Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) to Launch Digital Library on HighWire Platform

HighWire Press of Stanford, Calif., has announced a partnership with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) to launch a digital library that will bring together several of the Society’s products, including the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, its conference proceedings, and its full suite of Standards, Recommended Practices, and Engineering Guidelines, on the HighWire publishing platform. The project also includes taxonomy development and application for semantic enrichment of the texts.
The project is scheduled to be available by October 12th. No pricing information is yet available, but both organizations are not-for-profit organizations.
SMPTE is the leading technical society for the motion imaging industry. It develops standards, recommended practices and guidelines, and spearheads educational activities to advance engineering and moving imagery. Since its founding in 1916, the Society has established close to 600 standards, including the physical dimensions of 35mm film and the SMPTE-time code. More recently, it crafted the Digital Cinema Standards, which paved the way for digital movie theaters. It received a technical Emmy® Award in January of 2009 for its work in the development of the MXF and GXF file formats.
HighWire Press provides digital content development and hosting solutions to the scholarly publishing community. A division of the Stanford University Libraries since 1995, it has partnered with influential societies, university presses, and other publishers to produce online versions of high-impact, peer-reviewed journals, books, reference works, and other scholarly content.
In a joint press release dated May 16, Barbara Lange, SMPTE’s Executive Director, stated that “HighWire seems the natural home for our technical and authoritative new digital library. Its focus on open collaboration and collegial ties to the ePublishing industry, as well as its shared not-for-profit mission, won us over without hesitation.” Kristen Fisher Ratan, HighWire’s Associate Director of Strategic Development, added that “because HighWire offers an open platform that allows co-development, SMPTE will have flexibility both now and in the future to direct the evolution of its site, products, and offerings.”

Information on the New Digital Millennium Copyright Act Exemptions

On July 26th, the Library of Congress issued its triennial statement of exemptions to the portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that forbid the circumvention of digital rights management (DRM) and other technological measures intended to prevent access to or copying of digital materials. Three years ago, the announced exemptions allowed film and media studies professors to crack the content scrambling system (a.k.a. CSS) on DVDs in order to rip short clips to make compilations for classroom use. This seemed at the time like an awfully restricted exemption — literally only film and media studies profs (no profs in other fields, and no students), literally only in order to create compilations of clips for use in the classroom (not for use in critical writing) — but it appeared then that the statement might be the thin end of the wedge.

And so it turns out to have been. The exemption on the cracking of CSS now extends to all college and university instructors, as well as students in film and media studies courses, and the permitted “educational uses” now include critical commentary and documentary production, as well as the exceptionally broad category of “non-commercial videos.”

Moreover, the newly announced exemptions eliminate claims of copyright violation as grounds for preventing jailbreaking and unlocking cell phones (though violation of a particular company’s Terms of Service may still be an issue), and they grant permission to those who circumvent protections on video games in order to test or study their potential security risks. Finally, the exemptions also permit circumventing DRM in order to activate the text-to-speech function of e-books for which the function has been disabled, as well as circumventing DRM in order to make e-books usable by “screen readers that render the text into a specialized format.”

In all of these cases, the exemptions come with the caveat that where there are other means of accomplishing the same thing (getting video clips; getting e-books with the audio component enabled), consumers must take the route that does not require circumventing DRM, but where there is no other way, the position seems to be that those who have legally purchased texts and objects protected by DRM have the right to break those systems for purposes that would otherwise fall under the category of fair use.

–Kathleen Fitzpatrick in the “ProfHacker” bloc at The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 27, 2010.

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