The Loon has had occasion to mention previously the publishing industry’s addiction to shooting itself in the foot, inside as well as outside the legal system. The glorious summary-judgment smackdown of the Authors Guild by Judge Baer, outlined succinctly by James Grimmelmann, shows that missed foot shots sometimes lodge directly in vital organs.
(The Loon finds herself wondering whether Judge Baer might have thrown the Guild a bit more of a bone if the “Section 108 means no fair use” argument hadn’t been so, well, boneheaded. As always, however, the Loon is not a lawyer and has no particular status to opine.)
Perhaps “copyright is not your gravy train” would be a suitable mantra for authors and publishers considering stupid legal actions (and the Loon is sorry, but several of the arguments from the Guild were just plain stupid). The Loon almost hates to dissuade stupid legal actions, though, when the results so clearly benefit the public good! Oh, and libraries too, of course.
Remaining unsettled is Hathi’s orphan-works-freeing enterprise. Bluntly, Hathi made a seriously (and wholly evitably) stupid play the last time they tried this. Hathi is not in the least stupid, however—even the smartest of us blows something sometime—so the Loon will be watching with interest to see what they decide from here.
The impact of this decision on smaller-scale digitization projects—such as those done in many academic libraries—likewise remains to be seen. The Loon suspects many will proceed with greater confidence, and that outcome pleases her a great deal.
Desultory comments on a Pyrrhic lawsuit by Library Loon, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.