A Sporadic Update

Remember this post? It is now two months and 25 days from the day I’ve posted that, and as everyone knows, 2 months & 25 days since the last update is the perfect time to do a new update. So here goes!

  • Let the count down begin for Peter Suber’s book titled Open Access to go open access, e.g. free for reading and reuse. The book is set to become open access in June 2013, one year from the date of its initial publication. That means there are — count it with me — 3 months minus 4 days until the book is free.
  • Amazon Big (but strangely little marketed) Deal sale is on. The sale started February 22 and is set to run through March 10, so you have 6 days remaining to gorge on cheap books. I’ve had quite a head start; if you want to be as gluttonous as me, you’ll have to do some heavy binging.
  • Another lawsuit that’s arousing much interest in the library community (but I haven’t really followed because it does not relate to copyright) is that of Edwin Mellen Press suing a librarian and his university employer for libel. Mellen Press alleges that the librarian named in its suit, Dale Askey, published posts on his personal blog that contain false representation of facts about the Press and libels it as a result. Read the complaint filed by Edwin Mellen Press here as well as commentary here, here, and here.

Many have brought up the issue of academic freedom in defense of the defendants in the suit. I’m generally confused as to why this should be the path taken — suppose that the defendant were not a librarian, should an ordinary citizen not be able to criticize a corporation’s products? How is this criticism any different than a book review or a restaurant rating posted on Yelp? Do these reviews have to verified as being “true” to escape liability for libel? Since the decision in the New York Times v. Sullivan, proving the truth of the statement has not been a necessary defense against libel made against public officials in their public conduct. Of course Mellen Press is not a public official, but how exactly do things differ here? Englighten me please.

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2 Responses to A Sporadic Update

  1. Mellen Press just dropped the lawsuit against Askey, http://cupwire.ca/articles/54573.

  2. But the really, really interesting lawsuit is this one. Three small publishers are suing Amazon and the Big Six for enforcing device-specific DRM on their ebooks. I’d really like to know how things will turn out!

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