As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education and the CBC, Edwin Mellen Press has dropped ONE lawsuit; the one that names both Dale Askey and McMaster University, but according to an email sent to the ARL board of directors by Vivian Lewis, Acting University Librarian at McMaster, EMP has NOT dropped the original suit against Dale personally! This is mentioned in passing in an update to the Chronicle piece as well, though seems to be glossed over in favour of the good news for McMaster University :-/
Notice that in their press release, EMP says they're dropping one of the lawsuits not because they were in the wrong, but because "The financial pressure of the social media campaign and pressure on authors is severe. EMP is a small company. Therefore must choose to focus its resources on its business and serving its authors. Accordingly, EMP has discontinued the court case against McMaster University and Dale Askey."
Oh, and I find it hilarious that EMP opens their press release by stomping their foot and crossing their arms in a huff, "The Edwin Mellen Press (“EMP”) is a scholarly publisher. This has been confirmed in a recent Open Letter to the Scholarly Community posted on the web by the Association of Canadian University Presses." (emphasis mine).
Keep up the pressure all - Dale's not out of the woods yet!
Just a quick post to point to Publisher hits new low: Suing librarian for criticizing their books, John DuPuis' comprehensive and always updated timeline of events / statements of support for Askey / condemnation for EMP. I won't mention the situation again until something breaks...
A quick follow up on last week's post about Edwin Mellen Press suing Librarian Dale Askey. The Chronicle of Higher Education has now gotten the word out, along with a link to a petition at Change.org asking EMP to drop the lawsuit. That petition is up to 1,186 signatures as I write this; please add yours. BoingBoing also reports, probably bringing the news to a more general audience.
And finally, the Canadian Library Association sent an email to members this AM as follows:
One of the Canadian Library Association's stated values is:
We believe that libraries and the principles of intellectual freedom and free universal access to information are key components of an open and democratic society.
It is imperative that library workers are able to openly discuss and publish their thoughts, research and opinions. The imparial evaluation of information quality is one of the key contributions of professional librarians. The CLA Executive Council wishes to publicly support Dale Askey of McMaster University and McMaster University in their defence against the unprecedented libel suit brought against them by Edwin Mellen Press.
The CLA Executive Council strongly urges Edwin Mellen Press to drop this suit.
Oh, and I was surprised to learn in my quick searches last week that neither CLA or ALA appear to have a legal defense fund for members :-/
As reported on the Princeton Academic Librarian blog, and by Inside Higher Ed, Edwin Mellen Press has filed a lawsuit against McMaster University librarian Dale Askey, for a post Dale wrote on his personal blog while he worked at Kansas State University. That post, critical of Edwin Mellen Press, has since been taken down, but there's a link to the legal documents which contain a copy at the top of the Academic Librarian post.
What a shameful approach to a critical review. Shame on you Edwin Mellen. The Inside Higher Ed blog notes that Dale is currently paying legal fees out of his own pocket. Dale, please don't give up your defense - I'm off to research how best to take up a collection in your support, but I'd love to be able to simply hold it in escrow so donations can be returned when McMaster or KSU step up, as they should.
Do any of you readers know of such a service?
1. What is the scope of the deal?
Elsevier has purchased Knovel in its entirety.
2. Were there multiple bidders?
Yes, there were several.
3. Why did Knovel investors decide to sell to Elsevier?
Knovel was not looking to sell and was aggressively investing in its business. We were approached by several potential acquirers because of the market’s growth potential and Knovel’s leading position. This presented an attractive opportunity to partner and grow the business much faster and more aggressively than we would on our own. Knovel investors and management believe that the partnership with Elsevier would benefit our customers, investors and employees to the greatest extent vs. other potential partners.
I honestly don't have anything new to add to this situation, but I wanted to throw together a few links for you to follow (legally even!) if you want to try and figure out what's going through the heads of the administrators at Canadian Universities that are planning to sign on with the Access Copyright - AUCC Model Licence. I can sure think of better places for a University to spend a large amount of money!
First, Michael Geist, as always, offers a clear and well-reasoned post: Why Universities Should Not Sign the Access Copyright - AUCC Model Licence.
Second, earlier today The Faculty Association of the University of Calgary (TUCFA) posted a link to a fascinating PDF in which CAUT, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, responds point by point to the University of Calgary's response to CAUT's concerns with the AUCC/Access Copyright model licence.
Finally, earlier this month Ariel Katz, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, took a detailed look at how the recent decision in the Georgia State University copyright case is relevant here in Canada. He concludes that, "... American universities are much more willing to assert and defend their rights, while many Canadian ones, short-sighted, extremely risk-averse, and ill-advised, still cling to their habit of being dependent on Access Copyright."
Ouch, and spot on, IMHO!
Oh, and I notice Dr. Katz is also keeping a running list of members in the Canadian Hall of F/Sh/ame.
This made a big splash up here in Canada last week, but then seemed to quickly quiet down, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong spots. Read many of the details on the Excess Copyright blog, but as Howard Knopf points out, "In an astonishing development that has caught all but a handful by surprise, U. of T. and Western have signed copyright deals with Access Copyright that appear to be an early and complete capitulation to an important battle over the costs and parameters of access to knowledge in Canadian post-secondary institutions."
Down in the comments someone writes, "I actually sit on the Access Copyright Working Group for Western. No one that I know on that committee knew anything about this agreement. It also comes hot on the heels of the entire student body (undergraduate and graduate students alike) voting to opt out of the Access Copyright Tariff. There are many, many questions about the deal and the entire process that need to be made public."
See also Sam Trosow's post on the subject.
Does anyone have words from the institutions about why they've caved like this?
A quick followup to my post earlier this month noting Sarah Houghton-Jan's (LiB) rant about Overdrive's different catalogues. TeleRead point out that OverDrive has in fact clarified their position, but without making any mention of Sarah's post, which is likely the cause of theirs. It'd be great to hear a debate between these two parties :-)
If you currently subscribe or are considering subscribing to OverDrive's ebook service, you owe it to yourself to go read Sarah's (LiB) post about how OverDrive is offering different catalogues to libraries based on how those libraries define their service areas. Apparently it is in OverDrive's TOS, but it's not very clear, and OverDrive hasn't taken the opportunity to clarify their position despite numerous attempts on Sarah's part to get them to comment.
Thanks to my colleague Tim for tweeting about this short video, produced a year ago by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and McGill University Library. I wish it somehow did better job explaining how the money aspect of the equation keeps research out of the hands of some, as most of us here in the Western world can usually get access for "free" through our University libraries...
Know what? I pirated two ebooks yesterday. My wife purchased two titles from the B&N Nook store, and after we collectively spent nearly two hours attempting to get them to transfer to her Sony PRS-350 ereader I gave up and grabbed them via bittorrent, and had them installed in a matter of minutes. That included finding, downloading, and then moving over to the ereader. I even did a fair amount of research trying to get Calibre plugins to help me strip the DRM, and was unsuccessful there before I went rogue.
What's that saying about DRM? Damn, I can't find the one about how DRM only works against law-abiding citizens, but I did find this one that says the same thing: Every time DRM prevents legitimate playback, a pirate gets his wings.
Stupid DRM. Wasted my time, didn't accomplish what it was supposed to.
The title is an homage to the soon-to-be-released movie based on the Canadian Scott Pilgrim comic book series, which you should read.
So Mark Leggott, University Librarian at the University of Prince Edward Island, is making some waves in the mainstream press. In the Toronto Star: Canadian librarian leads worldwide digital revolt for free knowledge. On the CBC: University to bypass expensive database. Earlier in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Hot Type: Canadian University Hopes to Lead Fight Against High Subscription Prices. An important clarification on that article from the Canadian Research Knowledge Network: Open Letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education (PDF) and in his own words: UPEI, Web of Science and Knowledge for All.
It's really nice to see so many of the commenters on these posts seeming to at least partially understand the issues and agree with the approach.
In a nutshell, Mark is fed up with constant price increases for research databases, and has dropped one of the biggies, Web of Science, from the list of databases to which his university subscribes. Instead, he and Amanda Stevens (I don't know her) have proposed the Knowledge for all Project, which audaciously proposes "to engage the international academic library community to collectively create a universal citation index to all of the world's past and current scholarly journal literature. The tool will be accessible to all via the web and will be called Knowledge for All."
Mark's actually got a positive track record with big shifts like this. In 2008 he dropped the commercial Sirsi Unicorn Integrated Library Service (ILS) like a hot potato in favour of open source alternative Evergreen.
It'll be interesting to see how it progresses. Off to quiz our licensing librarian on the issue...
I haven't been giving much thought to the recent privacy/policy changes at Facebook, but did find this tool pretty interesting. ReclaimPrivacy.org has a tool that will scan your Facebook settings and let you know what the world can know about you, and how to tweak the settings if you find something you don't like. Here's what my initial scan revealed:
The only thing I found that I decided to change was that a couple of my photo albums which included pictures of my kids were available for anyone to view; I changed that to friends only. Neat tool though, you might want to check it out.