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A court in Norway has ordered Åsne Seierstad, author of the Afghanistan-set bestseller The Bookseller of Kabul, and her publisher, Cappelen Damm, to pay 250,000 kroner (£26,276) in damages to a woman portrayed in the book.
Oslo district court ruled that the Norwegian author and journalist, whose book was based on the three months she spent living with a bookseller and his family, had breached the privacy of Suraia Rais, wife of bookseller Shah Muhammad Rais, and included inaccurate information in her account.
"The information [in the book] about Rais's thoughts and feelings is sensitive," the Oslo district court ruled, according to a report in the Dagbladet newspaper. "They are attributed to her as true, and neither Seierstad nor Cappelen Damm can be considered to have acted in good faith to ensure they were correct and accurate."
Mr Rais – the bookseller of the title – has always disputed its contents, which portray him as a tyrannical head of the household. He claimed that the book was distorted, revealed family secrets and put his family in danger, to the extent that his two wives both fled the country to live in exile in Canada and Norway. In 2007, Mr Rais wrote his own account of his life Once Upon a Time There was a Bookseller in Kabul. Last year he signed a deal with Indian distributor Motilal Books to sell his books into the UK.
NY Times, Dateline: NEW HAVEN — As the trial approaches for one of the men charged in the triple-homicide home invasion in Cheshire, CT in 2007, all the motions, requests for evidence, and demands that one would expect in a complex capital case have flown back and forth between the defense and prosecutors.
But one stood out, tantalizingly. The defense said it would request that the names of books that one of the accused men, Steven Hayes, checked out of a prison library before the killings not be admitted as evidence. The books, the defense indicated in one motion, included plots that were “criminally malevolent in the extreme.”
Mr. Hayes’s lawyers suggested that prison librarians might have given him what amounted to a literary blueprint for the crime, one that already has what some see as a literary predecessor of sorts: it has been compared with the 1959 Kansas killings described in Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”
The defense lawyers’ suggestion that prison library books could have shaped the crime — or that knowing Mr. Hayes read them could turn jurors against him — has created a strange kind of guessing game about the literary interests of Mr. Hayes, 46, a career thief and drug abuser whose education topped out at a high school equivalency degree.
If it were any other writer, today's unfolding of events in an anonymous bank vault in Zurich would be described as Kafkaesque. But the latest twist in a legal battle over the estate of Franz Kafka probably deserves some other adjective.
Four deposit boxes were pried open. Inside were manuscripts, drawings and letters from the Czech writer that had been locked away for more than 50 years, as Kafka experts around the world waited with baited breath. But the expectant Kafka enthusiasts, historians and critics will have to wait longer, after two Israeli sisters who insist they own the papers by inheritance from their mother banned all reporting of the boxes' contents.
They were opened on the orders of Talia Koppelman, a judge from the Tel Aviv family court. Last week she also ordered the opening of six safety deposit boxes in Israeli banks containing other Kafka works.
Today's unlocking at Zurich's UBS bank of safes sealed since 1956 was attended by lawyers representing, on one side, Eve and Ruth Hoffe and the German literature archive, and, on the other, the state of Israel and its national library.
Moves to Make Funded Research Public
The U.S. House of Representatives has announced a public hearing to explore making publicly-funded research open to the public. Legislators in both the House and the Senate have already introduced bills calling for this. If they pass, the implications could be significant and might result in an economic jump.
Meanwhile... BP Launches Effort To Control Scientific Research Of Oil Disaster : The lucrative $250-an-hour deal “buys silence,” said Robert Wiygul, an Ocean Springs environmental lawyer who analyzed the contract. “It makes me feel like they were more interested in making sure we couldn’t testify against them than in having us testify for them,” said George Crozier, head of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, who was approached by BP.
The United States Department of Education and Department of Justice have just issued a reminder calling for colleges and universities--as well as K-12 school districts--to make sure devices such as e-readers that are required in the classroom comply with accessibility laws. The federal action came on the heels of a settlement agreement made by Justice with five institutions that were running Amazon Kindle e-book readers as pilot programs. According to the agencies, Kindle devices aren't accessible to students who are blind or have low vision.
So you want to complain that open access will destroy the marketability of your work? Okay. Fine. But then don’t complain when books cost money, and when that course packet of essays you want to put together for your class turns out to cost a lot of money, and when the library and the department send you nasty notes about the illegality of making multiple copies of copyrighted work for your classes. Because you know what? All those other writers want their work to be marketable, too, and their publishers all told them that the only way to do that was to clamp down on all these people trying to steal their stuff for free.
Shamica Neal was told that it was part of a reading initiative called "I'd rather be reading," in which students posed in different settings performing different tasks.
"That had nothing to do with reading," Neal said. "It was humiliating for him because kids were teasing him."
Neal, who provided a copy of the photo to The Dallas Morning News, said she did not give the school permission to take or display the photo. She has filed a grievance with the school district against the librarian, alleging that the incident caused emotional damage to the child and humiliated him. The NAACP has also met with the school about the incident.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit by a former Ohio State University librarian who sued the school, claiming he faced discrimination for his Christian beliefs.
U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman has ruled that Scott Savage couldn't show that the university made his working conditions intolerable enough to resign.
Savage said he was forced to quit after recommending a conservative book for incoming freshmen at the university's Mansfield campus.
The pricing of electronic books is one of the biggest issues currently facing the publishing industry. The de facto $9.99 standard set by Amazon (AMZN) for books available on its Kindle device has had many big publishers up in arms, so when Apple (AAPL) came calling with the iPad -- and a totally different pricing model that raised e-book prices by a handful of dollars -- publishers bit.
Now the pricing model switch has book publishers and Apple in the crosshairs of the Texas Attorney General's Office. Though the investigation is still in preliminary stages, there's a good case for legal action -- and it's all about the current state of antitrust legislation.
See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/aAOspE
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina is telling the state Department of Revenue to back off on a request for "constitutionally protected private information" of Amazon.com customers.
In a letter Thursday to Revenue Secretary Kenneth Lay, the group says it will join an existing lawsuit brought by the online retail giant if the department "persists in its demand" for North Carolina customers' names and addresses.