Omnibus Appropriations Bill improves public access to research

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill that was recently passed by Congress, included a provision that will greatly improve access to taxpayer-funded research. Under the bill, federal agencies (with research budgets more than $100 million per year) within Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education will be required to provide the public with online access to articles funded by that research no later than 12 months after publication.

For more information, see the SPARC announcement: http://www.sparc.arl.org/news/omnibus-appropriations-bill-codifies-white-house-directive

The Simpsons teach us about copyright

I was getting caught up on my Hulu backlog and found a very funny episode from the Simpsons about movie piracy and copyright infringement. It does a good job of poking fun at the extreme lengths Hollywood (and our government) will go to protect the profits from the movies they make. The Simpsons writers have a good time pointing out the ridiculousness of our copyright system, but don’t go so far as to put a CC license on the episode. Enjoy!

Steal this Episode http://www.fox.com/thesimpsons/full-episodes/101403715865 and if the link becomes inactive, here’s the Wikipedia article about this episode: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steal_This_Episode

Public Domain Day

January 1st of every year is Public Domain Day. This is a day to celebrate the items that have entered the public domain. In the United States, we’ll have nothing to celebrate this year, as nothing will enter the public domain until 2019. That is because the 1976 Copyright Act changed the terms of copyright to 70 years after the author’s death or 95 years after publication for corporate works. This means the items that would have become public domain on January 1st, 2014 under the previous copyright act, won’t enter the public domain until 2053.

Duke University’s, Center for the Study of the Public Domain has a great site on this topic: http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/index