The Taper

The Taper
Copyright and Information Policy at the UVA Library

UVA Today: Faculty, Students, and Librarians Are Building Open Anthologies of English Literature at UVA

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Study finds that for-pay scholarly journals contribute virtually nothing to the papers they publish / Boing Boing

Via Boing Boing, a new study finds that for-pay scholarly journals contribute virtually nothing to the papers they publish.

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Distinguishing Library and Archival Uses of TV News from TVEyes

This blog post reprints an addendum I wrote to a short legal consultant’s report on the legal issues around archiving television news. The full report and the addendum will be available soon from Vanderbilt’s scholarly repository under a CC-BY license.

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How Is an App Like a Player Piano? And Does That Help the Fair Use Case for Software Preservation?

Happy Fair Use Week! Today I want to write a little about software. I’ve been working a lot with software preservation folks, lately, and trying to think about the kinds of challenges they face due to copyright. I’m hopeful the community can find fair use solutions to at least some of those challenges, but in the meantime I’ve been struck by one unique aspect of software from a copyright perspective: in many ways it’s more like a player piano than a piano roll. Courts have taken this functional aspect of software into account in many contexts, and I’m hopeful that this will make it a good candidate for fair use arguments in the preservation context.

Why am I talking about player pianos? Well, there’s a great case, typically taught fairly early in most copyright courses, called White-Smith v. Apollo, a 1908 case that deals with the copyright consequences of the then-new player piano technology. (New tech is often a challenge to copyright, which is in many important ways a regime of technology regulation, focused on copying technologies. Every time the law seems to have tamed a given technological paradigm, a shift comes along and unsettles things!) The question for the court was whether the piano rolls that allowed a player piano to play songs were “copies” of protected musical works for purposes of copyright law. If they were, the music publishing companies’ permission would be needed before manufacturing new rolls that encoded songs they control. As the Supreme Court noted in its opinion, “the question involved in the use of such rolls is one of very considerable importance, involving large property interests, and closely touching the rights of composers and music publishers.” The publishers brought suit.

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For text- and data-mining, fair use is powerful, but possession is still 9/10 of the law

Cross posted at SPARC for Fair Use Week!

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Guest Blog: Student Remixer Tyler Garling on the Cultural Shift (Back) Toward Sharing

The following guest blog post was written by Tyler Garling, a student who recently took Steph Ceraso’s Remix class. Tyler will be talking about his audio remix project at our Fair Use Week event, The State of the Remix @ UVA, today, Feb. 27, from 9am-Noon at Harrison-Small Auditorium. Below Tyler talks about the ethos of remix—a vision of creativity that is open and collaborative. Fair use exists to enable exactly that kind of ethos, so this is a great way to continue our celebration of Fair Use Week 2018.

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9 Months Is A Long Time To Wait For Science News

From NPR’s Weekend Edition, a nice summary of one of the many dysfunctions in scientific publishing, which is really a dysfunction in science: the lag time and unreliability of peer review. Scientists Aim To Pull Peer Review Out Of The 17th Century

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Fair Use Week 2018 Kickoff: Getting Ready for *The State of the Remix @ UVA* by Revisiting the Renaissance

Fair Use Week is here! It’s the special week each year when we take a little time to celebrate the most important part of the Copyright Act (IMHO)—Section 107, the flexible, judge-made doctrine that permits free, unlicensed use of copyright-protected works for valuable cultural purposes.

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What's eating software?

Software may be eating the world, but something even bigger is eating software: copyright. Specifically, the fear of copyright among the professionals tasked with keeping legacy software alive and useful for future generations. That’s what I and my co-authors conclude in a report released today by the Association of Research Libraries, part of a project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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TFW Your Wonky Policy Issue Becomes a Snappy Burger Ad

Libraries have been fighting for net neutrality for more than a decade. As usual, we were way ahead of the curve; now fast food chains are getting in on the act! It’s almost enough to make you want to go eat a Whopper. More from AdWeek:

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George Mason University’s OER Metafinder Search Tool: The Back Story

This looks like a really powerful tool that solves a very real problem - how to find quality OER when it’s spread across so many disparate locations? Mason’s page seems like the perfect starting point for any faculty member wondering if they could make the switch to OER for their course, or add value with open content.

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Compelling arguments: Open access in Germany: the best DEAL is no deal

A compelling new op-ed in Times Higher Ed, by Björn Breembs and Alex Holcombe:

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New Resource: The Authors Alliance Guide to Fair Use for Nonfiction Authors

This Wednesday the Authors Alliance published an extremely useful new document about fair use that I think will be helpful for virtually everyone at UVA who is creating original works of scholarship, research, and criticism: —The Authors Alliance Guide to Fair Use for Nonfiction Authors. The guide follows in the footsteps of a long and distinguished series of fair use best practices’ documents and identifies three core scenarios where fair use will apply to non-fiction writing that uses third-party copyrighted material.

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F.C.C. Announces Plan to Repeal Net Neutrality

F.C.C. Announces Plan to Repeal Net Neutrality - The New York Times

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Publishers’ Dispute with ResearchGate: What Researchers Need to Know

Academic publishers have long had an uneasy relationship with academic social networks (ASNs) like Academia.edu and ResearchGate, which facilitate sharing of journal articles. STM, the association of STEM publishers, developed its own narrow definition of permissible academic sharing as a way to constrain these sites. Then a group of STEM publishers (ACS, Elsevier, Wiley, Brill) signaled its displeasure with ResearchGate by demanding it sign on to the STM principles and develop technical measures to enforce them on its site. When ResearchGate refused, publishers in the group sent takedown notices for articles taken from journals they publish. Most recently, two publishers (ACS and Elsevier) filed a lawsuit against the site in Germany, where ResearchGate is based, alleging widespread copyright infringement.

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Toward a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation

I’m very excited to share that I’m working with my good friends at the Association of Research Libraries, including ARL’s Krista Cox, and the creators of the fair use best practices method, Peter Jaszi and Pat Aufderheide at American University, on a new project: a code of best practices in fair use for software preservation. With generous funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and in close collaboration with the Software Preservation Network, we are learning about the current state of the field, then we’ll be helping the community to deliberate collectively about ways fair use can support its vital work.

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We Launched a New Institutional Repository. Here's why.

A guest post by Ellen Catz Ramsey, UVA’s Director of Scholarly Repository Services.

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Predatory Publishing: From "Fake Academia" to Real Extortion in Scholarly Publishing

Way back in March I gave a talk as part of the UVA Medical Center Hour series on the phenomenon of so-called “predatory publishing,” and I used that as a starting point for a much broader conversation about forms of predation in academic publishing.

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Recent Supreme Court IP Cases Through a Library Lens

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The Department of Education Open Licensing Rule Went Into Effect This Week

As of this Monday, May 22, 2017, the Department of Education’s Open Licensing Rule is in effect. The Rule helps ensure broad public access to the products of federal grant-funded education research. Federal investments in this area can yield great benefits to the public, and requiring a plan for public access that includes broad licenses to encourage reuse will help multiply those benefits. SPARC has an excellent overview of the rule, including the full text and links to relevant laws and regulations.

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Does Fair Use Affect Academic Authors’ Incentive to Write? Some Lessons from Authors of Works from the GSU Course Reserves Case

This post was co-authored by David Hansen and Brandon Butler and cross posted on The Taper and on Duke University Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Blog.

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Green Shoots in Spring at the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office

Imagine if you could download a .ZIP file with every single Copyright Office record, from the beginning of time thru, say, 2014, in a standardized and searchable format, free online. Who owns what, when it was published, whether it was renewed, even (dare to dream) when copyrights were sold or licensed exclusively to others, all in your choice of standard formats. What could people build around that free dataset? What could scholars learn? What deals could get done to revive forgotten works for new audiences?

I ask because the Library of Congress just did the equivalent with its MARC records, the electronic version of cards in a card catalog. The Library released 25 million records, its largest public data release ever, for free bulk download online. For years the Library has diligently created, compiled, updated, and distributed these records to libraries through a subscription service, which it will still offer. (The free bulk download doesn’t include the last 2 years’ worth of data, to preserve some incentive for institutional users to maintain the subscription service, presumably a cost-recovery mechanism that supports creation and maintenance of the data).

This is noteworthy because it is deeply inconsistent with the argument from supporters of HR 1695 that the Copyright Office needs to cut ties from the Library in order to “modernize” its information services.

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Operationalizing Non-Consumptive Fair Use with the HathiTrust

Check out this little piece I wrote for the HathiTrust, explaining the new non-consumptive use policy that a group of us helped to craft to guide researchers as they seek to make lawful fair use of the millions of in-copyright volumes in the HathiTrust library.

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Fair Use and Open Access: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

cross-posted at Harvard’s Library Copyright Blog

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Some thoughts on the next Register of Copyrights

From Kyle Courtney, Mary Minow, and me, posted at the Library Journal here. Also, I wrote up a little tweetstorm this morning about the last Register’s new job, the revolving door, and the risk of cultural capture.

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Libraries and Copyright: 42 Experts Weigh In

Today I sent a letter on behalf of 42 copyright lawyers, scholars, and expert librarians to leaders in Congress. In it, we explain the rich relationship between libraries and copyright, and urge Congress to keep the Office where it has lived for more than a century: inside the Library of Congress. We hope this letter will be a useful input as the House Judiciary Committee considers the first part of its copyright reform agenda, announced earlier this week in a one-pager and short YouTube clip focused on the Copyright Office. The Duke University Libraries sent a fantastic letter yesterday, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) issued a clear preliminary statement, and I expect there will be more input from the library community as this discussion continues.

Our letter was originally prompted by another letter,

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The Fallacy at the Heart of the Publishers' Latest GSU Brief

Fellow man! Your whole life, like a sandglass, will always be reversed and will ever run out again, - a long minute of time will elapse until all those conditions out of which you were evolved return in the wheel of the cosmic process. And then you will find every pain and every pleasure, every friend and every enemy, every hope and every error, every blade of grass and every ray of sunshine once more, and the whole fabric of things which make up your life.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Notes on the Eternal Recurrence

In times of great change and tumult, we in library- and copyright-land can take a measure of comfort in at least one eternal recurrence: the Georgia State course reserves case grinding on and on.

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Working the Ref on Copyright Office Reform

Change is in the air in Washington, D.C., and everyone is talking about it. Of course I’m referring to the Copyright Office. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have both run pieces full of wild speculation about sinister forces conspiring with the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, to change the guard at the Copyright Office in order to, like, undermine copyright as we know it, man. Libraries let people read books for free, Don Henley told the Post, so firing former Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante must be part of a library-tech conspiracy to suppress the royalty rates YouTube pays to songwriters.

Wait, what?

The strangest thing about all this conspiracy theorizing (other than the WSJ calling Pallante a “patent defender”—wrong IP, dudes) is that it starts with the idea that the Librarian’s move is a mystery that can’t be explained by available facts. I don’t have access to any insider info, but I don’t think I need it: former Register Maria Pallante didn’t think she should be working for the Library. The Librarian apparently agreed. The end.

So what’s really going on?

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Compromised? Responding to Department of Energy’s “Grand Compromise”

In this guest post, UVA Open Publishing Librarian Dave Ghamandi provides commentary on the state of the federal government’s open access policies, and in particular a response to the Department of Energy’s recent blog post on the “compromises” involved in working with publishers to provide open access to federally-funded scholarship. It’s important to applaud our friends in government when they move in the right direction—and they have certainly done that, as Jerry Sheehan’s recent Open Access Week round-up makes clear. But Dave’s message here is equally important: we must also question dubious compromises and half-measures along the way, before they harden into accepted practice.

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Welcome to the Taper

Welcome to The Taper, a blog about copyright and related library policy issues as seen from my office at the University of Virginia Library, the spiritual (and, originally, the physical) heart of Thomas Jefferson’s “academical village.” I’m Brandon Butler, the new(-ish) Director of Information Policy for the Library, and I’ll be the blog’s primary author. It will also be my privilege to host guest posts from my colleagues at the Library and beyond, who will appear on these pages in the coming days and weeks to share their thoughts on the policy scene and let you know about all the cool stuff they are doing to foster a better-functioning ecosystem for teaching, learning, and scholarship, on Grounds and beyond. Read on for some thoughts on the blog’s name and our Founder’s founding insight.

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