Lesley Ellen Harris – Copyright New Media Law and E-Commerce News

The Copyright, New Media Law and E-Commerce News is prepared by copyright lawyer Lesley Ellen Harris with the help of Beth Davies. Issues are posted here in their entirety for strictly noncomercial use in accordance with guidelines stipulated by Ms. Harris.:

Vol. 13, No. 1, January 5, 2009
ISSN 1489-954X

1. Studies, Legislation and Conventions (nothing to report)

2. Legal Cases:

Music Industry Set to Abandon Mass Piracy Lawsuits
Harry Potter Lexicon Decision Analyzed
Judge Rules Facts Are Not Copyright-Protected
Hasbro Drops Lawsuit Against Makers of Scrabulous
Canadian Copyright Board Increases Tax on Blank Compact Disks
3. Of Interest:

Advice for Obama’s New Chief Technology Officer
Popeye the Sailor Man Now Copyright-Free in E.U.

Stanford Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse
4. Seminars and Publications:

Certificate in Copyright Management for Librarians
Online Copyright Courses
Book: Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians
Copyright, New Media & E-Commerce News is distributed for free by the office of Lesley Ellen Harris. Information contained herein should not be relied upon or considered as legal advice. Copyright 2009 Lesley Ellen Harris. This e-letter may be forwarded, downloaded or reproduced in whole in any print or electronic format for non-commercial purposes provided that you cc: lehletter@copyrightlaws.com.

This e-letter, from 1996 to the present, is archived with Library & Archives Canada at: http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/300/copyright/.





Music industry set to abandon mass piracy lawsuits – The Recording Industry Association of America (“RIAA”) has announced that it will no longer pursue legal action against Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for illegal downloads of music by their subscribers. Instead, the RIAA will rely on co-operation with ISPs, using approaches such as sending an email to the provider when it finds an ISP subscriber is making copyright-protected music available online without the permission of the copyright holder. In Fall 2008, the RIAA stopped filing its mass lawsuits against individuals.

HARRY POTTER LEXICON DECISION ANALYZED – The Association of Research Libraries (“ARL”) and the American Library Association (“ALA”) recently released an analysis of “fair use” in the recent Harry Potter case (see LEH-Letter Vol. 12 No. 6). The article, by Jonathan Band, entitled “How Fair Use Prevailed in the Harry Potter Case”, is at:


JUDGE RULES FACTS ARE NOT COPYRIGHT-PROTECTED – A U.S. Judge has confirmed that facts in a documentary are not copyright-protected. Two documentary filmmakers, who made a movie called Ashes to Glory: The Tragedy and Triumph of Marshall Football, about the 1970 plane crash that killed the Marshall University football team, tried to sue Warner Brothers, who made a movie called We Are Marshall about the same subject. The judge in Novak v. Warner Bros. Pictures, held that the documentary filmmakers could only claim for breach of copyright if the two works were “substantially similar.”

HASBRO DROPS LAWSUIT AGAINST MAKERS OF SCRABULOUS – In December 2008, Hasbro dropped its lawsuit against the makers of the Facebook version of its Scrabble board game. Hasbro had sued R.J. Softwares, owned by two brothers from India who had developed the unauthorized online version of the game. R.J. Softwares said that it agreed not to use the term “Scrabulous” and had made changes to its game after the lawsuit had been filed.

CANADIAN copyright board increases tax on blank Compact disks – The Canadian Copyright Board announced that it will increase the tax on blank compact disks, from 21 cents to 29 cents. The levy for audiocassettes will remain at 24 cents. Although the decision applies as of January 1, 2008, the Board has decided not to collect retroactive levies.


ADVICE FOR OBAMA’S NEW CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER – An independent group has created a Web site to garner public input on what the top priorities of Obama’s new Chief Technology Officer should be. Web site visitors can vote on their top priorities, which at the moment include repealing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), and ensuring that the Internet is widely accessible and network neutral. The Web site is at http://ideas.obamacto.org/.

POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN NOW COPYRIGHT-FREE IN EU- Popeye the Sailor Man is now copyright-free in the European Union (“EU”). The work is in the public domain because it has been 70 years since the death of Elzie Segar, the Illinois artist who created Popeye.

STANFORD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LITIGATION CLEARINGHOUSE –Stanford Law School recently launched the Stanford Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse (“IPLC”), an online database of information about intellectual property disputes in the U.S. The first release, the Patent Litigation module, includes more than 23,000 cases from 2000 onwards.

To view the database (free, registration required), go to: http://lexmachina.stanford.edu/.


CERTIFICATE IN COPYRIGHT MANAGEMENT FOR LIBRARIANS – This program, consisting of 5 online courses and 2 in-person courses, created in partnership between Copyrightlaws.com and SLA Click University, begins in January 2009. Participants have two years to complete the 7 courses required for the Certificate, or may take any course à la carte. The first course, Introduction to Copyright Management Principles & Issues, begins on January 6, 2009. For more information, go to: http://www.clickuniversity.org.

ONLINE COPYRIGHT COURSES– Copyrightlaws.com is offering courses on a variety of copyright topics. Between January and May 2009. Basic courses are delivered via e-mail and consists of e-mail lessons with a text lecture, further resources, and a self-marking quiz. Choose from:

· Canadian Copyright Law (January 12 – February 13, 2009)

· U.S. Copyright Law (January 12 – February 13, 2009)

· Practical International Copyright Law (April 20 – May 22, 2009)

Advanced courses include all the features of the basic courses, plus an interactive course blog:

· Managing Copyright Issues (January 12 – February 13, 2009)

· Copyright Education: Demystifying Copyright in your Enterprise (February 23 – March 20, 2009)

· Digital Content Management (April 20 – May 22, 2009)

· Copyright Law for Canadian Librarians (April 20 – May 22, 2009)

Assignment courses include e-mail lessons with a text lecture, further resources, a blog discussion, and assignments in each lesson:

· Developing a Copyright Policy (February 23 – March 20, 2009)

For further information, see: http://copyrightlawscom.blogspot.com/. Registration is at: www.acteva.com/go/copyright.

BOOK: LICENSING DIGITAL CONTENT: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR LIBRARIANS – Written by Lesley Ellen Harris, the 2nd edition of this book published by ALA Editions will be available by June 2009. Keep updated on the revisions and publication of the 2nd edition at: www.licensingdigitalcontent.blogspot.com.


This newsletter is prepared by Copyright Lawyer Lesley Ellen Harris. Lesley is the author of the books Canadian Copyright Law (McGraw-Hill), Digital Property: Currency of the 21st Century (McGraw-Hill), and Licensing Digital Content (ALA Editions). Lesley edits the print newsletter, The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter. Lesley may be reached at: http://copyrightlaws.com.

This LEH-Letter issue was prepared with the help of Beth Davies.

If you are looking for further topical and practical information about copyright law, obtain a sample copy of the print newsletter, The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter, from http://copyrightlaws.com.

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