Legal Issues

The Concerned Librarian’s Guide to the 2012 ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall

The Concerned Librarian’s Guide to the 2012 ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall
With a number of issues floating around libraryland at the present moment, there has been talk in some of the my social circles about what to do about them. Specifically, how to approach tackling them as it relates to library vendors who have expressed support for legislation that has the potential to impede or block access to information (directly or as collateral damage). As the ALA Midwinter Meeting is just around the corner, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for librarians to meet with company representatives to discuss their concerns about current contentious legislation (such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Research Works Act (RWA)) as well as ongoing concerns (such as library eBook lending). Lest some perseverate or advocate for delaying action, our professional conferences are the best venue to voice our concerns face-to-face for the wide array of actions that have the potential to interfere with information access and exchange. This is not the time to waiver on our values and principles.

Getting serious about SOPA - what librarians need to do

Getting serious about SOPA – what librarians need to do
Jessamyn West: "So, I think we need to do a few things: understand how this bill is supposed to work, be clear in our opposition to it as a profession, work with other people to inform and educate others so that people can make their own informed choices. Here is a short list of links to get you started."

Entities supporting SOPA of interest to the library community?

How many vendors you deal with are on the list? The House Judiciary Committee has an official List of SOPA Supporters [PDF]. There's an unofficial crowdsourced list of every other company supporting SOPA with web address, Twitter feed, contact emails and phone numbers.

[Thanks Bob!]

Topic: 

How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship

How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship
"This is a major concern with SOPA/PIPA, and one that supporters of the bill keep trying to brush off, because they have no good answer to these concerns other than "trust us, the US government doesn't want to censor." I'd like to believe that's true. In fact, it very likely is true for many people in the government. But the scenarios Sanchez predicts are not out of line with what we already see regularly today. It happens so frequently, in fact, that it's difficult to imagine how Congress won't expand the law to make use of this censorship apparatus."

Ex-Chicago teacher sues, claims book led to firing

Ex-Chicago teacher sues, claims book led to firing
A former teacher is suing the Chicago public school district for more than $300,000, claiming administrators fired him in 2009 after a parent took issue with his memoir, entitled "Gabriel's Fire," which recounts his own relationship with a teacher in his youth.

The stupidity of SOPA in Scholarly Publishing

The stupidity of SOPA in Scholarly Publishing
This is of course, just an example of why SOPA is entirely the wrong approach to dealing with online piracy. But with supposedly technically savvy organisations lined up to support it, they should be aware of what it might cost them. A fortune in responding to take down requests, a fortune in checking over every piece of every paper? Is that figure “sufficiently different”? Enjoy. Or perhaps time for a re-think about copyright in scholarly works?

Belarus: Browsing Foreign Websites a Misdemeanor

Belarus: Browsing Foreign Websites a Misdemeanor

As stated in an explanatory note published together with the Law, this act was issued to implement the Decree of the Belarusian President of February 1, 2010, on Improvements to the Usage of the National Segment of the Internet. The newly published Law imposes restrictions on visiting and/or using foreign websites by Belarusian citizens and residents. Under this new Law, the violation of these rules is recognized as a misdemeanor and is punished by fines of varied amounts, up to the equivalent of US$125. (Id.)

Pelham NH to Hold Library Director's Job While He's Incarcerated

Strange but true...librarian convicted for major theft in one state, Massachusetts, will return to his more recent position in another, New Hampshire after his sentence has been served.

Robert Rice Jr., 46, was sentenced yesterday to six months behind bars for stealing more than $200,000 when he was the director of Revere Public Library.

Rice was sentenced in Superior Court in Boston on 18 felony charges for taking money from 2005 to 2009, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.

Rice pleaded guilty to fraud and embezzlement charges as part of a plea bargain. He bought numerous items under the pretense they were for the Revere library, but then kept or sold them.

Shortly after resigning in 2009 while under fire in Revere, Rice took the position in Pelham.

Francis Garboski, chairman of the Pelham Library trustees, said yesterday Rice's job is still safe.

"His position will be held until he gets back," Garboski said. "The decision is up to him when he wants to come back."

Howard facing lawsuit after librarian found guilty of sexual misconduct charges

Howard facing lawsuit after librarian found guilty of sexual misconduct charges
Five Howard University students have filed suit in federal court alleging that school officials did not do enough to protect them from an employee later convicted of sexual harassment and assault.

The students, all women, say that a librarian, their work-study supervisor at Howard University’s Founders Library, verbally and physically assaulted them from September 2010 to April 2011. The suit alleges that even though students complained about his conduct, nothing was done until D.C. police were notified.

Vint Cerf: SOPA means 'unprecedented censorship' of the Web

Vint Cerf: SOPA means 'unprecedented censorship' of the Web
Vint Cerf, the legendary computer scientist who's known as one of the fathers of the Internet for his work on TCP/IP, is the latest technologist to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Cerf, a onetime DARPA program manager who went on to receive the Turing Award, sent a letter yesterday warning of the dangers of SOPA to its author, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The House Judiciary chairman, also Hollywood's favorite House Republican, has scheduled discussion of the bill to resume at 7a.m. PT today.

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