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Intellectual Property

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Adobe Captivate 3: Is It Legal to Add Copyrighted Music to eLearning?

I'm not a copyright lawyer (and I don't play one on TV). However, I have had more than one copyright lawyer in my Captivate classes over the past few years who have agreed that it is "perfectly fine to use copyrighted music in Captivate projects, provided the lesson you create is meant for educational purposes and that you do not use more than 10% of the copyrighted works or 30 seconds, whichever comes first."

Siegel, Kevin A. Blogs.com (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Education


Anticircumvention Rules: Threat to Science

Scientists who study encryption or computer security or otherwise reverse engineer technical measures, who make tools enabling them to do this work, and who report the results of their research face new risks of legal liability because of recently adopted rules prohibiting the circumvention of technical measures and manufacture or distribution of circumvention tools. Because all data in digital form can be technically protected, the impact of these rules goes far beyond encryption and computer security research. The scientific community must recognize the harms these rules pose and provide guidance about how to improve the anticircumvention rules.

Samuelson, Pamela. Science (2001). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright


Applying Copyleft To Non-Software Information

Copyleft contains the normal copyright statement, asserting ownership and identification of the author. However, it then gives away some of the other rights implicit in the normal copyright: it says that not only are you free to redistribute this work, but you are also free to change the work. However, you cannot claim to have written the original work, nor can you claim that these changes were created by someone else. Finally, all derivative works must also be placed under these terms.

Stutz, Michael. GNU. Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Open Source


Are You a Copyright Criminal?  (link broken)

It's getting more tempting to infringe on copyright when creating presentations, thanks to many new scanning and duplicating technologies as well as proliferating Web content. But writers, designers, artists and copyright owners are becoming more aggressive, using new tactics and technologies to enforce their rights. If you don't know the rules, you could end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

Zielinski, Dave. 3M (2002). Presentations>Intellectual Property>Copyright


Authors' Rights   (peer-reviewed)

With the advent of powerful networked desktop computers and the World Wide Web, authors have for the first time acquired control of the technology for scholarly communication. That radical change prompts the question of how authors have in the past fared under copyright law, and how they might fare in the future. Anglo-American copyright law has always attempted to regulate the interests of three parties: the author, the publisher, and the public. Before there was a formal copyright law, royal patents granted to the Stationer's Company created printing monopolies and facilitated state censorship. The concerns of authors were hardly considered. The 1710 Statute of Anne, our first formal copyright law, left printers the dominant power in relations between printers and authors. What is most remarkable about the Statute of Anne is that the state's interest began to shift from censorship toward the creation of a public domain for intellectual property.

Bennett, Scott. Journal of Electronic Publishing (1999). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>History


Authorship, Appropriation, and the Fluid Text: Versions of the Law

A fluid text is any work that exists in multiple versions. What are the ethics and legality in the creation, sharing, and ownership of textual versions? What are the boundaries of textual appropriation? How does technology abet appropriation; how might it assist in the useful designation of boundaries? Is the law keeping up?

Bryant, John and Wendy Seltzer. MIT (2009). Articles>Intellectual Property>Audio>Podcasts


The Basics of U.S. Copyright Law  (link broken)

Copyright law is one of the most important legal issues for any entrepreneur or successful business to understand. It provides authors, programmers artists and others with vital intellectual property protection for their creations. This article explains exactly what U.S. copyright law is and how it works.

GigaLaw.com (2000). Resources>Intellectual Property


Bearing the Burden: Small Firms and the Patent System   (peer-reviewed)

The popular conception of the patent system is one of mad inventors with ludicrous inventions and equally absurd expectations that the product of their years of pottering in the garden shed will change the world. Precisely the same system is the bulwark of strategy in some of the world's most powerful companies, notoriously in the pharmaceutical industry, but now also in the world's IT industry. Can the one instrument serve such diverse purposes? Certainly those for whom the patent system is of critical strategic importance think so for they frequently declare that it benefits the independent inventor and the small firm. They insist that the patent system encourages the innovation of the weak as well as the strong, and that society is much the richer for this innovation. This article considers just who does benefit from the patent system and then turns to the other side of the coin, the costs of the patent system. Most discussion of the system seems not so much to deny the existence of costs as to ignore them. Yet, the costs would seem to be considerable and their distribution as uneven as that of the benefits. Those who reap most benefits from the patent system are not those who incur most costs, and while benefits are finely focussed, costs are much more widely distributed. The greatest cost of all would seem to be borne by society as a whole in terms of damage done to innovation, which is curious given that the fundamental purpose of the patent system is to encourage innovation for the benefit of society as a whole.

Macdonald, Stuart. JILT (2003). Articles>Intellectual Property>Patents


Beware: Generic Words Can Indeed Be Trademarked

In article by Sabra Chartrand in the New York Times (March 13, 1995), makes it clear that the name of electronic products — books, photos, music, and titles — can be a bone of contention. Did you know that the Microsoft Corporation owns the rights to use the word bookshelf as applied to any CD-ROM product? In 1991, the software giant trademarked the term to cover its collection of reference books, Microsoft Bookshelf.

Editorial Eye, The (2003). Articles>Intellectual Property>Trademark>Writing


A Brief History of US Fair Use

In our role as writing teachers, we’ve been asked to adopt 'post-modern practice' by releasing old-fashioned notions of single authorship and obsolete pedagogy that forbids plagiarism under a 'detect-and-punish' regime. Instead, we are to teach 'digital ethics' and Fair Use. But what exactly is 'Fair Use'? This is a doctrine we as writing teachers need to understand because while public figures such as Lawrence Lessig, Jessica Litman, and Siva Vaidhyanathan argue that the law needs to be changed, in the meantime we have classes to teach. Writing teachers increasingly teach writing on networked computers, and therefore our need to understand the basic doctrine of Fair Use is as great as our need to understand the rules of anti-plagiarism. This paper first reviews current US Copyright Law, and then briefly traces the concept of 'Fair Use' from its inception as 'fair abridgment' in 1700’s England to its current interpretation in US case law. US Copyright policy, the regime legally defining invention, imitation, compilation, and appropriation, is set through complex interactions between a variety of players. These influential interactions include the habits of writers. The tension between stakeholders who wish to share, and stakeholders who wish to contain and control information is viewed as a 'battle,' 'war,' and 'fight'. In this fight, the writing student and teacher thus become actors, willingly or not, determining how copyright operates. Because we as teachers are key players in the continual remediation of copyright policy, we should have a basic critical understanding of US Copyright Law and how Fair Use is situated within our copyright regime.

Rife, Martine Courant. Social Science Research Network (2006). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>History


But There's Only So Many Ways to do Something, Right?

We're often victims of design piracy. Roughly once a week someone emails us with an anonymous tip that someone has ripped off our "UI look and feel" and is using it for their own site or their own app. It's amazing what people and businesses think they can get away with. We send the violators an email letting them know they can't take our work, our words, our code, or our design. 98% of the time the violators respond favorably and take the design down or alter it sufficiently that it's no longer recognizable as our design. 1% of the time it takes a few emails before they acquiesce. And 1% of the time it requires legal intervention.

Signal vs. Noise (2007). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Web Design


Buyer Beware: The Ever-Expanding Search for the Perfect Image

When you need to find an image for commercial use, how much consideration do you give to where it came from? Do you think about its provenance, its pedigree? Are the images you license sourced primarily from major distributors or from alternative suppliers, who may have access to more distinctive or original content?

Waterman, Jill. Communication World Bulletin (2006). Design>Graphic Design>Intellectual Property


A Call for Copyright Rebellion

Copyright law was originally intended to protect those who create for profit (Lessig used the example of recording artist Britney Spears). But academics also create original works, he said, and they are — or should be — motivated by a desire to advance human knowledge, not line their pockets. Therefore, sealing their work behind copyright barriers does no social good.

Kolowich, Steve. Inside Higher Education (2009). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Academic


A Call for Realism

If there once was an implicit social contract in this area, it has arguably broken down on a personal, day‑to‑day level in much the same way that it did during the prohibition of the 1920s. Enforcement of copyright laws remains nearly impossible under existing Internet architecture for the type of private copying that takes place in cyberspace on a daily basis.

Biegel, Stuart. UCLA (2001). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Technology Transfer


Can Filesharers Be Triggered by Economic Incentives? Results of an Experiment   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Illegal filesharing on the internet leads to considerable financial losses for artists and copyright owners as well as producers and sellers of music. Thus far, measures to contain this phenomenon have been rather restrictive. However, there are still a considerable number of illegal systems, and users are able to decide quite freely between legal and illegal downloads because the latter are still difficult to sanction. Recent economic approaches account for the improved bargaining position of users. They are based on the idea of revenue-splitting between professional sellers and peers. In order to test such an innovative business model, the study reported in this article carried out an experiment with 100 undergraduate students, forming five small peer-to-peer networks. The networks were confronted with different economic conditions. The results indicate that even experienced filesharers hold favourable attitudes towards revenue-splitting. They seem to be willing to adjust their behaviour to different economic conditions.

Quiring, Oliver, Benedikt Von Walter and Richard Atterer. New Media and Society (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Case Studies


Choosing a License for Sharing Documentation Content

What issues and legalities do we as Technical Communicators or Wiki Administrators need to be aware of as we move towards collaborative authoring projects and so forth, especially when documenting open source software?

Gentle, Anne. Just Write Click (2009). Articles>Documentation>Intellectual Property>Open Source


Clearing Rights for Multimedia Works   (members only)

The ground-breaking aspects of undertaking to create a multimedia work are more than just technological; much as the technology is growing by leaps and bounds in response to the needs of creators and consumers, so also must the methods and techniques for transferring from owners to new creators the rights to utilize existing works. As this industry began to take on form and vision, much excited speculation and wonder quickly turned to disbelief, if not outright horror, as creators began to understand what a labyrinth 'clearing rights' would be.

Harper, Georgia K. University of Texas (2003). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Multimedia


A Comparison of Academics' Attitudes Towards the Rights Protection of Their Research and Teaching Materials   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This paper compares two JISC-funded surveys. The first was undertaken by the Rights MEtadata for Open Archiving (RoMEO) project and focused on the rights protection required by academic authors sharing their research outputs in an open-access environment. The second was carried out by the Rights and Rewards project and focused on the rights protection required by authors sharing their teaching materials in the same way. The data are compared. The study reports confusion amongst both researchers and teachers as to copyright ownership in the materials they produced. Researchers were more restrictive about the permissions they would allow, but were liberal about terms and conditions. Teachers would allow many permissions, but under stricter terms and conditions. The study concludes that a single rights solution could not be used for both research and teaching materials.

Gadd, Elizabeth, Steve Loddington and Charles Oppenheim. Journal of Information Science (2007). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Academic


Complying with the TEACH Act

On November, 2, 2002, the TEACH Act (Act) became law, fully revising Section 110(2) of the U.S. Copyright Act, governing lawful uses of works protected by copyright in distance education. By complying with the TEACH Act, certain copyrighted works may be used for distance education without permission from, or payment of royalties to, the copyright owner—and without copyright infringement.

Indiana University (2003). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Education


Considerations for Creative Commons Licensing of Open Educational Resources: The Value of Copyleft   (peer-reviewed)

Creative Commons licenses are important instruments for sharing open educational resources. This article will focus on the debate over two of the most widely used and contentious licenses: Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike. Drawing on lessons from the open source community, rhetorical theory, and my own perspectives as an advocate of copyleft, I offer some insight into the debate over these licenses, with particular emphasis on how Attribution-ShareAlike can help to build a sustainable education commons.

Lowe, Charles. Computers and Composition Online (2010). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Education


The Constitutional Law of Intellectual Property After Eldred v. Ashcroft   (PDF)

The past decade has witnessed an extraordinary blossoming of scholarship on the constitutional law of intellectual property, much of which focuses on copyright law. This article suggests that the scholarly debate will and should continue and that the proponents of constitutional limits are likely to enjoy some successes in the future, even if they did not do so in the Eldred case itself.

Samuelson, Pamela. University of California Berkeley (2003). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Case Studies


Consuming Digital Rights: Mapping the Artifacts of Entertainment   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article analyzes user experience issues surrounding authorized and unauthorized media distribution. Actor Network Theory is used to look specifically at instances involving digital rights management issues in the United States and Europe. The article describes how researchers and practitioners can trace these user experiences to learn how to empower rather than criminalize social media participants.

Potts, Liza. Technical Communication (2010). Articles>Intellectual Property>Security>Actor Network Theory


Cop vs. Consultant

Pay attention to the legal requirements and translatability issues, not only in your own documents, but in the documents of other groups like marketing and engineering. It's an area where we add value.

Hughes, Michael A. User Assistance (2009). Articles>Intellectual Property>Trademark>Technical Writing


Copyfight: The Politics of Intellectual Property

Explores the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development and technological innovation that creates--and will recreate--the networked world as we know it.

Copyfight. Resources>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Blogs



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