How copyright drives Internet fragmentation, and why it is hard to fix

The EU Copyright Directive is arguably the most important recent legislation in the area of intellectual monopolies. It is also a failure, judged purely on its own terms as an initiative to modernise and unify copyright across the European Union. Instead, it includes many backward-looking features that go against the grain of the digital world, …

European Parliament sabotages the AI Act by failing to recognise that the right to read is the right to train

Walled Culture recently wrote about an unrealistic French legislative proposal that would require the listing of all the authors of material used for training generative AI systems. Unfortunately, the European Parliament has inserted a similarly impossible idea in its text for the upcoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act. The DisCo blog explains that MEPs added new …

The New York Times tried to block the Internet Archive: another reason to value the latter

Walled Culture has already written about the two–pronged attack by the copyright industry against the Internet Archive, which was founded by Brewster Kahle, whose Kahle/Austin Foundation supports this blog. The Intercept has an interesting article that reveals another reason why some newspaper publishers are not great fans of the site: The New York Times tried …

Publisher wants $2,500 to allow academics to post their own manuscript to their own repository

As a Walled Culture explained back in 2021, open access (OA) to published academic research comes in two main varieties. “Gold” open access papers are freely available to the public because the researchers’ institutions pay “article-processing charges” to a publisher. “Green” OA papers are available because the authors self-archive their work on a personal Web …

Unique collection of old TV culture put at risk by a heavy-handed copyright takedown system

Although copyright is mainly thought of as concerning books, music and films, it applies to other kinds of creativity in a fixed form. That includes apparently trivial material such as early commercial television programmes. These are important cultural artefacts, but unlike books, music or films, there are very few formal schemes for collecting and conserving …

Ebook pledge aims to protect libraries and authors from publishers’ growing abuse of copyright

There’s a whole chapter of Walled Culture the book (free digital versions available) devoted to the serious attack on libraries and their traditional functions that is being carried out by major publishers. The latter are using digital copyright law to take advantage of the shift to ebooks by moving from one-off sales to a recurrent …

After publishers, now recording companies want to stop the Internet Archive from sharing culture

Back in March, Walled Culture wrote about the terrible ruling by US Judge John G. Koeltl that the Internet Archive’s Controlled Digital Lending programme was not a fair use. The Internet Archive has said that it will appeal against the ruling, but in the meantime it has jointly proposed with the publishers involved an agreement …

Copyright enforcement in a nutshell: make the Internet hard work and less fun until people give up

The Internet is amazing, but it’s not perfect. There are many aspects that are unsatisfactory – its protocols are inefficient, and it is far from resilient. The InterPlanetary File System, created in 2014, aims to address some of these deficiencies. On its main site it is described as: A peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol designed to preserve …

Top EU court advisor says technical standards, like laws, should not be locked down by copyright

One of the most pernicious ideas that copyright maximalism has spread is that preventing people from freely accessing creative material is not just a good thing to do, but should be the natural state of affairs. This has made questioning whether copyright is really the best way to support artists and promote creativity hard. Against …

Digital business models are changing: what are artists’ thoughts, hopes and fears in this new world?

The creative world is changing rapidly under the impact of digital technologies. That makes the lack of research into how creators are reacting to and working with new technology all the more urgent. One new report that helps to address that gap in our knowledge is The Networked Shift, available as a free download from …

Here’s another important reason why academics should publish in open access titles: self interest

Open access has been discussed many times here on Walled Culture. There are several strands to its story. It’s about allowing the public to access research they have paid for through tax-funded grants, without needing to take out often expensive subscriptions to academic titles. It’s about saving educational institutions money that they are currently spending …

Mass resignation by top academics over “too greedy” publisher, as Council of the EU calls for open access

It’s no secret that academic publishers are making fabulous profits by exploiting the work provided free of charge by researchers and funded by taxpayers. This is still happening, despite over two decades of efforts to move to a fairer system based on open access publishing. Now, over 40 of the top researchers in the field …

A “blatant no” from a copyright holder stops vital linguistic research work in Africa

Copyright discussions typically concern texts in just a few languages, and often only in English. In part, that’s because copyright law has evolved most quickly in anglophone countries. But it means that the copyright problems faced by those speaking less well-known languages – particularly languages with limited quantities of textual material available – are completely …

Librarians of the world unite: call for action on ebooks

The terrible lawsuit against the Open Library for daring to increase access to books during the Covid pandemic is not just an attack on the Internet Archive’s selfless work. It is a broader attack on the very idea of the library, and on the vital services that libraries provide to society. These include offering ready …

No big deal: calling the publishers’ bluff on high-price access to publicly-funded research

This blog has written a number of posts about open access, and its difficulties. One important impetus for the move towards open access was the increasing use by academic publishers of so-called “big deals”. Wikipedia explains: In a big deal, a library or consortium of libraries typically pays several million dollars per year to subscribe …

What Professor Litman’s classic open access book “Digital Copyright” teaches us

The central theme of Walled Culture the blog and the book (free digital versions available for download) is how copyright is a bad fit for the digital world. That has become increasingly evident over the last twenty years, as more copyright laws have been passed. But the story begins back in the early 1990s, when …

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