Google v. Oracle: Takeaways for Software Preservation, Cultural Heritage, and Fair Use Generally (2021 Reflection) | Software Preservation Network (SPN)

“On April 5, 2021, the Supreme Court issued its opinion on the long-running litigation between Oracle and Google over the reuse of aspects of Oracle’s Java programming framework in Google’s Android mobile operating system. The majority opinion, written by Justice Breyer and joined by five of his fellow justices (Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Kavanaugh, and Gorsuch), sided with Google, saying its use was lawful because it was protected by fair use. Justice Thomas wrote a dissent, joined only by Justice Alito, arguing that Google’s use was infringing. The newest Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, did not participate in the arguments or decision of the case as it predated her joining the Court. More background on the case can be found in my earlier blog post for SPN summarizing the oral arguments.

Justice Breyer’s opinion is already a landmark for the reasons I laid out there: it is the first Supreme Court opinion to address fair use in nearly thirty years—the last one was Campbell v. Acuff-Rose in 1994. And it is the first Supreme Court opinion to address copyright’s protection for software—ever. And now we know that the opinion will be a milestone for another reason: it is a confident, erudite treatment of the issue by a Justice who has been thinking about copyright and software for more than half a century. As a law professor, Stephen Breyer earned tenure at Harvard based on his 1970 article, “The Uneasy Case for Copyright: A Study of Copyright in Books, Photocopies, and Computer Programs.” The opinion is thus a very happy coincidence: a thorny and consequential issue confronted by a subtle and experienced thinker. The results are quite encouraging for software preservation and for cultural heritage institutions and fair users generally….”

Europeana Digital Spring Programme: Not in Public Ownership, but Available for Public Use | Europeana Pro

“In this session, Bernadine Brocker Wieder holds a roundtable discussion on how to keep digital public access to works removed from museum collections. Bernadine proposes two methods for discussion on how digital technology can ensure that works are publicly available even after the gavel comes down at an auction. …”

Making two million images freely available online – Living Knowledge blog

“Ten years ago the British Library and the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development started exploring possible areas of collaboration. For some time the British Library had been working on an international engagement strategy to make our collections more accessible in partnership with other organisations.

Fast forward to 2021, and our partnership with the Qatar Foundation and Qatar National Library has gone from strength to strength, this week hitting the major milestone of making our two millionth image freely available online via the Qatar Digital Library.

Under the British Library’s Living Knowledge strategy we have sought new partnerships and collaborations, particularly when it comes to digitisation and digital scholarship.  Our aim is to open up the collections to a global audience and the British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership is a prime example of this endeavour….”

 

‘A long journey’: Richly detailed, fully searchable Chinese treasures will be made available for free online | UC Berkeley Library News

“Today, the UC Berkeley Library announces a monumental collaboration with Sichuan University, with funding from the Alibaba Foundation. The project aims to digitize most of the pre-1912 Chinese language materials from EAL’s [East Asian Library’s] collections, bringing them to life in vivid detail for researchers today and for generations to come.

While chunks of EAL’s collections have been digitized and made available online over the years, the project with Sichuan University is the first of its kind because of its grand scope. Berkeley’s collection of Chinese volumes is one of the largest among research libraries in North America. Nearly 10,000 titles are from before 1912, and are in line to be digitized….”

Digital dreams of an Open Access Advocate- The New Indian Express

“Offering a steady platform for these whimsical imageries is The Heritage Lab (THL), a digital media foundation for cultural heritage enthusiasts.

Following the art world’s digital shift in the pandemic, THL has come to increasingly rely on the gifts of pop culture – GIFs, memes, stickers, jigsaw puzzles – and fuse these with images of Open Access Indian artworks (CC0/Creative Commons Zero designation) that exist in public domain for unrestricted use.  …

Under its Open Access awareness programmes, THL has two ongoing initiatives – ‘GIF IT UP’ that allows viewers to turn 13 artworks from Delhi Art Gallery (DAG) museums into GIFs, and ‘Indian Art Meme Maker’ with 30+ artworks from Cleveland Museum of Art, Smithsonian, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), and more, ready to meme. Its website (theheritagelab.in) even provides the designing tools and images to create your own artwork….”

Libraries Collaborates for Open Access to Archive of Prominent Urdu Writer and Activist | University of Texas Libraries | The University of Texas at Austin

The comprehensive works of influential Urdu writer, social critic and political activist Sajjad Zaheer are now broadly accessible for scholarship and study thanks to a partnership between The University of Texas at Austin and Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD), with endorsement from the Indian writer’s estate.

CRL and East View Release Open Access Imperial Russian Newspapers | CRL

“CRL and East View Information Services have opened the first release of content for Imperial Russian Newspapers

(link is external), the fourth Open Access collection of titles digitized under the Global Press Archive (GPA) CRL Charter Alliance. This collection adds to the growing body of Open Access material available in the Global Press Archive by virtue of support from CRL members and other participating institutions.

The Imperial Russian Newspapers(link is external) collection, with a preliminary release of 230,000 pages, spans the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries and will include core titles from Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as regional newspapers across the vast Russian Empire. Central and regional “gubernskie vedomosti” will be complemented by a selection of private newspapers emerging after the Crimean War in 1855, a number of which grew to be influential….”

CRL and East View Release Open Access Imperial Russian Newspapers | CRL

“CRL and East View Information Services have opened the first release of content for Imperial Russian Newspapers

(link is external), the fourth Open Access collection of titles digitized under the Global Press Archive (GPA) CRL Charter Alliance. This collection adds to the growing body of Open Access material available in the Global Press Archive by virtue of support from CRL members and other participating institutions.

The Imperial Russian Newspapers(link is external) collection, with a preliminary release of 230,000 pages, spans the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries and will include core titles from Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as regional newspapers across the vast Russian Empire. Central and regional “gubernskie vedomosti” will be complemented by a selection of private newspapers emerging after the Crimean War in 1855, a number of which grew to be influential….”

NFTs and AI Are Unsettling the Very Concept of History | WIRED

“But now the survival of archives as we know them is uncertain. Whether we know it or not, we all rely on a patchwork of chronically underfunded public and private institutions that hold the world’s histories and cultural heritages in trust for all of us and make them accessible….

It was only a matter of time before the market figured out a way to manufacture and sell digital scarcity, and the marketplace for cultural objects has moved well past the archival ecosystem. Artists, gamers, entertainers, athletes, and executives now sell NFTs, tokenized digital objects whose authenticity is said to be assured by the reverse traceability of blockchain transactions. The combination of Covid-19 isolation and cryptocurrency profits created a powerful incentive for digital-positive collectors to compete for these NFTs, and some creators are raking in Ethereum….

Nothing could be a greater cultural and ethical shock to archives than NFTs. Prevailing archival ethics generally dictate that all users are treated equally, and that archival materials aren’t exposed or sold only to high bidders. And once archives select materials for retention, they consider themselves in most cases ethically bound to do so permanently….

As poor a fit with archival DNA as tokenizing archive collections as NFTs may be, the possibility of leveraging digital scarcity by selling NFTs while retaining physical materials is a hefty temptation. The archival world is a world of inadequate budgets and financial constraint, filled with underpaid workers and massive, poorly resourced projects like digital preservation, and the challenging task of digitizing analog materials. Will archives be tempted by the potential upside of NFTs and tokenize digital representations of their crown jewels (or the rights to these assets)? This would worsen an already bad situation…

One working solution is for cultural and historical institutions like archives to run their own trusted registries of digital objects. But this is expensive, and it creates further incentives for archives to monetize their holdings and become less accessible to noncommercial users, like genealogists, the group that uses archives more than anyone else. …”

A Giant Medieval Puzzle – Library Matters

““Fragmentology” is a new approach to the visual gathering of such dispersed fragments in order to re-assemble the pieces of a codex.  A digital platform is now available to apply collective energy into fitting the pieces of the puzzle back together again, which has an enormous potential for research.  Fragmentarium is the name of a partnership of institutions gathered to develop the technologies needed to build “a common laboratory for fragments” and conduct research.  It promises to yield digital versions from the original fragments, constituted from various holdings. This process will enable provenance research, the study of the circulation of manuscripts, and generate connections among researchers and curators. Thus a leaf holding comparable visual cues may be further investigated as a originating from the same or similar source. …”