Monday, October 11, 2010

Legal Matters of the Day

A couple of things I should probably be paying attention to:


A court in France ruled in favor of a man who sued Google for defamation based on the search results returned for his name (via Staring at Empty Pages). So essentially Google is responsible for passing along what other people say about you in France, if it's not true.

This will probably be appealed, but will obviously have a big, fairly chilling effect on search engine business in general if it stands. If a company has to be aware of the nature of the results returned by a query and make sure none of them are defamatory before allowing them to appear...well, damn, how would you even do that?

Also, what about the people who specifically want the defamatory material? Customer satisfaction among that group goes way down if all they can get is whatever has been approved, and you know that's no good for business. Although it could allow lots of small black market search engines to pop up and thrive, which would be good for that business.

"All the results that aren't fit to print!"


There's a case about electronic reserve reading underway involving Georgia State University that could mean a lot to many in academic fields. Barbara Fister at Inside Higher Ed sums it up nicely, but basically, some journal publishers sued GSU, saying that putting articles on reserve through library e-reserves or course management systems is a violation of copyright.

Now a lot of universities do this (or so I've heard!), so the results of this case will be a pretty big deal.

Copyright is one of those areas that both fascinates and frustrates me, and I do work in an academic library (although we've made the copyright-fear-based decision to stay the heck out of electronic reserves until we know if it's legal), and I will hope to learn and understand more about this in future.

I heard about it this time from Dorothea on Book of Trogool.


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