Episode #101: Fair Use and Access (Shutdown Edition)

21 November, 20133 comments

In this, the first episode of the new Digital Campus century, Mills, Stephen, and Amanda were joined by two new Digital History Fellows, Spencer Roberts and Anne Ladyem McDivitt. Our first story is possibly the most important in Digital Campus history: the Google Books lawsuit has ended (until the appeals). At long last, the court decided that Google’s digitizing project was within fair use law and practice, clearing the way for the digitization work to continue. In addition to the legal significance, it means we can STOP TALKING ABOUT THE GOOGLE BOOKS LAWSUIT. It’s such a shame Dan wasn’t with us to chip in his four cents on the subject. Probably because we needed a new legal topic, we then discussed policies on digital first sale, which will determine how digital content is purchased, distributed, and shared, and speculated about how the first sale policy will affect the practice of buying and reselling textbooks, especially considering recent proposals for open, online textbooks. And in case no one noticed, we reminded listeners that the recent US government shut down did, in fact, make a number of government websites that scholars depend on go dark. One government agency doing some pretty cool stuff these days is the Smithsonian, which has launched a project to digitize and then facilitate the 3D printing of artifacts in their collections. And finally, we expressed our shock and outrage that 90% of students use their mobile devices in class for non-class activities. Can you imagine?

Related Links:

Google Books court decision

Digital first sale policy discussion

Open, online textbooks

Government websites shutdown

Smithsonian digitizing and printing 3D artifacts

Digitizing heritage sites

Newsflash: Students Use Mobiles in Class

Running time: 48:30
Download the .mp3

Categorized under 3D printing, books, copyright, ebooks, Google, intellectual property, law, libraries, Library of Congress, mobile, MOOCs

3 comments to “Episode #101: Fair Use and Access (Shutdown Edition)”

  1. Peter Hirtle : 25th November, 2013

    Fascinating show, as usual. The discussion of first sale, however, was a little off the mark. The first sale doctrine is embodied in Section 109 of the Copyright Act. It tempers the copyright owner’s exclusive right of distribution. Imagine if there was no first sale doctrine. Since the copyright owner has the exclusive right to distribute a work, that would mean that you could not sell a used copy of a book because that would also entail a further distribution of the copyrighted work embedded in the physical book. Section 109 says that the first sale of a work in print form exhausts the copyright owner’s ability to control subsequent distributions.

    Digital files present two problems. First, digital files are sold not by providing a physical copy of a work, but by reproducing a copy, which interferes with the copyright owner’s exclusive right of reproduction (and which is not affected by Section 109). It would be a relatively simple change to copyright law to amend 109 to allow for services that make a copy on a new device, then delete the file from the original device. The second problem with digital files is that they are most often licensed, not sold. If the license terms prevent further distribution, there is little that copyright law can do right now to offset this.

    Amanda was correct that remix and first sale are two different problems. And the idea that Bruce Willis was worried about leaving his iTunes library to his children was quickly dismissed as a made-up U.K. Sunday Times story (though it is true that you cannot transfer ownership of mp3s unless they are only on physical media that one gives away).

  2. Amanda French : 26th November, 2013

    Ooh, thanks for the corrections, Peter. I think I knew that the Bruce Willis thing hadn’t actually gone to a lawsuit, but I missed that it was at first, incorrectly, reported as a lawsuit. Here’s a link for posterity to an article about that incorrect report: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/blogs/gear-up/bruce-willis-did-not-sue-apple-over-his-itunes-library-20120905

    We should have you on as a guest …

  3. Google Books Lawsuit – Fair Use and Public Interest : 26th November, 2013

    […] Digital Campus┬árun an interesting series of podcasts on education and digital media and addressed the outcome of the lawsuit in their latest episode, Episode #101: Fair Use and Access (Shutdown Edition). You can listen to it yourself here. […]

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