Legal Issues

Michigan libraries can't ban guns, court of appeals rules

Though it said the idea of people openly carrying weapons into libraries is “alarming,” libraries can’t ban weapons, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled today.
In a 2-1 decision, the court said it’s up to the state, not local government units, to regulate matters related to firearms.
“Certainly, at a time where this country has witnessed tragic and horrific mass shootings in places of public gathering, the presence of weapons in a library where people of all ages — particularly our youth — gather is alarming and an issue of great concern,” Judges Jame Beckering and Henry William Saad said in the majority opinion.
However, guns are a matter for the state to regulate while complying with the federal constitution, the judges said.

Kindle Book Credit

Amazon has been sending out this email as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states.

Dear Kindle Customer,

We have good news. You are entitled to a credit for some of your past e-book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories, including yours. You do not need to do anything to receive this credit. We will contact you when the credit is applied to your Amazon.com account if the Court approves the settlements in February 2013.

Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have settled an antitrust lawsuit about e-book prices. Under the proposed settlements, the publishers will provide funds for a credit that will be applied directly to your Amazon.com account. If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books. While we will not know the amount of your credit until the Court approves the settlements, the Attorneys General estimate that it will range from $0.30 to $1.32 for every eligible Kindle book that you purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. Alternatively, you may request a check in the amount of your credit by following the instructions included in the formal notice of the settlements, set forth below. You can learn more about the settlements here:
www.amazon.com/help/agencyebooksettlements

In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices. We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future.

Thank you for being a Kindle customer.

The Amazon Kindle Team

Judge Says Fair Use Protects Universities in Book Scanning Project

Excellent! A federal judge on Wednesday said universities had a fair-use defense to charges of copyright infringement when they systematically pooled millions of books they had digitized without permission from rights holders.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer of New York dismissed an infringement lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild. The guild accused the University of California, University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, Cornell University and University of Michigan of wanton copyright infringement for scanning and placing the books into the so-called HathiTrust Digital Library.

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U.S. Supreme Court To Hear First-Sale Doctrine in Copyright Law Case

Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s busy agenda this fall is a little-known case that could upend your ability to resell everything from your grandmother’s antique furniture to your iPhone 4.

At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products.

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Attorney sues library over ban on plaza exhibits

David J. Kolhoff is suing the Allen County Public Library after it barred him from having a demonstration against the federal health care law.

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Librarian of Congress Names Interim Copyright Royalty Judge

The Librarian of Congress has named an interim copyright royalty judge to serve for the next six months or until the vacancy is filled.

Richard Strasser has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by Judge Stanley Wisniewski, who retired at the end of August. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, appoints copyright royalty judges in consultation with the register of copyrights.

Should L.A. give Undocumented Immigrants I.D. (library) Cards?

Important story from the LA Times earlier this week: Los Angeles is considering a major step in providing ID cards to illegal immigrants. The Los Angeles Public Library card could one day become a form of identification for the city's large illegal immigrant population that would allow them to open bank accounts and access services.

Here's the follow-up in the Opinion Pages.

How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards

The site for all things sci-fi and fantasy, iO9, has the story:

"Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fiction's most prestigious award ceremonies. No, you're not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service Ustream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, "The Doctor's Wife." Where Gaiman's face had been were the words, "Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement." What the hell?"

Not Illegal Yet in California: New Bans

In Southern California — once legendary for its love of freedom — cities, school districts and even libraries have been outlawing beach bonfires, napping and perfume.

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