Re:Create Recap – Week of October 19

Major Victory For Fair Use In Book Digitization Case. A major ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was handed down on October 16 establishing Google’s program to digitize millions of books is legal under fair use. In a press release the Re:Create Coalition applauded the ruling and said, “This decision scores a major victory for access to knowledge by stating that the creation of a digital library and digitizing records constitutes fair use.” Raza Panjwani, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge hailed it as a “victory for the public,” adding, “If copyright law is truly intended ‘to promote the progress of science and the useful arts,’ then this is precisely the kind of access-enhancing use it should permit.” Mike Godwin, Director of Innovation Policy and General Counsel for R Street authored an October 19 piece featured on Slate, Google Books Are Good for Everybody. He explains, “Friday’s ruling is a big deal not just for search engine giants, copyright lawyers, authors, and publishers, but also for ordinary people. Only a generation ago, doing scholarly research in the way that Google Books now makes possible was a game only academics could play.” The Association of Research Libraries also posted a blog, providing a useful breakdown and analysis of the case.

Forbes Ranks Highest-Paid YouTube Stars. Thirteen YouTube stars were featured in Forbes’ first World’s Highest-Paid YouTube Stars 2015 released this week. Most of the stars are under 30 and make millions of dollars by taking advantage of the creative economy to provide online entertainment. “When YouTube was founded ten years ago, it was with the mission ‘to provide fast and easy video access and the ability to share videos frequently.’ Now it can add another: minting young millionaires by the dozen,” concluded Forbes’ Madeline Berg.

Throwback Thursday: TI-89 Calculators Show Copyright Can Go Too Far. In the October 14 article for Motherboard, One Reason You Might Still Be Paying $120 for a TI-89 Calculator: Copyright, Sherwin Siy of Public Knowledge highlights how court cases have allowed some interfaces, such as API structures and commands, to be copyrighted, which could lead to a “target-rich environment for someone who’s bought up a lot of copyrights to start demanding exorbitant licensing fees from all its customers and competitors.”

Vehicle Safety Legislation Headed In The Wrong Direction.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently released a discussion draft on vehicle safety, and already there are many critics lining up. In the October 19 blog post Congress Introduces Provision That Could Make Vehicle Security Research Illegal, Mark Jaycox of the Electronic Frontier Foundation criticizes the bill and claims, “Today’s cars are computers with wheels. And the provisions of this bill would effectively shut down the incredibly young area of automobile computer security research.” Harley Geiger of the Center For Democracy & Technology wrote a similar blog post declaring the bill “unnecessary” and “overbroad.” In Draft Car Safety Bill Goes In The Wrong Direction, Geiger explains, “We should avoid creating a legal and policy environment that erects artificial barriers to access, enforced by devastating penalties, that chill security research, repair, fraud detection, and innovation at a time that these activities should be encouraged.”

The “Happy Birthday” Copyright Court Battle Wages On. Despite a federal court’s ruling that Warner/Chappell Music never acquired a valid copyright to the popular “Happy Birthday” song, The Hollywood Reporter writes in Here’s Warner/Chappell’s Plan to Save the “Happy Birthday” Copyright that the song has still not been declared in the public domain. Warner/Chappell plans to appeal the decision whereas the Judge still has to determine if he will certify the pending class action for users to recoup already-paid licensing fees. “For many, the case has been about the evils of the long copyright term–and after last month’s decision, about the problem of ‘orphan works’–but as the ‘Happy Birthday’ case moves forward, it could touch an industry’s nervous spot by inviting larger scrutiny to skeletons in the copyright closet,” writes Eriq Gardner.