3 Count: Big Guns

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1: Coalition to challenge Google Books settlement

First off, opposition to the Google Book Search settlement continues to grow but now we’re seeing not just authors in other countries, but heavy hitters right here at home. Microsoft, Amazon, and Yahoo are joining up with the Internet Archive and several library associations to oppose the settlement. All of this is taking place under the co-helm of antitrust lawyer Gary Reback. This is according to Peter Brantley, the Internet Archive’s director.

The settlement, which is between Google and the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers, allows Google to scan and display portions of in copyright but out of print books. In return authors and publishers get paid a small amount for each book scanned as well as receiving ad revenue and royalties from sales.

Opposition to the deal has been growing since it was announced, largely from authors, domestic and foreign, unhappy with the deal and competitors, such as the Internet Archive, who fear they will be unfairly shut out of the book scanning business.

2: Flickr v. Free Speech. Where Is Their Courage?

Next up today, we have some updates on the Flick/Obama photo controversy but it doesn’t seem to be doing much quell the uproar.

Flickr has confirmed in a forum comment that they received a DMCA takedown notice over the image, which pictured Obama with photoshopped face paint to make him look like Heath Ledger’s Joker, but did not say from who. There are several potential parties who could have sent such a notice, including the person who created the Photoshop work itself, which was reportedly done for a Photoshop tutorial and not a political statement, though it later came to be used as such.

However, as the article points out, Flickr went above and beyond in removing the work here, including deleting the page the work was featured on, along with its comments. A lot of material not in dispute was lost for this reason. The Flickr account holder, according to Flickr, is free to file a counter-notice and have the work restored. This seems likely as there would be a strong fair use argument for the photograph, especially if the rightsholders to the original image were the ones filing.

Despite this, many have said that Flickr should have stood by its user on this one, keeping the image up given the fair use issues and have accused Flickr of wanting to remove the image, as they have allegedly done with other anti-Obama accounts.

3: China Jails, Fines Distributors of Pirated Software

Finally today, Microsoft is hailing a piracy conviction in China. Hong Lei and Sun Xianzhong, founders of Chengdu Gongruan Network Technology Co. and two others were fined 11 million Yuan and sentenced to two and a half years in prison for pirating software, including Microsoft Windows, which was repackaged for free as “Tomato Garden Windows XP”.

China, though now the second largest PC market by shipments, has been a tough market for Microsoft and others to break into. Microsoft, according to the article, has already tried to lure in would-be pirates with steep price cuts, up to 70% off in some cases, but the underground market still thrives in the country.


That’s it for the three count today, we’ll be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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