Legal Issues

Rancho Mirage Friends and Foundation Settle Major Financial Dispute

The Friends of the Rancho Mirage (CA) Public Library will hand almost all of its $2.2 million in assets over to Rancho Mirage and dissolve itself, under the terms of a settlement agreement which will end the city’s lawsuit against the organization. Report from My Desert News.

The city is to get $310,000 from the Friends’ account within a week to cover Library programs, improvements to the Community Room and other items included in the city’s funding request to the Friends from last August. About $1.8 million will be transferred to the Rancho Mirage Public Library Foundation, which the city formed as a replacement library fundraising arm when it filed suit in September.

The settlement ends a dispute which erupted in the fall of 2008, when the Friends board gave approval to buying a $25,000 sponsorship of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, a transaction never made after some board members raised objections.

This led to the city’s discovery that the Friends board had changed its bylaws, without notifying city officials, to eliminate an annual, automatic transfer of funds. The city had overlooked the end of the fund transfers.

The Friends board said most of the money it had in the bank was designated by donors to be in an endowment, set aside to draw interest, and not spent itself.

Restoring FTC Oversight of Publisher Trade Practices

Michael Ginsborg offers his ideas on how a coalition of library associations and and allied organizations might engage the FTC to end unfair business practices of legal, scientific, medical, and technical publishers at Initial Thoughts on a Plan to Restore FTC Oversight of Publisher Trade Practices

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If you believe in things like libraries and used-book stores

Story on NPR about a recent court decision about the resale of promo music CDs. Legal issue involves the first sale doctrine and the piece has this line in it - "First Sale is incredibly important if you believe in things like libraries and used-book stores."

'For Promotional Use Only - Not For Resale' — Oh Yes It Is

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Blog Gives Superheroes and Supervillains Their Day in Court

A new blog addresses questions like whether Superman’s heat vision is protected by the Second Amendment.

Full article in the NYT

Can the FCC Regulate the Internet?

The central legal question of the FCC’s new net neutrality rules is whether or not the Commission even has the authority to regulate the internet, which is classified as an information service. Net neutrality advocates wanted the web to be reclassified as a telecommunication service before any new rules were made so the FCC would have more power to regulate it. Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps voted for the new regulation, but says he has reservations about its legal foundation.

NY State Cracks Down on Chocolate Library Because It's Not A Library

Via Kate (@librarian_kate)/Gothamist

What's in a name (Shakespeare rhetorically asked)...

The Chocolate Library is a chocolate store, not a library, and according to an arcane law, must not call itself a library.

Activist wins lawyers' lounge showdown case

A dreadlocked lawyer famous for his work on prominent criminal cases in Toronto's black community -- including those of Jane Creba witness Richard Steele and alleged police beating victim Junior Alexander Manon -- has won a discrimination case against the Peel Law Association after a librarian singled out him and two black colleagues and demanded their identification in a room full of lawyers.

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Amazon Selling Kindle Version of Wikileaks

Among its many services, Amazon.com offers hosting for websites in the form of data storage. When Wikileaks dumped a massive cache of diplomatic cables onto the Internet, it didn't take long for some technologically minded people to find out that Amazon had been hosting Wikileaks' data and content for quite some time. Yet, after the blow up over the cables, Amazon tossed Wikileaks from their servers, siting violations of their terms of service.

So make of this what you will, but Amazon UK is selling a Kindle version of the Wikileaks data. You can also have a look at the customer comments.

European Union Clamps Down on Google

New York Times reports: BRUSSELS — Europe opened a formal antitrust investigation on Tuesday into accusations that Google had abused its dominance in online search, exposing the company’s zealously guarded technology to unwelcome scrutiny.

The investigation by the European Commission follows complaints from smaller Web businesses, which claim that Google downgraded their sites in its search results to weaken potential competitors for advertising. The commission said it would also look into whether Google might have given its Web services “preferential placement” in search results.

Google’s dominance on the Internet has been a sore point in Europe, where it controls more than 80 percent of the online search market, compared with about 66 percent in the United States, according to comScore, a research firm.

Google already faces antitrust inquiries, as well as investigations of its privacy and copyright protection policies, in several European countries. In addition, other American companies have fought lengthy legal battles with European regulators in the past.

In a statement, Google said it had strived to “do the right thing by our users and our industry.”

“But there’s always going to be room for improvement,” the company said, “and so we’ll be working with the commission to address any concerns.”

Since PNLA-L has all these updates on TSA...

As I've seen quite a bit of chatter on library-related e-mail reflectors, it is perhaps best to mirror the new signage the TSA just put out for holiday travel. I'm attaching the PDF here so it will distribute outward as a booklet as far as iTunes is concerned in the podcast feed. Podcast feeds can handle more than just audio and video files...

You can find more signage and the government PSA we'll likely be airing here: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/holiday_travel.shtm

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