3 Count: Call Geek Squad

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1: Supreme Court Asks DOJ to Weigh in on Google-Oracle API Copyright Flap

First off today, David Cravats at Ars Technica reports that the Supreme Court has asked the Department of Justice to weigh in on the Google-Oracle case, indicating that the highest court in the land is interested in the case, even if we may have to wait a few more months to hear if they will take it.

Oracle sued Google alleging that the implementation of Java in Google’s Android mobile operating system is a copyright and patent infringement of Oracle-owned Java. However, Google only copied Oracle’s application programming interface, or API. The API is a set of instructions that let other programs operate with the language and it was copied to ensure that other Java programs would work on Android.

Though a jury did find somewhat in Oracle’s favor the district judge threw out the ruling saying that APIs were not copyrightable. The appeals court, however, overturned that judge and ordered the jury finding reinstated. Now the case is on appeal to the Supreme Court, which has not decided to take the case. However, by asking the DOJ for input, the court is indicating a strong interest, even if that doesn’t necessarily mean it will decide to hear the matter.

2: Authors Guild Ends Battle With HathiTrust Over Digital Books

Next up today, Wendy Davis at MediaPost reports that the Authors Guild has dismissed its lawsuit against HathiTrust, a digital book storage project jointly run by 13 universities, bringing an end to litigation over book scanning that has been going on since 2011.

The Authors Guild sued HathiTrust over its book scanning project, which was designed to index print books in a digital database for easy searching and accessibility to the blind. In 2012 a district judge ruled against the Authors Guild, saying that the service was a clear fair use and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. However, the case was remanded back to the lower court on a smaller issue about whether libraries could create replacements based on scanned copies.

The dismissal comes with the stipulation that libraries only create new replacements if a new copy can not be purchased at a reasonable price. The Authors Guild has a similar and older case ongoing against Google over its Google Book Search project, which also scans print books to make them searchable. That case was recently heard on appeal by the Second Circuit after a district court sided with Google.

3: DMCA Takedown Database ChillingEffects.org Takes Itself Out Of Search Results

Finally today, Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land reports that Chilling Effects, the controversial repository for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices has removed its archive from Google in an attempt to balance the rights of content creators and the needs of researchers.

Chilling Effects as been in operation since 2001 and, through special deals with Google and other hosts, receives copies of DMCA notices that it, in turn, indexes on its site. However, copyright holders have long expressed concern about some personal information that sometimes appears on the site (though it makes efforts to black out such info) and that the site posts full URLs that were removed from search engines, meaning that someone seeking the content can simply search Chilling Effects.

This backlash has prompted Chilling Effects, at least for now, to pull its entire archive off of Google, preventing it from being searchable, mitigating that problem. However, the decision may not be permanent according to Chilling Effects organizers.


That’s it for the three count today. We will 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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