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.
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.
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.
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.
In a ruling that could have serious implications for the way Internet access is regulated in the United States, the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this morning that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not have the authority to impose so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules on Internet service providers (ISPs).
A great deal of my professional life is spent trying to make a body of law from the analog age, the 1976 Copyright Act, fit into the digital world. It is a difficult task, but today I want to discuss a different body of law from the same era—the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), aka the Buckley amendment—and how it can fit with the new activities we are engaged in in the online age.
The U.S Department of Commerce (DoC) has been collecting public comment on the topic of the first sale doctrine and digital files in recent weeks; the agency was scheduled to meet about the issue on December 12 in Washington, DC. First sale doctrine is a set of exemptions to U.S. copyright law that permit consumers to resell used books or DVDs and libraries to loan books without seeking permission from publishers. Yet for reasons examined in more detail below, first sale exemptions have not translated well for digital content. The DoC’s call for public comment could mark the beginning of a campaign to reassess what copyright and first sale mean in the modern digital era, notes one expert.
Large-scale staff cuts, branch closures and slashed program offerings are all on the table as the Kanawha County Public Library in Charleston—widely considered West Virginia’s best library system and the state’s largest—works to reshape itself after a state Supreme Court decision permanently altered KCPL’s annual funding mechanism and created a $3 million budget gap that will require the library to cut spending by 40 percent in 2014.
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.