Legal Issues

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
transactions where a book accompanied by a CD, for example, could be governed
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
preserve and apply community values in their daily work.

With four panelists who were actively involved in the UCITA debates in
states, this teleconference will help you learn more about UCITA and what
can do to deal with it in your state!
Details and registration information can be found at


Suit Considers Computer Files

A Parent in Exeter, NH has started alawsuit that could determine whether a computer file that tracks Internet use in a New Hampshire public school is a public document, similar in spirit to school budgets and the minutes of school board meetings. The NY Times has the Full Story.

\"Parents have a right to see which textbooks are being used in class and which books are on the school library shelves,\" Knight, who is 44, said in an interview. \"If certain Internet Web sites are also part of the curriculum, then it\'s the prerogative of parents to see those as well.\"


COPA(A) Quickies

A trio of stories on COPA(A). It\'s either COPAA or COPA, I just can\'t figure out which is what is who. You get the point though.

An Ordeal: Copin\' With COPPA
that says the Children\'s Online Privacy Protection Act is a flawed piece of
legislation, and decides it\'s easier to help kids forge their ages
to set up email accounts than it is to submit a credit card number,

COPA: Peddle Smut, Go to Jail

Conservative members of the
Commission on Child Online Protection
suggested during a
meeting a week ago that the government should shield Junior from dirty pictures by
imprisoning owners of \"obscene\" websites.

Online Children\'s Section
Telage said there is a \"50-50 shot\" that new Web domain categories could be created,
such as \".kids,\" reserved for child-friendly content. Others have advocated \".xxx\"
for adult sites, although Telage said the commission has free-speech reservations
about that suggestion.


Library denies police request

An ugly situation in IA. Ankeny Iowa police needed information on a missing teen-age girl and asked Ankeny\'s Kirkendall Public Library staff for help. The library staff refused, citing a state law that requires all library transactions to be confidential. Luckily the girl turned up a couple days later. The Full Story is at The Des Moines Register

\"Libraries are places for free intellectual inquiry. They\'re not places for you to be watched,\" said Barbara Mack, an Iowa State University journalism professor.

\"It seems like there\'s publication of just about everything: credit cards, bank accounts, you name it. If the library is still able to keep this stuff confidential, more power to them,\"
Library patron Elden Bucher


US Congress Next in Copyright Tiffs

In what can only be bad news, Wired is predicting a grim battle in Congress next year as a result of the ongoing Napster lawsuit. They Say the loser of the Napster case will be inmportant to this area of law.
The two-day international intellectual property conference was held last week.

\"We must protect the rights of the creator,\" Hatch said. \"But we cannot, in the name of copyright, unduly burden consumers and the promising technology the Internet presents to all of us.\"
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch


Implications of the UnCover suit

Someone posted this question on a list, and it got me thinking...

I am wondering if anyone knows more about the
implications of the UnCover suit? It seems to me -- woefully ignorant of
coprught law -- that this suit is similar to the recent Napster one and the
Screen Actors Guild which musicians or actors are demanding payment
for each use of their material. Is this correct?

Next, I am wondering how this UnCover decision plays out in the academic
world. I have always had to sign away copyright to the publisher of the jrnl
in which my piece was to appear. (I am particularly sensitive about this
right now as I\'ve recently gone thru a period of strained relations with the
press that holds the copyright on one of my articles.) What is the future of
academic publishing after this decision? Will jrnls only publish articles
that have a re-sale value?


Israeli Court Upholds Copyright on Dead Sea Scrolls

Bob Cox sent in this Story from ABC News on Israel’s Supreme Court upholding an Israeli scholar’s copyright on the deciphering of one of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Amos Hausner, a lawyer for U.S. scholar Robert Eisenman, said the decision inhibits the free use of scientific knowledge.
“It’s like copyrighting scientific truth, like Einstein copyrighting ‘e equals mc2,’” Hausner said. “These ancient texts are part of the scientific knowledge.”

Next up to be copywritten (if that\'s a word) The Bible?!


DMCA Comments posted

The LOC has posted the replies on the DMCA. Comments included from American Library Association, American Association of Law Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, Medical Library Association,and the Special Libraries Association

This is a bad law that was written to protect big publishers and large corporations.


Class action lawsuit with UnCover

R Hadden Writes:Rex Dalton wrote a short article in Nature, Vol. 406, August 17, 2000,
page 664, \"Deal on Reprints Could Mean Royalties for Scientists.\" It
describes the class action lawsuit with UnCover (now owned by Ingenta, a
British company), a document delivery supply company, over providing copies
of articles where the copyright is not owned by a journal, but is retained
by the individual author.



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