Monthly Archives: February 2012

Does Copyright Need Fixing?

William Patry, believes it does.  In his new book  How to Fix Copyright  published by Oxford Press he suggests that creators should be required to register their copyright after a certain period of time in order to maintain them and that rights of out-of-print books should revert to their creator.  Definitely interesting concepts and perhaps a solution to the books that sit in limbo – no copies available yet not available to copy and share with those who would benefit by their use.

Moral Panics and the Copyright WarsI first ran into The Patry Copyright Blog a few years ago, right about the time he decided to cancel it and then reinstated it for a short while to publicize his book,  Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars.  I found his take on copyright interesting.  His opinion is backed by a prestigious history.  Currently a  Senior Copyright Counsel at Google Inc., he served as copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, was a Policy Planning Advisor to the Register of Copyrights, has been a law professor, and has practiced law on a private basis.  Besides the two books mention above, he is the author of an eight-volume treatise on copyright law as well as a separate treatise on the fair use doctrine.

In an opinion piece published 31 Jan 2012 on CNN Opinion, Time to Update Copyright Law,  Paltry states ” As we adapt to the digital age, arcane copyright laws that offer no benefit even to the current copyright holder must be reconsidered. A sensible approach would not act as an obstacle to future generations who want to create something new.”

In a December post on Bloomberg view Copyrights Are No Longer About Copies, Paltry discusses issues such as “licences vs. sales”, the inability to transfer the works you’ve purchased to another device, digital locks and other restrictions imposed on today’s purchases of creative works.  This series of 3 posts is intended to be a preview of his book.  Check it out!


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Filed under Copyright, Genealogy, Laws and Legal Decisions

Library of Congress is digitizing older Copyright records

On Dec 1, 2011, the Library of Congress introduced a new blog, Copyright Matters: Digitization and Public Access.  The purpose of the blog is to keep the public informed about the effort to digitize copyright records prior to 1978.  I could recap what the site says, but why not read it for yourself.  You can also find more information about the project on the Copyright Website.

The January 6 post  gives examples of what the copyright records look like.  The card here is just one sample, be sure to check out the blog for more.  Be sure to read the January 26 post on transfers and assignments as well.  You will go away with a little background on copyright records.  

The digitized catalogs of copyright entries can be accessed from the Internet Archive.   They are almost 70% through with scanning the catalogs.  Currently you will find issues from the 1920s through 1978.

This is exciting.  One of the problems genealogists face is trying to determine if genealogies published before 1978 are still covered by copyright.  As the catalogs and cards become accessible online we will be able to find out without sending a researcher to the Copyright office card file, or guessing and hoping that we’ve made the right choice.

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Filed under Genealogy