Legal Issues

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

Article in The University of Baltimore Intellectual Property Law Journal
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.

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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.

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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.
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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

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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.


Greenwich CT seeks Recovery of Benefits Paid in Librarian's 2009 Denver Crash Death

From the Denver Post: Officials in Greenwich have launched a legal battle to recover benefits paid to the family of a librarian who died on a Denver highway in 2009, contending that the town is entitled to a slice of a pending lawsuit settlement.

The move comes on the eve of the second anniversary of the deaths of librarians Kathleen Krasniewicz, 54, and Kate McClelland, 71, following a collision involving a pickup driven by a drunken woman and the taxi van in which the librarians were passengers.

An attorney representing Greenwich has filed a motion in Denver District Court, seeking to stop the payment of a proposed settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Krasniewicz's family against the pickup driver, her father, the man at the wheel of the taxi and Freedom Cabs Inc.

Instead, the town is seeking the money to offset benefits it has paid to Krasniewicz's family and medical bills incurred as doctors fought to save her life.

"I couldn't believe what they were doing to me and doing to my wife," Krasniewicz's husband, James, said Wednesday. "My reaction? How can I fight the town of Greenwich? There's no way. They have a law that says they can do this. Some laws are not right, I would say."

The Right to Read

Article: A Fundamental Right to Read: Reader Privacy Protections in the U.S. Constitution

Article can be found at 82 U. Colo. L. Rev. 307 (2011)

Not available free online. If you have access to Lexis or Lexis Academic or subscribe to the University of Colorado Law Review you can read the article.



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