George Mason University Issues Statement on Reuters/Zotero Lawsuit

George Mason University issued a statement this morning regarding the lawsuit filed against it by the Thomson Scientific division of Reuters. It looks like GMU intends to fight the lawsuit. It has restored the functionality that allowed Zotero to understand the EndNote® citation style file format and announced that it will not renew its site license for Zotero EndNote. [Bah -- got this wrong initially. Thanks for pointing this out, Ryan.]

Updates on the EndNote/Zotero Lawsuit

This is a brief update on the EndNote/Zotero lawsuit. The story thus far: The Thomson Scientific division of Reuters, maintainer of the EndNote software, is suing George Mason University over the upcoming release of Zotero, the Firefox plugin for managing citations. More specifically, the complaint filed in Virginia state courts says “GMU reverse engineered or de-compiled the EndNote Software and the proprietary .ens files contained within the EndNote Software in order to determine how to convert the EndNote Software .ens style files into the open source Zotero .csl style files, in direct and material violation of the [sitewide] License Agreement [signed by GMU].” (Note, though, as others have pointed out, Zotero is not converting EndNote Style files to Citation Style Language (CSL) files.1 It is parsing EndNote Style files and using them internally along side style definitions defined using CSL. Or, at least it was until the function was removed from the code.)

Extracts from the Thomson Reuters Lawsuit Against Zotero

Via a posting by James Grimmelmann, I found a link to the text of the complaint filed by Thomson Reuters against George Mason University in Virginia’s state courts. The critical bits (to an untrained eye) are included below:

Paragraph 12: George Mason University [GMU] entered into a site license agreement, dated December 1, 2003 with ISI (which was subsequently renewed with Thomson) to access to use the EndNote Software (the “License Agreement”)…

George Mason University Sued by Thomson Reuters over Zotero

Thomson Reuters is suing George Mason University to stop distribution of the newest version of Zotero, a Firefox browser plugin for managing citation data. According to a story from Courthouse News Service, Reuters is claiming that George Mason is violating the terms of its license agreement by including a function in Zotero that will convert citation styles from the proprietary EndNote format to a format that can be used by Zotero. Reuters also asking for $10 million in damages for destroying the EndNote customer base. Since George Mason is a state institution, the Commonwealth of Virginia is also named in the suit.