The Copyright Office, a part of the Library of Congress, administers copyright law in the U.S. “So it’s no small irony then that a new book about Mark Twain, ‘co-authored by’ the Library of Congress, appears to contain text copied from at least five different sources, all with no attribution.”
In December, to a background of trumpet voluntaries, Nature Publishing Group announced that it would allow journal subscribers and journalists to share articles at no cost. However, it soon became apparent that this article sharing was open access in name only. Kevin Smith, at Duke, pointed out the many limitations in a blog entry on “Public access and protectionism.”
On a more solidly hopeful note, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently announced a new grant program designed to make significant out-of-print books in the humanities available as freely accessible e-books.
The estate of Dr. Martin Luther King actively pursues those who use his speeches and writings without permission, and the cost of rights, when granted, is frequently high. Since the studio that produced "Selma" did not have rights to use the originals, Dr. King’s speeches in the film have been extensively rewritten. This raises interesting questions about Dr. King’s legacy.
In October, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the “Georgia State” District Court decision and remanded the case to the lower court for reconsideration. The District Court decision had been widely held to bring a more liberal approach--and a bit of clarity--to making decisions about educational use of copyrighted materials for electronic reserves in academic libraries. Opinions about the impact of the 11th Circuit reversal decision vary.
Laura Quilter, Copyright and Information Policy Librarian, UMass Amherst Libraries, assembled an extensive list of commentary on the decision—and some responses from the plaintiffs.
Kevin Smith, Director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication, Duke University, offers a factor-by-factor analysis comparing the two decisions.
Patrick Wensink, who loves Jack Daniels, appropriated elements of the whiskey label in the cover for his new novel, Broken Piano for President. Jack Daniels, concerned about brand integrity, requested that the cover be redesigned when the work is reprinted—and even offered to pay part of the cost of changing the design for the initial printing and digital edition if the author is willing to make the changes.
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