“There are no slam dunk legal provisions that can change the situation. Several creative legal and policy arguments have been proposed – from fair dealing rights, amendments to compulsory licensing provisions to better government funding. The publishers too have very strong arguments to support their case of copyright infringement. The legal battle between the ‘greedy’ publishers and the ‘rouge’ websites has been going on for more than a year. While legal clarity on the copyright front will take its own time, a significant regulator that should take interest in this vital market is the Competition Commission of India (CCI)….”
“When legality trumps ethics it is society’s loss. A court case in India, pitting the upstart pirate websites Sci-Hub and Libgen (Library Genesis) against the global giants of peer-reviewed publishing, should help decide a critical issue: whether scientific information should be available only for a fee, or available free to citizens who are already funding it with their tax money and to the rest of the world….
Piracy is not a moral failure, Liang says; it is a market failure. You can’t stop piracy through legal decisions or technological control. “The only way that you can win over piracy is through market correction.” ”
“Good news for archivists, academics, researchers and journalists: Scraping publicly accessible data is legal, according to a U.S. appeals court ruling.
The landmark ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeals is the latest in a long-running legal battle brought by LinkedIn aimed at stopping a rival company from web scraping personal information from users’ public profiles. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court last year but was sent back to the Ninth Circuit for the original appeals court to re-review the case….”
“Maryland’s library e-book law is effectively dead. In a court filing this week, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said the state would present no new evidence in a legal challenge filed by the Association of American Publishers, allowing the court’s recently issued preliminary injunction blocking the law to stand, and paving the way for it to be converted into a permanent injunction. …
First introduced in January 2021, the Maryland law required any publisher offering to license “an electronic literary product” to consumers in the state to also offer to license the content to public libraries “on reasonable terms” that would enable library users to have access. The bill passed the Maryland General Assembly unanimously on March 10, and went into effect on January 1, 2022.
The law emerged after a decade of tension in the digital library market, with libraries long complaining of unsustainable, non-negotiated high prices and restrictions. More specifically, however, the law emerged as a direct response to Macmillan’s (since abandoned) 2019 embargo on frontlist e-book titles, which prompted numerous appeals to both federal and state legislators to protect basic access to digital works in libraries. …”
“As part of its ongoing work to ensure that people can know and understand the laws they live under, Public.Resource.org, a nonprofit organization, on Thursday vindicated its ability to publicly post important laws online in standard formats, free of copy protections and cumbersome user interfaces.
The win for Public Resource—represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) with co-counsel Fenwick & West and David Halperin—in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia reinforces the critical idea that our laws belong to all of us, and we should be able to find, read, and comment on them free of registration requirements, fees, and other roadblocks….”
“After years of litigation, the state of Georgia has made its annotated legal code available for free online….
In a 2020 opinion captioned Georgia v. Public.Resource.org, the U.S. Supreme Court held that annotations in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated are not subject to copyright protections….
Hundreds of law students, small firms, sole practitioners and legal educators urged the U.S. Supreme Court to eliminate copyright protection for state annotated codes of law and certain other state and local legal materials. The case was unusual because both parties and all of the friends of the court urged the justices to review it for different reasons.
Georgia focused on the “government edicts” doctrine, a judicially created exception to copyright protection for certain works that have the force of law. The annotated code contains summaries of judicial decisions and state attorney general opinions. The code without annotations was already free to the public.
The Supreme Court held that, under the “government edicts doctrine,” the annotations contained in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) were not copyrightable….”
“According to a recent survey by the library group ReadersFirst, e-book prices for libraries have tripled over the past nine years, with publishers charging between $20 and $65 for an e-book copy that libraries cannot own permanently. For popular e-books, libraries pay $55 for a copy that expires after two years, or $550 for a copy for 20 years, compared with the about $15 that a consumer would pay, according to the American Library Association (ALA).
The Maryland law passed 130 to 0 in the General Assembly and 47-0 in the Maryland Senate, and took effect on the first day of this year. Last month, however, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction, siding with AAP’s argument in their lawsuit that the law interferes with federal copyright law. The Maryland attorney general will defend the state’s law, a stance applauded by the ALA. …
As it fights against these bills, the AAP and its affiliated groups, backed by massive corporations, have far more money and resources to apply to their legal work, and have spent far more on lobbying efforts and political contributions. …”
“In 2011, Alexandra Elbakyan, then a 22-year-old student in Almaty, Kazakhstan, got fed up with this system and decided to throw a wrench in the gears. She created a program called Sci-Hub, a website reminiscent of The Pirate Bay that allows users to circumvent paywalls and download research articles for free….
Now, 10 years after she founded Sci-Hub, Elbakyan, who has been referred to as a “pirate queen” and “Robin Hood,” has found herself bogged down in lawsuits and investigations while she fights to provide the open access service that has become essential to the scientific community, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic….
Currently, Sci-Hub has over 84 million papers in its database, according to its website, and users generally download between two million and three million each day. Elbakyan has observed that more scientific articles are available in open access than ever before, due to the influence of her work. But Sci-Hub continues to be embroiled in lawsuits and investigations. In January 2020, Sci-Hub’s Twitter account was suspended for violating the site’s counterfeit policy. And Sci-Hub has frozen downloads during the trial in India.”
“A landmark court case in which two major academic publishers sued the popular website ResearchGate for hosting 50 of their copyrighted papers has come to a close — although both sides say that they will appeal. The court in Munich, Germany, has not only prohibited ResearchGate from hosting the papers, but also ruled that it is responsible for copyright-infringing content uploaded on its platform. The decision has the potential to set a precedent for further restrictions on the site, which has 20 million users worldwide.
Neither side emerged a clear winner in this case, says Nancy Sims, a librarian at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis who specializes in copyright issues. “Each party got some pieces that were very favourable to them and some pieces that were less favourable to their claims.” …”
“Two members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, ACS and Elsevier, have decided to appeal the ruling of the Regional Court in Munich in their case against ResearchGate (31 January, 2022).
Dr. James Milne, Chair of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing and President, ACS Publications, said: “We welcome the Regional Court in Munich’s verdict. It ruled in our favor on the main part of the claim: ResearchGate is responsible for content that is made available illegally on its site in contravention of agreements between publishers and authors, which it does for its own commercial gain. ResearchGate has been ordered by the court to refrain from doing this in the future.
On the secondary element of the claim, the court denied granting damages on separate grounds. The court confirmed that the agreements between publishers and authors, including electronic agreements, are legally valid. However, we disagree with the court’s opinion that we did not sufficiently prove the consent of all authors. The specifics of academic publishing should be taken into account: research is inherently both global and collaborative, often involving a range of authors from myriad backgrounds, locations and stages of their career. Against this background, ACS and Elsevier have decided to appeal.”
Collaborating and exchanging research articles is a critical element of how researchers make progress that benefits society. Members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing actively enable copyright compliant sharing in many ways. We are pleased the courts have now made it clear that ResearchGate needs to do this in a legally compliant, sustainable way.”
“This hearing has shown that the status quo of publishers charging what they want for limited licensing is unjust. Judge Boardman herself said in the hearing, !It does seem to me that there is inequity and an unfairness on how publishers have treated public libraries.” This inequity is on clear display when it comes to the cost libraries, and in turn taxpayers, pay for physical materials in comparison to the restricted access and high costs of eBooks. Under the current model set by the publishers, libraries pay anywhere from $54 to $75 for a two-year license for a single eBook. By comparison, the printed version of the same book would cost a library $15 to $18 and not be subjected to a time-limited license. This illustrates the truth to our Attorney General’s claim that this is not a matter of copyright protection, but about “the unfair and discriminatory trade practices of publishers at the expense of public libraries.” MLA will follow the proceedings with confidence in our position and with profound thanks to the Maryland Legislature and the Maryland Attorney General”s Office for their determined stance and support. The legislature”s unanimous support is a reflection of the will of Maryland residents that one should not be required to have a credit card to access information. MLA continues to support a call for publishers to enter into discussion with libraries. We further call for library associations to continue to raise awareness of the unfair trade practices and imbalance in terms employed by publishers. Libraries seek reasonable terms so we may ensure that our clients will have access to content; similar to the terms that have been considered reasonable for print material. More than a century’s worth of experience shows that the example of print, and its pricing model, is a fair standard for all: authors, publishers, libraries, and most importantly, readers….”
“The Maryland Library Association (MLA) has released a statement about the ongoing hearing on its ebook law. Some highlights: …
This hearing has shown that the status quo of publishers charging what they want for limited licensing is unjust. Judge Boardman herself said in the hearing, !It does seem to me that there is inequity and an unfairness on how publishers have treated public libraries.” This inequity is on clear display when it comes to the cost libraries, and in turn taxpayers, pay for physical materials in comparison to the restricted access and high costs of eBooks. Under the current model set by the publishers, libraries pay anywhere from $54 to $75 for a two-year license for a single eBook. By comparison, the printed version of the same book would cost a [library] $15 to $18 and not be subjected to a time-limited license. This illustrates the truth to our Attorney General’s claim that this is not a matter of copyright protection, but about “the unfair and discriminatory trade practices of publishers at the expense of public libraries.” MLA will follow the proceedings with confidence in our position and with profound thanks to the Maryland Legislature and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office for their determined stance and support. The legislature’s unanimous support is a reflection of the will of Maryland residents that one should not be required to have a credit card to access information….”
“In 2017, publishers Elsevier and American Chemical Society filed a copyright lawsuit against research sharing platform ResearchGate, claiming that 50 of their articles were made available without permission. A court in Germany has now prohibited ResearchGate from making those titles available but refused to award damages due to the plaintiffs’ failure to demonstrate acquisition rights.”
“But Kahle is in trouble. If a lawsuit filed by publishers Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins and Wiley succeeds, he will have to not only shut the archive down, but also fork over about $60 million.
The lawsuit aims to stop the longstanding and widespread library practice of Controlled Digital Lending, which would stop the hundreds of libraries using that system, including the Internet Archive, from providing their patrons with digital books. …”
“Three researchers who sought to intervene in a court case that will determine whether Sci-Hub will be blocked by ISPs in India have had their application rejected. They argued that blocking access to copyrighted research papers would affect their work and harm the public interest. The judge found that an intervention could not be made on that basis….”