Evaluating the Orphan Works Directive | Europeana Pro

“Throughout the survey, we noted that with two relatively overlapping systems in place, cultural heritage professionals are likely to use the one that provides the best solution, with the other one remaining mostly unused. We therefore recommended considering retracting the Orphan Works Directive. We also noted its clear flaws so that the same mistakes would not be repeated again. 

We noted the following: 

The diligent search for rights holders is problematic, with the sources it is mandatory to consult often irrelevant and difficult to access. Pertinent sources are sometimes not included.

The time and resources that an institution needs to dedicate to conducting a diligent search present challenges, particularly as after completing this process there is still no full guarantee that the institution will always be able to use the work lawfully. 

The very limited scope of the Directive in different types of works is a clear downside; including embedded works (for example, the multiple works contained in a scrapbook) in those whose rights holders have to be searched for makes the determination extremely time-consuming and almost impossible.  

The Directive does not provide a sufficient level of clarity regarding the compensation that rights holders can claim; this lack of clarity has strongly disincentivised cultural heritage professionals from relying on this scheme. 

The EUIPO Orphan Works database can be cumbersome when working with large datasets and is not sufficiently interoperable with the repositories of cultural heritage institutions. 

Having two overlapping schemes is likely to raise a lot of uncertainties for cultural heritage professionals, for instance when trying to assess which of the two options to rely on. The out of commerce works provisions in the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, while tackling the same challenges, offer much better solutions and less cumbersome conditions, perhaps to a large extent given the lessons learned from the Orphan Works Directive, and we are hopeful that they will deliver their promise. …”

Implementing Affordable Educational Resources (AER) and Open Educational Resources (OER) | LSU Libraries News & Notes

“LSU Libraries offers numerous resources and services to help modify courses to make them AER/OER compliant. We offer:

More than 400,000 AER book options for faculty to adopt for courses: www.lib.lsu.edu/ebooks/faculty;
An online guide with information about the mandate and the support: guides.lib.lsu.edu/c.php?g=1081524;
Individualized consultation services provided by subject librarians for every discipline to help faculty navigate:
The resources available to identify and adopt high-quality OER/AER course material for each discipline;
Assistance obtaining this material and making it available;
Consultation about copyright considerations;
An institutional repository for hosting books and articles by LSU faculty; …”

Why Congress should invest in open-source software

“Although such direct investment is one way to encourage positive, effective outcomes, there are additional cost-effective methods that require less upfront capital outlay. For example, my recent research has shown that changing federal procurement regulations that favor FOSS over proprietary software can have numerous positive spillovers to the private sector, including increases in company productivity, the number of technology startups founded, and the size of the technology-related labor force. This research shows that the passage of such a law in France led to as much as an 18% increase in the founding of French IT-related startups and as much as a 14% increase in the number of French workers employed in IT-related jobs.

While some FOSS contributors are paid by their employer to contribute, most contributions to FOSS are made without direct compensation. Therefore, another option is to provide tax credits to the people who volunteer their free time to help create and maintain FOSS. A bill for such a credit has been introduced in the New York State Assembly every legislative session since 2009 but has never made it out of committee. If passed, this bill would provide a $200 tax credit for expenses related to FOSS development, which would help incentivize more individuals to contribute, likely leading to spillover benefits for the state of New York similar to those from the French procurement regulation….”

Publishers worry as ebooks fly off libraries’ virtual shelves | Ars Technica

“But the surging popularity of library ebooks also has heightened longstanding tensions between publishers, who fear that digital borrowing eats into their sales, and public librarians, who are trying to serve their communities during a once-in-a-generation crisis. …

The debate has attracted attention in Washington. The House Antitrust Subcommittee last year launched an investigation of competition in the digital marketplace, and subcommittee chair Representative David Cicilline (D–Rhode Island) has met with library advocates. “The whole issue of this negotiation [between libraries and publishers] over the last decade derives from a place where libraries have almost no rights in the digital age,” says Alan Inouye, the senior director of public policy and government relations at the American Library Association. “In the longer run, there needs to be a change in the environment or in the game. That means legislation or regulation.” ”

The Online Content Policy Modernization Act Is an Unconstitutional Mess

“EFF is standing with a huge coalition of organizations to urge Congress to oppose the Online Content Policy Modernization Act (OCPMA, S. 4632). Introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the OCPMA is yet another of this year’s flood of misguided attacks on Internet speech (read bill [pdf]). The bill would make it harder for online platforms to take common-sense moderation measures like removing spam or correcting disinformation, including disinformation about the upcoming election. But it doesn’t stop there: the bill would also upend longstanding balances in copyright law, subjecting ordinary Internet users to up to $30,000 in fines for everyday activities like sharing photos and writing online, without even the benefit of a judge and jury….”

The Online Content Policy Modernization Act Is an Unconstitutional Mess

“EFF is standing with a huge coalition of organizations to urge Congress to oppose the Online Content Policy Modernization Act (OCPMA, S. 4632). Introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the OCPMA is yet another of this year’s flood of misguided attacks on Internet speech (read bill [pdf]). The bill would make it harder for online platforms to take common-sense moderation measures like removing spam or correcting disinformation, including disinformation about the upcoming election. But it doesn’t stop there: the bill would also upend longstanding balances in copyright law, subjecting ordinary Internet users to up to $30,000 in fines for everyday activities like sharing photos and writing online, without even the benefit of a judge and jury….”

New Bill Calls For An End To PACER Fees, Complete Overhaul Of The Outdated System | Techdirt

“The perennial make-PACER-free legislation has arrived. If you’re not familiar with PACER, count yourself among the lucky ones. PACER performs an essential task: it provides electronic access to federal court dockets and documents. That’s all it does and it barely does it.

PACER charges taxpayers (who’ve already paid taxes to fund the federal court system) $0.10/page for EVERYTHING. Dockets? $0.10/page. (And that “page” is very loosely defined.) Every document is $0.10/page, as though the court system was running a copier and chewing up expensive toner. So is every search result page, even those that fail to find any responsive results. The user interface would barely have been considered “friendly” 30 years ago, never mind in the year of our lord two thousand twenty. Paying $0.10/page for everything while attempting to navigate an counterintuitive interface draped over something that looks like it’s being hosted by Angelfire is no one’s idea of a nostalgic good time.

Legislation attempting to make PACER access free was initiated in 2018. And again in 2019. We’re still paying for access, thanks to the inability of legislators to get these passed. Maybe this is the year it happens, what with a bunch of courtroom precedent being built up suggesting some illegal use of PACER fees by the US Courts system. We’ll see. Here’s what’s on tap for this year’s legislative session: …”

It’s time to eliminate patents in universities | by Bruce Caron | Aug, 2020 | Medium

“In researching the forty years of allowing publicly funded primary research results to be patented in the US, what becomes clear is that for every success story there are scores of negative outcomes. The bureaucracy that universities build to capture the “value” of research as patents (Welpe et al. 2015), the administrative burden on researchers to conform their work to the process of patent-making (Stodden 2014; Graeber 2019), the perverse career pressure to produce more patents (Edwards and Roy 2017), the downstream roadblocks for sharing the research (NAS 2018): the entire ecosystem (or egosystem) of doing patents argues against their benefits to the academy. The underlying tension between the university’s long-term mission as a wellspring of new public knowledge and the market’s desire to acquire and privatize new discoveries remains at issue here (Foray and Lissoni 2010)….

The actual returns on research are mostly “postmarket” in value. Open sharing accelerates returns in the near term and compounds research value over time. Universities achieve their value proposition through a broad range of research and educational activities. The availability of market returns from patents for a small segment of university research threatens to warp the research opportunity landscape, and the normative internal incentives (including curiosity) for research (Strandberg 2005)….

Open science looks ahead to a future where the capacity to share research findings is optimized through scholarly commons, collaboratives that steward research goods through the decades, and across the planet (See: Scholarly commons; Also, Madison et al. 2009). Patents subtract intellectual property and value from these commons: “[T]o the extent that universities surround the work of their scientists with thickets of patents, the upshot can be what Heller and Eisenberg [1998] call a scientific ‘anticommons’ in which ideas and concepts that in the public domain might spur discovery and innovation are zealously guarded by the institutional owners who value income more than innovation” (Ginsberg 2011). Researchers may also shy away from research arenas where existing patents impede new research (Foray and Lissoni 2010)….

In the US, the repeal of Bayh-Dole — the act that permitted universities to patent federally-funded research — would open up old (and now, new), long-term research sharing capacities …”

On a knife edge? South Africa’s new copyright law | EIFL

“The Copyright Amendment Bill [B13B – 2017] had been sitting on the desk of President Cyril Ramaphosa for over a year waiting to be signed into law. In June 2020, when Blind South Africa issued a legal challenge over the delay, the President acted. But instead of signing the Bill that had been approved by the legislature, the President used his prerogative to return it to parliament citing constitutional concerns with certain aspects, including new exceptions for libraries, education and persons with disabilities.

The President’s rejection of the Bill is widely seen as the result of pressure by copyright industries, and the threat of trade sanctions and reduced future investment from the United States and the European Union. …

In advance of the briefing, EIFL wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly and to the Portfolio Committee to pledge support for the Bill. EIFL’s letter sets out how libraries and educational institutions in South Africa, and the millions of South Africans citizens they serve, will benefit greatly from new exceptions designed for non-commercial uses. They will help to re-calibrate the existing copyright system in South Africa which forces resource-deprived institutions to pay high licence fees to largely European and US companies. (For example, the 2011 Copyright Review Commission Report, known as the Farlam Review, confirmed that 70% of copying fees paid by higher education institutions in the previous year were distributed to foreign rightsholders). While this is a windfall for these companies, it is in our view, bad public policy for South Africa.

EIFL’s letter also notes that the exceptions in the Bill are modelled on provisions in the copyright laws of developed countries including Australia, Canada, Israel, Singapore, the UK and the US, that the Bill seeks merely to ensure that libraries and educational institutions in South Africa have the same rights than their counterparts in these countries, and any concerns that they may be inconsistent with South Africa’s obligations under international copyright treaties are misplaced….”

Libraries Are Updating for Today’s Digital Needs. Congress Needs to Clear the Way. | Public Knowledge : Public Knowledge

“Many libraries have found a solution, at least when it comes to making physical books available digitally. This system is called Controlled Digital Lending (CDL). Libraries have a strong argument that fair use makes it possible to make an electronic copy of a book, and allow someone to “borrow” it, to the extent that such copying simply replicates what would have been possible with physical books under first sale. Under CDL, a digital copy of a physical book can only be read and used by one person at a time. While it is being “lent” electronically, a library engaged in CDL would take the physical book out of circulation, and only one person can “borrow” an electronic book at once. Since any of the copies made under this system necessarily cannot have an effect any different than normal lending could, libraries are on pretty solid ground that these acts of copying are fair uses.

But CDL only gets you so far. While it works with physical books, electronic materials often come with licensing and contract terms, as well as copy-prevention technology, that set highly specific conditions on how the library can lend it out. Certainly, some libraries buy special library editions of books and have various library-specific arrangements with publishers — but they don’t have to. With physical books, libraries are free to buy a book at any bookstore, or take books via donation, and lend them out freely as part of their collection. With electronic materials, libraries generally have to buy licenses for special, restricted library editions, that carry significant usage restrictions and might even expire over time or cause the files to “self-destruct” after a set number of loans.

It’s time for Congress to step in and clarify that libraries should be as free to buy and lend books today as they have been for centuries. We need legislation that ensures that libraries are free to buy ebooks and other electronic materials and lend them out, just as they can with physical media. A library should have the right to simply purchase an ebook at its mass market retail price, and then check it out to patrons one at a time. Licenses for library ebooks shouldn’t expire, and they shouldn’t carry restrictions that prevent libraries from carrying out their educational and archival missions. This legislation should also clarify that existing CDL programs for physical media are lawful, to avoid costly litigation over the fair use arguments….”