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Category Archives: Copyright

Westlaw Must Face Antitrust Claims in a Case That Could Boost Competitive Compatibility

EFF: “Westlaw, the world’s largest legal research service, is very likely to face antitrust liability. A federal court has ruled that ROSS Intelligence, a tiny rival offering new research tools (which Westlaw forced out of business with a copyright infringement suit) could proceed with claims that Westlaw uses exclusionary and anticompetitive practices to maintain its monopoly over the legal research market.  The ruling is a significant step in an antitrust case about Westlaw’s conduct as an entrenched incumbent. The company controls 80 percent of the market for legal research tools and maintains a massive, impossible-to-duplicate database of public case law built over decades. It faces few major competitors. Westlaw doesn’t license access to its database, which means that it’s difficult for another company to offer new and innovative online tools for searching case law or other follow-on products and services.  The potential ramifications of this case are huge. The outcome could boost the case for competitive compatibility (comcom), the ability of challengers to build on the work of entrenched players like Westlaw to create innovative and useful new products. More prosaically, it could improve public access to court records. The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in April refused to dismiss an antitrust claim against Westlaw by the now-defunct legal research company ROSS Intelligence. ROSS developed a new online legal research tool using artificial intelligence (AI), contracting with an outside company for a database of legal cases sourced from Westlaw. Westlaw sued ROSS for copyright infringement, accusing it of using AI to mine the Westlaw database as source material for its new tool. Though the database is mainly composed of judicial opinions, which can’t be copyrighted, Westlaw long maintained that it holds copyrights to the page numbers and other organizational features. ROSS went out of business less than a year after Westlaw filed suit.  Despite going out of business, ROSS pressed ahead with a countersuit, claiming Westlaw and its parent company, Thomson Reuters Corporation, violate antitrust law by requiring customers to buy their online search tool to access its database of public domain case law, unlawfully tying the tool to the database to maintain dominance in the overall market for legal search platforms…”

What Litigators Should Know Now about Non-Fungible Tokens

ABA Litigation: Jurisdictional and other legal considerations in the booming NFT market. ” Many purists think decentralization is the most important promise of cryptocurrency, but to grow in popularity, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) need to guarantee rights to artists. NFTs are non-interchangeable units of data, stored on a blockchain, that can be sold and traded. NFTs… Continue Reading

8 Best Free Online Music Streaming Services With No Limitations

MakeUseOf: “Finding a completely unlimited music listening experience can be a real challenge. Most music streaming services offer free and paid tiers, but place restrictions on the features available in the free plan. Spotify’s free package, for example, doesn’t offer the highest quality audio and only lets you listen on shuffle when using mobile. If… Continue Reading

The Seizure of Jewish Intellectual Property Ahead of World War II

Library of Congress – Copyright Creativity at Work: “The following is a guest post by Marilyn Creswell, information resources assistant at the University of Michigan Law School. She served as Librarian-in-Residence at the U.S. Copyright Office from July 2020 to April 2021. [h/t Mary Whisner] As the United States enters the Days of Remembrance of… Continue Reading

Maryland Gives Up on Its Library E-book Law

Publishers Weekly: “Maryland’s library e-book law is effectively dead. In a court filing this week, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said the state would present no new evidence in a legal challenge filed by the Association of American Publishers, allowing the court’s recently issued preliminary injunction blocking the law to stand, and paving the… Continue Reading

CC publishes policy paper titled Towards Better Sharing of Cultural Heritage

Creative Commons: “Over the past few months, members of the Creative Commons (CC) Copyright Platform along with CC friends from around the world have worked together to develop a policy paper addressing the key high-level policy issues affecting access and sharing of cultural heritage, notably by galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs). In this blog… Continue Reading

The Fourth Amendment Limits of Internet Content Preservation

“Every year, hundreds of thousands of Internet accounts are copied and set aside by Internet providers on behalf of federal and state law enforcement. This process, known as preservation, ordinarily occurs without particularized suspicion. Any government agent can request preservation of any account at any time. Federal law requires the provider to set aside a… Continue Reading

Publishing Giants Are Fighting Libraries on E-Books

Sludge: “The Association of American Publishers filed suit to block a new Maryland law that aims to increase public libraries’ access to e-books, with support from a powerful copyright lobbying group…Libraries and schools worldwide have been increasingly lending out e-books and audiobooks, even before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Over 500 million copies of digital… Continue Reading

U.S. Senators Introduce SMART Copyright Act to Combat Piracy

TorrentFreak: “U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Patrick Leahy have introduced the SMART Copyright Act of 2022. The bill requires online hosting services to implement standard technical protection measures, designated by the Copyright Office. Rightsholders see the proposal as a great step forward to protect creators, while opponents classify it as a filtering tool that will… Continue Reading

Artvee

About Artvee: “In the last few years, several major museums and libraries have instituted an open access policy by designating most or all of the public domain art in their collections with a creative commons license making them available for use for any purpose with no restrictions attached. We sort through and aggregate the best… Continue Reading

Connecticut Introduces Library E-book Bill

Publishers Weekly: “Connecticut has become the latest state to introduce a library e-book bill, introducing bill 131 in its February session. The Connecticut bill is similar to efforts in other states now underway, in that it would require publishers who offer an e-book to consumers in the state to also offer to license the works… Continue Reading

Court Blocks Maryland’s Library E-book Law

Publishers Weekly: “In a rebuke to Maryland state legislators, a federal judge has granted the Association of American Publishers’ motion for a preliminary injunction, blocking Maryland officials from enforcing the state’s new library e-book law. “It is clear the Maryland Act likely stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the purposes and objectives of… Continue Reading