Sunday, June 12, 2011

MediaWeek (V4, N24): Georgia Copyright Case, Blackboard, HW Wilson, David Mamet's PR Campaign + More

What's at Stake in the Georgia State Copyright Case (The Chronicle)
A closely watched trial in federal court in Atlanta, Cambridge University Press et al. v. Patton et al., is pitting faculty, libraries, and publishers against one another in a case that could clarify the nature of copyright and define the meaning of fair use in the digital age. Under copyright law, the doctrine of fair use allows some reproduction of copyrighted material, with a classroom exemption permitting an unspecified amount to be reproduced for educational purposes.

At issue before the court is the practice of putting class readings on electronic reserve (and, by extension, on faculty Web sites). Cambridge, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publications, with support from the Association of American Publishers and the Copyright Clearance Center, are suing four administrators at Georgia State University. But the publishers more broadly allege that the university (which, under "state sovereign immunity," cannot be prosecuted in federal court) has enabled its staff and students to claim what amounts to a blanket exemption to copyright law through an overly lenient definition of the classroom exemption. The plaintiffs are asking for an injunction to stop university personnel from making material available on e-reserve without paying licensing fees. A decision is expected in several weeks.
What follows are several different points of view of the case - all very interesting.

Kenneth Green corrects and amplifies some comments he made on the announcement that Blackboard is in play (IHE):

First, no matter how you may feel about Blackboard – and lots of individuals both on- and off-campus have (very) strong opinions for or against the company, its leadership, and its products – Michael Chasen, Matthew Pittinsky and others who founded the company and the folks who work at Blackboard today do deserve their props. Blackboard survived the dot.com/dot.edu era and has grown dramatically over the past decade; last year’s sales totaled some $447 million. That’s not a random number; the revenues are not from random sales. Campus clients and others are buying lots of "stuff" – various technology applications and support services – from Blackboard

Admittedly, the company’s LMS franchise, which currently accounts for about half of total revenue, confronts significant challenges. New competitors seem to emerge about every five years, witness Desire2Learn, Moodle and Sakai in the middle of the last decade and, more recently, Epsilen and Instructure. Some 800 current Blackboard LMS clients confront "up or out" decisions about migrating from "sunsetting" Blackboard LMS applications (various versions of the WebCT and Angel LMS platforms) by 2013. Blackboard will win some of those "up or outs" and it will also lose some; but the company’s LMS platform will remain a presence on many campuses in the years ahead.

Changes are slowly becoming apparent in the sales of eBooks into the education market (IHE):
Also significant is which books they are buying. At Johns Hopkins, more than 70 percent of the e-books sold since last July have been “backlist” titles — books that had been out for more than a year. At the University of Kentucky, 87 percent were backlist. At the University of North Carolina, 90 percent. That means that the presses’ recent success in moving e-books has not come as a result of any kind of concerted marketing effort to get customers to spring for the electronic versions. Rather, it has happened despite a lack of such efforts.
An appreciation of H.W. Wilson upon the announcement that the company has been acquired by EBSCO (Am Libraries)

The David Mamet show continues as he attempts to garner as much PR for his new book as possible by exclaiming as controversial statements as possible. Here the Guardian reports on a discussion in Chicago with the play write (Guardian):
Leading US playwright David Mamet has launched an attack on the British literary establishment over what he claims are inherently antisemitic attitudes.Many contemporary British authors who write in the liberal tradition, Mamet said, produce plays, books and essays that are full of anti-Jewish "filth".

And he closes with this:

Mamet's new book praises Sarah Palin's political approach and calls the decision to build an Islamic centre in the vicinity of Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Centre, "a cultural obscenity".

Reflecting on some recent literary controversy Alex Clark in the Observer:

In all this, everybody has a point – perhaps even Naipaul, because what are writers without the occasional unhinged outburst? But the tenor and content of the debate have become frighteningly basic and automatically adversarial; stand in the middle scratching your head and you risk being accused of colluding with the wrong side. Rarely, though, does the conversation lead in the direction of the page; rarely do the books we are actually talking about get much of a look-in. It seems beyond banal to point out that literature is a broad enough church to accommodate writing by both genders, all races and religions, every class background.

A whole section in the Observer about the History of Rock Music (Observer)

In The Altantic, Jared Keller takes a look at the Internet Archive:

The Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library with the Wikipedian mission of "universal access to all knowledge," has offered free storage and access to digitized music, movies, websites and nearly three million public domain books since 1996. In May, the Archive turned its focus offline, towards the preservation of physical reading materials. The aptly-named Physical Archive to the Internet Archive, a prototype facility devoted to the long-term preservation of physical records, launched last Sunday in Richmond, California. Materials are stored in 40-foot shipping containers, modified for secure and individually controllable environments of 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 30 percent relative humidity and designed to keep out undesirable pests.

And that's a photo of the inside of the British Library BTW.

From the twitter this week:

Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education:

After 20 Years, Is The Website About to Become Extinct? -

The 51 Borders stores that may close.

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