Amazon’s monopoly is squeezing your public library, too – The Washington Post

“Turns out, the tech giant [Amazon] has also become a publishing powerhouse — and it won’t sell downloadable versions of its more than 10,000 e-books or tens of thousands of audiobooks to libraries. That’s right, for a decade, the company that killed bookstores has been starving the reading institution that cares for kids, the needy and the curious. And that’s turned into a mission-critical problem during a pandemic that cut off physical access to libraries and left a lot of people unable to afford books on their own….

Amazon is the only big publisher that flat-out blocks library digital collections. …

In testimony to Congress, the American Library Association called digital sales bans like Amazon’s “the worst obstacle for libraries” moving into the 21st century….

“All books in all formats should be available through libraries. Authors want their books available through libraries,” Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild, told me….”

 

Amazon’s monopoly is squeezing your public library, too – The Washington Post

“Turns out, the tech giant [Amazon] has also become a publishing powerhouse — and it won’t sell downloadable versions of its more than 10,000 e-books or tens of thousands of audiobooks to libraries. That’s right, for a decade, the company that killed bookstores has been starving the reading institution that cares for kids, the needy and the curious. And that’s turned into a mission-critical problem during a pandemic that cut off physical access to libraries and left a lot of people unable to afford books on their own….

Amazon is the only big publisher that flat-out blocks library digital collections. …

In testimony to Congress, the American Library Association called digital sales bans like Amazon’s “the worst obstacle for libraries” moving into the 21st century….

“All books in all formats should be available through libraries. Authors want their books available through libraries,” Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild, told me….”

 

LIBRARY COPYRIGHT ALLIANCE COMMENTS ON “DIGITAL COPYRIGHT ACT OF 2021” DISCUSSION DRAFT

“The Library Copyright Alliance (“LCA”) welcomes this opportunity to provide its comments on the December 18, 2020 discussion draft of the “Digital Copyright Act of 2021.” LCA consists of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries. These associations collectively represent over 100,000 libraries in the United States employing more than 300,000 librarians and other personnel. An estimated 200 million Americans use these libraries more than two billion times each year. U.S. libraries spend over $4 billion annually purchasing or licensing copyrighted works. At the outset, LCA states that it disagrees with the basic premise of the draft articulated in the press release announcing the release of the draft. Contrary to the press release, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) does not “show the strain of a statute that has not adapted well to the technological advancements and changing business practices that have occurred since” 1998. Likewise, copyright law today is not “ill-suited for the needs of most copyright owners and individual users.” Further, the copyright framework does not need to “better encourage the creation of copyrightable works.” Based on this disagreement with the draft’s premise, LCA strongly opposes section 2 of the draft, which would amend the DMCA’s safe harbors for online service providers….”

Are price barriers in the national interest?

“[Adler] rejected the idea that taxpayer financed research should be open to the public, saying that it was in the national interest for it to be restricted to those who could pay subscription fees. “Remember — you’re talking about free online access to the world,” he said. “You are talking about making our competitive research available to foreign governments and corporations.” …

Note that we’re talking about published research, not classified research that isn’t published. Thank goodness our enemies can’t afford to pay subscriptions or visit libraries. Thank goodness harming Americans has the side-effect of harming foreigners.  At least our sacrifice is not in vain. Thank goodness Americans have never benefited from scientific advances made by non-Americans.  Thank goodness publishers are willing to collect subscription fees for this patriotic purpose. Thank goodness publishers are willing to shoulder the responsibility of controlling access to our research.   We know that they don’t have to.  They didn’t conduct this research, write it up, or fund it….”

Poland’s ‘legislation’ of Holocaust history vs. Netherlands’ open-access archive | The Times of Israel

“When historians seek to research what Dutch citizens did during Nazi Germany’s occupation of the Netherlands, they have access to a stack of files that’s taller than the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Twenty years ago, those files of the “Central Archive of Special Jurisdiction” were deposited at the Dutch National Archives in The Hague. Suddenly, 300,000 case files on Dutch citizens suspected of having collaborated with Nazis were made available to everyone….

The climate in the Netherlands differs sharply from an allegedly “research-muzzling” atmosphere in Poland. On February 9, a district court ordered prominent Holocaust historians Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking to apologize to a woman who claimed the scholars slandered her deceased uncle….

In Poland, research into the Holocaust has become a lightning rod since the Law and Justice party was elected in 2015. Simultaneously, the digitization of the Netherlands’ “special jurisdiction” archive has helped researchers piece together a diverse mosaic of Dutch citizens’ wartime behavior….

Poland has its own version of the “Central Archive of Special Jurisdiction.” In 1989, files from the communist-era security services became available to the public, including those related to Nazi collaborators….

According to Grabowski, Poland’s “History Laws” are intended to “defend the good name of the Polish nation.” Any claims that Poland bore responsibility for the Holocaust are now criminalized, despite the historian’s documentation that 200,000 Jews were murdered by their Polish neighbors….”

Suggested changes to the Open Courts Act

“We write on behalf of a group that has extensive experience building large public sites on the Internet. The purpose of this letter is to advance action on improving public access to federal court records, which are presently offered by the government through an outdated PACER system. We have extensive experience putting large government databases on the Internet and then working with public officials to help government do this work better. Our experience includes making available federal databases such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark database, the Securities and Exchange EDGAR database, the IRS Form 990 database, 14,000 hours of Congressional video from hearings posted at the request of the Speaker of the House, and over 6,000 government videos from the U.S. National Archives posted in cooperation with the Archivist of the United States. We have extensive experience working with legal information, and operate some of the largest sites for access to federal court filings, as well as the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the regulations of all 50 states, and much more….”

Suggested changes to the Open Courts Act

“We write on behalf of a group that has extensive experience building large public sites on the Internet. The purpose of this letter is to advance action on improving public access to federal court records, which are presently offered by the government through an outdated PACER system. We have extensive experience putting large government databases on the Internet and then working with public officials to help government do this work better. Our experience includes making available federal databases such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark database, the Securities and Exchange EDGAR database, the IRS Form 990 database, 14,000 hours of Congressional video from hearings posted at the request of the Speaker of the House, and over 6,000 government videos from the U.S. National Archives posted in cooperation with the Archivist of the United States. We have extensive experience working with legal information, and operate some of the largest sites for access to federal court filings, as well as the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the regulations of all 50 states, and much more….”

LIBRARY COPYRIGHT ALLIANCE EXPRESSES CONCERNS WITH DIGITAL COPYRIGHT ACT DISCUSSION DRAFT

“The Library Copyright Alliance (“LCA”) has serious concerns with the discussion draft of the Digital Copyright Act of 2021 released today by Senator Thom Tillis, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. LCA consists of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries. These associations collectively represent over 100,000 libraries in the United States employing more than 300,000 librarians and other personnel. The discussion draft proposes sweeping changes to the safe harbors for online service providers contained in the Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. These changes would threaten libraries’ ability to provide internet access to Americans in every community across the country. They would lead to increased filtering, which would limit free speech and fair use rights. They would result in less consumer privacy, and increased risk of the termination of consumers’ internet access….”

 

House Passes Bill To Make Federal Court Records Free to the Public – Reason.com

“The House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday, over the objections of the federal judiciary, to make access to federal court records free to the public. 

By a voice vote, the House passed H.R. 8235, the Open Courts Act of 2020, which aims to modernize PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records)—a clunky and frustrating database of federal court filings maintained by the Administrative Office of the United States Court—and eliminate its paywall.

The database has long been the bane of lawyers, reporters, researchers, and citizen sleuths. PACER charges 10 cents a page for searches, court dockets, and documents, capped at $3.00 per document. Users who accrue less than $30 in fees every three months do not have to pay anything, which keeps casual users from being charged. But for others, costs can quickly pile up and there’s no alternative. Reason uses PACER on a daily basis to monitor civil rights lawsuits and report on the criminal justice system. As Seamus Hughes, a terrorism researcher who scours PACER for new prosecutions, lamented in Politico Magazine last year, “My work at The George Washington University’s Program on Extremism generates a quarterly PACER bill that could fund a coup in a small country.”

 

Even the Justice Department has to pay to use PACER. Between 2010 and 2017, the DOJ spent $124 million on federal court records….”

The federal judiciary should allow free access to public court records | R Street

“In September, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Open Courts Act of 2020 (H.R. 8235) by voice vote. The bipartisan bill—co-sponsored by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.)—seeks to knock down the current paywall around public federal court filings.

Today, the federal judiciary maintains online public court records, called the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system (PACER, for short). But, to view these records, PACER forces users to register for an account, provide credit card information, and then charges users 10 cents a page to download and view most public filings….”

Senate Explores Changing DMCA

“A Senate committee is investigating updating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The goal is to modernize the DMCA to make it easier to protect copyrighted content while also defending fair use rights. The Internet Archive responded to a call for feedback by encouraging the committee to keep things as they are….

What Thom Tillis wants to do is streamline the takedown process and make it into a staydown system, where a copyright holder only needs to notify an Online Service Provider (OSP) once about infringing material….

The Internet Archive argued that a staydown approach would be unworkable for five reasons:

1. By making content removal automatic in a staydown approach, it removes the human element from judging whether something is indeed fair use or a copyright infringement. They argue that manual inspection cannot be scaled, meaning that the burden should remain on the copyright holder to identify violations….”

 

 

Copyright and protection of scientific results: the experience of Russia, the United States and the countries of the Near East

Abstract. In this article, the authors analyze the legal regulation of the copyright protection of the results of scientific activity in Russia, the United States and the countries of the Near East. Considerable attention is paid to the review of key regulatory acts of the states operating in the designated area, as well as international treaties affecting aspects of the copyright protection of intellectual rights in the field of science. The authors consider the main ways of protecting the scientific results by means of copyright. Special attention is paid to the analysis of the judicial practice of the states, which plays a vital role in defining approaches to the legal regulation of the scientific results. The authors emphasized the similarity and difference between the systems of copyright protection of the results of scientific activity, the role of the judiciary in the functioning of such systems. In the end the conclusion is made about the prospects for harmonization of the approaches to the legal regulation of the results of scientific activity by means of copyright. The article will be relevant to practicing lawyers, researchers, students and everyone who is interested in IP law. 

Open Access Legislation and Regulation in the United States: Implications for Higher Education | Journal of Copyright in Education & Librarianship

Accessing quality research when not part of an academic institution can be challenging. Dating back to the 1980s, open access (OA) was a response to journal publishers who restricted access to publications by requiring a subscription and limited access to knowledge. Although the OA movement seeks to remove costly barriers to accessing research, especially when funded by state and federal governments, it remains the subject of continuous debates. After providing a brief overview of OA, this article summarizes OA statutory and regulatory developments at the federal and state levels regarding free and open access to research. It compares similarities and differences among enacted and proposed legislation and describes the advantages and disadvantages of these laws. It analyzes the effects of these laws in higher education, especially on university faculty regarding tenure and promotion decisions as well as intellectual property rights to provide recommendations and best practices regarding the future of legislation and regulation in the United States.

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; …”