January 23rd, 2014 Brian Herzog
Here's something a coworker relayed to me that I thought was interesting. We just got a copy of Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon into the library - she thought the cover looked familiar, but couldn't place it, so she searched Google for "rise of the sea dragon cover looks like."
Her logic, quite sensibly, was that someone else might have noticed a resemblance to an existing cover, and commented on the two looking alike.
But here's the interesting part: when she scrolled to the bottom of the first page of results, she noticed this message:
Here are those two links:
It doesn't really surprise me that a search for DVD cover art would bridge the gap between the casually legal and copyright-infringement, but I had never seen this before. And clicking into the complaint itself is the first time I've actually seen what the complaints look like (and that they apparently allow made up words, like "commulative").
From my reading, it looks like Well Go USA Entertainment owns the copyright for this item, and Remove Your Media LLC is submitting takedown notices to Google, presumably on their behalf. Or rather, "remove from search results" notice - I didn't actually visit any of the 521 "Allegedly infringing URLs" to see if they were still live. And I have no idea which of those 521 was the one site removed from these search results.
I thought this nicely dovetailed with the EFF's Copyright Week last week. Copyright isn't just some esoteric notion, it's really happening every day.
And I know there's a lot to it, but here's what bothers me most about DMCA and takedown notices: it seems to be built on the idea of "guilty until proven innocent."* It's not unlike my neighbor going to the police and saying, "hey, that's my bike," and without question they take it away from me - and in order to get my bike back, I have to prove that I own it. I don't like that the burden of proof is on the accuser in our justice system, but is the complete opposite online.
After a quick skim of those "allegedly infringing URLs," it wouldn't surprise me that if there is lots of copyright infringing going on. However, I hate the idea that the solution to rampant piracy is the rampart revocation of freedoms.
And: I got so caught up with the novelty of this notice that I completely forgot to ask my coworker if she figured out which cover this one reminder her of.
Update: Maybe this one.
*And don't even get me started on the TSA.
June 17th, 2010 Brian Herzog
We had sort of an odd situation in my library a little while ago - the story is a bit long, so please bear with me:
As circ staff were checking returned items back in, they found a DVD case with no disc in it (not unusual). They called and left a message for the patron to check their DVD player and please return the missing disc.
The patron called back after we were closed, left a message that she returned the wrong case, and asked we call her at work the next day.
What? Wrong case?
When our Head of Circulation called her the next day, the work number the patron gave was for a video reproduction company(!). When she finally spoke with the patron, the patron told her that she had the disc and the library's case, and the one she returned (accidentally) was a color photocopy she'd made of the DVD jacket (which it was, and confirmed in that the barcode and other stickers were no longer stickers).
This set off debate amongst the department heads in my library. It seems, clearly, that this patron worked at a video reproduction company that was checking out DVDs from the library and not just ripping the DVDs, but creating reproductions of the cases too - to who knows what end. Even if they're not mass reproducing them for sale, this activity is still illegal.
But, we have no actual proof of DVD copying, just speculation (maybe she just liked the DVD jacket?), and it'd be a major step to accuse a patron of this or to notify the police (or FBI?). So after some debate, we decided the library's role is to:
- make information and materials available to the public, and
- make the public aware of the copyright limitations of library materials
Our logic is that we can't police patrons and force them to follow intellectual property laws, but it is our responsibility to make sure they are informed of those laws.
To do that, we wanted to make a small handout or bookmark that informed patrons of copyright restrictions, but I wasn't sure exactly where to begin. I had bookmarked a Columbus Dispatch article entitled "Copying library CD? You just broke the law" awhile ago because of something I'd heard of going on at another library* and that article mentioned Carrie Russell, a copyright specialist for the American Library Association.
I found her ALA contact information, sent her an email explaining our situation and asking if she had concise wording we could use for a short copyright handout. Her response was hands-down the quickest (next day!) and most helpful reply I've ever gotten from someone at the ALA:
I usually suggest that the library suspend the patron's borrowing privileges when it is clear they are infringing.
You can use language from the CFR to craft a letter. This is the language that libraries should use when lending software, but you can use it for this situation too.
Notice: Warning of Copyright Restrictions The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the reproduction, distribution, adaptation, public performance, and public display of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in law, nonprofit libraries are authorized to lend, lease, or rent copies of computer programs to patrons on a nonprofit basis and for nonprofit purposes. Any person who makes an unauthorized copy or adaptation of the computer program, or redistributes the loan copy, or publicly performs or displays the computer program, except as permitted by title 17 of the United States Code, may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to fulfill a loan request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the request would lead to violation of the copyright law. (37 C.F.R. 201.24)
Hope this helps.
Some of us liked the idea of suspending the patron's borrowing privileges (at least temporarily), but we decided against that as a first step. From the wording Carrie sent, I created the following copyright notice brochure (changing references to "computer programs" to be inclusive of all library material). These bookmarks are kept at the Circ Desk and given to those patrons we suspect need the information most.
Feel free to edit and use this for your own library, and let me know if you can recommend any improvements. I was going for "fewer words = more likely to be read" but didn't quite get there.
*Another long story, for another time. In the meantime, here's a Video Pirates clip
that's worth watching.
Tags: burn, burnning, cd, cds, copy, copying, copyright, dvd, dvds, intellectual freedom, intellectual property, law, legal, libraries, Library, notice, public, rip, ripping, scan, scanning, warning