Benetech is one of select U.S. nonprofit organizations to receive seed funding under Google.org’s Global Impact Awards program. Google.org has awarded Benetech the seed grant for the development of secure, open technology tools to advance human rights abuse research and action. Benetech will lead a human rights technology and data consortium and advisory committee to devise technical requirements for a comprehensive human rights information platform. It will also develop open source prototypes for testing in the field. This project will serve social justice groups, civil society organizations, journalists, activists, and researchers.
Today, #GivingTuesday, is all about giving back to support causes that make the world better, and volunteering time and talent can be a great way to do that. If you are looking for technical skills-based volunteer opportunities with real, lasting impact and active learning though service, then we, at Benetech, invite you to join a growing global community of technical contributors—software designers, developers, product managers, translators, technical writers, quality assurance engineers, and more—who make a difference by volunteering with our SocialCoding4Good initiative.
In June, at the company’s Mountain View headquarters and in Hyderabad, India, dozens of Google employees participated in SocialCoding4Good events through this year’s GoogleServe, an annual volunteer service where Googlers come together to give back to their communities. In particular, Benetech is thrilled that they were able to contribute their skills to help advance accessibility for students with print disabilities.
Two days ago, on Tuesday, June 10, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York made a major ruling that emphasizes the legality of fair use for book digitization. In Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, a unanimous three-judge panel concluded that digitizing books in order to enhance research and provide access to individuals with print disabilities is lawful on the grounds of fair use (Section 107 of the U.S. copyright law). This is an immense victory for fair use as the basis of a balanced intellectual property system, and we, at Benetech, are delighted by it and by its tremendous positive implications for the public interest.
At their best, IP laws encourage technological advances, reward creativity, and benefit society. Practical and creative innovators need space to operate and ensure those benefits reach the people who desperately need new solutions but are often least able to afford them. To make this possible, we must ensure balance in copyright laws and defend fair use as a laboratory for creativity. With the leverage of technology and the foundation provided by well thought out IP laws, we can inspire both economic growth and social good.