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Category Archives: Copyright

Returning Authors’ Rights: The Authors Alliance/Creative Commons Termination of Transfer Tool

“Welcome to the Authors Alliance/Creative Commons Termination of Transfer tool. This page explains what termination of transfer is all about and what this tool does. Termination of transfers: Get rights back! Creators of all kinds routinely transfer rights to their works (by signing publication contracts that assign copyright to their publishers, for example). While many of these agreements last “for the life of copyright” (which under current United States law generally means seventy years after the author dies), the law takes into account that these terms can ultimately be unfair to authors and artists. This is where “termination of transfers” come in. In the United States, authors can use the termination of transfers laws to regain the rights they have signed away. But because the law is complex, and because it requires that authors wait years or decades to take advantage of it, creators need to be patient, savvy, and persistent to exercise this right. Many people use terminations because their works are tremendously successful, and they want to recapture rights to enjoy more of their work’s financial success. Many others find that their works are no longer as available as they might wish. Their books might be out of print, or their songs might not be digitized or available online. For creators who want their works to be widely shared and enjoyed—who want to take advantage of a vibrant internet that might not have existed when they signed that contract all those years ago—terminations are a powerful option for getting their works back out in front of audiences. Whatever they choose to do, it is important that creators know this law exists, and that they feel empowered to take advantage of it. Authors Alliance and Creative Commons developed this tool to raise awareness of the law and its importance to creators who want to share their works widely. What does this tool do? This tool is designed to raise awareness of the termination of transfer provisions, to encourage authors to figure out whether the termination rights of U.S. copyright law may be relevant to their works, and to help people understand how termination of transfer works. It does so with explanatory materials and by explaining how hypothetical scenarios would work under the laws for termination of transfer. Once authors and other users understand how termination of transfer works, they can seek licensed legal counsel who can assist in determining whether termination rights do in fact exist, and in exercising any existing termination rights. Remember that this tool is provided for educational and awareness-raising purposes only—it is not legal advice or analysis and cannot substitute for the services of an attorney. Where to start? For a more details about the tool, please read our Overview page. See our Useful Documents page for suggestions about where information about a work may be found. If you would like additional information about the law surrounding the termination of transfers provisions or this tool, please take a look at our FAQ. And for definitions of important terms, take a look at our Glossary. To start working through the tool, click the “start” button here.”

Publishers seek removal of millions of papers from ResearchGate

Academic social network accused of infringing copyright on a massive scale: “Leading publishers are stepping up their fight against ResearchGate by ordering the academic social network to take down papers that they say infringe copyright. The move could see millions of articles removed from the site, as the publishers say up to 40 per cent… Continue Reading

Public Knowledge Calls for Court to Protect Rights to Access the Law

“Public Knowledge filed an amicus curiae brief in the case ASTM v. Public Resource. The case concerns Public Resource’s copying of model building codes and educational testing codes, which had been enacted into federal law and regulations. The standards organizations sued Public Resource for copyright infringement based on the copying of those legally-enforceable codes. The… Continue Reading

German universities looking to pursue alternatives to Elsevier journal access

Follow up to Academic institutions in Germany continue to cancel journal subscriptions as costs soar see Loans between libraries, and research sharing between colleagues, could allow country to sever links, negotiators claim “German universities have coped “easily” when cut off from Elsevier journals and do not need to rely on pirate article-sharing sites such as… Continue Reading

Modified U.S. Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan

“The U.S. Copyright Office has prepared a Modified U.S. Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan at the direction of the House Committee on Appropriations. See 163 Cong. Rec. H4033 (daily ed. May 3, 2017). The Committee directed the Register to modify the Provisional Information Technology Modernization Plan and Cost Analysis (Provisional IT Plan) published by… Continue Reading

Another view on the Google book scanning project

What Happened to Google’s Effort to Scan Millions of University Library Books?: “…many librarians and scholars see the legacy of the project differently. In fact, academics now regularly tap into the reservoir of digitized material that Google helped create, using it as a dataset they can query, even if they can’t consume full texts. It’s… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Releases Updated Draft of Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

“Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Claggett today released a revised draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition. This draft includes the first proposed updates to the Compendium since its release in December 2014. The public draft is available on the Office’s website at https://copyright.gov/comp3/draft.html. It will go into effect on… Continue Reading

Paper – Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling

Sag, Matthew and Haskell, Jake, Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling (March 28, 2017). Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2933200 “In this Article, we offer both a legal and a pragmatic framework for defending against copyright trolls. Lawsuits alleging online copyright infringement by John Doe defendants have accounted for roughly half… Continue Reading

House Votes to Give Some Powers of Librarian of Congress to Donald Trump

BOOKRIOT: “Dr. Carla Hayden, the current and 14th Librarian of Congress, is many things: a brilliant scholar, a forty year veteran of libraries, a defender of equal access, a former president of the American Library Association (ALA), and a rescuer of baby ducks. She is also the first African American and the first woman to hold… Continue Reading

Another commentary on Google Books

How Google Book Search Got Lost – Google Books was the company’s first moonshot. But 15 years later, the project is stuck in low-Earth orbit. Scott Rosenberg, April 11, 2017. “…Two things happened to Google Books on the way from moonshot vision to mundane reality. Soon after launch, it quickly fell from the idealistic ether into… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals opinion – Google is not a generic name

Elliott v. Google, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 15-15809 D.C. No. 2:12-cv-01072-SMM – OPINION, May 16, 2017. “The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of Google, Inc., in an action under the Lanham Act, seeking cancellation of the GOOGLE trademark on the ground that it is generic.… Continue Reading

Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling

Sag, Matthew and Haskell, Jake, Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling (March 28, 2017). Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2933200 “In this Article, we offer both a legal and a pragmatic framework for defending against copyright trolls. Lawsuits alleging online copyright infringement by John Doe defendants have accounted for roughly half… Continue Reading