News Roundup: Sony Reader Arrives in UK, Google Scanning Newspaper Archives, Blanket Copyright Licenses vs Fair Use

UK Reaction to Sony Reader Release

Sara Lloyd discusses the impact of the Sony Reader’s recent release in the United Kingdom:

Anecdotally, Waterstones store staff report a great deal of interest from customers, and the rumour mills (or well-planned leak??) put a 6 figure number on the Sony Readers sold by the
morning of Thursday 4th September.

As I’m sure all of those working in the digital publishing
departments of trade publishing houses will agree, it’s nice
finally to have a major high street bookselling brand pitch
itself into the ebook ring so wholeheartedly – and the Sony
device is the most compelling (and competitively priced) there
is of the dedicated devices so far available here in the UK. I
must say it did make my heart leap just a little bit to see
huge POS displays promoting the Sony Reader and the associated
ebook catalogue from Waterstones in the Tottenham Court Road
and Picadilly branches, and it was fun to go in and do some
underground detective work to discover that the Waterstones
staff seemed quite clued up about it all. (Continue reading)

Google Scanning Newspaper Archives

Google is extending its scanning efforts to newspaper archives. From the New York Times:

Under the expanded program, Google will shoulder the cost of digitizing newspaper archives, much as the company does with its book-scanning project. Google angered some book publishers because it had failed to seek permission to scan books that were protected by copyrights. It will obtain permission from newspaper publishers before scanning their archives.

Google … will place advertisements alongside search results, and share the revenue from those ads with newspaper publishers. (Continue reading)

Colleges Weigh Blanket Copyright Licenses vs Fair Use Rights

The Copyright Clearance Center is extending its offer of blanket licenses to larger universities. In a 2007 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), some school administrators expressed concern about the implicit waiver of fair use assertions:

But some librarians are ambivalent about blanket licenses,
Mr. Rehbach [Jeffrey R. Rehbach, the library-policy
adviser at Middlebury College] says, because they fear that colleges will
pay for copyright licenses instead of asserting their rights
under fair-use doctrine. “We debate back and forth whether
this is the best model for us,” he says. “As we move toward
more licensed products, are we giving up basic rights under
the law?”

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