The U.S. Copyright Office announced that it will begin accepting applications for group registration of photographs through the Office’s online registration system starting February 20, 2018. In most cases, applicants will generally be required to file such applications online, and may include up to 750 photographs in each claim. The Office has also made other changes to streamline the practices relating to group registration of photographs, described in a final rule published in the Federal Register today. The Office believes that these changes will make it significantly easier for photographers to register their works with the Copyright Office. The Office will be releasing the application on its online registration system (eCO) prior to the effective date to provide users with time to familiarize themselves with the new form.
On August 17, 2017, four higher education publishers, Cengage, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson Education, initiated five lawsuits against 40 alleged sellers of counterfeit textbooks, including two identified sellers: Yaroslav Stolyarchuk and Zichao Wang.
The case against Stolyarchuk was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California alleging the sale of counterfeit textbooks through seven identified online storefronts, including the defendant-operated website, www.booksliquidation.com.
The Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) was one of 19 groups to sign on to a letter from the Copyright Alliance to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asking him to “modernize the copyright provisions of the NAFTA agreement for the digital age and to establish a template for future agreements.” Meetings to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement began August 16, 2017.
“The internet’s global reach has made copyright protections and enforcement increasingly important to free trade agreements,” states the letter.
As textbook and academic authors, your copyrights are your livelihood, and the value of your copyrights is often enhanced by registering them in the U.S. Copyright Office – something that you can easily do for yourself. Yet, as publishing and copyright attorneys, we find that many text and academic authors know less than they should about copyright registration. Here’s our sample Q&;A conversation with an author who wanted to know more about when, why, and how to register the author’s copyrights:
More than a decade ago, in 2004, Google initiated a program, in concert with several university and large public libraries, to scan and digitize the entire contents of millions of books without regard to whether they were or were not still under copyright, ultimately making complete digital copies of more than 20 million books. Google’s goal was to expand its search business to include print works as well as online works. It spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this project, suggesting what Google believed to be its commercial potential.
In the publishing world, the concepts of “work-for-hire” and “transfer of copyright” can be challenging to navigate. Authors are often confronted in the publishing agreements by language that is vague and complicated, such as: “The work will be a work-made-for-hire as defined by the Copyright Act, but, if the work is deemed not a work-for-hire, author hereby irrevocably transfers all right, title and interest in the work to the publisher for the entire term of copyright throughout the world.”