Friday, March 24, 2017

Proposed U.S. Legislation: Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 1695)

Congress.gov
This is brand new.  Information on the proposed legislation can be tracked here and here. Full-text available here.  It would change the text of Title 17 (U.S. Copyright Law) to include:
The Register of Copyrights shall be a citizen of the United States with a professional background and experience in copyright law and shall be appointed by the President, by  and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Andrew Albanese at Publisher's Weekly has already written an article on this.  One of the things that stands out to me is that Albanese said:
The President would also have the power to fire the Register at any time.
This is a change that requires deep thinking and a lot of input, because we do not want the Registrar to be beholden to any special interest or to lessen the exemptions/limitations already in place in Title 17.  (In fact, I would argue that we need to expand those limitations.)

Be sure to pay attention to those you follow for copyright news. Use them - and reputable news media - to stay informed on this.  And be willing to weigh-in with your comments and concerns.

Farmers, Tractors, and DMCA

This falls under the category of 'you never know what will become a copyright issue.'
Tractors U.S. farmers are battling with manufacturers over who can repair their tractors.  Manufacturers are installing firmware on the tractors, which inhibits non-authorized service centers from doing repairs.  However, farmers note that they cannot wait for an authorized dealer to do the repairs, because Mother Natures doesn't wait.  In order to speed up the repairs, farmers are allowing their tractors to be hacked.  Quoting Vice news:
On its face, pirating such software would seem to be illegal. But in 2015, the Librarian of Congress approved an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for land vehicles, which includes tractors. The exemption allows modification of "computer programs that are contained in and control the functioning of a motorized land vehicle such as a personal automobile, commercial motor vehicle or mechanized agricultural vehicle … when circumvention is a necessary step undertaken by the authorized owner of the vehicle to allow the diagnosis, repair, or lawful modification of a vehicle function."
Okay...so what they are doing might be legal (emphasis on the word "might"), however, the manufacturers disagree. In addition to the hacking, farmers are pushing for new legislation at the state level.
The “Fair Repair” bill was designed to give owners increased rights over the software-embedded equipment and electronic items they purchase.
So far, none of the "Fair Repair" bills have passed. New reports state that opponents of these bills have included tractor manufacturers and technology companies, such as John Deere, Case IH, and Apple.  Tech companies view the bills as being too all-encompassing. 

I find this fascinating, especially since I can see problems occurring with cars, etc., that might include software/firmware which inhibits who can repair them.  I grew up watching my next door neighbor tear apart and rebuild engines.  In addition to those engines getting more complex, could manufacturers use DMCA to stop "unauthorized" repairs?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Report - Video at Risk: Strategies for Preserving Commercial Video Collections in Libraries

VHS Heaven...or Hell.This 26-page report - "Video at Risk: Strategies for Preserving Commercial Video Collections in Libraries" - may be of interest to you.  What's it about? Quoting the report: (text below from NYU web site)
For Research Library collections across the continent, physical degradation of the media housing valuable, unique, and out–of–print video material looms immanent. Across the board, there is a pressing need to reframe principles and practices in situations where risk is defined by scarcity, and reformatting by legal and practical processes is not yet illuminated by common or best practices.

This Mellon Foundation–funded collaborative study brings together New York University's Division of Libraries with the Moving Image Archiving & Preservation program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and the circulating media collections of the University of California Berkeley and Loyola University (New Orleans) to collaboratively address these challenges.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Article: Saving At-Risk Audiovisual Materials

2"  24 track audio tapeYes, digitization is mentioned.

Friday, March 03, 2017

U.K. Guiidance Concerning Orphan Works

The United Kingdom proves a way for orphan works to be used.  Perhaps this is a model for other countries?