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June 2020
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Guinness World Records People Accidentally Claiming Copyright On Tons Of 'Super Mario Bros.' Speedruns

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Even a cursory review of just the headlines on our posts about YouTube's ContentID will demonstrate a theme. That theme mostly centers around how the automagic copyright detection system that YouTube put in place is mostly useful for creating collateral damage on non-infringing material, often times at the expense of the rightsholders themselves. Whenever this happens, there are usually apologies issued, blame cast on ContentID for the mistake, and then everything continues on with no changes made. Which is absurd. These situations identify a flaw in the ContentID system, or the use of an automated system of any kind, and yet we never do anything about it.Which is why this sort of thing keeps happening. The most recent example of this concerns tons of Super Mario Bros. speedruns being issued copyright notices because the YouTube channel for the Guinness Book of World Records uploaded a record-holding speedrun itself. From there, ContentID did its thing.

About nine months ago, Guinness put together a video profile on Super Mario Bros speedrunner Kosmic including footage from his record-breaking warpless run. Now, Kosmic’s own video of the record and tons of other SMB speedrunners have had copyright claims made on their similar videos.Guinness have now released those claims saying “sorry for causing concern, we know how distressing it can be to get these notifications,” signed by Dan. Ta, Dan.
The Guinness people later tweeted out the explanation that ContentID was to blame for sending out the automatic claims. And I believe them. Still, this is again highlighting a flaw within the ContentID system, in that, far too often, legitimate content either gets taken down or issued a copyright notice all because no human being actually has to look at anything before those go out. And, since there are plenty of ways a video could use similar content, or even a copy of some part of some content, without being infringing, the automatic system fails at distinguishing that and sends out the notice anyway.This is how it always is with these automatic content policing systems. And yet here is another case where the apology is made, the apologizer blames ContentID, and on and on we go. Even when another speedrunner, Karl Jobst, did a video on how his speedrun received a copyright notice, that video received a notice as well.
Funnily enough, even Jobst’s video on the subject initially got slapped with a copyright claim. Thankfully it sounds like Guinness have cooled their trigger finger.
But it's not funny. It's just frustrating.

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posted at: 12:00am on 05-Jun-2020
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After Taming Open Access, Academic Publishing Giants Now Seek To Assimilate The World Of Preprints

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As Techdirt has reported, the open access movement seeks to obtain free access to research, particularly when it is funded by taxpayers' money. Naturally, traditional academic publishers enjoying profit margins of 30 to 40% are fighting to hold on to their control. Initially, they tried to stop open access gaining a foothold among researchers; now they have moved on to the more subtle strategy of adopting it and assimilating it -- rather as Microsoft has done with open source. Some advocates of open access are disappointed that open access has not led to any significant savings in the overall cost of publishing research. That, in its turn, has led many to urge the increased use of preprints as a way of saving money, liberating knowledge, and speeding up its dissemination. One reason for this is a realization that published versions in costly academic titles add almost nothing to the freely-available preprints they are based on.An excellent new survey of the field, "Preprints in the Spotlight", rightly notes that preprints have attained a new prominence recently thanks to COVID-19. The urgent global need for information about this novel disease has meant that traditional publishing timescales of months or more are simply too slow. Preprints allow important data and analysis to be released worldwide almost as soon as they are available. The result has been a flood of preprints dealing with coronavirus: two leading preprint servers, medRxiv and bioRxiv, have published over 4,500 preprints on COVID-19 at the time of writing.The publishing giant Elsevier was one of the first to notice the growing popularity of preprints. Back in 2016, Elsevier acquired the leading preprint server for the social sciences, SSRN. Today, Elsevier is no longer alone in seeing preprints as a key sector. A post on The Scholarly Kitchen blog describes how all the major publishers are active in preprints:

Today, we observe that beyond preprint communities that are typically organized around a field or set of fields, in recent years all the major publishers have made their own investments in preprint platforms. Publishers are integrating preprint deposit into their manuscript submission workflows, and adopting a common strategy designed to take back control of preprints.
That emphasis on "taking back control" is key. Preprints have become an alternative not just to academic publishing as practised by giant companies like Elsevier, but also to open access publishing, which is now not so different from the traditional kind. Companies clearly want to nip that development in the bud. Here's how publishers are likely to develop their preprint divisions:
they are bringing preprints inside their publishing workflows. This will afford them an opportunity to emphasize the importance of the version of record and its integrity. And, it will allow them to maximize their control over the research workflow as a whole, including datasets, protocols, and other artifacts of the research and publishing process. If successful, over time publishers will see fewer of the preprints of their eventual publications living "in the wild" and more of them on services and in workflows that they control.
That is, as well as taming the unruly world of preprints by bringing them in-house, publishers can also use them to bolster their mainstream businesses, and further their plans to offer academics a complete, "one-stop" service that includes preprints, journals, data management and more. Turning independent preprint servers into just another cog in the mighty publishing machine would be a further loss of control and autonomy for the academic community as a whole. It should be resisted by researchers, the institutions where they work, and by the bodies that fund them.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.

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posted at: 12:00am on 05-Jun-2020
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