In September, Carl Grant wrote a blog post on the ownership of library data (“We have a problem… another vendor appearing to need education about exactly WHO owns library data“) that has been rolling around my own thoughts for, well, months. The spark of Carl’s post was a Twitter conversation where a major library system vendor appeared to be taking steps to limit what library/customers can do with their own data.
The title of this post was updated (replacing “Display” with “Performance”) a day after it was originally published. See the update at the bottom of the post for more details.
Last week a federal district court in California decided in favor of the University of California defendants in a lawsuit brought by Ambrose Video Publishing (AVP) and the Association for Information Media and Equipment (AIME). A majority of the decision hinged around whether the plaintiffs had “standing” to bring the suit, and commentary by Kevin Smith and ARL go into more detail about that. The bit that I found interesting was reasoning by the judge that equated “public performance” rights with “streaming.” Far down in the judge’s decision was this line of reasoning:
It is another e-books issue of DLTJ Thursday Threads with updates on three significant efforts: HarperCollins, Google Book Search Settlement, Digital Public Library of America. And, just for fun and to keep this from turning into purely a legal and blue-sky policy blog, we have a video of juggling robots.
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This week’s big news is hard to miss — we have a decision by the judge evaluating the settlement agreement in the Google Book Search lawsuit. This is probably the first of many follow-ups in DLTJ as this case keeps taking interesting twists and turns. Also of note this week is Cornell Library’s statement that it will no longer sign contracts that include non-disclosure agreements. Lastly is a pointer to a 10 minute video of Hans Rosling’s TED talk on machines leading to increased literacy.
This week’s Thursday Threads highlights includes two legal cases that bear watching. The first is the case of SkyRiver/Innovative Interfaces versus OCLC (covered on DLTJ previously); now that the case has been moved to OCLC’s home court (the federal district court located in Columbus, OH), it is asking for the case to be dismissed. The second legal cases is the UCLA streaming media case, with issues ranging from fair use to licensing terms to DMCA violations; if this one goes to trial we might get some new case law surrounding the intersection of copyright and libraries. The remaining two pieces are a look at how publishers (and librarians) should avoid paving cow-paths and the origins of the hash symbol.
One of the baffling elements I’ve found in discussions of the history of OCLC is that of its tax exempt status under Ohio law. The latest example of this comes from documents filed in the SkyRiver/Innovative-vs.-OCLC case that make disparaging remarks about how OCLC got its state tax-advantaged status. (The text of the remarks in those documents are included below.) I was curious about this a while back and so did some research on the topic. I had set it aside and forgotten about it until this latest lawsuit brought it up again. So, to set the record straight, here is at least one version — hopefully written from a neutral perspective — of what happened nearly three decades ago.
On September 9th, OCLC filed its first substantial response with the court to the antitrust lawsuit file by SkyRiver and Innovative Interfaces. And in a motion where OCLC requests a change of venue from the Northern District of California to the Southern District of Ohio — something seemingly mundane — they certainly pulled no punches:
Thursday will be a big day in the Google Book Search lawsuit settlement: the parties to the lawsuit, along with the objectors, supporters, and friends-of-the-court, will be in the courtroom of United States District Judge Denny Chin offering oral arguments in the final settlement/fairness hearing. In his order, Judge Chin recognized 26 parties that will speak for up to five minutes each on their positions in the settlement (21 in opposition, 5 in favor). The U.S. Department of Justice will also speak at the hearing. But I think we’re all eagerly awaiting to hear what the judge himself will say about the settlement agreement.
In the lead-up to the hearing, Associate Professor James Grimmelmann at the New York Law School has continued his efforts, along with the students from the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School, to make the documents and proceedings of the lawsuit accessible and understandable to non-lawyers. In the most recent court filings leading up to Thursday’s hearing are some interesting nuggets.
Late, late in the day last Friday, the principle parties in the Google Book Search case submitted a revised settlement agreement agreement to the court. This post takes a look at the changes to the settlement from a library perspective. To keep this manageable, I’m not including discussion of library-oriented elements that haven’t changed; to read more about that I recommend the ALA/ACRL/ARL paper and/or previous posts on DLTJ. I’m also not including discussion on some aspects of the legal impact of the settlement (the appropriateness of setting policy via class action, the antitrust considerations of Google’s sole license to unclaimed works, etc.); for that I encourage browsing the writings of James Grimmelmann (any posting of his prefaced with “GBS” in the title). I will link off to some of the library-oriented discussion pieces of Grimmelmann and others in this post. If you really want the in-depth view of the settlement and the surrounding discussion, visit The Public Index, a website devoted to chronicling and commenting on aspects of the settlement.