Copyright Law

Libraries vs. DRM

Within minutes of each other, two friends from separate corners of the world sent me a tip about the following:

Slashdot pointed to this BBC News that talks about the ill effects of DRM on libraries.

What’s DRM? It’s that “digital rights management” component of some software and media that supposedly protects against illegal copying, but more often prevents legitimate users from enjoying the stuff they’ve bought legally. Now think about how this works (or doesn’t) in libraries…

Thanks to Zach and Roderick for the tip.

Queen Mashups Are All The Rage

Michael Sauers pointed out Q-Unit, a mashup of Queen and 50 Cent. They’re sure to have Disney (the rights owner for Queen’s catalog) on their back soon. At least, it didn’t take Disney long to shut down The Kleptones, whose “A Night At The Hip-Hopera” has a spot on my iPod.

And that’s where the story comes around, are we at the point where we can say Queen’s music has taken on the status of a modern fairy tale? And are these artists — The Kleptones and Q-Unit — the new Disneys, remaking old tales for new times?

Who Knew Transit Maps Were Copyrighted?

The MTA, the folks who run New York’s subways and busses and such, weren’t the only ones to smack a cease and desist down on iPod Subway Maps last week, but they’re the first to tell they can pay $500 for the privilege of distributing those maps in an iPod-readable format — but only for non-commercial distribution.

Cluetrain moment: doesn’t the MTA understand that services like this serve potential tourists like me? Don’t they understand that the availability of such maps increases both the likelihood of my visit and the commercial opportunities of my visit (tourists don’t spend money in subways)?

What I really want to leave with, however, is this: Barb Dybwad at Engadget got this one right when she aknowledged the two sides of the issue and added:

These are exactly the kinds of cases in which traditional copyright law feels unsatisfying in the age of digital mashups, and we can only see the demand for these kinds of “information conversions” increasing.

Copyright and Academic Libraries

Back when I was looking things up for my Digital Preservation and Copyright story I found a bunch of info the University of Texas System had gathered on issues related to copyright, libraries, and education. In among the pages on copying copyrighted works, A/V reserves, and electronic reserves I found a document titled: Educational Fair Use Guidelines for Digital Images.

It’s some interesting stuff — if you get excited about copyright law. Beware, however, that they cite Texaco a bunch, and Laura Quilter has issues with that.

Digital Preservation and Copyright

We’re struggling with the question of what to do with our collection of vinyl recordings. They’re deteriorating, and we’re finding it increasingly difficult to keep the playback equipment in working order — the record needles seem to disappear. We’re re-purchased much of our collection on CD, but some items — this one might be one […] » about 300 words

Copyfight Friday

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did another one of his monkey acts when he went ape about music and DRM. Most people still steal music…We can build the technology but there are still ways for people to steal music. The most common format of music on an iPod is ‘stolen’. It could just be a picture […] » about 400 words