Posted on August 30, 2008 in books by Brian RoweComments Off

Another good book reading comes to Seattle!

Event Reading and Reception for Born Digital: Understanding The First Generation of Digital Natives

Who: John Palfrey and Urs Gasser
Date: Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
6:00PM, to be followed by a cocktail reception.
Cost: Free and open to the public, no RSVP required.


Experience Music Project (JBL Theater)
325 5th Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

More about the Event:
More about Born Digital and the Authors:

Posted on August 28, 2008 in IP, open access, SPARC, Students for Free Culture by Brian RoweComments Off

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), Students for FreeCulture, and the Public Library of Science (PLoS) have jointly announced the first international Open Access Day just 2 days after the National Students for Free Culture Conference in Berkley.

Open Access Day will invite researchers, educators, librarians, students, and the public to participate in live, worldwide broadcasts of events. In North America, events will be held at 7:00 PM (Eastern) and 7:00 PM (Pacific) and feature appearances from:

Sir Richard Roberts, Ph.D., F.R.S.
Joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1993 for discovering split genes and RNA splicing, one of 26 Nobel Prize-winners to sign the Open Letter to U.S. Congress in support of taxpayer access to publicly funded research, and currently at New England Biolabs, USA. [7PM Eastern]

Philip E. Bourne, Ph.D.
Philip E. Bourne is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Computational Biology and the author of the popular PLoS Computational Biology Ten Simple Rules Series. He is Professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California San Diego, Associate Director of the RCSB Protein Data Bank, Senior Advisor to the San Diego Supercomputer Center, an Adjunct Professor at the Burnham Institute, and Co-Founder of SciVee. [7PM Pacific]

Librarians and student organizers are invited to host meetings around the broadcast. To see a list of participating campuses and to sign up, visit the Open Access Day Web site at Additional international events will be announced shortly.

Read more in the full press release.

Posted on August 28, 2008 in DMCA by Brian RoweComments Off

Here are some Best Practices for using the DMCA Safe Harbor to protect your Web 2.0 site from a crippling infringement lawsuit:

  • 1.  Establish Terms of Use and Acceptable Use policies, which are posted on its website, and mention copyright policies and DMCA takedown procedures in these documents
  • 2.  Remind users of your policies during the upload process
  • 3.  Designate a Copyright Agent to receive notification of claimed violations
  • 4.  Provides information about how and where to send notices of claimed infringement
  • 5.  Warn users who violate the policy
  • 6.  Ban user accounts for repeated violations
  • 7.  Do Not let user register for accounts from email accounts you ahve already banned
  • 8.  Require users to create accounts to upload content (Brian: I have mixed views on this best practice. A site like Wikileaks where privacy is at issue may not want to do this. User for Veoh were NOT required to provide their real name.)
  • 9.  Finger print (hash) content so that duplicates can be removed automatically and future identical versions can be prevented from being posted
  • 10.  Respond to takedown notices quickly
  • 11.  Finally keep records of the number of takedowns and terminations of accounts to prove you are following your own takedown procedures.

Note: these best practices are from a cursory reading of the opinion please contact me (Brian at freedomforip dot ORG) if you have other ideas or thoughts.  I strongly recommend consulting counsel when crafting your own takedown response, qualifying for the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA is extremely important for many websites.

These best practices are take from IO Grop v. Veoh I strongly recommend reading the whole opinion. Here are EFF’s thoughts on the opinion:

This ruling provides valuable guidance to companies that host video, audio, and text files on behalf of users (see, e.g., Muxtape). Too many “Web 2.0″ start-ups are careless about the requirements of the DMCA safe harbors. They don’t register a Copyright Agent, or keep good records of their responses to takedown notices, or have a demonstrable policy of terminating “repeat infringers.” Sure, doing this “compliance” work costs time and money. But, as the Veoh decision demonstrates, the payoff can be enormous, since copyright is almost certainly the biggest liability risk these sites face.

Final note: This opinion does NOT address fair use with regards to DMCA takedowns. Best practices should be customized to take creative reuse and political speech into account. I am not aware of a working model that currently does this.

Read the full opinion IO Group v. Veoh

Posted on August 28, 2008 in Alice, copyright, Fair Use, remix, UGC by Brian RoweComments Off

One of the things I love about being in a SFFC chapter is the cutting edge new media that other members of the group point out. This video is a great Alice in Wonderland remix with an audio track composed almost entirely of samples from the movie. Very creative and a bit addictive enjoy:

Here is one of the more insightful comments on the video from kalaresh:

This is a really good example of why copyright laws and the organic development of art are ultimately incompatible. This is what artists have always done and are supposed to do — have a conversation with the culture by transforming existing popular art into something new. What makes this original isn’t the material but the perspective on it. You can’t really own art or an idea about it any more than you can own the ocean. It’s really a shame art like this is illegal.

This comment illustrates the tension between copyright law and creativity.  I hope the writer is ultimately wrong though, fair use should protect this type of creative remix.

PS: The audio track is downloadable at Last FM (blue download link when you get there)

Posted on August 27, 2008 in muxtape, opentape, RIAA by Brian RoweComments Off

The RIAA threatened Muxtape with a lawsuit closing them down recently.  The side effects of throwing lawyers at problems are often not well understood.  The RIAA has effectively destroyed a central service that they could have worked with thus creating a distributed network of user hosted alternatives.  It looks like they merely cut off a hydras head… When will the RIAA learn that they need to work with users and inovaters not against them with legal threats.  Opentape is a free, open-source package that lets you make and host your own mixed tapes on the web.  Unlike Muxtape it does not automaticly provide easy links for users to buy content, in killing Muxtape they have made it harder for people to find new artist and purchase what they belive is good.

Opentape philosophy:

Sharing your musical tastes should be fun and easy. We believe there is no reason it has to end with the shutdown of a single site, so we’ve created a free tool to make this possible.

Check Opentape out for yourself:

Here is the first band that has used Opentape to distribute there musicFirst band using Opentape: Two Shots of Rye.   Preview their new record Hooks on Tape here (via Opentape).

Arstechnica – Opentape Invites RIAA to Play Whack a Mole Post Muxtape

Free Culture News -Opentape an Freeopen Muxtape Replacement

Posted on August 25, 2008 in copyright, Mickey Mouse, Public Domain by Brian RoweComments Off

Until recently I was under the impression Mikey was still in copyright. There has been some scholarship that shows that the original copyright notice of Mickey Mouse with regards to Steam Boat Willie is defective and thus early versions of Mickey Mouse are in the public domain!

Even small flaws in formalities can equate to a lose of copyright under the 1909 act. Here is the basic argument from the LA Times:

Brown (a litigant against Disney) went searching for flawed formalities — and found one. It was on the title card at the beginning of a “Steamboat Willie” cartoon (pictured above) that had just been rereleased on a 1993 LaserDisc honoring Mickey’s 65th birthday. It said in full:

“Disney Cartoons


A Mickey Mouse

Sound Cartoon

Steamboat Willie

A Walt Disney Comic

By Ub Iwerks

Recorded by Cinephone Powers System

Copyright MCMXXIX.”

The key was location of the word “copyright” in relation to the name “Walt Disney.” There were two other names listed in between — Cinephone and Disney’s top studio artist, Ub Iwerks. Arguably, any one of the three could have claimed ownership, thereby nullifying anyone’s claim under arcane rules of the Copyright Act of 1909.

Brown leapt on the ambiguity, asking the court to reconsider its ruling against him on grounds that Mickey Mouse was out of copyright. But he was too late. Without ruling on the merits of Brown’s arguments, the judge tossed it aside as untimely.

It was not the end. Debate over Mickey’s copyright status simply changed settings.

Arizona State University professor Dennis Karjala, a Brown acquaintance, suggested that one of his law school students look into the claim as a class project. Lauren Vanpelt took up the challenge and produced a paper agreeing with Brown. She posted her project on the Internet in 1999.

Here is Lauren Vanpelt’s Conclusion:

Disney first created Mickey Mouse on a sketch pad while traveling from New York to LA in 1928. Those sketches, which were protected under a common law copyright, were the basis for the Mickey Mouse motion pictures. They also provided the basis for the images printed on the Mickey Mouse Club materials sold to theaters. Disney published its common law protected expression without the proper copyright notice attached to the films and on the club materials. The statute of limitations to rectify that omission has long since elapsed, as has the statute of limitations for Disney to file any infringement claims based on that omission. As a result of its omissions and inaction, Disney forfeited its copyright claims to Mickey Mouse. Mickey has fallen into the public domain where all are free to copy and enjoy him.

I recomend readings Lauren’s full article. It makes me want to remix some Mickey Mouse music videos with CC licensed music.
Link to full LA times article

Posted on August 22, 2008 in IP, privacy by Brian RoweView Comments

The panel the discussion focused on the change in generations, it covered everything from work life to the value of high school.  One issue stood out to me was Privacy.

Francine Hardaway Q: Does Gen Y.5 care about Privacy?

Mark Bao A: Most don’t care at all.  Maybe 20% care at most.

This is one of the largest rifts between generations.  Many Non-Profits (ACLU, EFF, EPIC to name a few) are currently focusing on privacy issues and we have a whole generation maturing that do not see privacy as an issue.    How do you reach out to users of BrightKite and Twinkle about privacy?

The answer may be that you can’t.  Once you start living 24-7 in the public eye, privacy becomes mute.  Issues like data portability and non-discrimination laws will take precedence over privacy concerns.

Posted on August 22, 2008 in CC, How to, IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Molly Kleinman, a librarian at the University of Michigan, has written two great blog posts on How To attribute CC works. I strongly recommend reading them here is an excerpt.

Best practices for Attribution of CC work:

1. “Keep intact any copyright notices for the Work”: If a work you’re using has a notice that says “© 2008 Molly Kleinman”, reproduce that notice when you credit the work. If such a notice does not appear, don’t worry about it.
2. “Credit the author, licensor and/or other parties (such as a wiki or journal) in the manner they specify”: If a creator has a note attached to her work that says, “Please attribute Molly Kleinman as the creator of this work,” then attribute Molly Kleinman. If there is no note, but there is a copyright notice (see above), attribute the copyright holder named in the copyright notice. If there is no note or copyright notice but there is a username, check the creator’s profile to see if it specifies how to attribute the creator’s work. If it doesn’t, attribute the username. If there is no creator or author name of any kind, but there is a website (like Wikipedia), attribute the website by name.
3. “The title of the Work”: If the work has a title, call it by name. If it doesn’t, you can just say “This work by Molly Kleinman…” or just “Untitled, by Molly Kleinman…” Whatever seems appropriate.
4. “The URL for the work if applicable”: Link back to the original source of the work. I would argue that this is the most important part of the attribution notice. It can help creators keep track of places where their work appears by seeing what links are driving traffic to their websites. It also gives users of your work an easy way to track down the original source. If you are reproducing a CC-licensed work in a print format, you might prefer not to include a long and ugly URL, and there might be situations where leaving out a URL is appropriate. But in general, the link is the most valuable part of the attribution.
5. “The URL for the Creative Commons license”: Link to the license. The original work should have a link to the license under which it was released; link to the same place. You do not need to include the full text of the license when you reproduce a CC-licensed work.

There is no standard way to format the attribution of a CC-licensed work, and you can adapt the style or phrasing to suit your needs or the standard citation style of your discipline.

Here are a few examples:

An Ideal Attribution
This video features the song “Play Your Part (Pt.1)” by Girl Talk, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. © 2008, Greg Gillis.

A Realistic Attribution
Photo by mollyali, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

A Derivative Work Attribution
This is a video adaptation of the novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Copyright © 2003 Cory Doctorow.

Read more at Molly’s Blog:

PS the blog is licensed under CC-BY, so you’re also free to use and adapt them however you’d like!

Posted on August 22, 2008 in IP, isummit08, Rights by Brian RoweComments Off

Another good video from Isummit; Joi Ito (interviewed by Max Senges) about his perspective on internet rights and potential for collaboration between Creative Commons and the Internet Bill-of-Rights initiative.