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« Settlement in Marketing Information Masters v. California State University - a follow-up interview with Jonathan Pink on copyright and sovereign immunity | Main | Important news on pre-1972 sound recordings »

April 09, 2009

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Identifying Government Works
The Google Book Settlement Agreement is one more example that the federal government should clearly and unambigously mark and give notice about the copyright status of the information it produces, sponsors and disseminates. Government has neglected its responsibility in this matter. The consequence is that the time and cost burden of doing an after-the-fact copyright analysis is passed to all users -- both government and citizens. Rather than knowing for certain and uneqivocably what is a "work of the U.S. Government", the best a user can do is make a "presumed" determination or guess. The margin for error is high even for those who know copyright law and government acquisition regulations.

Unlike public domain works, works of the U.S. Government are excluded from copyright protection at the time of creation and are not dependent on dates or term algorithms.

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