Legal Issues

Legal Issues

Can First Sale Doctrine exist in a digital age?

Can First Sale Doctrine exist in a digital age?
If publishers could get together and agree on a service like this which would allow the right of first sale to exist on digital files it would go a long way towards not only adopting digital media but literally "buying" in. This is, of course, assuming you do not already prefer physical books, are not a collector of books and said books are not first editions, signed copies, leather bound, etc. In those instances this discussion is moot.

What do you think about digital books? Would a legal re-selling service make you more likely to buy e-books?

Great Librarian SOPA and Protect-IP Links

SOPA and Protect-IP Links

The harm that does to ordinary, non-infringing users is best described via a hypothetical user: Abe. Abe has never even so much as breathed on a company’s copyright but he does many of the things typical of Internet users today. He stores the photos of his children, now three and six years old, online at PickUpShelf* so that he doesn’t have to worry about maintaining backups. He is a teacher and keeps copies of his classes accessible for his students via another service called SunStream that makes streaming audio and video easy. He engages frequently in conversation in several online communities and has developed a hard-won reputation and following on a discussion host called SpeakFree. And, of course, he has a blog called “Abe’s Truths” that is hosted on a site called NewLeaflet. He has never infringed on any copyright and each of the entities charged with enforcing SOPA know that he hasn’t.

The Concerned Librarian’s Guide to the 2012 ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall

The Concerned Librarian’s Guide to the 2012 ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall
With a number of issues floating around libraryland at the present moment, there has been talk in some of the my social circles about what to do about them. Specifically, how to approach tackling them as it relates to library vendors who have expressed support for legislation that has the potential to impede or block access to information (directly or as collateral damage). As the ALA Midwinter Meeting is just around the corner, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for librarians to meet with company representatives to discuss their concerns about current contentious legislation (such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Research Works Act (RWA)) as well as ongoing concerns (such as library eBook lending). Lest some perseverate or advocate for delaying action, our professional conferences are the best venue to voice our concerns face-to-face for the wide array of actions that have the potential to interfere with information access and exchange. This is not the time to waiver on our values and principles.

Getting serious about SOPA - what librarians need to do

Getting serious about SOPA – what librarians need to do
Jessamyn West: "So, I think we need to do a few things: understand how this bill is supposed to work, be clear in our opposition to it as a profession, work with other people to inform and educate others so that people can make their own informed choices. Here is a short list of links to get you started."

Entities supporting SOPA of interest to the library community?

How many vendors you deal with are on the list? The House Judiciary Committee has an official List of SOPA Supporters [PDF]. There's an unofficial crowdsourced list of every other company supporting SOPA with web address, Twitter feed, contact emails and phone numbers.

[Thanks Bob!]

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How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship

How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship
"This is a major concern with SOPA/PIPA, and one that supporters of the bill keep trying to brush off, because they have no good answer to these concerns other than "trust us, the US government doesn't want to censor." I'd like to believe that's true. In fact, it very likely is true for many people in the government. But the scenarios Sanchez predicts are not out of line with what we already see regularly today. It happens so frequently, in fact, that it's difficult to imagine how Congress won't expand the law to make use of this censorship apparatus."

Ex-Chicago teacher sues, claims book led to firing

Ex-Chicago teacher sues, claims book led to firing
A former teacher is suing the Chicago public school district for more than $300,000, claiming administrators fired him in 2009 after a parent took issue with his memoir, entitled "Gabriel's Fire," which recounts his own relationship with a teacher in his youth.

The stupidity of SOPA in Scholarly Publishing

The stupidity of SOPA in Scholarly Publishing
This is of course, just an example of why SOPA is entirely the wrong approach to dealing with online piracy. But with supposedly technically savvy organisations lined up to support it, they should be aware of what it might cost them. A fortune in responding to take down requests, a fortune in checking over every piece of every paper? Is that figure “sufficiently different”? Enjoy. Or perhaps time for a re-think about copyright in scholarly works?

Belarus: Browsing Foreign Websites a Misdemeanor

Belarus: Browsing Foreign Websites a Misdemeanor

As stated in an explanatory note published together with the Law, this act was issued to implement the Decree of the Belarusian President of February 1, 2010, on Improvements to the Usage of the National Segment of the Internet. The newly published Law imposes restrictions on visiting and/or using foreign websites by Belarusian citizens and residents. Under this new Law, the violation of these rules is recognized as a misdemeanor and is punished by fines of varied amounts, up to the equivalent of US$125. (Id.)

Pelham NH to Hold Library Director's Job While He's Incarcerated

Strange but true...librarian convicted for major theft in one state, Massachusetts, will return to his more recent position in another, New Hampshire after his sentence has been served.

Robert Rice Jr., 46, was sentenced yesterday to six months behind bars for stealing more than $200,000 when he was the director of Revere Public Library.

Rice was sentenced in Superior Court in Boston on 18 felony charges for taking money from 2005 to 2009, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.

Rice pleaded guilty to fraud and embezzlement charges as part of a plea bargain. He bought numerous items under the pretense they were for the Revere library, but then kept or sold them.

Shortly after resigning in 2009 while under fire in Revere, Rice took the position in Pelham.

Francis Garboski, chairman of the Pelham Library trustees, said yesterday Rice's job is still safe.

"His position will be held until he gets back," Garboski said. "The decision is up to him when he wants to come back."

Howard facing lawsuit after librarian found guilty of sexual misconduct charges

Howard facing lawsuit after librarian found guilty of sexual misconduct charges
Five Howard University students have filed suit in federal court alleging that school officials did not do enough to protect them from an employee later convicted of sexual harassment and assault.

The students, all women, say that a librarian, their work-study supervisor at Howard University’s Founders Library, verbally and physically assaulted them from September 2010 to April 2011. The suit alleges that even though students complained about his conduct, nothing was done until D.C. police were notified.

Vint Cerf: SOPA means 'unprecedented censorship' of the Web

Vint Cerf: SOPA means 'unprecedented censorship' of the Web
Vint Cerf, the legendary computer scientist who's known as one of the fathers of the Internet for his work on TCP/IP, is the latest technologist to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Cerf, a onetime DARPA program manager who went on to receive the Turing Award, sent a letter yesterday warning of the dangers of SOPA to its author, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The House Judiciary chairman, also Hollywood's favorite House Republican, has scheduled discussion of the bill to resume at 7a.m. PT today.

MPAA Tries Its Hand At Comedy With A Top 10 List In Favor Of Censoring The Internet

MPAA Tries Its Hand At Comedy With A Top 10 List In Favor Of Censoring The Internet
The MPAA has been sending around a sort of "top 10 list" to folks in Congress about why they should vote to censor the internet via PROTECT IP (PIPA). It's actually two different top five lists. The first is five reasons to vote for the law. The second is five reasons that "Google" is wrong about the law (as if Google is the only one complaining about the law -- which is pure hogwash). Of course, the ten reasons don't make much sense, and we figured that it might be helpful to shine a little of that reality light on the claims:

Wikipedia mulls censorship protest over Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

Wikipedia mulls censorship protest
A number of companies have protested against the bill, several of which wrote an open letter that was subsequently co-signed by AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga.

As reported by TorrentFreak, Wikipedia is considering the most audacious protest yet, blanking out all of its pages. The article reports that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has asked for community input; additionally, he "fears the bill could seriously hurt the Internet and thinks that blanking out Wikipedia will send a strong message to lawmakers".

Book Drop Rape Victim Sues Library

TAMPA — The family of the young woman raped and brutally beaten outside the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library in 2008 is suing the people who designed and built the library.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, says the after-hours book drop outside the library was "inherently dangerous," created a "latent hazard" and posed an "undue risk" to patrons required to get out of their cars in an area hidden from view to deposit books.

The attack survivor, at the time an 18-year-old East Bay High School senior, pulled up to the book drop the night of April 24, 2008, as she spoke with a friend on the cell phone. The library was closed. The friend heard the young woman say she saw a "weird guy" sitting on a bench, and then heard a door chime.

More from Tampa Bay News.

Idaho Libraries to adjust to new Internet filtering law

Idaho Libraries to adjust to new Internet filtering law
But the Coeur d’Alene library, like every other library in the state, will have to change its system between now and October, under a new law enacted by the Idaho Legislature this year.

Although the new law is a scaled-back version of the original proposal — which would have required libraries to filter Internet access for everyone — it’s still a concern to some library officials. Currently, every library in Idaho handles the issue its own way, with some choosing to install filters on all their Internet-accessible computers, others choosing to filter just some, and some leaving the choice to parents and adult library patrons. That local control works well, Ammons and others say, noting that Idaho libraries don’t get any state funding. Libraries are supported by local property taxes and governed by local boards.

Under the new law, Internet use by children must be filtered.

Where Things Stand With SOPA

Matt Cutts has a great summary of what's happening with SOPA: Progress against SOPA: He has a list of things you can do:

- Sign up at American Censorship to send a note to Congress and get updates.
- Call your congressperson with Tumblr’s easy web page.
- I believe anyone inside or outside the United States can sign this White House petition. If you’re outside the United States, you can also sign this petition.
- Follow groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Twitter.
- Sign up with United Republic, a new organization dedicated to the larger problem of money in politics.
- Sign up to have Senator Ron Wyden read your name on the Senate floor when he filibusters against this legislation.

The Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine

The Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine
As the transition from physical to streaming or cloud-based digital distribution continues, further divorcing copyrighted works from their traditional tangible embodiments, it will increasingly be the case that consumers do not own the information goods they buy (or, rather, think they've bought). Under the court's decision in Vernor, all a copyright owner has to do to effectively repeal the statutory first sale doctrine is draft a EULA that (1) specifies that the user is granted a license; (2) significantly restricts the user's ability to transfer the software; and (3) imposes notable use restrictions. Sad to say, it's about as easy as falling off a log.

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Ex-Mayor of Detroit to Speak at Library...via Skype

Kwame Kilpatrick is coming to the Detroit Public Library -- sort of -- in two weeks. The controversy is already there.

Jonathan Kinloch, vice president of the library commission, said Friday that residents have called him to complain about the former Detroit mayor's book signing, scheduled for the evening of Oct. 19. Kilpatrick plans to appear via Skype, an audio and video service that allows people to interact over the Internet. The co-author of his memoir will appear in person.

At issue is an e-mail the library sent out Friday that said people who attend will "learn the truth behind (Kilpatrick's) meteoric rise in politics, the crippling controversies surrounding his administration, his downfall and, ultimately, his redemption."

Story from the Detroit Free Press.

Copyright confusion dogs European digitisation push

Copyright confusion dogs European digitisation push

The cultural life of Europe will suffer unless more effort is made to clarify what libraries can do with so-called orphan works, says a study.

The British Library looked into ways to speed up the digitisation of books, journals and other printed materials held by Europe's libraries.

It considered 10 works from every decade between 1870 and 2010.

About 43% of the sample were orphan works suggesting a large part of Europe's media may never go online.

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