Legal Issues

DMCA Hearings Today

CNET and Wired both have stories on todays mandatory hearings on the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). James G. Neal and Rodney Peterson reps for the American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, Medical Library Association, and Special Libraries Association have a Summary of Intended Testimony posted, it is a PDF, so you\'ll need acrobat. They say the DMCA undermines libraries abilities to provide access to materials for people and the law gives too much control to publishers.

G&B Sues to Silence Critics

Bob Cox sent in this Story from Linguafrance.com.

In 1988 Henry H. Barschall did a study that found nonprofit society-based journals offered work equal to or better than commercial journals, and are cheaper. Commercial publisher Gordon & Breach didn\'t like what was said, and has filed suite. Gordon & Breach has now spent millions of dollars and eleven years pressing a false-advertising claim against two nonprofit competitors.

\"Has pursuing a course of continuous litigation against both the scientific and the academic library communities hurt business for G&B\'s journals? \"Probably it has,\" Gordon admits. But, he adds, \"it\'s impossible to see how it has. As you know, library budgets have been cut in the last few years.\" \"

Support for Software Law Eroding

The LA Times has a Story on UCITA. It seems support for the law is quickly eroding as folks find out what the law means for them.

\"Arne Larsen, director of information systems at Horizon Blue Cross in Newark, N.J., said his company\'s software buyers have already rejected one contract clause that would have invoked UCITA and will keep on fighting it when it reappears. \"

Bookstore has records subpoenaed

For the third time in the past month, another bookstore\'s records have been subpoenaed by law enforcement officials. Libraries are bound to be next. The story is available from Lawrence Journal-World.
\"The subpoena, involving a Borders store in Johnson County, came to light this week when a bookseller industry newsletter reported that several groups had filed court papers on Borders\' behalf. -- Read More

Supreme Court grants Cert in Tasini

stephanie davidson writes:


\"The U.S. Supreme Court granted cert on Monday in the case of York Times v. Tasini, a case that concerns the copyrights of freelance writers with respect to electronic distribution of the papers they write for. The case specifically involves writers who write for newspapers and other general-interest works, rather than scholarly journals, but the implications of a decision in favor of the authors could have implications for libraries who purchase electronic database subscriptions. Libraries are staying out of it at this point, but you can be sure they\'re following with rapt attention.
\"

Copyright Office backs content holders

ZD Net is Reporting more on how the U.S. Copyright Office (part of the Library of Congress) has backed the right of companies to limit access to their content when it is offered on the Internet.
The Copyright Office said people should be able to read filtering software\'s black lists, and allow folks to bypass malfunctioning security features of software and other copyrighted goods they have purchased. This gives copyright holders a whole new level of protection.

\"The decision will \'significantly impede efforts for libraries to continue to provide information in the digital age.\'
-- Miriam Nisbet, American Library Association \"

Copyrights on Web Content are Backed

Lee Hadden sent this in:

\" An article in the Wall
Street Journal by Anna Wilde Matthews, \"Copyrights
on Web Content Are Backed\" (Friday, Oct. 27, page
B10), discusses a decision
by the Library of Congress\'s Copyright Office, to limit
access to the content
of web pages on the Internet. The argument between
libraries and
entertainment companies has been around for some
time, and the decision will
protect the copyright of commercial endeavors with only
minor exceptions.
\"

Kramerbooks Redux?

The Denver Post reports that \"police will be allowed to search customer purchase records\" at the Tattered Cover Book Store.

Astute readers will no doubt have already drawn a comparison to the 1998 case involving Kramerbooks & afterwords, the Washington DC bookstore that told Ken Starr to mind his own business. So why has a judge given the police carte blanche this time? Perhaps because they said the magic word: \"drugs\".

\"If it only takes one or two records from a bookstore to help us eliminate drugs on the street, then so be it,\" said Lt. Lori Moriarty, commander of the North Metro Drug Task Force, which is seeking the Tattered Cover records.

Ah, so that\'s the problem. It\'s not that Prohibition has failed again -- it\'s just those pesky booksellers who are protecting readers\' right to privacy...

Public Forum on Warranty Protection

The UCITA Saga continues.
The Federal Trade Commission will hold a public forum on October 26 and 27, 2000 to examine warranty protection for software and other high-tech goods and services marketed to consumers.

The public forum will be held at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. on October 26, 2000 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on October 27, 2000 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

You can also see FTC staff comments to NCCUSL during the date
preceeding NCCUSL\'s approval of UCITA, the first on October
30, 1998
, and the second on July 9, 1999.

UCITA Satellite Teleconference

Rory had this over on Library JuiceThis week, but it is important enough for me to reprint here.

The Association of Research Libraries is sponsoring a Satellite Teleconference on UCITA, the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act. It is important that you do something if you are in the United States. Why?


*   UCITA legitimizes a non-negotiable contract-based system
of intellectual
property with no exemptions and fair use defenses for the research, education,
and library communities as provided for in federal copyright law. 



*   UCITA permits this same kind of contract to apply to mixed
media
transactions where a book accompanied by a CD, for example, could be governed
by
the same restrictions as placed on the CD. 



*   UCITA permits provisions that prohibit reverse engineering
or the public
comment or criticism of a product. 



*   UCITA allows the licensor to electronically disable, remove,
or prevent the
usage of computer information or software that resides on your system creating
significant security issues along with interrupting services and operations. 



*   UCITA allows software firms to waive liability for known
defects in their
software that they failed to disclose to their customers. 



UCITA can directly impact the ability of libraries and educational institutions
to carry out their missions, to effectively manage their operations, and
to
preserve and apply community values in their daily work.



With four panelists who were actively involved in the UCITA debates in
their
states, this teleconference will help you learn more about UCITA and what
you
can do to deal with it in your state!
Details and registration information can be found at arl.org/ucita.html -- Read More

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