I’m happy to announce the publication of Shadow Libraries: Access to Knowledge in Global Higher Education (MIT 2018). It is, in many respects, a sequel to 2011’s Media Piracy in Emerging Economies and involves many of the same researchers. It’s also available for free under a CC license. From the intro:
From the top down, Shadow Libraries explores the institutions that shape the provision of [learning] materials, from the formal sector of universities and publishers to the broadly informal ones organized by faculty, copy shops, student unions, and students themselves. It looks at the history of policy battles over access to education in the post–World War II era and at the narrower versions that have played out in relation to research and textbooks, from library policies to book subsidies to, more recently, the several “open” publication models that have emerged in the higher education sector.
From the bottom up, Shadow Libraries explores how, simply, students get the materials they need. It maps the ubiquitous practice of photocopying and what are—in many cases—the more marginal ones of buying books, visiting libraries, and downloading from unauthorized sources. It looks at the informal networks that emerge in many contexts to share materials, from face-to-face student networks to Facebook groups, and at the processes that lead to the consolidation of some of those efforts into more organized archives that circulate offline and sometimes online—the shadow libraries of our title…..
Continue reading “Shadow Libraries is Out!”
Jennifer Urban and I just published a preview of our work on notice and takedown in the Communications of the ACM (currently paywalled but accessible through most universities). Here’s the gist of it:
As automated systems became common, the number of takedown requests increased dramatically. For some online services, the numbers of complaints went from dozens or hundreds per year to hundreds of thousands or millions. In 2009, Google’s search service received less than 100 takedown requests. In 2014, it received 345 million requests. Although Google is the extreme outlier, other services—especially those in the copyright ‘hot zones’ around search, storage, and social media—saw order-of-magnitude increases. Many others—through luck, obscurity, or low exposure to copyright conflicts—remained within the “DMCA Classic” world of low-volume notice and takedown.
This split in the application of the law undermined the rough industry consensus about what services did to keep their safe harbor protection. As automated notices overwhelmed small legal teams, targeted services lost the ability to fully vet the complaints they received. Because companies exposed themselves to high statutory penalties if they ignored valid complaints, the safest path afforded by the DMCA was to remove all targeted material. Some companies did so. Some responded by developing automated triage procedures that prioritized high-risk notices for human review (most commonly, those sent by individuals).
Others began to move beyond the statutory requirements in an effort to reach agreement with rights holder groups and, in some cases, to reassert some control over the copyright disputes on their services.
Continue reading “The Rise of the Robo Notice”
I’m a little late to this to say the least, but I recently ran across this 2011 video from one of the ‘IP Breakfast’ workshops that Drew Clarke used to run. In it, you can find Bruce Lehman, Clinton point man on the major IP treaties of the 1990s; Loren Yager, main author of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the costs of IP infringment (which was notable for saying that nobody knew what they were); Steven Siwek, the copyright sector’s chief economist for maximizing claims of harm from piracy; Matt Robinson from anti-piracy outfit Attributor (now Digimarc); Morgan Reed from software trade group the Association for Competitive Technology; and Sean Flynn from American University (and one of the contributors to the Media Piracy report).
Amusingly, it turns into a free-for-all about the Piracy report, with Siwek defending his methods, Lehman parsing what it meant for the US to be a pirate nation in the 19th century, and Sean parrying with both of them and also an angry guy in the audience accusing the report of anti-americanism, anti-commerc(ism?), and–I think I heard this right– pro-Viking(ism), which has something to do with pillaging. Sadly, Sean did not address our position on Vikings. Anyway, it’s a nice time capsule of IP debates circa early 2011 (pre SOPA).
Most histories of copyright discuss Dickens’ frustration with the lack of protection for international copyright in the 19th century US. This I didn’t know:
Charles Dickens was an abolitionist and wrote of his feeling of the uncanny when encountering his first slave, serving him dinner at his hotel in Baltimore in 1842. Yet, when senators from the slave states assured him of their support for international copyright, he warmed up. His intense dislike of the Northern publishers, who chiseled him out of his royalties, encouraged his eventual support for the Southern cause during the Civil War. One might have thought that the Southern states had more pressing concerns in 1861 than copyright (just as one might have thought this about the French revolutionaries in 1791). But the political implications of copyright were significant enough to justify such an investment by the rebel politicians. With few publishing interests the South stood to lose little to copyright. To distinguish itself from the North, cultivate an aristocratic and nonmercantile national identity, and appeal to the British, the Confederacy passed an international copyright law, protecting foreign authors whose governments extended reciprocal protection to Americans. Southern gentlemen, one Confederate journalist claimed, would rather pay quintuple the price for a British edition than buy a pirated Yankee one.
From Peter Baldwin’s excellent The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Transatlantic Battle.
TERA Associates has released a follow up to their 2010 study on the impact of “piracy” on creative industries in the European Union. The new study, entitled “The Economic Contribution of the Creative Industries to EU GDP and Employment,” makes three arguments:
1) That the creative industries include 8.3 million “core” creative jobs and 5.7 million “interdependent” and “non-dedicated support” jobs, totaling 14% of the EU27 workforce and contributing 6.8% of GDP (€ 860 billion).
2) That between 2008 and 2011, piracy “destroyed” € 27.1 – 39.7 billion in economic value, resulting in a loss of between 64,089 and 955,125 jobs. According to TERA’s forecast, these numbers are likely to climb to € 166-240 billion by 2015, with 600,000 to 1.2 million jobs lost.
3) That although economic depression and other factors may play a role in some sectoral changes (such as retail), these job and economic losses are primarily attributable to the failure of EU member states to adopt stronger IP enforcement measures.
As a researcher responsible for several studies of the impact of piracy on creative economies, I was asked by consumers’ and citizens’ rights groups in 2011 to provide an independent review of the first TERA study. In those comments, I argued that the report offered a selective account of the economics of infringement that overstated the impact of piracy. Since the new report doubles down on those findings and introduces some new methodologies, I have prepared new comments.
Download the note.
Continue reading “A Note on TERA’s “The Economic Contribution of the Creative Industries to EU GDP and Employment””
The site suffered a nasty attack last week that took some time to resolve. If you run across any lingering problems, I’d welcome a note.
Reposting a link to this piece in Ars Technica by Evelin Heidel, Ezequiel Martin Acuña, and me. Here’s how it wraps up:
The combination of wider distribution and lower pricing has also begun to influence practices of financing. “Right now, traders are becoming investors,” Moscoso said. “Large retailers are becoming producers, distributors are making movies, and thus they don’t depend only on the state to produce films. Here, making a movie used to be like climbing the Everest in flip-flops and a T-shirt. You had to be lucky if you wanted to show your movie in the cinema. You had to have contacts or come from a family with a good social position. If you didn’t have any of that, you’d be happy if you managed to get your film shown once at a cultural center. But now you have the option to sell it in markets and shopping centers, where it will continue to sell.” Continue reading “Can Former “Pirates” Fix a Broken Movie Market (in Ecuador)?”