News and Events in Scholarly Communication
- Tennessee legislation introduced for pre-1972 sound recordings (Jan. 31, 2014) - HB 2187 / SB 2187 was introduced in Tennessee to provide state-level copyright protection for pre-1972 sound recordings, which are not copyrighted under US federal law. A smattering of states clearly apply copyright-like protections for pre-1972 sound recordings, but the legal status is currently a patchwork. The Copyright Office has recommended that pre-1972 sound recordings be brought under federal copyright law, and Congress may consider that recommendation in its ongoing review of copyright law.
- Swatch v. Bloomberg (Jan. 27, 2014) - Decision from the Second Circuit in Swatch v. Bloomberg, affirming fair use.
- Copyright Hearings in Congress (Jan. 29, 2014) - Congress is beginning a general review of copyright, laying a foundation for "the next great copyright act." This week's hearing on fair use is especially important for libraries and universities.
- Elsevier takedown advisory (updated Jan. 2014) - You may have heard that Elsevier has been sending copyright takedown notices for faculty papers. Yes, it's true. More than 3,000 notices were received by Academia.edu by early December, and a number of universities have received notices for faculty papers posted on departmental or lab websites. Read more to find out what's going on, and what to do if you get one.
- Open access added to 2014 Omnibus Appropriations (Jan. 16, 2014) - Following on the White House/OSTP Open Access Directive, the appropriations bill passed in January 2014, included funding for open access for the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health & Human Services. Read more at Tthe Association of Research Libraries' SPARChe Association of Research Libraries' SPARCthe Association of Research Libraries' SPARChe Association of Research Libraries' SPARC and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
- Copyright Education for Students - Jan. 15, 2014, 3-4pm. Du Bois Library, Room 2601. Boston Library Consortium webcast.
- Copyright Reading Group, Jan. 13, 12-1pm, Room 1949, Du Bois Library.
- Elsevier takedown advisory (Dec. 2013; updated Jan. 2014)
- Copyright Reading Group, Dec. 4, 12-1pm, Room 1949, Du Bois Library.
- Georgia State University Copyright case, panel discussion after oral argument, Nov. 19, 2-3pm. Webcast being screened, Room 1620, Du Bois Library. Read more about the case
- >Nov. 14, 2013 - Authors Guild v. Google - Finally, a decision on the merits -- and a huge victory for fair use, and library and research uses of texts. Read more about the case, or read the fair use opinion (PDF)
- "Owning the Genome : Myriad Genetics and Biomedical Patents" - Nov. 13, 2013, 7pm. The UMass Amherst Libraries and partners host “Owning the Genome: Myriad Genetics and Biomedical Patents,” with attorney Chris Hansen, on November 13, 2013, at 7:00 p.m., at the Campus Center Auditorium, at UMass Amherst.
In 2013, the Supreme Court held that genes found in nature cannot be patented; invalidating Myriad Genetics' patents on the human breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other nonprofits led the charge and noted litigator Chris Hansen took the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
Questions remain, however. What will lower courts make of the Supreme Court’s distinction of “cDNA,” already receiving criticism from scientists? And how is Myriad Genetics continuing to defend its assertion of proprietary controls on the tests? Chris Hansen, retired attorney forACLU, will discuss the case, and a panel of scientists and technology transfer experts will respond.
- Open Access Week (Oct. 2013) - A full week of events focusing on AltMetrics, open access in the humanities, open access journals here at UMass, and collaborations across the campus and beyond. See "Open Access Week 2013" for daily schedules; or see the printed schedule or the poster for a complete schedule.
- Kirtsaeng v. Wiley (March 19, 2013). The US Supreme Court has strongly affirmed the rights of purchasers of copyrighted works to re-sell them, holding 6-3 that reselling rights are protected by the first sale doctrine.
- "Orphan Works" (Feb. 2013).The US Copyright Office has posted a "notice of inquiry" on orphan works and mass digitization. Comments are due Feb. 4, 2013.
- New Paper of Interest on Author Agreements (Jan. 18, 2013) - A new paper, "Publish and Perish? Handling the Unreasonable Publication Agreement" (Jan. 18, 2013) by Harold Anthony Lloyd overviews a hypothetical negotiation over a publisher agreement. The paper is available at SSRN
- R.I.P. Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013 / Jan. 14, 2013 - Aaron Swartz, an open access activist, committed suicide on Friday, January 10, 2013. He was facing a 13-count indictment from the US Dept. of Justice for breaking into JStor, an academic articles database, although JStor had dropped all charges. Academics worldwide have begun releasing their papers as a tribute, posting the URL to twitter using the hashtag #PDFtribute and the Internet Archive has begun a memorial archive. See NYT obituary; Larry Lessig, "Prosecutor as Bully".
Buffy Versus Edward – War on Cited Remix Video (Jan. 9, 2013) The acclaimed remix video "Buffy Versus Edward", which critiques gender politics in the "Twilight" movies, was removed from YouTube as a copyright violation of Lionsgate's movies – despite Lionsgate's admission just the previous month that the video was a fair use. See video creator Jonathan McIntosh's account of the takedown, "Buffy vs Edward Remix Unfairly Removed by Lionsgate" (Jan. 9, 2013).
Already receiving significant attention, this particular takedown incident will no doubt be resolved quickly – Lionsgate conceded the fair use in December, and it is likely that this current takedown is more of an administrative problem than anything else. But it illustrates the difficulty that artists and critics face engaging with an increasingly automated and algorithmically-based copyright enforcement system. When YouTube's ContentID system automatically flags content for takedown or other copyright-based actions based on its algorithmic analyses, copyright loses the critical checks and balances that let it co-exist peacefully with the First Amendment.
Ironically, "Buffy vs. Edward" was shown to, and cited by, the Copyright Office in its most recent DMCA 1201 anticircumvention rulemaking, as the sort of vital work that merited an exemption to the circumvention restrictions. If only we could get an exemption from automated copyright control.
Update: January 10, 2013 - Lionsgate caved in the face of significant Internet protest, and "Buffy Versus Edward" has been re-posted.
The Times, They Are A-Changin' (or not) / Jan. 8, 2013 -- A new Bob Dylan release of only 100 copies was designed to exploit copyright extension in Europe - See "Bob Dylan's label releases ultra rare box set to exploit copyright loophole", Guardian, Jan. 8, 2013; "Stuck Inside of Europe with the Copyright Extension Blues Again" (Philly.com Jan. 8, 2013); "Bob Dylan's New Album Is 'Copyright Extension Collection'", ''The Register'', Jan. 8, 2013.
Cover of "The Copyright
- Open Access AND Open Use / Jan. 6, 2013 - Cameron Neylon, "Science Publishing: Open Access Must Enable Open Use", Nature 492, pp. 348-349 (Dec. 20, 2012). Open access is not enough – researchers need to be able to index and have other reuse rights to scholarly literature.
- Skyrocketing Cost of Journals at UMass (Dec 2012). The cost of journals has increased exponentially. While some of the increases are attributable to rising costs in production, the larger impact has come from the consolidation of journals into a small number of commercial publishers that increase profits, thereby driving up costs for primary customers, notably research libraries. These rises in costs and in the amount of material published each year place pressure on the UMass Amherst Libraries. UMass has participated in several bundled online journal ‘deals’ in recent years. While these ‘deals’ offer faculty much greater access to online content, the price for the three largest journal packages - Elsevier, Springer and Wiley-Blackwell - has risen 25% in the past five years, a rate that exceeds the consumer price index as well as inflationary adjustments made to the Libraries’ materials budget.
Elsevier’s ScienceDirect package is up for renewal at the end of 2012. The package will cost $1,138,901 in 2013, and this amount will increase by 21% by 2017. To the left are the most expensive journals in Elsevier’s package. While use of the journals in the packages is very high, the Libraries remain concerned about the sustainability of the annual price increases. UMass Libraries have tried to negotiate to keep prices affordable and are committed to providing the broadest access possible within our budget. However, as researchers, writers and reviewers, UMass Amherst faculty can exert influence over the cost of scholarly materials and publishers by refusing requests for reviews and choosing alternative publishing venues. ... UMass Research Council Newsletter, Issue 1, Fall 2012.
- "Orphan Works" (Dec 2012). The US Copyright Office has posted a "notice of inquiry" on orphan works and mass digitization. The Scholarly Communication Office is drafting a comment explaining the interests and projects of the Five Colleges in using orphan works. Please contact Laura Quilter if you work, or would like to work, with orphan works, and would like to be represented in or informed about the Comment. Comments are due Feb. 6, 2012.
- Copyright News from 2012 (Dec 2012) - 2012 brought great news from the copyright front in several significant copyright cases. In November, the court finally issued its order dismissing the case in the AIME v. UCLA case. (The second amended complaint, in case you're counting.) In short, it was another big victory for libraries. The court affirmed all its earlier reasoning, and deepened its reasoning in a few key areas. Learn more ...
- AIME v. UCLA (Nov. 2012) - Victory for UCLA, defendant for videostreaming content for university courses.
- Kirtsaeng v. Wiley Update: Oral Arguments at the Supreme Court (Oct. 29, 2012).
- Open Access Week (Oct. 2012).
- Authors Guild v. HathiTrust (Oct. 12, 2012) - Big victory for library nonprofit, providing disability access, backup copies to libraries, and search capability for digitized books.
- Cambridge University Press v. Becker (May 2012) - Victory for Georgia State University, defendant for its ereserves program.
- Harvard Memo on Periodical Subscriptions (April 17, 2012) - Memorandum on Journal Pricing from Harvard Faculty Advisory Council, "Major Periodical Subscriptions Cannot Be Sustained". Urges faculty to support open access publishing, with submissions, editorial contributions, and professional association advocacy.
Last Edited: 14 April 2014