June 28, 2013 · · Comments Off

Can we afford online piracy? — That’s the question Ellen Seidler asks, looking at a recent LA Times op-ed that argues that “online piracy is not something to be celebrated, but rather an activity that ultimately undermines our art and those who toil to make it (not just the well-paid executives).”

Who will stop Google? — Lately it seems like every week a new story pops up that pulls aside the veneer of innovation and do-goodery in the tech world to reveal its self-centered, autocratic core. This article from Salon links to many of these stories and adds to the narrative. “Imagine that it’s 1913 and the post office, the phone company, the public library, printing houses, the U.S. Geological Survey mapping operations, movie houses, and all atlases are largely controlled by a secretive corporation unaccountable to the public. Jump a century and see that in the online world that’s more or less where we are.”

A Surprising Theme at National Small Business Week: Intellectual Property? — “The week serves as a stark reminder of just how important small businesses are. We know the statistics: half of Americans work for, or own a small business, and small businesses create just about two out of every three new jobs in America each year. Something else I heard this week, however, was a message around small businesses that I didn’t know–that we need to focus on protecting our work and our businesses. Protecting our intellectual property.”

Capitol Records v. ReDigi — If you recall, earlier this year, the SDNY ruled that “used mp3″ service ReDigi was infringing on Capitol Records’ reproduction rights in a closely watched case. Last week, the court denied ReDigi’s attempt to appeal the decision, saying there was no need to review the decision prior to judgment. Discovery will continue in the litigation.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Goes Down — Copyright Goes Up — Perhaps surprisingly, the U.S. Supreme Court’s much anticipated decision in US v. Windsor, striking down a portion of DOMA, has ramifications in the copyright world. Specifically, as this article notes, those provisions directed at “statutory heirs” in the Copyright Act, such as the termination of transfers provision, since the definition of statutory heirs includes a copyright owner’s surviving spouse.

Historic Treaty Adopted, Boosts Access to Books for Visually Impaired Persons Worldwide — WIPO successfully concluded a landmark treaty this week which would require limitations and exceptions that permit the reproduction and making available of published works in accessible formats for the visually impaired. “It also provides for the exchange of these accessible format works across borders by organizations that serve the people who are blind, visually impaired, and print disabled. It will harmonize limitations and exceptions so that these organizations can operate across borders. This sharing of works in accessible formats should increase the overall number of works available because it will eliminate duplication and increase efficiency. Instead of five countries producing accessible versions of the same work, the five countries will each be able to produce an accessible version of a different work, which can then be shared with each of the other countries.”

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