Legal Issues

Legal Issues

Slip opinion for the health care case

If you noticed news organizations trying to interpret and analyze the health care case this morning here is one reason why that was hard to do on the fly. The opinion is 193 pages long.

At the Supreme Court site under slip opinions they do not have a link up yet. But the opinion is on the website here.

Here is the story from one news source if you had not heard about this yet: Health Law Survives With Roberts' Vote

Eventually the opinion should show on this page: 2011 Term Opinions of the Court

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Letter to the DoJ about the collusion lawsuit and settlement

Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin provides the text of the letter he sent to the DOJ about the ebook collusion lawsuits.

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The Dutch Vote in Net Neutrality, the First EU Country to Do So

People in the Netherlands have reason to celebrate today, following the expected passing into law of new net neutrality regulation. The legislation in question was agreed upon back in June last year, but it's only on Tuesday that the nation's second legislative chamber gave its blessing to the move, making everything official. Under the new law, mobile internet providers like KPN won't be able to charge for access to particular services like Skype or throttle traffic through them — both techniques that the company was intent on using to manage its mobile traffic.

Some exceptional reasons, such as network congestion and security, are allowed for slowing down users' connections, but the general thrust of the law is that operators ought to be blind to the traffic they carry and treat all of it equally. Dutch lobbying group Bits of Freedom also notes that the net neutrality law includes anti-wiretapping provisions, making it unlawful to use deep packet inspection on users' internet communications without their express consent or a legal warrant. All in all, it's a good day for privacy and internet freedom in the Netherlands, now how about we spread the good cheer throughout the whole European Union? [ed- and North America?]

Copying library CDs is piracy

Copying library CDs is piracy... David Einstein from sfgate.com says: "Think of it this way: You wouldn't illegally download music, because that would make you a pirate, and you'd have to wear an eye patch and go around yelling "Aargh." Copying a CD you don't own is also piracy."

Don't regulate the net - regulate your kids

Worried about online porn? Don't regulate the net – regulate your kids
"They don't need legislation; they don't need complicated filters that will be routed around in a flash (try a search on "VPN filter evade"); they just need to be part of the family. You can't turn off the internet, nor make its denizens respectable (ask Louise Mensch). You can, however, turn off the computer, or explain respectability to your child."

Don't Believe the eBook Monopoly Ploy

Don't believe all that hype about government interference that is designed to foster an Amazon monopoly of the ebook business. What the six major publishers were alleged to have done was collude in fixing prices that, if true, was a desperate act that they must have known would fall afoul of anti-trust laws.

The new ploy by book publishers is to characterize Amazon as a monopoly poised to take over and dictate terms and run rampant over those who create ebook content. That is like saying Starbucks is a monopoly because it currently dominates the coffee retail business.

Full article -- Huff Post

Blind patrons sue Philadelphia Free Library over Nook e-Readers

Blind patrons sue Philadelphia Free Library over Nook e-Readers
With the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind, four blind patrons of the Free Library of Philadelphia—Denice Brown, Karen Comorato, Patricia Grebloski, and Antoinette Whaley—have filed suit (case number: 12-2373) against the library because they cannot access one of the library’s programs for which they are eligible. The Free Library of Philadelphia has instituted and announced plans to expand a program in which free NOOK Simple Touch e-readers, which are manufactured and sold by Barnes & Noble, are loaned to patrons over the age of fifty. Unlike some other portable e-readers that use text-to-speech technology and/or Braille to allow blind people to read e-books, the NOOK devices are completely inaccessible to patrons who are blind. The library’s conduct violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Google Argues for Dismissal of Authors’ Book-Scan Lawsuit

Google Argues for Dismissal of Authors’ Book-Scan Lawsuit
Google asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an organization representing authors over the search engine company’s project to digitally scan millions of books, saying the group can’t represent the copyright holders.

Friends Groups Need Not Be Affiliated in Hawaii

There’s trouble in paradise… Hawaii is seeing controversy from an unlikely source: Friends of the Library organizations.

Over a year ago, State Librarian Richard Burns informed local Friends groups that they must become affiliates of the statewide Friends of the Library organization (also referred to as FLH or the “Big” Friends) or they would no longer be allowed to raise funds on state property, according to the Hawaii Reporter.

In response, the Friends of the Aina Haina Public Library, which does not want to join the statewide group, began a process which eventually led them to seek a change from the state legislature. The resulting bill, HB1054, passed both the Hawaii State Senate and the House on May 1, and will now go to the governor for signature.
If You Won’t Be Friends with the Big Friends, You Can’t Be Friends At All?

The source of the conflict is a 2010 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which grants the FLH exclusive rights to raise funds on state property (in a system that’s unique in the country, Hawaii’s libraries are all state-run.)

Be Very Afraid: The Cable-ization of Online Life Is Upon Us

Be Very Afraid: The Cable-ization of Online Life Is Upon Us

Imagine what’s possible from Comcast’s perspective: If you can slice and dice traffic, play definitional chess (“that’s not the internet, that’s a specialized service!”), and be the only game in town, you’ll get to replicate the cable model by making sure that every successful online application owes its success in part to you and pays you tribute.

Sacramento Public Library whistleblower settles suit for $343,000

Sacramento Public Library whistleblower settles suit for $343,000
The clerk who blew the whistle on a Sacramento Public Library Authority kickback scheme that sent three people to prison settled her retaliation lawsuit against the agency for $343,000, it was disclosed Monday.

Lawsuit dismissed against 'Cups of Tea' author

Lawsuit dismissed against 'Cups of Tea' author
A U.S. District Court judge has rejected every claim presented by plaintiffs who said they were deceived when they shelled out $15 for Greg Mortenson's book, "Three Cups of Tea," assuming the contents were entirely true.

A dark day for the future of books

A dark day for the future of books
If the Justice Department prevails with its antitrust lawsuit, the decision might have unintended negative consequences for those who write, publish, sell and enjoy e-books. The government's intention to protect consumers could end up backfiring on consumers by harming retailers, authors and publishers.

Copyright in Scholarly Publishing

Copyright in Scholarly Publishing is a series of posts from Freedom To Tinker. You might like to read Contract hacking and community organizing: "This is a game of chicken that the publisher cannot win. If the authors feel strongly and get their gumption together, they will prevail. The best course for publishers is to avoid playing this game of chicken, by adjusting their copyright contracts to fit the progress of open-access policies in the 21st century. I believe that the good nonprofits (such as ACM and IEEE) are heading in this direction, and Usenix is already there."

Jane Litte explains the DoJ suit very well, and I have a couple of points to add

Sunday Dialogue: Books in a Digital Age

Letters to the Editor of the NYT about the DOJ lawsuit against publishers.

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S. Portland librarian wins suit, allowed to run for school board

South Portland Board of Education member Karen Callaghan has won a lawsuit with the city over a personnel policy that bars municipal employees from running for the board.

Callaghan, a part-time librarian for the city, and Burt Edwards, sued the city in Cumberland County Superior Court last year.

In 2010, the city changed its personnel policy to prohibit municipal employees from running for the Board of Education. The ban previously applied to City Council seats.

Full article

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The e-book wars: Who is less evil, Amazon or book publishers?

Article discussing agency, Amazon, and publishers.

Full article: The e-book wars: Who is less evil, Amazon or book publishers?

Article was mentioned in this article: Who Cares If Amazon Becomes an E-book Monopoly?

Making Laws More Public

Carl Malamud, government transparency advocate and president of public.resource.org believes safety standards should be easily accessible to all citizens for free. Yet many of these standards -- from the design of bicycle helmets to water treatment components to hazmat suits – are the copyrighted creation of the industry organizations that have promulgated them. So Malamud has ponied up the dough to purchase exactly 73 of these standards, which he will publish online, copyright or no copyright. Full piece
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The DOJ E-Book Lawsuit: Is It 1934 All Over Again?

The DOJ E-Book Lawsuit: Is It 1934 All Over Again?

Essay at NPR

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