Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

Introduction of iPad means a huge jump in the piracy of ebooks is coming.

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Introduction of iPad means a huge jump in the piracy of ebooks is coming.
Nils Montan | January 27, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Tags: antipiracy, copyright piracy, piracy | Categories: News | URL:

Steve Jobs at Apple introduced the iPad today and already people are touting it as the Kindle Killer. Whatever the fate of the Kindle, the entire ebooks category is going to take a huge jump this year. Where there are sales of digital content, can piracy be far behind. I don’t think so and either does the Association of American Publishers.

New Study Documents Epidemic of Online Book Piracy Washington, DC, January 14, 2010— Nine million illegal downloads of copyright-protected books were documented during the closing months of 2009, according to a new study released today. The independent study, conducted by the online monitoring and enforcement service Attributor, looked at illegal downloads of 913 popular titles. On average, each of the titles tracked was downloaded approximately 10,000 times. “This new study confirms that book piracy on the Internet has reached epidemic proportions. Unchecked, that piracy will drain the creative energy of American publishing. Those 9 million pirated books should be a call-to-arms for policymakers, educators, and every reader who cares about the future of digital and printed books,” said Tom Allen, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers. The study can be found online at For more information about digital piracy of books contact Ed McCoyd, Executive Director for Digital, Environmental & Accessibility Affairs at the Association of American Publishers (

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What use is “fair” under the law of copyright?

January 6, 2010 2 comments

Fair Use is one of those terms that can raise a lot of passion among people. Some people today say that all use should be more or less “fair” and it is unfair for big media companies to try and hassle people. The traditionalists in the crowd say that fair use is merely a small limitation on the rights of copyright owners so that others may use portions of their works for certain purposes.

This is truly one of the fascinating discussions of our times in IP law – but I am not going there today. Later on we will discuss these issues in some depth. Today, since I don’t want you to be charged with copyright infringement when you think your use is fair, I am going to give you the black letter traditionalist view of the law of fair use. Fair enough?

Some uses of a copyrighted work, let’s say a novel, are so useful to society, that copyright law as always recognized the concept of fair use. For example, it would be very difficult to review our novel if the reviewer could not copy, or site for the reader in the review, portions of the copyrighted work. Accordingly, a reviewer under the fair use doctrine has that right.

The idea is that what otherwise would be infringement is excused or privileged because the work is being used for a transformative purpose such as research, scholarship, criticism, or journalism. It is important to remember that fair use is an affirmative defense rather than an affirmative right. This means that a particular use only gets established as a fair use if the copyright owner decides to file and lawsuit. Then, it’s up to you as the defendant to say that your use fits into one of the categories that the law will recognize.

When thinking about whether an alleged infringement should be excused on the basis of fair use, a court will use several factors, including the purpose of the use, the character of the use, the amount and substantially of the portion of the work used, and the effect of the use on the market for the copyrighted work.

In our novel example, it will be fair use for me to take portions of the work and refer to them in my review. We want books to be reviewed and my review (even if it is a bad one) will not damage the market for the book in a copyright sense. If I take the entire file of an ebook version of the novel and upload it for thousands of people to read – well, you know, that’s probably not “fair use.”

When blogging, it’s perfectly cool to take some paragraphs from some one’s blog if you are commenting on them and if you attribute the source. Just to copy the blog, or substantial portions of the blog and palm it off as your own may get you into trouble.

(originally published in The Blogger’s Bulletin)