All posts by Jennifer Howard

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Judge Hands HathiTrust Digital Repository a Win in Fair-Use Case

Academic libraries’ indexing of digitized works counts as fair use. So says the federal judge overseeing a major copyright-infringement lawsuit brought last year by the Authors Guild against the HathiTrust digital repository and its university partners.

At stake was the uses the libraries could make of millions of scanned books. “I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not encompass the transformative uses” made by the defendants, Judge Harold Baer, of the U.S. District Court in New…

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Judge Denies Publishers’ Request for Relief in Georgia State U. E-Reserves Case

There was more good news for Georgia State University and more bad news for the publisher plaintiffs on Friday in a closely watched lawsuit over the use of copyrighted material in e-reserves. In May, Judge Orinda Evans of the U.S. District Court in Atlanta handed down a ruling that dismissed all but five of the copyright-infringement claims brought by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publishers against the university. On Friday afternoon, Judge Evans issued an order

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Saying Costly Subscriptions ‘Cannot Be Sustained,’ Harvard Library Committee Urges Open Access

The rising cost of journal subscriptions has created an “untenable situation” for the Harvard Library, according to the library’s Faculty Advisory Council. In a frank open letter to the Harvard faculty, the council warns that the library faces a subscription crisis “exacerbated by efforts of certain publishers” to bundle journals into high-priced packages. The letter does not name those publishers but says that Harvard now pays almost $3.75-million a year for their journals. “Continuing these su…

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Federal Appeals Court Hears Arguments in IRA Oral-History Case

A federal appeals court heard arguments on Wednesday in a closely watched case involving the Belfast Project, a collection of oral-history records of the late-20th-century civil strife in Northern Ireland housed at Boston College, the Associated Press reported. Lawyers for the two lead researchers on the project, Anthony McIntyre and Ed Moloney, argued that former IRA members they had interviewed confront “the real risk of physical harm” if the records were turned over to U.S. attorneys, who are…

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Journal Publishers Oppose Bill That Would Require Access to Published Research

Eighty-one publishers of scholarly journals today expressed their strong opposition to the proposed Federal Research Public Access Act, or FRPAA. The bill, introduced as HR 4004 in the U.S. House of Representatives and as S 2096 in the Senate, would require the results of federally supported research be made public within six months of publication. “FRPAA is little more than an attempt at intellectual eminent domain, but without fair compensation to authors,” Tom Allen, president of the Associat…

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Chomsky Papers Go to MIT Libraries

The personal archive of the linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky will go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries, the university announced today. Mr. Chomsky is an emeritus professor there. The collection includes his personal papers and portions of his library. It “will be a complete archival resource that will provide researchers with unique insight into Professor Chomsky’s thinking, and the development of the field of linguistics, as well as his views on significan…

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Bill Would Require Public Access to Taxpayer-Supported Research

A bill introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives would require federal agencies with external research budgets of $100-million or more to provide electronic access to articles based on research they help pay for. The bill, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012, was introduced by Mike Doyle, a Democrat of Pennsylvania. It would require free online public access to peer-reviewed manuscripts or published articles “as soon as practicable, but not later than six months after publ…

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Library Groups and Open-Access Advocates Speak Out Against Bill

A coalition of 10 library and open-access advocacy groups has sent a letter to Congress opposing HR 3699, the controversial Research Works Act. The American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of College and Research Libraries, Creative Commons, the Public Library of Science, and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, or Sparc, are among those who signed the letter. The proposed bill “would unfairly and unnecessarily prohibit federal ag…

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Judge Orders Boston College to Hand Over More Oral-History Records

Boston College must give prosecutors more transcripts and recordings from the Belfast Project, The Boston Globe has reported. A federal judge, William B. Young, has ruled that the college must release the records of seven people interviewed for the project, which collected accounts of participants in Northern Ireland’s sectarian troubles. Federal prosecutors, acting on behalf of the British government, want to see records related to the killing of Jean McConville, who was kidnapped and murdered …

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Amid Reorganization, Harvard Library Plays Down Fears of Mass Layoffs

Reports that Harvard Library employees were being let go en masse circulated on social-media sites Thursday, following town-hall-style meetings to update staff on Harvard’s continuing project to restructure its libraries. A librarian’s tweet announcing that “All of Harvard library staff have effectively been fired” was widely retweeted, and concern spread quickly (see the Twitter hashtag #hlth).

In a statement sent to news organizations, Kira Poplowski, the library’s director of communications, …