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The Book as Intellectual Property: 21st Century

In the 21st century the debate over copyright has evolved with the widespread use of electronic communications. However many issues remain unresolved.

Copyright and Moral Rights

Copyright laws have been revised over the past few centuries. However the question of moral rights ebbs and flows with the print culture of the times. Richard Fine (2010) explored what he calls "the ghost of moral rights" using two recent court battles played out in France and the United States.

readRead!
Read Richard Fine's (2010) article American authorship and the ghost of moral rights. Book History, 13, 218-250. What's the current status of moral rights related to books and authorship? IUPUI students can view the article online.

WIPO Report

In December of 2011, the WIPO published it's first World Intellectual Property Report on the Changing Face of Innovation. The WIPO report (2011, 3) describes

"key trends in the innovation landscape - including the increasingly open, international and collaborative character of the innovation process; the causes of the increased demand for IP rights; and the rising importance of technology markets.  Against this background, the Report explores the ways in which economists' views of the IP system have evolved.  Finally, it takes a closer look at collaborative innovation models, analyzing how best to balance private collaboration and competition, and how best to harness public research for innovation."

The report stresses that today's intellectual property is much more than books. It's a high-tech, global marketplace. In the foreword, Francis Gurry, Director General states that

"The face of innovation has evolved significantly over the last decades.
First, firms are investing historically unprecedented amounts in the creation of intangible assets...
Second, innovation-driven growth is no longer the prerogative of high-income countries along...
Third, the act of inventing new products or processes is increasingly international in nature and seen as more collaborative and open...
Fourth, knowledge markets are central within this more fluid innovation process..."

Orphan Works

With the mass digitization of materials from libraries and large-scale projects by groups such as Google, the issue of orphan works has taken center stage. Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante gave a lecture titled Orphan Works & Mass Digitization: Obstacles & Opportunities on April 12, 2012 focusing on the key issues. She noted that there is general agreement on some aspects of orphan works. First, in cases where there is no copyright owner, it "does not further the objectives of the copyright system to deny use of the work". Second, even when a "good faith" effort is made to locate copyright owners, it's not always possible to find a resolution. Third, orphans and market gridlock isn't good for the copyright system. She concludes that a solution is needed.

To follow the status of the orphan work project, go to Orphan Works at the US Copyright Office.

James Boyle

boyleJames Boyle (1959-present) is a Professor of Law at Duke University and one of the founding board members of Creative Commons, Science Commons, and ccLearn. Creative Commons helps individuals share their knowledge and creativity with the world through the application of six licenses that allow varying degrees of use and reuse.

In 2003, Boyle published The second enclosure movement and the construction of the public domain in Law & Contemporary Problems. IUPUI students can view the article online.

In 2006, he co-authored a work of graphic nonfiction titled Bound by Law? Tales from the Public Domain by Keith Aoki, Keith, James Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins.

Boyle's latest book The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind, explores the delicate balance between "those ideas that are controlled and those that are free, between intellectual property and the public domain." His new book is a great example of the next generation of books. It's available as an ebook for free, but also available in a printed form for purchase.

Boyle is concerned about the current model of publishing.

"The internet makes copying cheap. Businesses that see their livelihood as dependent on the restriction of copying – concentrated in the recording, film, publishing and software industries – are understandably upset. Their goal is to have the same ability to control their content as they had in an analog world but to keep all the benefits of pervasiveness, cost saving, and viral marketing that a global digital network brings. To that end, they have moved aggressively to change laws worldwide, to introduce stiffer penalties, expand rights, mandate technological locks, forbid reverse engineering, and increase enforcement. It is not so much a case of wanting to have their cake and eat it, as to have their cake and make your cake illegal." (Boyle, 2007)

readRead!
Read Text is Free, We Make Our Money on Volume(s) at Financial Times by James Boyle. Reflect on Boyle's approach to intellectual property. Place his ideas within the history of intellectual property and copyright. Is it the next step or do you think it's a short-lived approach?

videoWatch!
Go to The Public Domain and read about how Boyle's book is being distributed. Watch A Shared Culture. It explains why Boyle is providing his book for free as well as as a print book that can be purchased. What do you think about this approach?

try itTry It!
Skim a chapter from The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. Connect it with the changes in copyright laws through the centuries.

U.S. Copyright Office

The photo below shows "one of the largest card catalogs in the world, the U.S. Copyright Office card catalog comprises approximately 46 millions cards. Photo by Cecelia Rogers, 2010.

card catalog

If you're interested in where we're going with copyright, read the Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante's lecture titled The Next Great Copyright Act (March 4, 2013).

E-Book Licensing

With the introduction of e-books, access to books has become a growing concern. In the past, most libraries purchased books and kept them until the librarian decided it was time for them to be weeded. The librarian determined how long the item would be in the collection. However, the introduction of e-book licenses has changed this dynamic. Licensing agreements determine the life of an e-book. This concern extends to many areas of the library including access to e-journals.

readRead!
Read Eschenfelder, Kristin R., Tsai, Tien-I, Zhu, Xiaohua, & Stewart, Brenton (July 2013). How institutionalized are model license use terms? An analysis of e-journal license use rights clauses from 2000-2009. College & Research Libraries, 74(4), 326-355.

Think about the impact of the e-journal licensing.

Resources

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