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RE: What does Tasini mean for us librarians?

I forgot to mention in my last posting. In addition to reading the
decision itself, if you want the view of this ruling from the Tasini side
(i.e., the writers' side), go to:


Bernie Sloan

-----Original Message-----
From: Ann Okerson [mailto:aokerson@pantheon.yale.edu]
Sent: Sunday, October 24, 1999 10:49 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu; consort@ohiolink.edu
Cc: Scott Bennett
Subject: What does Tasini mean for us librarians?

Finally I got around to reading the Second Circuit decision of "Tasini vs.
New York Times," handed down on September 24th, 1999.  This decision has
been the subject of much discussion on the cni-copyright list, but not yet
on liblicense-l.  But, shouldn't it be?

In this recent ruling, an overturn of the decision of the lower court, the
judges gave to writers, at least freelance writers whose material is
republished in an electronic aggregation-database, a major victory.

That is, the judges ruled that a publisher who wishes to grant rights to
an aggregator to include works in that aggregators database, may not
automatically do so.  The publisher must have the author's permission.  
The publisher is *not* protected by the privilege against copyright
infringement afforded to publishers of collective works.  This very
readable decision describes the process by which a periodical or newspaper
is made available to NEXIS and how an article loses any sense of its
original context in the subsequent aggregated database publication.

My reading of the decision, hardly an authoritative reading of course,
says to me that the aggregations that my library colleagues and I license
(collections like Lexis-Nexis, Academic Universe, ProQuestDirect, Ebsco
Academic and others) are likely to contain numerous articles whose authors
have not, therefore, given permission for inclusion in such collections.
This in turn suggests to me that suddenly those aggregators may have
discovered that they did not have the right to further license those
aggregations to customers such as my library.

So, now what?  Any experts out there?

Ann Okerson
Yale University Library