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The conventional rationale for copyright of written works, that copyright is needed to foster their creation, is seemingly of limited applicability to the academic domain. For in a world without copyright of academic writing, academics would still benefit from publishing in the major way that they do now, namely, from gaining scholarly esteem. Yet publishers would presumably have to impose fees on authors, because publishers would no longer be able to profit from reader charges. If these author publication fees would actually be borne by academics, their incentives to publish would be reduced. But if the publication fees would usually be paid by universities or grantors, the motive of academics to publish would be unlikely to decrease (and could actually increase) – suggesting that ending academic copyright would be socially desirable in view of the broad benefits of a copyright-free world. If so, the demise of academic copyright should probably be achieved by a change in law, for the “open access” movement that effectively seeks this objective without modification of the law faces fundamental difficulties.

Should Copyright of Academic Works Be Abolished? Working Paper by Steven Shavell

Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) December 18, 2009

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The Copyright Royalty Judges are asking for comment on proposed regulations resulting from a settlement between SoundExchange and the Digital Media Association concerning he statutory minimum fees Commercial Webcasters must pay to play sound recordings and make ephemeral recordings.

Comments and objections are due January 22, 2010 to crb@loc.gov. More details at Federal Register: December 23, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 245) http://regulations.justia.com/view/161472/

Royalty fees for the public performance of sound recordings and for ephemeral recording.

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    (b) Minimum fee–(1) Commercial Webcasters. Each Commercial Webcaster will pay an annual, nonrefundable minimum fee of $500 for each calendar year or part of a calendar year of the period 2006-2010 during which it is a Licensee pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 112(e) or 114. This  annual minimum fee is payable for each individual channel and each individual station maintained by Commercial Webcasters, and is also payable for each individual Side Channel maintained by Broadcasters who are Commercial Webcasters, provided that a Commercial Webcaster shall not be required to pay more than $50,000 per calendar year in minimum fees in the aggregate (for 100 or more channels or stations). The minimum fee payable under 17 U.S.C. 112 is deemed to be included within  the minimum fee payable under 17 U.S.C. 114. Upon payment of the minimum fee, the Commercial Webcaster will receive a credit in the amount of the minimum fee against any royalty fees payable in the same calendar year.
    (2) Noncommercial Webcasters. Each Noncommercial Webcaster will pay an annual, nonrefundable minimum fee of $500 for each calendar year or part of a calendar year of the license period during which they are Licensees pursuant to licenses under 17 U.S.C. 114. This annual minimum fee is payable for each individual channel and each individual station maintained by Noncommercial Webcasters and is also payable for each individual Side Channel maintained by Broadcasters who are Licensees. The minimum fee payable under 17 U.S.C. 112 is deemed to be included within the minimum fee payable under 17 U.S.C. 114. Upon payment of the minimum fee, the Licensee will receive a credit in the amount of the minimum fee against any additional royalty fees payable in the same calendar year.

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World’s Fair Use Day (WFUD) is a free, all-day celebration of fair use: the legal right that allows innovators and creators to make particular uses of copyrighted materials. The day will highlight new and innovative uses of existing content; provide the perspectives of artists, policymakers, academics and business innovators; and teach how fair use can enrich your creative work. Also via facebook.

Tentative Schedule of Events

* Fair Use Film Screenings

* Morning Keynote: The Honorable Mike Doyle

* Panel 1: Artistic Innovations and Participatory Culture

* Panel 2: Emerging Media: Commentary, Criticism and the New Publishing Paradigm

* Panel 3: Tech Unbound: Fair Use for Innovation

* Panel 4: Speed Fair(Us)e