Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Beyond the Book: Marybeth Peters on Copyright

From CCC:
On Monday, May 9, Copyright Clearance Center traveled to Washington, D.C. and the Newseum‘s Knight Studio for a lively and fascinating discussion on “Copyright and Commerce.”

First to speak with CCC’s Chris Kenneally was Marybeth Peters, U.S. Register of Copyrights, 1994 to 2010. “If you’re a member of Congress today, members identify with authors, they identify with publishers, but they also identify with their constituents and with consumers, with electronics companies and technology companies. They have a lot of people who are in front of them trying to tell them what is the best way to move forward with the copyright law.”

Topics discussed included the Google Books Settlement, about which Marybeth Peters, U.S. Register of Copyrights, 1994 to 2010, gave her opinion that copyright is, and should remain, an opt-in system, where content creators own the right to their works by default, as opposed to the proposed Google model of opt-out, where all works are free to use unless a creator objects to it.

Also discussed were new technologies in publishing with Tim Jucovy, Associate Counsel at The Washington Post, describing the paper’s experience with news aggregator iPad app Zite, which was aggregating Washington Post content, along with many other publishers, without permission from the paper. Jucovy described how The Post, along with 9 other publishers, successfully dealt with the situation, offering lessons for other publishers on how to handle similar scenarios.

Also of note from the Guardian today a report on how the UK may take new look at copyright (Guardian).

"Could it be true that laws designed more than three centuries ago, with the express purpose of creating economic incentives for innovation by protecting creators' rights, are today obstructing innovation and economic growth?" said Hargreaves. "The short answer is: yes."

Hargreaves said that the single biggest failing in the current system relates to copyright – "once the exclusive concern of authors and their publishers" – for which the current laws are "falling behind what are needed".

"The UK cannot afford to let a legal framework designed around artists impede vigorous participation in these emerging business sectors," he said. "This does not mean, however, that we must put our hugely important creative industries at risk".

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