October 20, 2014

NYC Mayor Appoints First Replacement for Dismissed Queens Trustees

Jukay Hsu

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on August 12 appointed Jukay Hsu, founder of the community development organization Coalition for Queens (C4Q), to the Queens Borough Public Library (QL) Board of Trustees. The appointment fills one of eight positions left vacant since July 23, when de Blasio dismissed two of the library’s trustees and Queens Borough President (QBP) Melinda Katz dismissed six.

Library Freedom Fighter Zoia Horn Remembered

Zoia Horn

Activist librarian Zoia Markovna Horn died on July 12 at the age 96. She was famous for being the first U.S. librarian to be jailed for refusing to divulge information that violated professional principles of privacy and intellectual freedom. An activist member of the American Library Association (ALA) and a member and chair of its Intellectual Freedom Committee, Horn was jailed for 20 days for contempt after refusing to testify in the 1972 conspiracy trial of the “Harrisburg Seven.”

Appeals Court Upholds Wins for Fair Use in HathiTrust Case

Hathi Trust logo

On June 10, the U.S. Second Court of Appeals handed down its latest decision in the continuing legal battle between the HathiTrust and the Authors Guild, and it is good news for fair use advocates. A three judge panel largely confirmed the decision handed down in 2012, which found that the HathiTrust’s activities of digitizing books from its member libraries and increasing their discoverability by letting users search for key terms within titles are fair use. The court also upheld Baer’s finding that the Guild lacks standing to bring cases as an association, though individual members can do so.

KY Legislature Won’t Fix Library Funding

In northern Kentucky this spring, the more things change the more they stay the same for the embattled Campbell (CCPL) and Kenton County Public Libraries (KCPL). After the state General Assembly came close, but ultimately failed to deliver a legislative solution to their longstanding legal woes, the library systems have little recourse except to wait for an appeals court decision that will help determine how they—and potentially the majority of Kentucky libraries—can raise tax revenue.

Authors Guild Appeals Dismissal of Google Books Lawsuit

Google Books Logo

Last November Judge Denny Chin dealt a blow to the lawsuit filed by publishers and the Author’s Guild against tech giant Google and its Google Books Service (GBS). Chin, of the 2nd Circuit U.S. Appeals Court, dismissed the case, which challenged the legality of GBS providing searchable PDFs of copyrighted works when Judge Denny. On Friday, April 11, the Guild filed an appeal in the case, marking the latest flareup in a long-running suit with major implications for copyright law in the U.S.

ALA and Freedom to Read Foundation File Briefs in Two Lawsuits

Freedom To Read Foundation

The first weeks of March were busy for litigation in the library world as the American Library Association (ALA) and Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) weighed in on a pair of cases headed to the Supreme Court. While neither impacts libraries directly, both have the potential to be big decisions that shape precedent on freedom of speech and privacy rights.

Queens Library Controversy Expands Into Construction Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and New York City’s Department of Investigation (DOI) have launched a joint investigation into Queens Library (QL) president and CEO Thomas Galante. The New York Daily News reports that on February 28, federal investigators arrived at the Central Library branch in Jamaica, Queens, NY. There they served subpoenas to Galante and Frank Marino, a construction consultant whose firm has managed 15 projects for QL since 2008—and who works at the Elmont Union Free School District, the same Long Island, NY, school system where Galante holds a part-time consulting position netting him compensation in the six figures.

FCC Takes Another Swing at Net Neutrality While Netflix Agrees To Pay for Faster Streaming

FCC logo

In the wake of a January court ruling that struck down the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) standards for ensuring that Internet traffic is delivered without bias—a standard industry watchers refer to as ‘net neutrality’—the agency has issued a new proposal outlining a new set of rules to ensure Internet users have uncensored access to the full content of the Internet. Some experts, though, don’t think these new rules will be any more enforceable than those overturned earlier this year.

Cengage Comes To Terms with Creditors, Prepares to Exit Bankruptcy

Cengage Learning

Academic software and services company Cengage Learning last year filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection on July 2, 2013 to restructure its $5.8 billion debt load. This week, the company announced a deal with its major creditors and stakeholders and a reorganization plan that executives say will mark the beginning of a path out of bankruptcy and back to financial health.

50 Years Late, Superman/Kennedy Comic Finally Finds a Home at JFK Library

Pictured from left: Al Plastino Jr. and MaryAnn Plastino-Charles holding the splash page of the original Superman art from "Superman's Mission for President Kennedy" with Jay Kogan from DC Entertainment.

A Superman comic depicting John F. Kennedy, originally released shortly after the president’s assassination, on January 9 finally made its way to the JFK Library in Boston, where illustrator Al Plastino had thought it had been for nearly 50 years.