An important copyright case won’t be argued in the Supreme Court, which on October 3, 2011 declined to review Vernor v. Autodesk, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision involving the applicability of copyright’s first sale doctrine to transactions involving software and other digital information goods. Law professor Annmarie Bridy discusses the wide reaching impact of the first sale doctrine, without which there would be no free market for used books, CDs, or DVDs, because the copyright owner’s right of distribution would reach beyond the first sale, all the way down the stream of commerce.
On March 22, 2011, Judge Denny Chin rejected the proposed settlement in copyright infringement litigation over the Google Library Project. Judge Chin found that the settlement was not “fair, reasonable, and adequate” as required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Judge Chin issued the decision over a year after the fairness hearing he conducted. His opinion agrees in large measure with the objections to the settlement asserted by the U.S. Department of Justice at the hearing and in its written submissions. This paper by Jonathan Band continues the series in which he discusses the opinion and where it leaves Google Books Search.
Copyright is an essential tool in the spread of new ideas, and the workplace has become ground zero for infringement. Ask employees up and down the corporate hierarchy, and they’ll tell you that whisking information electronically to co-workers is integral to their jobs. Their employers will emphatically agree. But unauthorized swaps of information also carry enormous potential risk: Ordinary office exchanges, so natural to the digital world, can easily violate the copyright rights of others and bring costly lawsuits or settlements. Now the same technology that has dramatically defined the Internet age is drawing a new roadmap to compliance, with software tools that simplify adherence to copyright requirements.
On Friday, November 13, 2009, Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers filed an Amended Settlement Agreement (ASA) in the copyright infringement litigation concerning the Google Library Project. The amendments proposed by the parties are designed to address objections made by the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to the original proposed settlement agreement. This paper by Jonathan Band describes the ASA’s major changes, with emphasis on those changes relevant to libraries.
As Roger V. Skalbeck documents, one of the underlying obstacles to reproducing older books is a central place to look for information about what is protected by copyright and what may have passed into the public domain is lacking. Responding to this need, OCLC recently introduced a beta service, the WorldCat Copyright Evidence Registry (CER). It could be a very valuable resource for recording and sharing copyright status information.
Jonathan Band’s article outlines the settlement’s provisions, with special emphasis on the provisions that apply directly to libraries. The settlement is extremely complex (over 200 pages long, including attachments), so this paper of necessity simplifies many of its details.
The Google Library Project: The Copyright Debate
American Library Association, Office for Information Technology Policy Brief, January 2006
By Jonathan Band
Indecisive Decision: An Examination of the Greenberg and Faulkner Cases and their Impact on Libraries
Sharon Whitfield examines the conflicting decisions made by the Eleventh Circuit Court in the case of Greenberg v. National Geographic and the Second Circuit Court in the case of Faulkner v. National Geographic and the impact that these court decisions may have on libraries that are looking to reformat their copyrighted material into digital media.
Matt Schruers and Jonathan Band comment on a recent opinion addressing the fair use implications of Internet file-sharing by end users.
Kathy Biehl directly and concisely tackles key issues related to copyright infringement on the web, whose misinterpretation can have significant consequences.