Category Archives: Web/Tech

Google drops instant search feature

Google has retired the instant search feature it introduced in 2010 where search results will populate a page as a user typed.  No more.  The reason for this is that 50% of searches are on mobile devices where the feature makes no sense.  I wonder if anyone will notice.  More details are at The Verge and Search Engine Land. —Mark

A bit more MS Paint and Flash is finally (will be) dead

Microsoft responded to the negative reaction to deprecating Paint.  The news is that Paint will become a downloadable app in the Store.  Cue the sighs of relief from those into computer nostalgia.

The other interesting news in Tech is the Adobe announcement that the company will finally end support for Flash on December 31, 2020.  Adobe will stop distribution of the Flash player at that point.  Developers are encouraged to migrate to open formats such as HTML5, Web GL, and WebAssembly.  There is a good analysis for what this all means for consumers and developers at the CNET news site. —Mark

Microsoft deprecates MS Paint in coming Windows 10 update

The Internet is abuzz with the news that Microsoft is deprecating the Paint program in the Fall Creators Update.  There are a spate of articles of the “say it aint so” variety on various sites, including Slate, Gizmodo, and PCWorld, among others.  Deprecated in this context means that Paint is no longer in active development.  Microsoft appears to be pushing  Paint 3D as the alternative.  That app is available in the Microsoft Store if anyone wants to try it out.

More news in the announcement includes the removal of the 3D Builder app that Microsoft pushed in the last Windows 10 updates and the removal of the Outlook Express code lurking on the code base.  I thought Microsoft would have done that years ago with the introduction of the Mail app.

— Mark

It’s Pearl Harbor Day – New Text And Audio Collections at the FDR Presidential Library

Here’s a bit of news that archivists and historians may find useful on this anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II.  The Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library has placed some 46,000 pages of speeches in draft, transcript, and final form online.  This collection is accompanied by another which comprises the complete audio recordings available of those speeches.  The site describes the collection:

The FDR Library, with support from AT&T, Marist College and the Roosevelt Institute launches online one of its most in-demand archival collections – FDR’s Master Speech File – over 46,000 pages of drafts, reading copies, and transcripts created throughout FDR’s political career. Presented alongside the Speech File is the Library’s complete digital collection of Recorded Speeches of FDR.

The earliest recording is dated 1920.  That’s pretty amazing given the state of recording technology in that era.  It’s more amazing that it can be downloaded in the ubiquitous MP3 format.  It’s that casual.

I’ve visited this site plenty of times in the past.  There is a wonderful collection of public domain photographs that document the Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II.  There is some amazing stuff in these collections.  Speaking of Pearl Harbor, scroll halfway down this page for digitized research materials relating to Franklin Roosevelt and the Day of Infamy.

23-0132M

The original caption reads: “USS West Virginia and USS Tennessee after attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.”  Archivist note:  USS West Virginia, BB-48, sinking after being hit with seven torpedoes and two armor-piercing bombs.  Along side is USS Tennesse, BB-43, after being hit with two bombs and being damaged by the explosion of the USS Arizona.  In the foreground are yard patrol craft which appear to be assisting in damage control and rescue operations.

Mark

The Wayback Machine Is Getting It’s Own Search Engine

Gizmodo reports that the Wayback Machine, the part of the Internet Archive that preserves web sites, is getting its own search engine.  That’s good news in that the only way one can use the archive now is by typing in a URL.  There are 439 Billion pages in the Archive.  The web from my perspective is still a chaotic place despite its sophistication.  Stuff comes and goes, and it’s not just Facebook posts.  This development should be a vast improvement for researchers.

Mark

Librarian of Congress Announces Current DMCA Exemptions

The DMCA Exemptions for 2015 were announced by David S. Mao, the Acting Librarian of Congress, and effective as of October 28.  This is a series of exemptions allowed every three years upon review.  There is now a limited exemption for jailbreaking software in cars, 3D printers, phones, tablets, other portable devices, games, and allowance for the use of excerpted DVD clips for educational use.  Some of the items on the list, such as limited use of DVD excerpts had been approved in last reviews.  The process requires a renewal to prevent the exemption from expiring.

I often found the refusal to exempt making archival copies of DVDs a bit hypocritical as there are quite a few software packages that can accomplish this for sale on large commercial retail sites.  And then there are stories such as a review of the Five Best DVD Ripping Tools from Lifehacker.  Let me state up front that I am not encouraging anyone to violate copyright law.  I’m merely pointing to examples that show how little the prohibition against copying/ripping seems to be enforced.  Maybe this software is bought mostly by academics for classroom use.

Some of the commentary on this year’s announcements are in Wired, boingboing, the EFF, and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Mark

The Advertising Empire Strikes Back

If one hates ads on the web, one would tend to use an ad blocker.  I don’t mind ads on sites.  I know I’m being tracked by Google and whoever.  As a librarian looking for information used by other people, I’m not sure if I’m confusing the trackers.  I get some very interesting ads as a result.  I sometimes get ads for fantasy baseball after I browse sites for sports law news.  Every time I look at a product on Amazon I’m certain to see whatever I viewed on various newspaper sites.  I’m sure everyone has similar experiences.  Don’t like it?  Get an ad blocker.

Advertisers and the large corporations that push products are not fond of this technology.  It threatens the eyeball count.  What to do then.  The Register is reporting that the Washington Post (owned by Amazon’s very own Jeff Bezos) has tried an experiment.  When the server encountered an ad blocker, it in turn blocked the Post content with a message that informs the reader to turn off the blocker to see the content.  The same article describes a Google effort to do something of the same thing with ads on YouTube.  The company even disabled the skip ad function for those who block ads.  But…but…I just wanted to see a cute cat video without the ad for comfortable underthingies I seem to keep getting.  Note:  I have no idea why this ad recurs.  None of my searches, including personal, have anything to do with these kinds of products.  Then again, Google profiled me as a NBA fan at one point.  It’s hockey you robot.  How many times do I have to visit NHL.com for you to figure that out?

I guess the world isn’t going to work that way if this technology becomes popular with sites.  Papers are starting to distribute content directly via social medium, which, as this article in The Verge points out, offers some immunity from blockers as well.  Apple offered a blocker app in the App Store for a short time.  The company took it down and even made the unprecedented move of offering refunds because it worked too well.  Ads in Safari did not come through. The app threatened one of Apple’s revenue streams and that is a no no.

As I said above, I don’t block ads.  I treat them as a game to see how my searches and other web content I use generate ad subjects.  I’d like to think I can make that Google Robot serve up ads for a me that doesn’t really exist.

Mark

Friday Fun: The Regular Show

I love cartoons pretty much.  One of my favorites is Regular Show on Cartoon Network.  There is one episode called Go Viral which concerns characters Mordecai and Rigby’s attempt to create a viral video as part of a bet with two other characters, Muscle Man and High Five Ghost.  I like the show because it solves common problems in incredibly off the wall circumstance.  As a friend of mine is fond of saying, “I like it when it goes weird.”  In this episode, weird is when the guys break into the Internet which is run by a warden who looks and sounds remarkably like the stereotype of a librarian.  Even if that is culturally “wrong,” or insensitive, it still is funny.  Moreover, it suggests that librarians should run the Internet.  They should.  With that, enjoy Go Viral.

 

Mark

Pew Survey Asserts Vitality of Public Libraries

I’ve written before on the supposed death of libraries and print due to the creation of the Internet.  The thinking goes that if someone can do something on their own that is a service normally provided by a librarian or library, that person would opt for self-service.  The fallacy in that thinking is that everyone has the same skill sets, needs, and access to the same materials.  Does everyone live on the Internet these days?  Does everyone have a tablet and/or smartphone?  Maybe, maybe not.

At the same time, not all of these devices, even with cloud support, are appropriate for all tasks.  I hate typing on a smartphone screen because the on-screen keyboards are so small.  I keep making corrections more than half my time even with word suggestion.  I would opt for a desktop or a large screen laptop with a real keyboard if I had to do some serious Westlaw or Lexis research.  But that’s me, one of the six billion people in the world without a Facebook account, or an account on Twitter or LinkedIn.

So how do people view libraries against 20 plus years of the Internet and increasingly more and more sophisticated technology?   The Pew Research Center released the results of a survey yesterday that addressed this topic.  It’s called Libraries at the Crossroads.  The subtitle is telling:  The public is interested in new services and thinks libraries are important to communities.  The survey results indicate that while some uses of the library are down by small amounts compared to the last survey, libraries are an important public resource to a lot of people.

Individuals used a public library to access the Internet, look for jobs, look for information to upgrade their skills, and as a source to learn about new technologies.  There is also a social component where the library is used as a meeting and teaching center.  “Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (65%) ages 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community. Low-income Americans, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than others to say that a library closing would impact their lives and communities.”

American Library Association (ALA) President Sari Feldman released the following statement regarding the survey’s findings:

 “Public libraries are transforming beyond their traditional roles and providing more opportunities for community engagement and new services that connect closely with patrons’ needs,” said Feldman. “Today’s study shows that public libraries are far from being  just ‘nice to have,’ but serve as a lifeline for their users, as the survey shows more than 65 percent of those surveyed felt that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community.

“Libraries are not just about what we have for people, but what we do for and with people. Today’s survey found that three-quarters of the public say libraries have been effective at helping people learn how to use new technologies.  This is buttressed by the ALA’s Digital Inclusion Survey, which finds that virtually all libraries provide free public access to computers and the Internet, wi-fi, technology training and robust digital content that supports education, employment, e-government access and more.

“Although the report affirms the value of public libraries, the ALA recognizes the need for greater public awareness of the transformation of library services, as the report shows library visits over the past three years have slightly decreased.  In response, libraries of all types are preparing for the launch of a national public awareness campaign entitled ‘Libraries Transform.’

“Libraries from across the county will participate in the campaign and will work to change the perception that ‘libraries are just quiet places to do research, find a book, and read’ to ‘libraries are centers of their communities: places to learn, create and share, with the help of library staff and the resources they provide.

 “This is an exciting time for libraries, as institutions transform to meet the digital and print needs of their users, and to continue to fulfill their role in leveling the playing field for all who seek information and access to technologies.”

For those who can work without libraries, feel free.  Just don’t denigrate the services libraries provide as anachronistic.  A lot of people like libraries and the help librarians provide.  That’s not going away no matter how many devices one owns.

Mark

Westlaw Gets Into The Cloud Business, Sort Of

At least in the Academic version.  I received an email yesterday promoting new features in Westlaw for the coming academic year.  One of them is:

Share Your Uploaded Documents

This exciting new feature will let you share user uploads with professors, students, study groups, research assistants, journals and law reviews, moot court and clinics.

  • Upload your own documents into your WestlawNext® folders.
  • Add citations, hyperlinks, and KeyCite flags to online documents.
  • Annotate (add highlights and notes) to your own content.

Previously one could only designate and share items that were flagged from Westlaw content.  It certainly is an interesting play to get students and faculty to spend more time on Westlaw.  More information is in an audio tutorial here.

Mark

Windows 10 Privacy Settings

The best guide I’ve found so far to explain the privacy settings in Windows 10 comes from NetworkWorld.  It explains the various options and contains graphics that detail the settings for on or off.  It mirrors my personal experience in setting up Windows 10.

Mark

Whither Microsoft Academic Search? 

Or is the correct term “wither?”  I was wondering, at least.  I was in the process of putting together a handout for a lecture I was giving to law review cite checkers on sources and strategies when I thought I’d include Microsoft Academic Search as an alternative to Google Scholar.  A Search in Google brought up links to the page which turned out to be unavailable.  I hadn’t used Academic Search in a while as it was light on law and law related sources.  As it turned out, the site was shut down.  A page in Wikipedia basically stated that the service was folded into Bing.  Pity that as the model Scholar uses is ad free and limits itself to scholarly items.  Bing, of course, is a general search.  That’s not to say it can’t bring up specific articles and their sources.  A scholarly search site would be a more efficient way to find this stuff.  More information on the decline and fall of MS Academic Search is available from Newsblog.

Note:  Let me know if anyone is interested in the guide I referred to earlier.  It is DePaul centric in terms of databases and electronic strategies.  I’m sure the guide could be adapted to any library if one wanted to edit it.  I need to make a few minor changes to it based on the lecture questions.  I could send out copies within a day of request.

Mark

Windows 10 — One More Thing

I should mention that there is a Windows 10 upgrade scam going on.  There is an email going around that offers an upgrade but instead encrypts a hard drive for ransom.  The details are at ZDNet.

Mark

Some Thoughts On Having Upgraded to Windows 10 From Windows 7

I installed Windows 10 as an upgrade to my Windows 7 machine over the weekend.  I wasn’t expecting to do that.  Even though I had not reserved a copy, I discovered Windows Update began downloading the program, all three Gbs of it.  This was one of several contradictions to stories I had read up to now.  Microsoft was sending out copies in waves in that people who had reserved a copy would get the free download at different times.  Oh well.

The upgrade went smoothly.  The new operating system booted for the first time and allowed me to custom configure how Windows would perform.  Customizing the system is not recommended as Microsoft has designed Windows to be as cloud centric as possible.  I think I should take a moment here and state that while I appreciate the value and convenience of cloud computing I would like to have as much control over it as possible.  In other words, I prefer managing the experience instead of allowing Microsoft to do it for me.  In that regard, I encountered several more contradictions.

I had read that Microsoft would override defaults on the target system forcing users to reconfigure their machines after the fact.  Mozilla chief Chris Beard had written an angry letter to Microsoft for making the new Edge browser the system default despite the pre-upgrade settings.  I don’t use Firefox and have Google Chrome as my default.  It was acknowledged and accepted as the Windows 10 default browser without any hassle.  Several other programs I used for media remained the defaults despite modern apps from Microsoft that managed this material.  I could still use the venerable MS Media Player to play back WMV/A files by default.  The player, by the way, is now nothing more than that – a player.  The libraries for media are now managed by the photo, movie, and music apps.  These will scan the local drive and automatically add what they find.

It does not appear possible to stop this collection unless one manipulates the search locations in the app settings to a location where there is no media.  Media in the app library can be removed, though unlike the old Media Player library, it is also removed from the drive to the recycle bin.  There doesn’t appear to be an option to delete content from the app lists only.  It’s also possible to remove the apps from the start menu by right clicking on the tile and selecting the appropriate option.  Built in apps cannot be deleted from the system, only disabled.

Logging into Windows 10 is easy.  There are multiple options.  My default in Windows 7 was a simple boot to the desktop with no password.  I’m the only one who uses the machine in any event and I find that convenient for my use.  Windows 10 can preserve that though it really does not want to.  Anyone who logs into the Microsoft store with a Microsoft account will find that Windows will require that account to log into the system.  That can be changed back to a local account by digging into the system settings and changing it back.  Microsoft even then will want to associate a local account with a password with no apparent option to change that.  There is a way to eliminate the password requirement by running a command line entry.  The instructions are here if anyone wants to do that.

Search in Windows 10 is a bit different.  Microsoft has brought the Cortana personal assistant to the desktop.  Cortana can be disabled through settings accessed from the Start Page.  I did this as I do not have a camera or microphone attached to my desktop.  It’s possible to use Cortana by typing in the search box located in the taskbar.  There are a few settings worth mentioning.  Cortana is designed to improve by learning about an individual over time.  That information is stored in the Cloud which is one reason why a Microsoft account is preferred.  There are options settings that can clear that information and stop the collection if one wants to do that.  Microsoft will tell you that this is not recommended for obvious reasons.  Nonetheless, these settings can be changed.

Cortana as well as system search and built in apps is powered by Bing.  The default here is to search the machine and the web simultaneously.  Using Bing cannot be changed, but as with other settings, it can be turned off.  There are options in settings to turn off web search when doing a system search.  Microsoft prefers that you not do that.

One pleasant feature of the upgrade is that all of my desktop shortcuts were preserved.  That was nice as I like to go straight to the desktop and click on an icon and start working.  I know this makes me sound as if I haven’t progressed since XP was released.  Far from it.  I can appreciate what Microsoft is doing.  It’s a connected world out there where people stay in touch with each other and share news, photos, video and the like, all in real time.  I think that’s great.  I’m not into it at all, but that’s me.  What I appreciate the most about Windows 10 is that I can still configure it so I don’t have to use these features.  It may be a little bit of work to do that as Microsoft really really wants everyone to be online and constantly connected and tracked to make Windows customized for a better computing experience. I’ll turn all of those features back on if I ever needed that kind of connectivity.

One last thought, Solitaire on Windows 10 is terrible.  It’s bare bones as local game.  Similar features to the game in Windows 7 are only unlocked through a Microsoft account:

“Sign in with a Microsoft account to get achievements, leaderboards, and have your progress stored in the cloud!”

Oh yay.  Not everything needs to be social.  I guess I’ll be sticking with the game as it appears on my Android tablet.

UPDATE:  Windows Media Player does indeed have a library associated with it.  I was wrong about that. I discovered it last night after I played a video with Media Player.  It doesn’t appear to sync up with the other media apps in one shared library.  That may be because Microsoft really wants people to use a Microsoft account to sync up their media libraries.  It’s either that or I managed to turn off all known syncing options (finally!).  I even managed to delete OneDrive out of the File Explorer windows.  I want to say again that I’m not paranoid about being tracked online.  I do have a Google account after all, and Google is the Supreme Emperor of tracking. My goal is to have as much control of my system as possible.  If you want paranoia, especially healthy paranoia, this article from RPS puts Microsoft’s tracking of consumers via Windows 10 into perspective.

Mark

A Few Quick Thoughts on Windows 10, Available Today

Windows 10 is available for download today.  If anyone had noticed, there is a link in the notification tray for systems running Windows 7 and 8/8.1 offering a free upgrade that’s valid for a year.  I wasn’t part of the Windows Insider Program though I followed the news on developments.  A modified version of the Start Menu is back that combines search, applications, and the Start Page from Windows 8.  Aside from the deeper integration to OneDrive, Windows 10 gets Cortana, a virtual personal assistant that learns more detail about a user over time in order to be more helpful.  Personal assistants are all the rage these days with Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Amazon Echo.  As John Lennon sang in I Am The Walrus, “Ompa Ompa Everybody’s got one.”

I’m not personally a fan talking to a computer though I can see the utility in integrating this technology into operating systems, especially mobile.  I’m a desktop guy through and through.  I have an Android tablet that I use to play solitaire when I’m on the train.  Other than that, all my real work is on the desktop.  It’s nice that Microsoft doesn’t force this kind of interactivity on people as it is possible to turn Cortana off and/or clear the accumulated information.  My biggest question about this data is how secure it will be?  Hackers might find it interesting.  I’m going to wait for that story to break.

Windows 10 has had favorable reviews given the reception to the radical change Windows 8 brought to computing.  A lot of people felt that the changes were forced on them with no regard as to how they actually used Windows.  The Windows blog entries by former head of Windows development, Steve Sinofsky basically stated that features and design were driven by telemetry from people who used Windows 7 and the test versions of Windows 8.  He left the company shortly after Windows 8 went public.  I wonder why.

This version of Windows, suggested to be the last, took into account tester comments as well as a more detailed look as to how people used the system.  Thus there are a lot of familiar features with new that are for the most part customizable.  I can appreciate that.  My desktop in Windows 7 looks an awful like XP even down to the bland task bar and desktop shortcuts.  What can I say, I’m a sentimentalist.

I plan to upgrade my two desktop computers, though not immediately.  I just want to make sure that the mass upgrade process goes smoothly.  Any bugs or annoyances should work themselves out in the next month or so.  I’m looking forward to the upgrades in any event.  I’ll report more on the experience once I get the software on my machines.  A guide to Windows 10, features, and the upgrade process is available here from Microsoft.

Mark

Vizio Smart Televisions May Be Spying On You

Your smart TV may be spying on you if it’s manufactured by Vizio.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a big fan of the brand.  I’m on my second set, a 65 inch E Series.  That doesn’t mean I like the creepy fact that the set apparently sends back details of what I’m watching regardless of source.  That little tidbit came in a story in Fortune about Vizio’s upcoming IPO:

Vizio uses technology integrated into its televisions to determine what a user is watching, regardless of the source. In other words, Vizio knows what you’re watching even if it’s a DVD being played on a gaming console or show being watched via cable TV.

Vizio offers what it calls “smart interactivity.”  It’s all in the name of customization that alleges to cater to the individual customer.  Fortunately, there is a way to turn it off.  Vizio instructions to that effect are here.  I can understand (although not approve of) a cable or satellite provider tracking its shows, but DVDs and other delivery mechanisms?

It reminds me of the story about Samsung smart TVs actually listening in on conversations through a digital assistant.  Anyway, I’ll be disconnecting my set later on this evening.  Any libraries or organizations that use Vizio TVs as displays should take note.

Mark

Georgia Sues Public.Resource.org Over Copyright In Published Annotations to the Georgia Code

The State of Georgia is suing Public.Resources .Org, Inc. and Carl Malamud in federal court for posting copies of the Official George Code Annotated on the Public.Resources.Org.  Georgia contracts with Lexis to create annotated copies of the Code where Lexis fills in the annotated material in what appears to be a work for hire as Georgia claims copyright in the annotations and value-added materials.  In some respects, it explains why Lexis wasn’t a co-plaintiff.  The State does not claim copyright in the text of the Code itself.  The complaint is seeking injunctive relief and requesting that all scanned copies be removed and destroyed, and yes, attorney fees.

I think it would have been much easier for the State of Georgia if copyright remained with Lexis.  The ownership would have been clearer.  It’s a murky situation otherwise.  I guess the question the Court is whether the State can actually claim a copyright in this case.  The United States government, as an example, disclaims copyright in most cases, but there are exceptions.  Two of these indicated at USA.gov are:

  • Works prepared for the U.S. government by independent contractors may be protected by copyright, which may be owned by the independent contractor or by the U.S. government.
  • The U.S. government work designation does not apply to works of U.S. state and local governments. Works of state and local governments may be protected by copyright.

The complaint his available through a link with a story at The Register, which is a U.K. based technology news site.  I’m a big fan of the site due to the somewhat snarky attitude the site takes at tech news.  The story in the Register about this case notes that Georgia effectively calls Malamud a “terrorist.”  Here are the excerpts from the complaint where Georgia makes that claim:

20.  On information and belief, Defendant is employing a deliberate strategy of copying and posting large document archives such as the O.C.G.A. (including the Copyrighted Annotations) in order to force the State of Georgia to provide the O.C.G.A., in an electronic format acceptable to Defendant. Defendant’s founder and president, Carl Malamud, has indicated that this type of strategy has been a successful form of “terrorism” that he has employed in the past to force government entities to publish documents on Malamud’s terms. See Exhibit 2.

21.  Consistent with its strategy of terrorism, Defendant freely admits to the copying and distribution of massive numbers of Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Annotations on at least its https://yeswescan.org website. See Exhibit 3. Defendant also announced on the https://yeswescan.org website that it has targeted the States of Mississippi, Georgia, and Idaho and the District of Columbia for its continued, deliberate and willful copying of copyrighted portions of the annotated codes of those jurisdictions. Defendant has further posted on the https://yeswescan.org website, and delivered to Plaintiffs, a “Proclamation of Promulgation,” indicating that its deliberate and willful copying and distribution of Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Annotations would be “greatly expanded” in 2014. Defendant has further instituted public funding campaigns on a website http://www.indiegogo.com to support its continued copying and distribution of Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Annotations. Defendant has raised thousands of dollars to assist Defendant in infringing the O.C.G.A. Copyrighted Annotations.

Terrorism, seriously?  Someone explain to me how this adds to the substance of the complaint.  It’s not as if black helicopters will be circling Atlanta at the end of the trial, not over annotations at least.

Mark

Copyright Office Issues New Report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization Projects

The U.S. Copyright Office has issued a new report, Orphan Works And Mass Digitization, which identifies legislative proposals and other considerations to create mechanisms that allow for legal use of orphan works and mass digitization.  The report builds on earlier examinations of the issues released in 2006 and 2011.

From the Executive Summary:

While the fundamental aspects of orphan works and mass digitization have remained unchanged since the Office’s prior reviews, a number of important domestic and international developments have affected the legal landscape. In the United States, it is difficult to separate the issue of mass digitization from two lawsuits arising out of the Google Books project, in which authors and book publishers have asserted violations of their exclusive rights and Google and libraries have asserted fair use.4 Recent decisions in these cases have magnified the public debate surrounding the costs and benefits arising from digitization projects more generally, and how best to license, except, or otherwise regulate them under the law.

Meanwhile, a growing number of countries have adopted legislative responses to both orphan works and mass digitization, ranging from calibrated exceptions to government licenses to extended collective licensing. And, private entities have developed innovative new copyright information registries and other resources to more efficiently bring rightsholders together with those seeking to use their works.

These combined developments – all of which will have substantial ramifications for U.S. copyright stakeholders – strongly suggest that it is time to revisit potential solutions in the United States. The goal in doing so is not to interfere with jurisprudence, but rather to ensure that the rules are clear and that all parties are on equal footing. Indeed, with so many equities at stake, the complexity and breadth of the issues make them well suited for legislative action.5 While the Office has addressed these issues together in this Report, we recommend separate solutions.

The Copyright Office was opposed to the Google Book Settlement which was ultimately rejected by the trial court.  The current report (PDF) is available here.  Perhaps Congress will get around to actually making reforms in the copyright laws to account for orphan works and digitization projects.

Mark

Apple Loses Appeal In Ebook Case

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Apple’s arguments on appeal and upheld Judge Denise Cote’s finding that Apple violated the antitrust laws:

Defendants Apple, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Cote, J.), entered on September 5, 2013. After a bench trial, the district court concluded that Apple violated § 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., by orchestrating a conspiracy among five major publishing companies to raise the retail prices of digital books, known as “ebooks.” The court then issued an injunctive order, which, inter alia, prevents Apple from signing agreements with those five publishers that restrict its ability to set, alter, or reduce the price of ebooks, and requires Apple to apply the same terms and conditions to ebook applications sold on its devices as it does to other applications. We conclude that  the district court correctly decided that Apple orchestrated a conspiracy among the publishers to raise ebook prices, that the conspiracy unreasonably restrained trade in violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act, and that the injunction is properly calibrated to protect the public from future anticompetitive harms. In addition, we reject the argument that the portion of the injunctive order preventing Apple from agreeing to restrict its pricing authority modifies Macmillan and Simon & Schuster’s consent decrees or should be judicially estopped. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

The main opinion was accompanied by an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, and a dissenting opinion.  Here are the opinions:

US v Apple Opinion US v Apple C&D In Part US v Apple D Opinion

Mark

Print Isn’t Dying, It’s Just Shrinking

There is an interesting discussion going on at my library.  As others may be doing, we are considering the proper mix between print and online resources.  ABA law school accreditation Standard 606 now allows for “a core collection of essential materials through ownership or reliable access.”  It’s that last part, “reliable access,” that triggers deep soul searching of what to buy in print or what to buy as an electronic subscription.  Tempering the rule are other qualifications that state the core collection should support faculty scholarship and the curriculum, and that a collection that consists of a single format may violate Standard 606.

In this context I’ve recommended that we drop the National Reporter System, ALRs, CJS, multiple state codes, and selected treatises that are online.  This may sound radical to some.  I know that law schools and libraries are experiencing budget cuts due to lower enrollment.  That drives part of the analysis.  Another factor that bears thought is what we teach these days.  The legal writing program at DePaul started teaching all electronic research.  We experienced a drop in library visits as a consequence.  No more treasure hunts, no answering the same questions over and over at the reference desk.

I can remember how far we’ve come in electronic access.  We used to teach print resources because that’s what the legal market had out there.  Now electronic access to case law and other primary sources is ubiquitous.  At one time it was viable to teach print because the databases were based on print.  Understand the organization of print and the online version would make more sense.  That’s not so true anymore.  Online database providers no longer think in terms of echoing print other than citation and star paging.  Certainly there was a time when case law on Westlaw was organized by reporter.  Not anymore.  It’s all jurisdictional, and that seems natural now compared to looking for a database containing the Northeastern Reporter.

Look at how citators have changed.  There was a time when Shepards online would be no more current than the latest print update.  Even the CD-ROM product mirrored print.  Now everything is dynamic.  I can’t imagine why anyone would want to subscribe to the print edition at this point.  We cancelled our print copies years ago. If anything was made easier by online access, Shepards, KeyCite, and citators in general are it.  They are more complete, can be filtered, and everything is spelled out instead of interpreting symbols attached to citations.

Then there are law reviews.  I have to say how much I like Hein Online when it comes to law reviews.  Everything back to day one is there in PDF format more or less.  We still get paper copies of law reviews but discard them once they appear on Hein.  No more binding these books for the collection.  Google Scholar works as a handy index to Hein content as well as other scholarly databases.

So now the next question is what is the proper mix for print and online?  I know that some libraries have already dropped major primary resources such as reporters.  In one sense, we are behind the curve on making that set of decisions.  Never in my career had I thought I would be part of this kind of decision.  Times change.  I find that I’m not very sentimental about physical materials that no one uses at my library.

Mark