Author: Michael Carroll

Sharing Research Data and Intellectual Property Law: A Primer

Abstract: Sharing research data by depositing it in connection with a published article or otherwise making data publicly available sometimes raises intellectual property questions in the minds of depositing researchers, their employers, their funders, and other researchers who seek to reuse research data. In this context or in the drafting of data management plans, common questions are (1) what are the legal rights in data; (2) who has these rights; and (3) how does one with these rights use them to share data in a way that permits or encourages productive downstream uses? Leaving to the side privacy and national security laws that regulate sharing certain types of data, this Perspective explains how to work through the general intellectual property and contractual issues for all research data. Carroll MW (2015) Sharing Research Data and Intellectual Property Law: A Primer. PLoS Biol 13(8): e1002235. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002235 Full Article:...

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Creative Commons Licenses Opening Access to Education in Sub-Saharan Africa and India

[Cross posted from the CCUSA blog, Link (CC-BY)] In all my time with Creative Commons, I’ve come to see that support comes from people across a wide spectrum of creators. For some, the Creative Commons licenses and their related icons provide the vocabulary and the solidarity around the sharing that they would engage in over the Internet even if the licenses did not exist. For others, the licenses are needed to free users from copyright constraints that would otherwise inhibit or prohibit uses that the creator wants to promote. Today, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at the Comparative and International Education Society’s Annual Conference with representatives of two open education projects that depend on Creative Commons licenses to do their work. One is the OER publisher Siyavula, based in Cape Town, South Africa. Among other things, they publish textbooks for use in primary and secondary school in math and science. After high school students in the country protested about the conditions of their education – singling out textbook prices as a barrier to their learning – the South African government relied on the Creative Commons license used by Siyavula to print and distribute 10 million Siyavula textbooks to school children, some of whom had never had their own textbook before. The other are the related teacher education projects, TESSA, and TESS-India, which use the Creative Commons...

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The Future Now: Canada’s Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory

I recently served on an expert panel convened by the Royal Society of Canada to do a report on the future of libraries and archives in the country.  That report has now been published – The Future Now: Canada’s Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory.  It’s gotten press coverage so far from the Ottawa Citizen and Quill and Quire. The report explores how libraries and archives can best adopt to changing digital technologies and cultural practices. An excerpt from the executive summary, discussing the outcomes of the expert panel’s consultations, and offering specific recommendations, follows: ——————————————————— Demers, Patricia (chair), Guylaine Beaudry, Pamela Bjornson, Michael Carroll, Carol Couture, Charlotte Gray, Judith Hare, Ernie Ingles, Eric Ketelaar, Gerald McMaster, Ken Roberts. (2014). Expert Panel Report on The Future Now: Canada’s Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory. Royal Society of Canada, Ottawa, ON. ISBN: 978-1-928140-01-6.  [Link] [Pages 11-15] We want to share the excitement we have felt in our conversations about libraries and archives; we want to emphasize Canadians’ profound trust in and continuous reliance on these institutions and their services. We explore issues of inequitable access, organizational restructuring, leadership roles, and the need for continuous professional development among librarians and archivists. Yet throughout this exercise, we have been impressed by the resourcefulness, daring, and responsiveness of these institutions to accelerated public expectations. Our title boldly asserts that the future must be acknowledged. We...

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Congressional Testimony on “Moral Rights, Termination Rights, Resale Royalty, and Copyright Term”

[Cross posted from Creative Commons-USA, Link, (CC-BY)]  Chairman Coble, Ranking Member Nadler, Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, and members of the Subcommittee, my name is Michael Carroll, and I am a member of the faculty at American University Washington College of Law, where I direct the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and serve as the Public Lead for Creative Commons USA.  Creative Commons USA is the United States’ project that works under the terms of an agreement with Creative Commons, Inc., a global non-profit corporation headquartered in California.  Creative Commons has agreements with projects in more than 70 countries through which the local project is authorized to represent Creative Commons at the national level.  Creative Commons and Creative Commons USA have some experiences and legal tools that are relevant to the topics of today’s hearing.  Briefly, these are: Creative Commons and Moral Rights Creative Commons provides the public with a range of legal tools designed to promote the legal sharing and reuse of works of authorship.  Creative Commons offers six standardized copyright licenses that a copyright owner can choose to grant the public permission for royalty-free use subject to a range of conditions.  See https://creativecommons.org/licenses/ and Appendix A. These licenses are recognized as the global standard for sharing works and are used by Wikipedia, open access journal publishers, creators of open courseware and open educational resources, bloggers,...

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A Realist Approach to Copyright Law’s Formalities

PIJIP Reesearch Paper 2014-01 ABSTRACT: Rejecting the conventional story that formalities in copyright law were abolished by the Berne Convention, this Article demonstrates that privately administered systems of formalities play a significant role in the administration of copyright law worldwide. Indeed, they must because copyright is designed to support a transaction structure which requires rightsholders who seek to attract licensing partners to go through some formal step to identify themselves and the works in which they have a legal or beneficial interest. Canvassing the landscape of mandatory and voluntary public and private systems of formalities, this article argues that: (1) national policymakers retain more policy authority under Berne to impose certain formal requirements on rightsholders than those with a formalist understanding of public formalities argue; (2) private systems of formalities are extensive, economically significant, but are not interoperable with each other in many cases and with voluntary registries and other voluntary public formalities systems; and (3) policymakers should use a mix of approaches to improve the functioning of both public and private formalities systems by promoting or requiring transparency, efficiency, and interoperability in their design and administration. Full Paper:  http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/research/40...

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Open Educational Resources Expand Access to Higher Education in the United States

Leaders in the Obama Administration, in state governments, and in corporate America have acknowledged the urgency of increasing access to higher education in the United States – particularly through community colleges.  These leaders also recognize the importance of improving completion rates and educational outcomes for those who enroll. As we come to the close of Open Education Week, it is now time for these leaders to focus attention, energy and resources on the most immediate opportunity to make progress toward these goals while also freeing up billions of dollars that can be redirected toward this progress.  Make textbooks available to students for free or at very low marginal cost. The Open Textbook Opportunity – Tidewater Community College Case Study Sound too good to be true?  It’s not, and the forward-looking folks at Tidewater Community College are leading the way.  Students at Tidewater can now save 30% of the cost of a two-year Associate’ Degree of Science in Business Administration because all of the textbooks are published under a Creative Commons Attribution license which gives anyone – students and the school – the rights to freely make copies and adapt these works as long as proper attribution to the author(s) is maintained. According to Linda Williams at Tidewater, open textbooks have not just been a cost savings but also have improved the quality of the educational experience and have opened...

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Copyright Week: The Digital Public Domain

Reposted from CC-USA for Copyright Week. Whatever one thinks about the rest of the Google Book business, I think it’s important to focus on the digitization of public domain books by both Google and the Open Content Alliance and to use these efforts as the basis for conceiving of the Digital Public Domain as a more robust version of the traditional public domain. Here’s the gist of the argument: 1. Copyright and the Encouragement of Learning. Copyright law is at the heart of concerns about using the Internet to provide universal access to learned and cultural works. These concerns arise in particular with respect to two related issues: access to books and other printed materials that can be digitized and shared over the Internet, and access to scholarly works yet to be produced, which could be shared over the Internet but routinely are not. The purpose of copyright law has been to promote learning and the progress of knowledge. Two features of copyright law should provide the guide for how to respond to access concerns. First, copyright is an author’s right. This is definitional. Prior to 1710, the law provided exclusive printing rights to printers, leaving authors with no rights other than ownership rights in a physical manuscript. The first copyright act, the Statute of Anne, fundamentally changed this relationship by giving rights to authors, who could then make...

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Statement by CCUSA Director Michael Carroll on the Introduction of the Affordable College Textbook Act in the House

[Creative Commons U.S.A. Link (CC-BY)] Yesterday, Representatives Hinojosa and Miller introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act. The text mirrors that of the Senate bill introduced last week by Senators Durbin and Franken (see CCUSA’s statement on the Senate bill here). The Affordable College Textbook Act would provide funding for the creation of textbooks, which would be made available to the public under open licenses, allowing students and educators to “access, reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, adapt, distribute, and otherwise use the work and adaptations of the work for any purpose, conditioned only on the requirement that attribution be given to authors as designated.” Creative Commons USA Director Michael Carroll issued the following statement: By introducing a companion bill, Representatives Hinojosa and Miller have made an important statement about how to reduce cost and increase access to high quality textbooks in higher education.  Investing in open textbooks is a policy that deserves bipartisan support. Support for this bill is support for student success. For more information on the Affordable College Textbook Act, see this page by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that designs user-friendly copyright licenses which provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work. Its license are used by authors, artists, and other creators worldwide. Creative Commons U.S.A. is a...

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PIJIP’s Marrakesh Treaty Event – Teaching Resource and Thanks

I write to thank the many members of our community who worked to support our highly successful event yesterday afternoon organized and convened by Peter Jaszi and entitled The 2013 Marrakesh Treaty: Providing Access to Copyrighted Works for the Blind and Print Disabled.  I also write to alert teaching colleagues about the potential usefulness of the video record for use in the classroom or as a supplementary material. This event is in the spirit of being out front on current events because the treaty was concluded this summer, and Peter was able to put together an all-star panel in a very short time.  The video is here:  http://www.pijip-impact.org/events/marrakesh/  A transcript for those with hearing impairments will be added shortly. What’s the Treaty?   The treaty is the first of its kind.  A series of multilateral agreements on intellectual property have established the minimum rights that Member States must grant to authors, inventors or other owners.  Other bilateral and plurilateral agreements have focused on minimum requirements for enforcing these rights.  Now, this treaty pushes in the opposite direction by  requiring Member States to cut back on the scope of protection under copyright law so as to allow “authorized entities” within their territory to make print resources available to the blind and print disabled without the consent of the publisher or other copyright owner.  Currently less than 2% of the published literature...

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Announcing the Launch of Creative Commons U.S.

American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) is proud to announce that it is the new home of Creative Commons United States (CC US). CC US is the U.S. volunteer affiliate in the Creative Commons Affiliate Network. Join us on October 17, 2013 for the CC US launch party from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the launch, click here. CC US promotes understanding of sharing through open licensing and other issues related to uses of Creative Commons licenses in the United States. To find out more about CC licenses, click here. CC US also gives sustained attention to U.S.-specific policy and legal developments affecting the commons, such as state government support for the development of Open Educational Resources. We provide outreach, education, and support to local organizations and communities that use (or could use) the Creative Commons license suite. Learn more about CC US at http://us.creativecommons.org...

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