French Law 2012-287: Database of Digitized 20th Century Books

Law 2012-287 was published in the Official Journal of France on March 2, 2012. The law, which amended France’s Intellectual Property Code, proposes building a free, public database of digitized books that were published in the 20th Century and are no longer in commercial distribution. The Bibliothèque national de France (BNF) would be in charge of creating and administering the database.

Publishers and rights holders will have 6 months to challenge inclusion of a book in the database. It also appears that after raising a challenge, publishers have three years to demonstrate a market for the book, or that they have created their own digitized version.

I did not see a specific appropriation of funds in the bill, so it is unclear to me how the BNF will finance the project.

Reaction on French law librarian mailing lists and blogs has been positive, but muted. Wait and see seems to be the prevailing sentiment.

Whether this bill leads to a free database or not, let’s hope that it spurs debate in France, Europe, and across the Atlantic, about the role of digitized books in society.

Law 2012-287 relative à l’exploitation numérique des livres indisponibles du XXe siècle.

http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jopdf/common/jo_pdf.jsp?numJO=0&dateJO=20120302&numTexte=1&pageDebut=03986&pageFin=03988

Full-text of the bill and links to legislative history materials are available at

http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/13/ta/ta0865.asp

Some authors’ groups have already criticized the bill for ignoring copyright law. For example, see the petition circulated by writer Yal Ayerdhal:

http://www.petitionpublique.fr/?pi=P2012N21047

Additional commentary on the bill from the Rue89 blog

http://www.rue89.com/rue89-culture/2012/03/03/numerisation-des-livres-quon-nedite-plus-qui-y-gagne-229855

Accessing and Reusing Copyright Government Records

Accessing and Reusing Copyright Government Records

John Gilchrist

10 Law and Justice Journal 213 (2010)

Full text available at:

http://www.law.qut.edu.au/files/4.Access_and_Reuse_GILCHRIST_3.pdf

Abstract

The common policy objectives in modern liberal democracies of promoting open and accountable government and of preserving national culture and heritage are reflected in the provision of access to, and the preservation of unpublished and published works held by government. A wide spectrum of social enquiry is in whole or in part dependent on these government preserved holdings.

The policy objectives in Australia are manifested in two ways. One is in government archival practices and laws. The other is in the Australian Copyright Act 1968 facilitating access to, and the preservation of, unpublished and published works held by archives and libraries. While preservation of these works and the costs associated with it are in themselves a recognition of the public interest in accessing works held by archives and libraries, existing laws and practices facilitating access should be reviewed in light of technological changes in way we access, create and communicate works and in light of further moves towards openness in government.

This article outlines present archival practices and laws in Australia, and the scope of Copyright Act provisions,  before turning to reform. The focus will be on the Australian federal sphere.

WIPO Lex

UN Pulse reports that the World Intellectual Property Organization has formally released WIPO  Lex, a portal of IP legislation and treaties searchable by country and subject.

http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/

From the WIPO description:

“WIPO Lex is a one-stop search facility for national laws and treaties on intellectual property (IP) of WIPO, WTO and UN Members. It also features related information which elaborates, analyzes and interprets these laws and treaties. It provides streamlined access to reference material of key importance for optimal information on the global IP System.”

French Legal Guides from EducNet – Guides Juridique Legamedia

The French Ministry of Higher Education and Research has posted a handful of thematic legal guides on their EducNet site. Guides are able for copyright, protection of children online, cultural property, privacy, human rights, and regulation of teachers and professors. All information is available only in French.

Guides Juridique Legamedia

http://www.educnet.education.fr/legamedia

A Draft 50 State Survey of Copyright Claims in State Codes and Court Opinions

In preparation for the Law.gov event held at Stanford Law School in January of this year, I started to put together a list of how each state treats its legal publications for copyright purposes.  Specifically, I looked at the web versions of state codes to locate any claims in copyright over the code text.  This led to searching in the print editions held in our library to see what copyright was claimed in these series.  Finally I searched the codes themselves (aided by the indexes provided on Westlaw) to find any claim that had been codified.  Along the way, the search expanded to how states treat any copyright claims in their court opinions (either online or in their code) as well.

My  method was not scientific.  I looked for clear statements on each website directly related to the code or opinions themselves.  Small copyright notices at the bottom of pages that seem to claim copyright in the pages themselves were not considered claims over the code text or opinions.  I understand that an argument can be made that those symbols of copyright could extend to the entirety of the material posted by that entity.

A very rough draft of the results is posted here.  I obviously have a lot of work left to do, including cleaning up some of the questions marks that have been left unanswered.  Official print versions for the state codes and reporters will also need to be consulted to fill out these charts.  And administrative law is just a glint in my eye at the moment.

I hope this document can be expanded and that it may prove useful in the current discussion on access to state and federal primary sources of law.

From Papyrus to PDF: the Rebirth of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Newsletter of Japan’s National Diet Library published an interview with the director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina of Egypt. Interview was conducted by Makoto Nagao, Librarian of the National Diet Library.

From Papyrus to PDF: the Rebirth of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Lecture and Discussion by Dr. Ismail Serageldin.

National Diet Library Newsletter, No.171 February 2010.

http://www.ndl.go.jp/en/publication/ndl_newsletter/171/711.html

Excerpts from the interview:

Dr. Nagao: I think access to digitized library materials must be provided within a framework in which publishers and authors do not lose out. I proposed a business model to protect their interest two years ago. Is this the direction Egypt is looking at?

Dr. Serageldin: Yes, it is. I also know an alternative which is the Norwegian approach; the government levies a tax and pays the sum to authors, thereby making a number of books free. There is another model deserving to be looked at on translation. There is a provision in Egyptian law which enables unpermitted translation of a material following three years of refusal by copyright holders. The U.S. is pressing us to change it. But I had debates on the matter and found that it is publishers, not authors, who are objecting it. But then, we give them 3 years to do it themselves.

Dr. Nagao: We cannot introduce lending of digitized data from the NDL to public libraries and schools because of copyright law. Is it possible to digitally transmit copyrighted materials in Egypt?

Dr. Serageldin: No. Our current arrangement is that out of 125,000 materials available on the Internet, out-of-copyright materials are available fully, 5% of non-out-of-copyright ones can be read and the rest can be ordered to be copied. We will print it by the Espresso Book Machine. I have an agreement with publishers, printers and authors. My vision of the future is that we should have everything available online but people must pay for download, either to a personal reader or into a printed copy.
Ideally printing machines will be as ubiquitous as ATMs for banks, with pre-approved arrangements to benefit author, publisher and other stakeholders. But at present, I am having a tough time in reaching an agreement with publisher after publisher.

Now we embrace the future by defending our values against obscurantism, fanaticism and xenophobia. We strengthen the role of women wherever we can, and we link people together by the Arab Info Mall.

But we need to reach further, hence the mass media. We have two weekly TV programs: one is a discussion program that I do, and the other is a weekly program on what’s new at the Library. We decided that the BA needs its own TV Studio and now it is under construction.
(Update on the matter: BA has been able to set-up a full-fledged cutting-edge studio in a record time. The studio is now successfully operating to screen, edit and produce many episodes of the library’s weekly programs. BA is now preparing for a new TV Science Series which will focus on tracing the development of different fields of science throughout the years as well as on highlighting most influential scientists throughout history and their main contributions to science. The new TV Science Series named “Horizons” will be fully produced in the new studio facility at the BA.)

Article: Enabling Free On-line Access to UK Law Reports: The Copyright Problem

Enabling Free On-line Access to UK Law Reports: The Copyright Problem

Philip Leith and Cynthia Fellows

18 International Journal of Law & Information Technology   72 (Spring 2010)

Abstract

The history of publishing legal decisions (law reporting) in the UK has been that of a privatised system since its inception, and that history has encompassed several hundred years. The privatised nature of this has meant that the product (the law report) has been, except in limited cases, viewed as the property of the publisher, rather than the property of the court or public. BAILII is an open access legal database that came about in part because of the copyrighted, privatised nature of this legal information.

In this paper, we will outline the problem of access to pre-2000 judgments in the UK and consider whether there are legal or other remedies which might enable BAILII to both develop a richer historic database and also to work in harmony, rather than in competition, with legal publishers. We argue that public access to case law is an essential requirement in a democratic common law system, and that BAILII should be seen as a potential step towards a National Law Library.

French Government Report: Creativity and the Internet

The French government has published a report (Creation et Internet) on the future regulation of the Internet. The report discusses intellectual property and proposals to tax search engines, such as Google. Patrick Zelnik, Jacques Tubon, and Guillaume Cerutti authored the report on behalf of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.  Text available in French. 

Creation et Internet (January 2010)

http://www.culture.gouv.fr/mcc/Espace-Presse/Dossiers-de-presse/Rapport-Creation-et-Internet

Erich Pommer Institute – German Media Law

The Erich Pommer Institute in Potsdam, Germany maintains an online catalog of its library holdings related to German and  EU media law, entertainment law or IP issues.  The library catalog records are searchable by year, theme, and keyword. Very few full-text items are listed; however, it is a useful site for literature searches and collection development.  Search interface is in German, but catalog entries include various languages.

Erich Pommer Institut Bibliothek 

http://www.epi-medieninstitut.de/Bibliothek_de.html

eYou Guide – European Union Guide to Internet Rights

The European Commission has created a Web site for citizens to learn about EU Internet law, e-commerce,  privacy rights online, and copying digital content. Although not designed for attorneys, the site does link to the full-text of legislation and case law mentioned in the text.

eYou Guide to your rights online          http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eyouguide/navigation/index_en.htm

 

Examples of questions addresed by eYouGuide site:

Protecting privacy

Tips and precautions you should take in order to prevent misuse of your personal information online.

Can the company that provides my internet connection see which sites I visit? If so, how do they use this information?

What you should know about the consumer contracts, unfair terms and delivery of goods bought online.

Shopping online

When buying goods/services online, what are the consequences of clicking “I have read and approved the terms & conditions”?

Safety & security

Concerns about the security of your computer, Internet connection or safety of your online payments.

What are the risks of using social networking websites?

Copyright & IPR

What you should know about your rights and obligations related to music files, movies, CDs and DVDs and books online.

Can I lawfully copy images and texts I found on the internet?   

Can I record streaming video and audio?

Disabled, older people

Access to and use of online services for older people and people with disabilities.

I am a blind user and sometimes I have difficulties accessing some literary or artistic works online. What can I do about this?

Who’s liable?

How to find who is responsible for illegal content online and for faulty goods sold or advertised on the internet.

Can an online seller be held liable for faulty products?

Who is going to pay for the damages caused by a defective product bought online?