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Google Books Wins Again (documentcloud.org) 120

cpt kangarooski writes: After Google won a lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild alleging that Google's project to scan and provide a searchable index of books was copyright infringement, Google has now won the inevitable appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The court found that Google is engaging in fair use, and reminds all that "[t]he ultimate goal of copyright is to expand public knowledge and understanding." The ruling (PDF) adds, "while authors are undoubtedly important intended beneficiaries of copyright, the ultimate, primary intended beneficiary is the public."

Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area 232

First time accepted submitter _AustinPowell writes Comcast wants a cable television license in Worcester, Massachusetts. In response, the City Council voted 8-3 to urge Worcester's city manager to let the company's license request die. The deadline for the decision is Wednesday, but the manager is not bound by the vote of the Council. "It's a terrible company," City Councilor Gary Rosen said. "In my opinion, they should not be welcome in this city. Comcast is a wolf in wolf's clothing; it's that bad."

Judge Posner Muses on Excessively Strong Patent and Copyright Laws 100

Ars Technica reports on Judge Posner's weblog, and in particular a recent post on the excessive strength of U.S. copyright and patent law: "The problem of excessive patent protection is at present best illustrated by the software industry. This is a progressive, dynamic industry rife with invention. But the conditions that make patent protection essential in the pharmaceutical industry are absent. Nowadays most software innovation is incremental, created by teams of software engineers at modest cost, and also ephemeral—most software inventions are quickly superseded. ... The most serious problem with copyright law is the length of copyright protection, which for most works is now from the creation of the work to 70 years after the author’s death. Apart from the fact that the present value of income received so far in the future is negligible, obtaining copyright licenses on very old works is difficult because not only is the author in all likelihood dead, but his heirs or other owners of the copyright may be difficult or even impossible to identify or find. The copyright term should be shorter." Reader jedirock pointed to a related article on how the patent situation got so out of hand in the first place.

Canadian Supreme Court Entrenches Tech Neutrality In Copyright Law 54

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, a Canadian Supreme Court decision attracted attention for reduced copyright fees for music and video. Michael Geist has a detailed analysis that concludes there are two bigger, long term effects. First, Canada has effectively now adopted fair use. Second, the Supreme Court has made technological neutrality a foundational principle of Canadian copyright. The technological neutrality principle could have an enormous long-term impact on Canadian copyright, posing a threat to some copyright collective tariff proposals and to the newly enacted digital lock rules."

European Parliament Committees Reject ACTA As IP Backlash Grows 98

An anonymous reader writes "Earlier today [Thursday, May 31st], three European Parliament committees studying the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), the Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) — all voted against implementing ACTA. Michael Geist reports on how the strength of the anti-ACTA movement within the European Parliament is part of a broader backlash against secretive intellectual property agreements that are either incorporated into broad trade agreements or raise critical questions about prioritizing IP enforcement over fundamental rights including votes and reports opposing these deals in the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico."

European Parliament All But Rejects ACTA 248

An anonymous reader writes "European Parliament today adopted Written Declaration 12/2010 which basically tells the Commission to all but drop the negotiations. From the article: 'Citizens from all around Europe helped to raise awareness about ACTA among Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) by collecting, one by one, more than 369 [of the MEPs'] signatures. With Written Declaration 12/20103, the European Parliament as a whole takes a firm position to oppose the un-democratic process of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and its content harmful to fundamental freedoms and the Internet ecosystem.'"

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