The Long Arm of the Law

by | Nov 19, 2019 | 0 comments

Traditionally, the last day of the Charleston Conference is a very popular session moderated by Anne Okerson and featuring two lawyers discussing the latest legal issues affecting the information industry.​​

Anne Okerson
Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu, Associate Dean for Library Services and Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, discussed Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), ReDigi and

CDL refers to libraries lending digital items. It is a format shift; the library must own the item, and it cannot loan more copies than it owns. CDL is implemented through Fair Use. The First Sale doctrine allows libraries to buy books and lend them. There is no effect on the market; when a copy is loaned out, the sales are unchanged.

ReDigi refers to resales of digital music. Its proponents claimed they were doing it because they wanted to get music available that people were no longer listening to. There was no control over the distribution, but the work was made more useful or transformative.

In the case of Georgia v., the question was whether the works be in the public domain? They originated by the legislature so the producer is the government.

Bill Hannay, Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP, and a frequent speaker at these sessions, characterized the present situation as largely “same old, same old​” and confusing. For example, the Right to be Forgotten is restricted to the EU, but then the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Facebook can be forced to delete content worldwide. The French privacy agency ruled that Europe could not be forced to adhere to the Right outside the EU.

On October 3, 2019, the court held that individual countries can order Facebook to take down photos globally. California has enacted a new privacy act, which is the strictest in the US and is limited to asking a business to delete information about a person.

The privacy fight in the US is growing; here are the current areas of interest:

  • Significance to libraries.
  • Pornography is not education.
  • ACS and ResearchGate.
  • Animal rights (rubber ducks).
  • Music: Dark Horse vs. Joyful Noise

Hannay is known for his musical conclusions to his presentations, and this one was no exception. Here are the lyrics that he sung:

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