Fantasy & Copyright News

Two separate things, for the most part- although I can see some intermingling approaching.

I’m unabashedly a fan of the fantasy genre. I read the final installment of Harry Potter the day it was released; for those of you looking for more news, Rowling has provided more details about what happens to the crew in the future in a few places. Naturally, there are a few odd contradictions in there. Prior to that, I read Victor Vinge’s Rainbow’s End- really, any librarian-type interested in SF should read it; it’s got some interesting ideas, like the “Friends of Privacy” who spread disinformation on the Net, and a few interesting takes on digitization in the library. Since then I’ve read Jim Butcher’s Dresden series and Sergio Lukyanenko’s Night Watch series (the three of the four translated into English). All in all, good times. ^_^

Well, here’s a Potter derivative work I can’t get out of my head at the moment, via Youtube, the Potter Puppet Pals and the Mysterious Ticking Noise.

Lots of things going on in the copyright front, including some backing off on the improperly pressuring universities I mentioned earlier. I’ll share a couple of things that are sticking out in my mind at the moment. First, rumor has it that individual members of Congress are being lobbied to reform the DMCA in such a way that removes some of the safe harbor provisions for OSPs. No big surprise if it’s true.

Beyond the rumor stage, the Computer and Communications Industry Association has filed a complaint with the FTC against groups including the NFL, the MLB, NBC Universal, Morgan Creek Productions, DreamWorks, Harcourt, Inc., and Penguin Group, Inc. The complaint and more information can be found at The complaint deals with one of my personal pet peeves- copyright statements that are far beyond what the copyright holder has a right to claim. For example, “no part of X may be copied without the express written permission of Y.” Or “any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the Z’s consent is prohibited.” They’re not accurate in the slightest, because of the copyright exemptions that they neglect to mention and/or are attempting to ignore. For some unexplained reason- I suppose in a misguided attempt to get “the other side” of the story- the New York Time’s coverage gets a response from one of the attorneys in the Google/Viacom suit, who claims that this move is just trying to to take away attention from that suit and that Google is looking for free use rather than fair use. The issues are separate, if related, and Google is by no means the only player here. The ol’ rumor mill again says that the content industries are not happy about it. I’m fine with that- unlike many copyright situations, I feel pretty strongly that they’re in the wrong. Of course, I’ve read more than a few of the licenses that certain members of the CCIA have out there as well, so there’s a few things they can also work on.

Speaking of licenses, the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that a company couldn’t change it’s contract without notification on it’s Web site. In a move that seems like a victory for common sense, the court stated that “[e]ven if Douglas had visited Talk America’s Web site to pay his bills, he would have had no reason to look at the contract posted there,… Parties to a contract have no obligation to check the terms on a periodic basis to learn whether they have been changed by the other side.” Now, I haven’t had a chance to read the decision yet, but it sounds promising when thinking about the ridiculous terms of use and portions of EULAs that have become so prevalent.

Eminem’s publishing group is suing Apple over offering his songs on iTunes without their consent. Apple does have consent from the Universal Music Group, which does own the recordings, but not from Eight Mile Style, which apparently owns the score and lyrics. Apple has been sued by Eminem’s representatives before, for using a song in an Apple advertisement without permission. Various news sources on the Internet have stated that the earlier case was won by Eminem, won by Apple, or settled, which I guess says something about various news sources on the Internet… but I believe it was settled.

In other interesting news, the Texas Digital Library now has a blog dedicated to scholarly communication in the networked world, the Scholar’s Space. Georgia Harper is blogging there, among others, and it already has some interesting posts about publishing, open access, and other issues.


  1. SlackAlice said,

    October 4, 2007 @ 6:20 am

    The bottom line is that needs to be a legal distinction between free use and fair use and until there is, we will all be subject to threats of litigation.

  2. Dave Law said,

    March 10, 2008 @ 4:25 am

    ya it is neccessory to have a clear seperation in between the legal aspects of the free and fair use, then to see for the threats of litigation and all.

  3. johngeorge said,

    August 28, 2008 @ 11:23 am

    It is neccesory to have legal aspects on free user and fair user.We need to be legal distinction on these and every one should subject to litigation.
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