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The Authors Guild v. Google: The Case Goes On
In the latest development in the long-running case over Google’s book-scanning, the federal judge in the case ruled on May 31, 2012 that groups representing authors and photographers could go forward with a class action.
The ruling is a setback for Google, which had asked the judge to remove the Authors Guild and a photographers’ group from the lawsuit. Google had also argued that a class action was not appropriate because many authors were in favor of having their works appear in the company’s search results.
The judge’s ruling means that the groundwork is laid for a trial on whether Google’s decision to scan millions of books amounted to fair use.
MIT Establishes Research Center to Address the Opportunities and Challenges of Big Data
The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT announced on May 30, 2012 a major research initiative called bigdata@CSAIL to tackle the challenges of the “big data” -- data collections that are too big, growing too fast, or are too complex for existing information technology systems to handle. According to the announcement, big data requires a “new generation of technologies to store, manage, analyze, share, and understand the huge quantities of data we are now capable of collecting.”
Internet Privacy Legislation: What the White House, Federal Trade Commission, and the European Commission Are Recommending
On May 14, 2012, the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee sponsored the discussion, “New Internet Privacy Legislation: What the White House, Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission are Recommending.”
Oversight of the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator
On Wednesday, May 9, 2012, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its third oversight hearing to discuss intellectual property enforcement since the establishment of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. The witness before the committee was Victoria A. Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. One of the primary roles of this position is to coordinate the work being done across government agencies, including the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Trade Representative, to combat intellectual property theft.
Access to, Sharing, and Retention of Research Data: What Do Campuses Need to Do?
Data that are generated by research and other scholarly activities are the lifeblood of the research enterprise. These research investigators and their institutions have responsibilities and obligations regarding access to and retention of these research data. Recognizing the importance of these research data as a valuable resource that needs to be managed properly is key to maximizing the return on the research investment.
Orphan Works and the Possibilities for Expanding the Scope of Research and Education
The topic of orphan works and what to do about them keeps surfacing for discussion in higher education circles. Why? Digital libraries containing millions of orphan, out-of-print, and public domain works would vastly expand the scope of research and education. They would also open up many opportunities for discovery and new knowledge. Digital copies of such volumes would not only increase access to the works themselves, but would also make academic research available to larger audiences and would go against the tradition of more restricted, and often expensive, access to scholarly work. Pamela Samuelson, in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, wrote:
DC News: Copyright Office Request for Information on Crowdsourcing for Digitization Project
The U.S. Copyright Office has initiated a project to digitize and make available online the historical records of copyrights dating from 1870 to 1977. The Library expects to issue a future request for proposals the goal of which would be to select one or more organizations with the skills, experience and equipment to support the capture of information through crowd sourcing. The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to determine the scope and extent of services available in the marketplace to accomplish the crowd sourcing effort. Further information can be found here.
The Emergence of Online Video: Is It the Future?
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on “The Emergence of Online Video: Is It the Future?” on April 24, 2012. The hearing explored the migration of viewing habits from traditional television to Internet and broadband-enabled video content. It also examined the role that disruptive technologies play in facilitating this transition, and the business and legal models that foster the growth of this sector.
Supreme Court to Hear Case on First Sale of Imported Textbooks
The Supreme Court agreed on April 16, 2012 to hear a case on whether an overseas purchaser of a copyrighted work may resell it in the U.S. without the copyright holder’s permission. The petitioner is Supap Kirtsaeng, who resold textbooks published by John Wiley & Sons that were purchased overseas to U.S.-based students without the publisher’s consent. The issue is that the law says that first sale applies to copyrights to products made "under this" law. And the argument is that a product made outside the US may have copyright, but it isn't made "under" US copyright law, and thus it doesn't qualify.
Intellectual Property, Jobs, and the U.S. Economy
As yet another part of the Administration’s emphasis to reform the U.S. intellectual property system, on April 11, 2012 the Department of Commerce released the report, “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus,” which focuses on the connection between intellectual property intensive-industries and job creation and its relation to the U.S. economy. The report, which was prepared by the Economics and Statistics Administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was initiated as part of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s (IPEC) 2010 Joint Strategic Plan to create a comprehensive study to better understand the role of intellectual property (IP) in the economy and to inform policy decisions related to IP enforcement.