Statement by AERA, APA, and NCME on Withdrawal of Lawsuit Against Public.Resource.Org

“We are pleased to announce that the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education have dropped their lawsuit against Public.Resource.Org, Inc.  That lawsuit had been commenced to protect our copyright and enjoin Public.Resource.Org’s online publication of the 1999 edition of our acclaimed Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, the joint work product of the three organizations. The 1999 edition has been superseded by the substantially-revised 2014 edition of the Standards, and we recently determined that we would ourselves make the 1999 edition available online without charge for those who wished to view it for historical, scholarly, or other purposes.  In light of our own decision to make 1999 edition freely available, we decided to withdraw our objection to Public.Resource.Org’s online publication of that volume.   

We are continuing to review our policies regarding subsequent editions of the Standards, bearing in mind the importance of our work and our desire to ensure that the Standards will continue to play a vital and leading role in supporting proper practices in educational and psychological testing….”

Publisher Lawsuit Against Internet Archive Puts Future of Book Ownership In Question | WDET

“The newly-launched library serviced a temporary collection of books — about 4 million in total, many in the public domain — with a targeted focus of supporting remote teaching, research activities and independent scholarship. For this service, students paid nothing. 

This Open Library is now at the center of a lawsuit filed by major publishing corporations, including HarperCollins, Hatchett, Wiley and Random House, against the Internet Archives, a nonprofit website, alleging that the Open Library concept is a “mass copyright infringement.”

The lawsuit is scheduled for a federal court trial in 2021.  The publishers are seeking to have the Open Library permanently shut down….

In an op-ed written for The Nation, journalist and new media pioneer Maria Bustillos took a critical look at the lawsuit, the concept of an open library and what ownership means when major publishers seek to change what it means to own a book….”

Education Groups Drop Their Lawsuit Against Public.Resource.Org, Give Up Their Quest to Paywall the Law

“This week, open and equitable access to the law got a bit closer. For many years, EFF, along with co-counsel at Fenwick & West and attorney David Halperin, has defended Public.Resource.Org in its quest to improve public access to the law — including standards, like the National Electrical Code, that legislators and agencies have made into binding regulations. In two companion lawsuits, six standards development organizations sued Public Resource in 2013 for posting standards online. They accused Public Resource of copyright infringement and demanded the right to keep the law behind paywalls.

Yesterday, three of those organizations dropped their suit. The American Educational Research Association (AERA), the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), and the American Psychological Association (APA) publish a standard for writing and administering tests. The standard is widely used in education and employment contexts, and several U.S. federal and state government agencies have incorporated it into their laws….”

Official Code of Georgia Annotated now a Github Repo | Boing Boing

“You might think a Supreme Court ruling in our favor would be enough to get governments to change their tune, but Georgia hasn’t done a thing, nor have other states that try and build walls around their laws. The State doesn’t publish their code, and the awful site they refer you to is run by Lexis, only provides the unannotated unofficial code of Georgia, and subjects you to onerous terms of use, an awful design, and a total lack of respect for laws that mandate access to the visually impaired. which Public Resource is spending thousands of dollars per year with the official vendor to get copies of the laws of Georgia, Mississippi, and a handful of other states. Georgia alone is costing us $1,324 per year!

 

What we get for our yearly subscription is a quarterly CD-ROM for each state that only runs on Windows. You can, with some difficulty, export the titles of the code as Microsoft Word files in .rtf format. Well, we now have 8 quarterly releases of code extracted as .rtf files and hosted on the Internet Archive, with transformations to Open Document format. These .rtf files are not the greatest. Any links have been removed and there is no structure—lists, for example, are not lists, just ordinary paragraphs.

Today, I am delighted to announce that we’ve taken the next step. Working with my friends at Unicourt and their crack engineering team in Mangaluru, India, we’re releasing today a github repository that transforms those .rtf files into beautiful html. The RTF parser is the code that does the transformation. It puts structure, metadata, and accessibility back to the code. Any pointers to other code sections are marked, tables of contents now work properly, and we’ve tagged references to other resources such as the U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations, and other federal and state materials so that over time these will become more and more useful. A second github repository holds the Georgia transforms and over the next year, we’re going to be adding Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. We’re also hoping to add an xml diff capability, so we can generate redlines. If you just want to browse the html files, you can also view them on the Internet Archive. For example, here is Title 1 of the OCGA, current as of August, 2020. Just for good measure, we also added opinions of the Attorney General and the court rules….”

#EmpoweringLibraries – join the campaign – Internet Archive Blogs

“Libraries have a crucial role in a democratic society. They ensure that marginalized groups have free access to books and that knowledge is preserved for future generations. 

But this role is under threat. We urgently need your support to protect the right of libraries to continue doing their vital work. 

Borrowing digital books is a lifeline for people who cannot physically reach a library, such as those in rural communities or affected by an emergency, as well as for people with print disabilities. 

Libraries rely on a well-established practice known as controlled digital lending to reach these communities. The practice allows libraries to lend out each book they own in either a physical or a digitized format.

Digitizing books also enables libraries to fulfill their age-old role as guardians of cultural posterity. As library shelf space grows increasingly limited due to lack of funding, many valuable collections are saved from landfill only by being digitally archived. 

A new lawsuit by four corporate publishers against the Internet Archive attempts to outlaw controlled digital lending. Libraries would no longer be able to lend digital versions of their books or digitize their collections. …”

Internet Archive Responds to Piracy Charges | CCC’s Beyond the Book

“According to the filing, says [Andrew Albanese of Publishers Weekly], the Internet Archive “does what libraries have always done: buy, collect, preserve, and share our common culture. Its untested legal theory of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) is [allegedly] a good faith and legal effort specifically designed to ‘mirror traditional library lending online.’

[Still quoting Albanese:] “Contrary to the publishers’ accusations, the filing states, the Internet Archive, and the hundreds of libraries that support CDL, are not pirates or thieves, they are librarians, striving to serve their patrons online just as they have done for centuries in the brick-and-mortar world.” …”

Judge Sets Tentative Trial Date for November 2021 – Internet Archive Blogs

“This week, a federal judge issued this scheduling order, laying out the road map that may lead to a jury trial in the copyright lawsuit brought by four of the world’s largest publishers against the Internet Archive. Judge John G. Koeltl has ordered all parties to be ready for trial by November 12, 2021. He set a deadline of December 1, 2020, to notify the court if the parties are willing to enter settlement talks with a magistrate judge. 

Attorneys for the Internet Archive have met with representatives for the publishers, but were unable to reach an agreement. “We had hoped to settle this needless lawsuit,” said Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive’s founder and Digital Librarian. “Right now the publishers are diverting attention and resources from where they should be focused: on helping students during this pandemic.” 

The scheduling order lays out this timeline:

Discovery must be completed by September 20, 2021;
Dispositive motions must be submitted by October 8, 2021;
Pretrial orders/motions must be submitted by October 29, 2021;
Parties must be ready for trial on 48 hours notice by November 12, 2021…..

Publishers Weekly Senior Writer Andrew Albanese has been covering the story from the beginning. In a July 31st Beyond the Book podcast for the Copyright Clearance Center, Albanese shared his candid opinions about the lawsuit. “If this was to be a blow out, open-and-shut case for the publishers, what do the publishers and authors get?” Albanese asked. “I’d say nothing.”

“Honestly, a win in court on this issue will not mean more sales for books for publishers. Nor will it protect any authors or publisher from the vagaries of the Internet,” the Publishers Weekly journalist continued. “Here we are in the streaming age, 13 years after the ebook market took off, and we’re having a copyright battle, a court battle over crappy PDFs of mostly out-of-print books? I just don’t think it’s a good look for the industry.” …”

Publishers Are Taking the Internet to Court

“The trial is set for next year in federal court, with initial disclosures for discovery scheduled to take place next week. The publishers’ “prayer for relief” seeks to destroy the Open Library’s existing books, and to soak the Internet Archive for a lot of money; in their response, the Archive is looking to have its opponents’ claims denied in full, its legal costs paid, and “such other and further relief as the Court deems just and equitable.” But what’s really at stake in this lawsuit is the idea of ownership itself—what it means not only for a library but for anyone to own a book….

The Internet Archive is a tech partner to hundreds of libraries, including the Library of Congress, for whom it develops techniques for the stewardship of digital content. It helps them build their own Web-based collections with tools such as Archive-It, which is currently used by more than 600 organizations including universities, museums, and government agencies, as well as libraries, to create their own searchable public archives. The Internet Archive repairs broken links on Wikipedia—by the million. It has collected thousands of early computer games, and developed online emulators so they can be played on modern computers. It hosts collections of live music performances, 78s and cylinder recordings, radio shows, films and video. I am leaving a lot out about its groundbreaking work in making scholarly materials more accessible, its projects to expand books to the print-disabled—too many undertakings and achievements to count….

For-profit publishers like HarperCollins or Hachette don’t perform the kind of work required to preserve a cultural posterity. Publishers are not archivists. They obey the dictates of the market. They keep books in print based on market considerations, not cultural ones. …

publishers would like to see libraries obliged to license, not to own, books—that is, continue to pay for the same book again and again. That’s what this lawsuit is really about. It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that publishers took advantage of the pandemic to achieve what they had not been able to achieve previously: to turn the library system into a “reading as a service” operation from which they can squeeze profits forever….”