Wednesday 3 March 2010

Latest IJLIT strikes twice for copyright

The current issue of the International Journal of Law and Information Technology (IJLIT, published by Oxford University Press), contains two articles that address copyright issues. They are

* "In The Aftermath of the Promusicae Case: How to Strike the Balance?" by Fanny Coudert and Evi Werkers (both researchers at KU-Leuven). According to the abstract,
"Copyright societies are currently pushing for increased private enforcement of intellectual property rights on the Internet, in particular by trying to involve Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in their combat against copyright infringements, and by pushing for new legislative mechanisms. This raises serious legal problems and questions both in terms of the protection of users’ privacy, their right to a fair trial, and the liability of ISPs. This article discusses the difficult task of balancing copyright interests and fundamental rights as debated in the Promusicae case".
* "Enabling Free On-line Access to UK Law Reports: The Copyright Problem", by the admirable Philip Leith (of BAILII fame) and Cynthia Fellows (Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London). Says the abstract:
"The history of publishing legal decisions (law reporting) in the UK has been that of a privatised system since its inception, and that history has encompassed several hundred years. The privatised nature of this has meant that the product (the law report) has been, except in limited cases, viewed as the property of the publisher, rather than the property of the court or public. BAILII is an open access legal database that came about in part because of the copyrighted, privatised nature of this legal information.

In this paper, we will outline the problem of access to pre-2000 judgments in the UK and consider whether there are legal or other remedies which might enable BAILII to both develop a richer historic database and also to work in harmony, rather than in competition, with legal publishers. We argue that public access to case law is an essential requirement in a democratic common law system, and that BAILII should be seen as a potential step towards a National Law Library".
You can read more about IJLIT here.

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