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The Politicization Of The US Patent System

The Washington Post story, How patent reform’s fraught politics have left USPTO still without a boss (July 30), is a vivid account of how patent reform has divided the US economy, preempting a possible replacement for David Kappos who stepped down 18 months ago. The division is even bigger than portrayed. Universities have lined up en masse to oppose reform, while main street businesses that merely use technology argue for reform. Reminiscent of the partisan divide that has paralyzed US politics, this struggle crosses party lines and extends well beyond the usual inter-industry debates. Framed in terms of combating patent trolls through technical legal fixes, there lurks a broader economic concern – to what extent ordinary retailers, bank, restaurants, local banks, motels, realtors, and travel agents should bear the burden of defending against patents as a cost of doing business.


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    关于谷歌图书馆项目对知识存取影响的问题

    Published on 27 November 2008 @ 1:11 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    作者:牛威廉 (William New)

    一位版权和公共利益专家表示,宣布在人类知识的数字化方面取得一项突破也同时提出了大部分人将如何获取这一知识的渠道问题。

    谷歌与许多出版商达成协议,协议允许搜索引擎继续从图书馆借取数百万册图书,从而通过扫描建立起一个数字图书馆。最近,电子前沿基金会(EFF)的职员高级律师弗莱德·冯罗曼(Fred von Lohmann)对此表达了关切。

    今年11月13日,在摩尔多瓦基希讷乌举办的一个国际图书馆版权活动中,他就“不断扩张的版权帝国”这一题目发言,谈到了数字权利管理(控制版权内容的技术)、许可证和公共信息的私有化问题。

    冯罗曼的中心关切为,谷歌项目协议很可能于2010年生效,这是一个私有部门的项目,它将具有与公共图书馆不同的意义。协议本身并不影响公共领域图书的扫描(数字化)。本协议允许对绝版的版权图书进行扫描,20%内容免费阅读,另外80%内容收费。对在售的版权图书,在对图书的任意部分进行扫描之前,谷歌必须获得版权所有人的授权。无论何种情况,图书都必须通过谷歌网址才能阅读。

    冯罗曼说,谷歌将设立一项书籍版权登记基金,用以为版权所有人收取版权使用费,谷歌为此已经拨出3400万美元。根据这项交易,63%的收入归版权所有人,其余则归谷歌。谷歌计划开发新的增值特色来鼓励用户使用其图书馆(参看知识产权观察2008年10月30日“获取知识的渠道”一文)。

    冯罗曼说,对图书馆的益处是,所有图书将被扫描,随着著作能够在网上搜索,将会出现新的研究能力,但是美国每家出版社只有一个用于免费获取谷歌收藏的每一本书籍的终端,要拥有更多终端则必须付费。他补充说,除英语外,谷歌还要扫描其他语言的书籍,并很可能把这一协议作为此类谈判的基础。

    就公共领域的著作而言,谷歌将被允许扫描这些著作,并使之完全可以通过网络获得。他说,在美国,很难确定哪些书籍属于公共领域,特别是从1920年代至1960年代期间的书籍。谷歌的策略是不经授权而扫描各类书籍,如被告知涉及版权问题则把有关书籍再予以删除。出版社已经同意在出现错误扫描时不进行法律起诉。冯罗曼指出,这一免除法律起诉的“安全港”只适用于谷歌,而不适用于图书馆或个人。

    对于那些作者未名的著作,即版权所有人不为人知或无法找到的数百万书籍,谷歌对登记基金的付款将用以履行义务,但这却帮不了图书馆的忙。

    图书馆例外的局限性?

    冯罗曼提出的另一个问题是,作为典型情况,授予图书馆的那些版权例外和有关局限又将如何呢?这些例外取决于著作没有从商业上获得的渠道,然而,就像谷歌那样,如果所有著作都越来越被派上商业用途会如何呢?另外,他质疑道:当原书被遗弃,而扫描中出现错误时,比如谷歌,那样会发生什么情况呢?他说,不应该依赖谷歌来保存书稿。他补充说,致力于保护书稿的人士对此应该予以关心。

    人们的其他关切是,许可证本身并不会提供书籍,而只是一个包含有关允许查阅其他人保存的书籍条款的协议而已。还有权利穷竭问题,比如许可证持有人谋求转让许可证(就像捐助者把书籍捐赠给图书馆那样的方式)。由于谷歌将了解每个用户的习性,而又没有明确会如何保护用户的隐私,所以冯罗曼还提出了隐私问题。

    最后,他指出了公众免费获取信息的传统重要性问题。在穷人获取信息方面,图书馆一直发挥着枢纽作用。如果人们必须为此向一家私有实体付款,那么这一作用或许会遭到影响。

    图书馆的替代方案

    冯罗曼认为,对图书馆来说,或许有一些替代方案,诸如直接从版权持有人本人那里获得扫描书籍的许可,或者通过特殊例外使图书馆能够从事数字化活动。

    但是,现实生活中出现了其他选择方案,例如创设一个“群众外包”(crowd-sourcing)图书馆(该词汇为作家杰夫·豪首创,指的是把一项任务外包给一大群人),使用户能够贡献自己的“热情和专业知识”。图书馆不是作为信息的“零售商”,而是被视为批量供应商,诸如公众资源网(public.resource.org)一样,该网搜集政府的公共领域资料,然后通过互联网免费提供给公众。

    但是,他说,在公共领域基础上建设资源有赖于获取内容,而越来越多的出版商使获取内容变得困难。例如,出版商可能会向政府提出为自己出版资料的建议,但之后出版商又要求用户付款才能获得这些资料。

    另一个例子是《生命大百科》,该编辑部试图创设一个网址,为地球上的每一个物种设立一个网页,信息可免费获取。他们从各科学杂志社获得许可,现在却正陷入一些诸如寻找版权所有人之类的困难,因此正考虑邀请用户自己扫描并上载文章,这一做法是美国版权法所允许的。一般来说,冯罗曼设想着将来形成一种能够对用户已经掌握的知识加以利用的版权体系。对于任何一种版权法,如果该法对一个人因为复制来源违法的内容而予以惩罚,他都表示质疑。他说,“为何不想得远一点呢?这些文件共享的服务项目永远都不会消失的。”

    他说,另一个选择方案是为其他的收集品提供托管场所。对于那些为用户保存内容的在线服务供应商,一些国家规定了他们承担的版权法律责任的限制条件,这促进了诸如谷歌的优酷服务之类的因特网服务的大发展。他说,各图书馆也可以运用同样的版权保护来为其用户提供在线储存项目,以便保存数字资料。

    他说,另一个模式是把用户视为图书馆。在被控告违反版权之前,原来的纳普斯特(Napster)音乐下载服务汇集了录制音乐史上最全面的图书馆,全部工作都是没有薪酬的志愿者完成的。他认为,各图书馆应该树立一种概念,即用户可以复制和散布音乐文件,在保护志愿者努力的同时推动给予艺术家补偿的一种解决方案。

    冯罗曼指出,谷歌项目协议是在法庭外达成的,从而避免使这一协议结果成为先例。他补充说,“我认为,它(谷歌项目)为图书馆提出了很多问题,而这些问题在将在今后持续多年。”

    Categories: Chinese

     


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