Legal Issues

Legal Issues

Google Gets Total Victory Over Authors Guild: Book Scanning Is Fair Use

This one has been a long time coming, but this morning, Judge Denny Chin (who actually has a long history of siding with copyright holders) found that Google's book scanning project is fair use. This is a huge victory in a variety of ways. TechDirt has the story.

Content owners warn Congress of "fair use creep" draw ridicule

Groups representing the movie, music and photography industry testified before Congress on Thursday, and called on the government to consider changing laws to do more to address piracy and file-sharing.

The testimony, which took place before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, is part of a larger review by Congress of America’s copyright policy. The review is significant because it will help shape the rules for culture and creativity on the internet in coming decades.

http://gigaom.com/2013/07/26/content-owners-warn-congress-of-fair-use-creep-draw-ridicule/

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Mendeley and RefWorks Flow: The next, next generation of citation management software

A decade or so ago, ISI's EndNote bought out most of the competition, practically obtaining a monopoly on the reference manager business. In the early Library 2.0 boom, web-based products like Zotero and CSA's RefWorks became the norm. Thomson Reuters played catch up by introducing EndNote Web, and NoodleBib and other adware/freemium clones cropped up in what is now again a crowded marketplace.

Mendeley, recently purchased by Elsevier, has gained fame by offering social media integration and and sharing cababilities. It notably works on the old Questia model of selling itself directly to individual users, not institutions. ProQuest is also putting the finishing touches on RefWorks Flow, which features similar collaboration tools.

The way these newer products allow users to share articles with peers raises interesting questions about them potentially being used as a new "Napster for subscription journals," especially since they are now both owned by major publishers. See my comment for some more philosophical questions....

Immigration Bill Gets a Library Add-On

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) is offering a library amendment to the immigration bill that the Senate is considering this week. The amendment, #1223, would make public libraries eligible for funding for English language instruction and civics education, and would also add Susan Hildreth, the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to the Task Force on New Americans. The American Library Association (ALA) is asking its members to call their Senators in support of Reed’s amendment.

According to the Congressional Record, Reed said that the amendment “recognizes the longstanding role that libraries have played in helping new Americans learn English, American

civics, and integrate into our local communities. It ensures that they continue to have a voice in these critical efforts… This amendment expands on the recent partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and IMLS.” He also cited IMLS statistics which say that more than 55 percent of new Americans use a public library at least once a week.

Story from Library Journal.

Academic Publishers Sues Librarian Blogger for Millions

From Melville House Books:

Beall’s list, created by University of Colorado metadata librarian Jeffrey Beall, collates the academic journals which he regards as questionable. His hard work on outing journals whose business and academic practices are less than reputable has caught the eye of one of the publishers he named and shamed, and now he’s being sued.

Bogus academic journals are a growing problem. Earlier this year, Gina Kolata in the New York Times called them a “parallel world of pseudo-academia”. Most of these journals are based on an online subscription model and call themselves “open access”. The ease with which people can be published in some of these journals, with only a semblance of legitimate oversight, has been met with concern by academics, who fear that junk research is being given the appearance of a properly accredited paper.

Jeffrey Beall is being sued by India’s The OMICS Group, which, according to Jake New in The Chronicle of Higher Education, has been the subject of scrutiny for bad practices, such as spamming and steep fees for authors after publication, not only by Beall, but also by The Chronicle.

Injured Emory law librarian sues Delta

An Emory University law librarian is suing Delta Air Lines, claiming she suffered permanent brain trauma when books and other items fell on her after a flight attendant opened an overhead bin two years ago.

Full article

Scott Turow: The Slow Death of the American Author

New York Times Op-Ed on how new legislation on imported copies of American authors works affects issues of copyright.

LAST month, the Supreme Court decided to allow the importation and resale of foreign editions of American works, which are often cheaper than domestic editions. Until now, courts have forbidden such activity as a violation of copyright. Not only does this ruling open the gates to a surge in cheap imports, but since they will be sold in a secondary market, authors won’t get royalties.

This may sound like a minor problem; authors already contend with an enormous domestic market for secondhand books. But it is the latest example of how the global electronic marketplace is rapidly depleting authors’ income streams. It seems almost every player — publishers, search engines, libraries, pirates and even some scholars — is vying for position at authors’ expense.

Copyright Ruling Rings With Echo of Betamax

NYT article discussing the Supap Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc case.

Excerpt from article:
More profoundly, the decision might even hasten the near-demise of print — spurring publishers into a digital world where they can license their books rather than sell them, adding some bells and whistles while gaining some protection from the first-sale clause.

Full article

Murder, Murderers and the Death Penalty at the Supreme Court

A new book documents the murders, murderers and capital punishment overseen by the highest court in the U.S. Jeffrey Brown talks with veteran journalists Martin Clancy and Tim O'Brien about their new work, "Murder at the Supreme Court," about some of the most notorious crimes and subsequent penalties.

Interview with authors here.

Supreme Court OKs Discounted Resale Of 'Gray Market' Goods

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that U.S. companies that make and sell products abroad cannot prevent those items from being resold in the U.S.

For example if a textbook that is sold for $100 in the U.S. is sold in Brazil for $20 this ruling makes it legal for someone that purchases the $20 book to bring it to the U.S. to sell.

Full article

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Innovative Interfaces Drops Case Against OCLC

Innovative Interfaces said yesterday that it has decided to pull the case that it and sister company Skyriver Technology Solutions filed in 2010 in Ohio. Instead, the company said it would integrate Skyriver’s operations into Innovate and would focus on competing with OCLC and working with OCLC as a potential collaboration partner.

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'Fifty Shades' Porn Parody Countersuit Claims Books Are In Public Domain

Smash Pictures now has responded to the lawsuit with a counterclaim, and it's quite scintillating.

"On information and belief, as much as 89% of the content of the allegedly copyrighted materials grew out of a multi-part series of fan fiction called Masters of the Universe based on Stephenie Myer's (sic) Twilight novels. On information and belief, this content was published online between 2009 and 2011 in various venues, including fanfiction.net and the person website of Ericka (sic) Leonard. On information and belief, much or all of this material was placed in the public domain."

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.

Related links:

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. Equipment purchasing needs can be aided by purchasing items from the Air Staff's Amazon wish list.

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.

Related links:

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

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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.

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