April 24, 2014

Sacramento Library Regains More than Half of Embezzled Funds

For any library system, getting a check for $480,000 would be a cause to celebrate. In the case of the Sacramento Public Library (SPL), though, that’s particularly true. Instead of the sort of donation every library director dreams of, the influx of money represents a restitution payment that helps the library to recoup some of the estimated $800,000 dollars embezzled by two former employees, bringing a close to an unpleasant chapter in SPL’s history.

Judge Dismisses Authors’ Lawsuit Against Google Books

In what analysts are describing as a big win for scholars and libraries, federal circuit court judge Denny Chin today dismissed a lawsuit against Google brought by the Authors Guild claiming that the company had violated copyrights by digitizing millions of books and making short samples of the works available via its Google Books service. In the decision, Chin stated that Google Books provided “significant public benefits,” and that the digitized works were protected by the principle of fair use.

Tennessee Supreme Court: Library Photo ID Can’t Be Used for Voting

A recent defeat in Tennessee Supreme Court ended any chance that photo identification cards issued by the Memphis Public Library can be used as voter ID—at least for now. But Memphis City Attorney Herman Morris says the yearlong legal battle produced at least one significant victory, and hinted at future challenges to the state law.

Kentucky Library District Gets Temporary Tax Reprieve

Jeff Mando

A northern Kentucky library district won at least a temporary reprieve from wholesale budget cuts last week, after a judge ruled that its tax rate can stay the same until an ongoing lawsuit—which is being watched closely by libraries across the state—winds its way through the appeals process.

Avoiding the Black Swan Approach to Interns | From the Bell Tower

The Black Swan case brings to light a higher education tradition that needs closer examination and possible rethinking. Academic librarians who supervise student interns will want to make sure they follow recommended practices for productive internship experiences.

Judge Eases Proposed Restrictions in Apple Price-Fixing Case

It’s been a long, hot summer for Apple, as the case against the tech company for allegedly conspiring with big-name publishers to fix the price of ebooks in the iBooks Store drew to its conclusion. The company finally got a bit of good news last week, though, as federal Judge Denise Cote mitigated the sanctions originally proposed for the company. The final terms of the injunction, signed yesterday by Judge Cote, take much of the sting out of a series of penalties suggested by the Department of Justice (DOJ), which Apple’s lawyers complained were excessively harsh.

More Kentucky Libraries Challenged in Court

An already nervous Kentucky library community got more unsettling news this summer: two more districts were targeted by lawsuits challenging their right to raise tax revenue without voter approval and seeking massive spending rollbacks. The most recent litigation brings the total number of such cases in the state to five, and could eventually change the way the 79 of Kentucky’s 106 library districts have done business for decades.

MIT, JSTOR Filings Delay Release of Swartz FOIA Documents

Aaron Swartz at SOPA rally

Citing concerns about the privacy of employees and the security of their networks, both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and nonprofit JSTOR have filed motions intervening in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that seeks to obtain Secret Service documents regarding internet activist Aaron Swartz.

Update: Second Suit Filed to Halt NYPL Central Renovation

This illustration from NYPL shows where the new circulating library would replace existing stacks, whose contents would go into storage under Bryant Park and in New Jersey.

Only July 10, the group Citizens Defending Libraries (CDL), together with a coalition of scholars, authors, and preservationists, filed a lawsuit against the trustees of the New York Public Library (NYPL) to stop the demolition and removal of the stacks that support the Rose Reading Room of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, as part of a major redesign and renovation of the central library. The move follows a separate suit to halt the plan which was filed by different plaintiffs a week earlier, both with the New York Supreme Court.

Authors Guild Loses Class Action Status

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated Judge Denny Chin’s 2012 grant of class action status to the Authors Guild in its long-running suit against Google Books. The panel called the certification “premature.” It added that the court should first have decided on the merits of Google’s fair use defense, which, the court said, “will necessarily inform and perhaps moot our analysis of many class certification issues.”