Legal Issues

US Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) wants to rescind all IMLS and LSTA moneys

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has submitted an amendment to S. 493, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Reauthorization Act of 2011, which would rescind all unobligated funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and send them back to the U.S Treasury. This would include funds to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and would cost libraries over $100 million in federal funding for FY2011. Needless to say this would be devastating to libraries throughout the country.

Please take time to contact Senator DeMint. You can use the direct link to Tell Senator DeMint to Protect Library Funding from our CapWiz page. From there you can type in your zip code and it will give you instructions on how to call DeMint's office along with the relevant talking points.

Carrying Guns @ Your Library

A court order that bars people from openly carrying a firearm onto Capital Area District (Lansing MI) Library property will stand until at least June.

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina on Tuesday broadened a Feb. 16 ruling to now keep anyone from openly toting firearms on the library's grounds. Her previous restraining order had applied only to members of Michigan Open Carry or associated people.

"I wish I could say that you could all carry weapons wherever you wanted, but I can't say that," Aquilina said during a hearing attended by gun rights advocates and library officials. "I do believe the library can regulate whether weapons come in or don't come in the library."

Library officials requested an injunction to bar people from openly carrying firearms on the premises in February, after four incidents since December where people believed to be members of Michigan Open Carry brought firearms into the building. Lansing State Journal reports.

Unlocking the Future of Public Libraries: Digital Licensing that Preserves Access

Article in The University of Baltimore Intellectual Property Law Journal
Article title: UNLOCKING THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC LIBRARIES: DIGITAL LICENSING THAT PRESERVES ACCESS
Cite: 16 U. Balt. Intell. Prop. L.J. 29
Author: Kristen M. Cichocki

Abstract: The traditional role of the public library as a content intermediary is being altered by recent changes in contract practice between publishers and libraries, alterations to copyright law, and new applications of technology to digital content.

This article will examine how licensing contracts for digital content, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the application of digital rights management are all calling into question the role of the public library in the digital future. The article will then discuss possible approaches to reframing publisher-public library licensing agreements in order to mitigate the negative impact of certain contractual terms and promote uses of content expected by libraries, keeping in mind the difference in scale and distribution between real and digital space.

New OverDrive DRM terms: "This message will self-destruct"

New OverDrive DRM terms: "This message will self-destruct"
"This goes a step worse so that each digital "copy" effectively self-destructs after a set number of reads in your system or consortium. That is to say, if you wanted to help blunt the crushing demand for a popular title, this would only help you slightly, if at all. And only one user at a time. And only if your users are faster than the rest of the consortium. After that you (and the rest of your consortium) are straight out of luck. Guess you should have bought more print copies?"

Kindle e-book piracy accelerates

Kindle e-book piracy accelerates

How much will price play into all this? Well, you already have plenty of folks out there who think it's outrageous for publishers to price an e-book at $12.99 or $14.99 when the hardcover is first released. And some of those folks may feel justified in downloading pirated versions of books in protest--or just because they say they don't like getting ripped off. And while some pricing decisions by publishers are clearly bad, pricing may be a smaller part of the piracy equation than you might think. What a surprising number of people have told me is that they pirate stuff for the same reason that a lot of people like the Kindle: it's all about instant gratification.

Read more

No Argument: Thomas Keeps 5-Year Silence

The anniversary will probably be observed in silence.

A week from Tuesday, when the Supreme Court returns from its midwinter break and hears arguments in two criminal cases, it will have been five years since Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during a court argument.

Interesting article in the NYT about this.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/us/13thomas.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=thomas&st=cse

Oregon Attorney’s Documentary ‘Hot Coffee’ Makes the Sundance Cut

Many lawyers have fantasized about putting their practice on hold and making a movie, but few actually do it.

Even fewer can say their maiden effort landed them a coveted spot at an internationally renowned film festival.

Ashland, Ore., lawyer Susan Saladoff is that rare lawyer who not only followed her dreams but has bragging rights to boot. Her 2009 film Hot Coffee will be screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The feature-length documentary is one of 16 selected from 841 entrants for the festival's U.S. documentary competition. It largely focuses on the infamous 1994 McDonald's coffee spill case—in which a jury awarded plaintiff Stella Liebeck $2.86 million in damages after she spilled hot coffee on herself—while also exploring how and why the case has become so iconic.

Full article here.

Class Action Suit Filed Against Jimmy Carter Book

Readers are often warned not to judge a book by its cover, but what about its publicity? That is the basis of a class-action lawsuit against former President Jimmy Carter and his publisher Simon & Schuster over his 2006 book “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid,” which was filed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.

Full story

Costco, Omega and Libraries

The Library Copyright Alliance today released “The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Costco v. Omega on Libraries.” Prepared by Jonathan Band, the concise, informative paper examines the much-discussed Costco v. Omega non-decision, which left in place a controversial 9th Circuit ruling that could have significant consequences for library lending practices.

Read the Press Release here. Includes a link to the paper.

Now It's OK to Be The Chocolate Library

Remember our story about a month or so ago about how New York State clamped down on a chocolate boutique for using the name "The Chocolate Library"? Well, they've changed their minds. From the New York Times:

This fall the education department — which regulates the use of the words library, school, academy, institute and kindergarten in certificates of incorporation and company names — rejected owner Byron Bennett’s application. The thought was that the store might be confused with one of those places that lends out books or provides free Internet access.

But after a call from Diner’s Journal, officials reconsidered. Mr. Bennett received a letter from the department on Monday telling him that he could amend his business’s incorporated title, Chocolate 101, to reflect the name on his shop’s awning. The shop is located in the East Village at 111 St. Mark's Place.

What’s next for Mr. Bennett? Books, naturally. Before the ruling he had held off selling books about the origins and history of chocolate and how to cook it. He also plans to set up a kiosk where customers can research the international selection of chocolates he sells. He hopes to reach his goal of carrying 100 brands of chocolates. -- Read More

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