law basically dictates that the burden of proof in an infringement case rests with the copyright owner, but the CAS circumvents it by requiring the consumer prove their innocence during an “Independent Review” process that the consumer themselves must request after paying a $35.00 fee.
Despite these points, a few questions readily become apparent:
- What specific consumer activities trigger an alert?
- What internet tracking and investigatory methods are being used beyond IP tracking, by the content providers, and how intrusive are they?
- Who will monitor and regulate the tracking and investigatory methods used by content providers?
- What implications does the CAS have on large public institutions, like Universities and Public Libraries who provide free computing?
- How will the ISP verify the validity of the copyright claim? (e.g. is the content provider also the copyright owner?)
- Following the “1st Alert” and notification, what rights does the consumer have to appeal? As far as I can tell, there is no option following “5th Alert”, whereby a consumer suspected of illegal activity will be placed in a “pending” queue prior to having internet access punitively compromised.
- The disclosed CAS “Mitigation Measures” that could be used by the ISP during the “5th Alert” stage include practices such as temporarily lowering the consumer internet speed. The question is, to what extent will it be reduced, and for how long?
- Following a “Mitigation Measure”, will the consumer be able to face their accuser, have access to the claimant information, access to sufficient internet capability that is necessary to research, document and ready their appeals case?
Trying desperately hard to not make this an op-ed piece myself, I'd like to encourage everyone to find out more about the Copyright Alert System and discuss it with your peers. The answers to these concerns and your own may help better explain the good intentions of the CCI, or reshape some poorly defined ones. Feel free to comment!
As you probably know, the ruling on the Georgia State copyright infringement case was released in early May, whereby it could be easily said theat the AAP and CCC were dealt a significant blow. Read a good summary or the full 350 page ruling here at Syracuse: http://copyright.syr.edu/publishers-v-georgia-state/
ARL release a briefing here: http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/gsu_issuebrief_15may12.pdf
And further analysis by Kevin Smith: http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/
The decision is local (District Court), but may have a national impact following any appeal that may be filed.
Though PIPA (S. 968) is officially off the Senate Floor (as of Jan 20, 2012) and the House SOPA is indefinitely delayed, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R - AZ) are known to be working on a comprimise bill that will reintroduce a revised version that is hoped to stem internet piracy. Hopefully it will do what is desired without all of the concern over potential, and unintended negative consequences, the former versions garnered.
For more information: http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/sen-leahy-isnt-giving-up-on-pipa-yet.php
See the Wiki Foundations press release about the upcoming 24 hour blackout in protest over SOPA and PIPA here: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/English_Wikipedia_to_go_dark
ABC has some good information about the online protest movement, including some clarification of PIPA and SOPA, here: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wikipedia-blackout-websites-wikipedia-reddit-dark-wednesday-protest/story?id=15373251#.TxW3NW-XRZ8 and here: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/01/wikipedia-blackout-sopa-and-pipa-explained/