Meet the U.S. Copyright Office: Creativity at Work — The US Copyright Office this week launched a new blog. In the first post, Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Claggett reintroduces the public to the four hundred employees of the Office.

DRM in HTML5 is a victory for the open Web, not a defeat — The organization that oversees development of web standards (W3C) recently proposed a standard that would allow browsers to deliver technologically protected media without the need for third party plugins. In this op-ed at Ars Technica, Peter Bright responds to critics of the proposal, writing, “Deprived of the ability to use browser plugins, protected content distributors are not, in general, switching to unprotected media. Instead, they’re switching away from the Web entirely. Want to send DRM-protected video to an iPhone? ‘There’s an app for that.’ Native applications on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 can all implement DRM, with some platforms, such as Android and Windows 8, even offering various APIs and features to assist this. In other words, the alternative to using DRM in browser plugins on the Web is not ‘abandoning DRM;’ it’s ‘abandoning the Web.'”

Copyright Survives: Rethinking the Copyright-Contracts Conflict — In this forthcoming journal article, OSU Law professor Guy Rub examines court decisions dealing with the intersection of copyright and contract law to see what effect the 1996 ProCD v Zeidenberg decision had. Rub explains that the case “held that a contract that restricted the use of factual information was not preempted by the Copyright Act and therefore enforceable. The reaction among copyright scholars was swift and passionate. In dozens of articles and books, spreading over two decades, scholars cautioned that if the ProCD approach is broadly adopted, the results would be dire. Through contracts, the rights of copyright owners would run amok, expand, and in doing so they would invade, shrink, and possibly destroy the public domain.” After examining other court decisions, however, Rub reveals that “the doomsday scenarios scholars warned against did not materialize. The overall effect of contracts on the size and scope of the public domain, or over copyright law as a whole, seems minimal.”

Fox News Appears to Have Edge in Showdown That Could Curtail Sharing of Clips — This week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Fox News v TVEyes, on appeal after a district court held that a media monitoring outfit’s copying and distribution of television broadcasts was authorized by fair use. Eriq Gardner reports on the oral arguments, which were scheduled for thirty minutes but ended up lasting nearly two hours.