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More on the Boucher bill....It's called the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act and the text is now online. Quoting Boucher: "There is a tidal wave of support growing across the country for rebalancing copyright laws to dignify the rights of users." His bill has already been endorsed by such companies as Intel, Verizon, Sun, and Gateway, and by such organizations as the American Library Association, the Association of American Universities, and the Consumers Union.
On October 1, the Australian Copyright Law Review Committee (CLRC) released a report on the conflict between the copyright statute and licensing agreements that ask parties to waive their rights under the statute. The report recommends amendments to the statute that would override contract terms that would limit fair dealing (in the US, fair use) rights, library preservation efforts, or copying required for the proper functioning of technology. (See the press release or the full report.)
More on the Lofgren and Boucher bills....The EFF has issued a statement supporting both. "Since the DMCA's passage in 1998, it has been used not against copyright pirates, but instead to chill the legitimate activities of scientists, journalists, and computer programmers. Rep. Boucher's bill will go a long way toward restoring in the digital world the traditional balance between the rights of the public and those of copyright owners."
Yesterday, Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) introduced a bill in the House to create a new federal agency, the Office of Global Internet Freedom, which would use a $100 million budget to develop technologies to help web users around the world bypass national censorship systems. Senators John Kyle (R-AZ) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are expected to introduce a Senate version soon.
More on the CBDTPA....If adopted, the CBDTPA would require hardware DRM built into nearly every kind of digital and computing device sold in the U.S. Ed Felten has launched Fritz's Hit List, a blog to enumerate the devices the bill would infect. Today's entry: digital hearing aids. (PS: Ed Felten is the Princeton CS professor who accepted a public challenge from the music industry to crack its DRM and was nearly prosecuted under the DMCA for publishing his research.)
Yesterday, Rep. Zoe Logren (D-CA) introduced a bill in the House, the Digital Choice and Freedom Act, which is designed to restore the fair use rights repealed by the DMCA. Her bill would allow copying legally obtained digital content for personal back-ups and for use on different devices. It would free consumers to sell or loan their copies to anyone, just as they can with print media. It would also nullify non-negotiable shrinkwrap licensing terms and permit circumvention in pursuit of their fair use rights. Today, Rick Boucher (R-VA) will introduce his long-awaited bill to amend the DMCA and permit circumvention for all purposes except infringement. The two bills are independent but show a bipartisan willingness to reverse the damage caused by the DMCA and restore balance to U.S. copyright law. (PS: There are many stories on each bill. For coverage, start here.)
A recent study by Outsell shows that university students and faculty turn to online sources before print sources, but trust print sources more than online sources. Quoting Daniel Greenstein, director of the California Digital Library, "The real change is a cultural one, and it's deep. Users are telling us it's all about access...." (Thanks to Scott Carlson in today's Chronicle of Higher Education.)
More on the Eldred case....In the September 27 Business Week, Jane Black reviews what's at stake in the Eldred case, which will be argued in front of the Supreme Court one week from today (October 9). Quoting Peter Jaszi, law professor at the American University law school: "What the Supreme Court must answer is whether the intention of copyright is to protect economic value or to promote science and the arts."
The MIT OpenCourseWare web site debuted this morning. The OCW initiative's goals are to: "1. Provide free, searchable, coherent access to MIT's course materials for educators in the non-profit sector, students, and individual learners around the world. 2. Create an efficient, standards-based model that other universities may emulate to publish their own course materials."
Papers from the July 31 - August 3 European Association for the Study of Science and Technology conference are now online. See especially these three papers from the session, The Challenge of Measuring the Web.
Due to difficulties with the email updates eprintblog has been migrated to a new server. Eprintblog is intended primarily for librarians in universities and colleges either interested in setting up eprint archives, or who are working on eprint archives and are interested in maintaining them. Issues such as metadata and digital libraries are therefore given more emphasis than in FOS News.
Free from Learned Publishing, Volume 15 Number 4 October 2002: The peer-review process , by Fytton Rowland (p. 247-258; DOI: 10.1087/095315102760319206 Abstract: The recent literature about peer review of scholarly articles is reviewed, with particular emphasis on the cost of the peer-review process. Possible impacts of electronic scholarly publishing upon peer reviewing are discussed. Two societies show how to profit by providing free access , by Thomas J. Walker (p. 279-284; DOI: 10.1087/095315102760319242) Publisher: Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers Abstract: Authors and their sponsors are beginning to realize that immediate free Web access (IFWA) provides the most convenient access to journal articles, thereby maximizing their impact. Furthermore, IFWA is the most economical mode of access, and, no matter what the mode, authors and their sponsors pay nearly all the costs of access ... [The article concludes] Journal publishers should realize that if they initiate IFWA sales they are not only tapping a new source of revenues but they are also reducing the incentives that authors now have to use other means to provide IFWA to the final versions of their articles. ["Other means" include eprint archives! GA]
Peter Seebach, Electronic publishing, usability, and a free lunch: The need for open standards, IBM Developer Works, September 2002. Seebach argues that ebook publishers must choose between protecting their books against piracy and making them usable. He praises Baen Books (often praised in FOSN) for understanding that open access to its ebooks increases sales more than it hurts them. (Thanks to El.pub Weekly.)
In the September 15 issue of Library Journal, Roy Tenant reviews recent work on institutional eprint archives, focusing on the issues on which different archives take different approaches, such as the software for creating the archives, implementation models, economic models for long-term sustainability, regulating the metadata vocabularies, and allowing removal of works from the archives at the author's request. "Although the software and implementation model that an institution chooses to employ is still anyone's guess, the likelihood that universities and research institutions will implement something is increasing. Institutional repositories fill an important void and are likely to remain a part of our information landscape. They provide much better access to a literature than has ever previously been possible and should be a no-brainer for most academic institutions."
A new study from KPMG argues that the content industry should focus on developing new business models rather than locking up intellectual property. While it is fighting (and losing) the wrong battle, it is losing billions in revenue. "Rather than embracing the Internet as an inexpensive means of delivering top-quality creative content to the consumer in a highly customized format, industry executives remain mesmerized by the destructive potential of online piracy." KPMG is a pro-business tax and financial consulting firm. (Thanks to Terry Foreman.)