Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Report on Copyright Reform Plagiarized

The digital economy is a general term for Internet/Intranet-based commerce, but the forefront of the battle seems to be the entertainment business grappling with file sharing. Canada is struggling with digital rights (copyright) reform like many other nations are. They had a bit of embarrassment, though, when a paid report on copyright reform was alleged to have been plagiarized from another report by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (a U.S.-based lobby group for the entertainment industry). According to Slashdot.org, there was some denial and then admissions about the claims. It was not U.S. lobby group that noticed the similarities of the reports, but a Canadian law professor at the University of Ottawa, Michael Geist.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Internet Archive Opposes Google Settlement

Internet Archive has objected to the Google settlement on orphaned (out-of-copyright) works. They're specifically concerned that Google gets special protection that should be available to other content providers (such as the Internet Archive). In their letter, they are asking the Justice Department of the U.S. to intervene in the court case.

Internet Archive has several logs in the fire. They are best known, perhaps, for the "wayback machine," whereby you can look at the content of websites as they existed in the past. I listen to their newsgroup (a whopping 3 emails/year or so). They're also keenly interested in long-time archival methods of physical and digital content. They worry about digital media standards and physical storage media degradation. (Recently, NASA had to hire some specialists to recover early mission photos from an "ancient" storage tape format, using the only known tape drive of that kind; Internet Archive worries about such things.)

In the present matter, Internet Archive feels they deserve protection equal to that which they believe Google is getting unilaterally. Here is their letter to the Justice Department. They're going the Justice Department intervention route rather than joining a suite because they don't believe their specific interests are served in the present suit.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Copyright, Copyleft, and Creative Commons

From Larry Lessig by way of Cory Doctorow blogging at BoingBoing:
In non-technical terms, [the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (THE "IP" court in the US)] has held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions (rather than covenants) on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you're simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.

I probably don't need to tell people how important copyright law is, and how important it is to get the details right when people want to share their work while still retaining their rights. (If you don't want to retain any rights, you can explicitly place your work into the public domain.) Even if you don't want to give your stories away, using a Creative Commons licence strikes me as a great way to make your stories available after they have already been published elsewhere; one example I learned about recently from John Scalzi's blog is Mary Robinette Kowal's free fiction page, for instance.

Obviously, this topic is near and dear to my heart since I use out-of-copyright works for my "Classic Flash" stories. Since copyright laws have changed over the years, you might get confused over what you can use and what you can't; if so, start with the librarycopyright.net Digital Slider, and follow the links to get further clarifying information.

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