As many as 53 UW-Madison students could be slapped with lawsuits by the music recording industry after a federal judge ordered the university to surrender their names and other information for sharing digital music files over the Internet. Sixteen record companies represented by the Recording Industry Association of America filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking the names associated with 53 Internet connections for copyright infringement.
Read more in Wisconsin State Journal 4/26/07
Thanks to Gigalaw.com Daily News 4/27/07
Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:55 PM
The European Science Foundation (ESF), France, has published a report which reveals some concern on the shortcomings of peer review and outlines some possible measures to cope with them. The report, ‘Peer review: its present and future states’, draws on ideas from an international conference held in Prague in October 2006.
Scientists are questioning whether peer review, the internationally accepted form of scientific critique, is able to meet the challenges posed by the rapid changes in the research landscape. The ESF report showcases a number of options that could lead to greater openness in innovative research. A central theme of the report is that the current peer review system might not adequately assess the most pioneering research proposals, as they may be viewed as too risky. The conference called for new approaches, enabling the assessment of innovative research to be embedded in the peer review system. Participants agreed that the increasing importance of competitive research funding has also added on the pressure on referees and on research funding agencies.
All contributors to the conference report agreed that peer review is an essential part of research and that no other credible mechanism exists to replace it.
Posted by Katie Newman at 11:03 AM
The Joint Task Force on Electronic Publishing of the American Philological Association (APA) and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has submitted its final report to the boards of the two societies. This document has been submitted to the Board of Directors of the APA and the Governing Board of the AIA for their consideration.
The APA Board of Directors formulated the following guidance for the Task Force:
The Task Force will have as its charge the analysis of particular issues associated with the burgeoning area of electronic publishing, including peer refereeing, freedom of information, intellectual property protection, storage and retrieval of data and whatever other concerns it may identify. Our precedent is the Association's Committee on Computer operations which, during its active life, made many valuable contributions, some of which have had lasting influence upon techniques utilized in our research.
From the Executive Summary, the following are the main points of the Report:
Posted by Katie Newman at 1:02 PM
In a forthcoming article, "Lawful Personal Use," University of Michigan law professor Jessica Litman argues thoughtfully for "a view of copyright in which readers and listeners are as important as authors and publishers" and in which many of the uses we all routinely make of copyrighted materials would be deemed noninfringing -- indeed, wholly outside the scope of the copyright owners' exclusive rights -- regardless of whether they would satisfy the fair use standard:
Reading, listening, viewing, and their modern cousins watching, playing, running, and building, are central to the copyright scheme. We knew that once, but forgot it sometime within the past generation as the rhetoric of copyright increasingly characterized personal uses as piracy and theft. If we think about personal use as a guilty pleasure that is probably morally wrong, we’re going to lose it. If we recall that encouraging personal use is an objective that’s crucial to the copyright system, we may find the will to defend it against increasingly forceful encroachment.
And after all, she notes, "laws that discourage book reading end up being bad for book authors" as well. Litman comes to no definitive conclusions as to what the precise scope of "lawful personal use" should be, but her article is well worth reading, and the debate she has started is well worth engaging in.
Steve McDonald, @ollecteana 4/17/07
Posted by P. Kaufman at 9:02 AM
I think I missed previous celebrations, but Monday is World Book and Copyright Day, brought to us by UNESCO as part of its efforts to seek to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.
UNESCO's website provides this nice background information and a nice poster you can download:
23 April: a symbolic date for world literature for on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. It was a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.
The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where on 23 April, Saint George's Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold. The success of the World Book and Copyright Day will depend primarily on the support received from all parties concerned (authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs and the mass media), who have been mobilized in each country by UNESCO National Commissions, UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations, Associated Schools and Libraries, and by all those who feel motivated to work together in this world celebration of books and authors.
Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:53 AM
The editors who were fired or resigned over the editorial-independence controversy at the Canadian Medical Association Journal have reunited to start their own free, online medical journal.
Open Medicine will be a peer-reviewed, independent open-access journal that does not accept advertising from pharmaceutical or medical-device companies. It is published only at www.openmedicine.ca. The launch date of the first issue is April 17.
The virtual journal's publisher is John Willinsky, a professor in the faculty of education from the University of British Columbia.
Co-editors are Dr. Anita Palepu, an internist with St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver and Dr. Stephen Choi, an emergency physician from The Ottawa Hospital.
The idea of starting an open-access journal began shortly after the firings of the CMAJ's former editor Dr. John Hoey and senior deputy editor Anne Marie Todkill in February 2006. The two are on the editorial team of the new publication.
"The editors who were fired or resigned over the editorial-independence controversy at the Canadian Medical Association Journal have reunited to start their own free, online medical journal."
Toronto Star 4/2/07
Posted by P. Kaufman at 12:30 PM