Legal Issues

Librarian Of Congress Shoots Back At White House Over Phone Unlocking: We're Just Doing Our Job

Following the White House officially coming out and saying that mobile phone unlocking should be legal, the Librarian of Congress has issued what feels like a passive aggressive response, basically saying that their job is not to consider the public policy, but just to follow the specific rules under the DMCA.

Edwin Mellen Press To Drop Suit Against Librarian

A U.S.-based publishing company says it is dropping at least one of its lawsuits against a McMaster librarian after scholars across North America came to his defense.

Edwin Mellen Press (EMP) had filed two lawsuits against Dale Askey and McMaster University, claiming a total of $4.5 million in damages.
Edwin Mellen PressIn the first filing, submitted in June of last year, the company alleged that statements Askey made in a Sept. 2010 blog post, while he was working at a Kansas university, were both “false” and “defamatory in its tone and context.”

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #234

This week's program is brief as it propounds an alternative in a providing support in a particular case and provides some news briefs.

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This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

Dale Askey Support Facebook Page

Attention Librarians and Library Lovers: We Need Your Support!

Dale Askey is an Associate University Librarian at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. He is being sued for $4,000,000 by Edwin Mellen Press because he critiqued the quality of the information they produce. If Mellen wins the case, the professional right to academic freedom possessed by librarians, professors and others in the academic community will be in jeopardy. Let’s spread word about the injustice that Dale Askey is facing, and let’s not let one company’s interest in profiteering outweigh our need for academic freedom.

To show your support for Dale Askey, please visit the Facebook support page we created. You can find more information about the lawsuit on the page and updates will be provided as they arise. Be sure to “like” the page and ask all of your librarian colleagues to “like” it as well. The more supporters the page receives, the more likely a major news media company will present this issue on radio or television. Here is the page link:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dont-Punish-Dale-Librarian-Being-Sued/313371185432030

DRM Lawsuit Filed By Independent Bookstores Against Amazon, 'Big Six' Publishers

Three independent bookstores are taking Amazon and the so-called Big Six publishers (Random House, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) to court in an attempt to level the playing field for book retailers. If successful, the lawsuit could completely change how ebooks are sold.

Full article

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #232

Welcome back! After hopefully debugging a problem with feed generation that has possibly left subscribers hanging for about five weeks, we have a new episode. Previous episodes remain available for manual download and an experimental initiative is underway to additionally deposit copies with the Internet Archive, California's digital virtual library.

In light of the Dale Askey and Jeffrey Beall cases in Canada for libel, we talk in this episode about the dangerous possibility of challenges erupting in those cases to the notion of librarianship actually being a profession. The case is laid out as to how librarianship may not necessarily be considered truly a profession in contemporary terms on a level with medicine or law. Following that a new miscellany is presented and the show is concluded with USDA Radio's Susan Carter presenting a feature about the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service working to bridge the Digital Divide in parts of the United States.

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Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net. The purchasing requests list can be found via our Amazon Wishlist.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

Fair use is a "very gray area"

Fair use is a "very gray area," says Julie Ahrens, who runs the Fair Use Project at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society.

"There are lots of things that are not clear."

"I get things where people are like, 'Are you sure I can do this?' And the best I can say is, 'Yes, you should be able to,' " she says.

Famed quotation isn't dead -- and could even prove costly

Topic: 

Book Scanning As Fair Use: Google Makes Its Case As Authors Guild Appeals Hathitrust Fair Use Ruling

Two new developments in the two big cases concerning book scanning and fair use: first up, we've got the somewhat unsurprising news that the Authors Guild is appealing its rather massive loss against Hathitrust, the organization that was set up to scan books from a bunch of university library collections. As you may recall, Judge Harold Baer's ruling discussed how the book scanning in that case was obviously fair use. It was a near complete smackdown for the Authors Guild.

Government Requests For Info And Censorship Are Increasing Rapidly

Google's latest transparency report is out and the notable bit of info is that governments continue to increase how often they're seeking info about users. The increase there is a steady growth which is immensely worrisome. There's also an equally troubling increase in the attempts to censor content via Google, though in that case, it was relatively flat until the first half of this year when it shot way, way up.

Via TechDirt...

SCOTUS shows concern for libraries

Supreme Court seeks a way around "perpetual copyright" on foreign goods
"If you were the lawyer for the Toyota distributor, [or] if you were the lawyer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or you are the lawyer for a university library," said Breyer. "Your client comes to you and says, 'My God, I just read the Supreme Court opinion. It says that we can't start selling these old books, or lending them, or putting them in our word processor, or reselling the Toyota, [or] displaying the Picasso without the permission of the copyright holder.' What, as their lawyer, do you tell them? Do you tell them, 'hey, no problem?' Or, do you tell them, 'you might become a law violator?' Or, do you tell them, 'I better litigate this?' What do you tell them?"

Notably, Olson didn't back away from the more extreme consequences of his client's win at the 2nd Circuit. If Wiley wins, he said, institutions like museums and libraries might need to get licenses from copyright owners for their activities.

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