Section Editors:
Bruce Strauch (The Citadel)
Bryan M. Carson, J.D., M.I.L.S. (Western Kentucky University)
Jack Montgomery (Western Kentucky University)

Legally Speaking — Legal Implications of Reference Books for Publishers and Consumers

by Bryan M. Carson, J.D., M.I.L.S.
(Associate Professor, Coordinator of Reference and Instructional Services, Associated Faculty — Library Media Education Program, Western Kentucky University Libraries, 1906 College Heights Blvd. #11067, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101-1067; Phone: 270-745-5007; Fax: 270-745-2275)

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Every year large numbers of reference books are published. It is inevitable that some of these books will contain factual or other types of errors. The existence of errors brings up a number of legal issues, both for publishers and for customers. This article will attempt to answer some of the questions related to erroneous reference books, including:

  • Are books considered “goods” under the Uniform Commercial Code;
  • do publishers owe any legal duties to their customers;
  • what legal remedies are available to consumers;
  • are there legal risks faced by consumers; and
  • why it is a bad business model to sell reference works “as is.”

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