How will libraries hold onto ebooks and other digital files like mp3s so that readers and scholars in the future can still read them? The current state of affairs relies on license agreements with publishers who in turn license to vendors, who in turn, license to libraries. Hardly sustainable when files can and do disappear when either the publisher or the vendor no longer offer them.
Libraries rely on the right of first sale to lend print books, and need an analogous right in the world of ebooks and digital music. To that end, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries and the Internet Archive filed a brief on Feb. 14, 2017 in support of Redigi, a company that sells used mp3 files to music customers. The brief argues that an evaluation of Fair Use should consider the rationale of the First Sale doctrine, and other specific exceptions. It argues that enabling the transfer of the right of possession should be favored under Fair Use.
But Oracle isn’t backing down. Late Friday, the company appealed the high-profile verdict to a federal appeals court.
This is the latest stage of a seemingly never-ending legal battle over intellectual property that began in 2010. The conflict has meandered through two federal trials, in addition to multiple trips to the appellate courts and to the Supreme Court.
But it seems that Great Minds can’t make up its mind on whether it truly wants its materials to be a part of free culture. Or, in the alternative, it’s reading the CC license a little too literally. That’s because it’s suing Federal Express, claiming the Texas-based delivery and copying company is reproducing its materials for teachers and schools without paying royalties to Great Minds. The educational company says that because FedEx is making a profit from reproducing the materials, it’s violating the CC license. That’s according to a federal lawsuit (PDF) the company has lodged against FedEx.
On Monday, November 21st, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.) issued a decision allowing a copyright case involving the well-known spiritual song and 20th century civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” to go forward. At the center of this case is the question of whether or not “We Shall Overcome” is part of the public domain in the United States, and the recent decision by S.D.N.Y. Judge Denise Cote indicates that the song could in fact be public domain material. “Resolution of the issues of originality and ownership will require discovery and a more developed record,” Cote’s decision reads.
Cisco Systems claims that Arista Networks has infringed its intellectual property by engaging in “slavish copying” of its Command Line Interface (CLI), a system of prompts and displays that Cisco uses for controlling its routers and switches. Arista says it’s protected by the doctrine of fair use.
The case has more than a passing similarity to the Oracle v. Google trial that took place in May. During that trial, Oracle tried to paint Google as an IP scofflaw for using parts of its Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs. It didn’t work out, though, when the jury decided that Google’s use of the APIs was justified by fair use.