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Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Update

On Wednesday, November 16th at 10 am (EST), the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on H.R. 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (See blog post of October 28th for background information).  The hearing will be streamed live via the House Judiciary Committee’s website.  Witnesses will include:

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA): The House Version of Protect IP (PIPA) and Its Consequences for Our Campus Networks

This week Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” which is the House version of the Senate’s bill, “Protect IP” (for background on this bill see previous posts on May 25, 2011; July 8, 2011; July 15, 2011). 

Copyright Office Issues Its Priorities and Those of Interest to Higher Education

Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante recently made public her office’s priorities and special projects through October 2013. The document articulates 17 priorities in the areas of copyright policy and administrative practice, as well as 10 new projects designed to improve the quality and efficiency of the U.S. Copyright Office’s services.

The following are five excerpts from the report that are of potential interest to the higher education community.

Rogue websites

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Not Without a Warrant

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 (ECPA) is a federal statute that specifies standards for government monitoring of cell phone conversations and Internet communications.  When first written, ECPA was a forward-looking statue that provided important privacy protections to subscribers of then-emerging wireless and Internet services.  However, while technology has advanced dramatically in the 25 years since ECPA was enacted, the statute’s privacy standards have not been updated, leaving important information without full protection.  The EDUCAUSE blog on May 18th describes Sen.

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Defining Fair Use for the Digital Age

You are a music professor preparing an online curriculum for your class.  You want to insert some video material from a rehearsal of an orchestra playing classical music.  You have permission from the performers to record them for this purpose, but what about the music itself?  Will you run into licensing problems, or could this be fair use?

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Copyright, the Public Domain, and the Value to Higher Education

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday, October 5th in Golan v. Holder, which argues against action taken by Congress to move thousands of works from the public domain back under copyright restrictions.   The case is seen as a test of Congress’s power to put into effect a series of copyrights that had never existed in the U.S. — in order to protect authors and composers worldwide under international treaties.  Research and scholarship rely on the public domain as a building block to the creation of new knowledge; education is promoted through the spread of ideas and information; access to cultural heritage is enabled through symphonies, ancient texts, among others.  In short, the public domain adds value to higher education.

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DMCA Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies: It's Time to Submit Comments

A September 29th  Federal Register notice announced that the Copyright Office is soliciting comments, in accordance with provisions of the DMCA, that may exempt certain classes of works from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works.  The purpose of this proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make non-infringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention.

UCLA Streaming Video Case Dismissed

On Monday, October 3rd, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed the copyright infringement lawsuit brought by AIME (Association for Information Media and Equipment, whose members include Ambrose Video) against UCLA.  The suit alleged that UCLA was infringing copyright and violating the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA by ripping DVDs, which were subsequently streamed via a course management system to students in a particular class (to which the students had to authenticate before gaining access).  

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) Signed by United States

The United States and other countries signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Tokyo on October 1, 2011.  Those attending included representatives from Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States; although not all countries have signed the agreement as of now.

Understanding ACTA

Implementing the New Patent Law: What It Could Mean for Campuses

Recently, President Obama signed into law the “America Invents Act (AIA).”  Intended to reduce patent backlog at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and to foster innovation through improved patent quality, the legislation has supporters and detractors, but most academic organizations consider it a positive step toward much needed patent reform (see blog posts of  9-9-11 and 9-16-11 for further information).  The Act has the potential to affect all patent applicants and patent holders.  Some of the changes have already come into force and others will be implemented over next the 18 months to two years.

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