Report from protest for blind rights at Authors Guild yesterday

Tim from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez,

Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered in front of the headquarters of The Authors Guild in New York City to protest the removal of text-to-speech capabilities in Amazon's new Kindle 2 ebook device.

You may remember a few months ago, when The Authors Guild claimed (falsely) that the text-to-speech feature violated copyright law, and forced Amazon to disable it.

Read the rest

National Federation for the Blind protest at Authors Guild in NYC today over Kindle text-to-speech

The Reading Rights Coalition and the National Federation for the Blind are staging a protest in New York today (Tuesday) at the offices of the Authors Guild, to let the Guild know that their successful campaign to remove the text-to-speech feature from the Kindle has hurt blind people and undermined their ability to access a wide variety of works in a more-accessible form. — Read the rest

Disney's 1998 copyright term extension expires this year and Big Content's lobbyists say they're not going to try for another one

In 1998, Disney led an entertainment industry lobbying effort that resulted in the term of copyright being extended by 20 years, even for works that had already been created — a law with an incoherent basis, given that the US copyright system is constitutionally constrained to passing laws to promote new creative works (giving creators more copyright on works they've already created doesn't get them to make new ones, and it reduces the ability of new artists to remix existing works, the way Disney did with the Grimm's fairy tales).

Court finds full-book scanning is fair use

The Hathi Trust has won another important victory in its court battles against the Authors Guild over the right of academic libraries to scan books under the banner of fair use. Hathi creates full-text indexes of books from academic institutional libraries that were scanned by Google, so that academic libraries can access full-text indexes of the books, as well as offering the books in assistive formats used by people with visual disabilities, and providing long-term archives of rare texts that are still under copyright. — Read the rest

Google wins decade-long book-scanning lawsuit

Google's seemingly-interminable legal fight over its book-scanning project is over, for now: a judge ruled that the effort is fair use, tossing a lawsuit first filed by the Authors Guild and others nearly a decade ago.

U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan accepted Google's argument that its scanning of more than 20 million books, and making "snippets" of text available online, constituted "fair use" under U.S.

Read the rest

Google Book Search rejected: why not try fair use instead?

On Ars Technica, Timothy Lee has some excellent legal analysis of the Google Books settlement, which was just rejected by a US federal judge. Under the terms of the settlement, Google would get permission to scan, sell, and distribute all the books ever published, in exchange for a modest amount of cash paid in accord with terms set by the Washington-based Authors Guild (a small and reactionary pressure group that represents a minuscule fraction of all authors). — Read the rest