Just joking!

Last summer, there were some very visible signs that AALL was ratcheting up its consumer advocacy efforts for the benefit of AALL law firm members because LN was tying ancillary products to the sale of a Lexis Advance contract in the law firm market. Go here for a summary of the tying controversy written about six months ago. Since then, nothing. The controversy is not on the Executive Board’s summer meeting agenda this year and the June 17, 2019 CRIV liaison call notes do not mention it directly. So much for AALL taking “legal or commercial action” against LexisNexis for its anticompetitive tying sales strategy.

Since September 1, 2016, Thomson Reuters Special Services has been providing “mission critical” access to their databases for ICE Enforcement and Removal Services. On July 8, 2019, Tom Boone announced that he was boycotting Thomson Reuters at AALL’s annual meeting this year because of the Company’s on-going involvement with ICE. Boone writes  “While it is unlikely that anyone from TR who is attending the AALL Annual Meeting has anything to do with the company’s work with ICE, I’ve decided as a matter of personal conscience that I will not participate in any specific events at the conference in which TR is involved.”

He adds: “However, other than attend the conference itself, I decline to:

  • “Set foot in any Thomson Reuters booths in the AALL Exhibit Hall;
  • “Attend any AALL program or other event run by or sponsored by Thomson Reuters; or
  • “Attend any educational program session with a Thomson Reuters speaker.”

If you are interested in joining Boone, he lists the following events sponsored by TR. They are:

  • Leadership Training for SISs (by invitation) (sponsored by Thomson Reuters)
  • Leadership Training for Chapters (by invitation) (sponsored by Thomson Reuters)
  • CONELL: Check-in & Breakfast (sponsored by Thomson Reuters)
  • Leadership Luncheon for Committees, Award Juries, SISs, and Chapters (by invitation) (sponsored by Thomson Reuters)
  • Thomson Reuters Litigation Analytics: Data-driven Insights for Winning Strategies (members only)
  • Thomson Reuters Customer Appreciation Party (aka “The West Party”)

Boone also adds the following educational program sessions feature TR representatives as speakers that he will not attend:

  • D6: Fostering the NextGen Library Professional: How the Changing Legal Market Shapes Our Roles
  • D7: Deep Dive: The Federal and State Court Analytics Market — Should the Buyer Beware? What’s on the Horizon?
  • H3: Artificial Intelligence and Implicit Bias

During this year’s annual ALA meeting, a group of librarians from Librarians for Democracy staged a protest against the CIA’s presence in the exhibit hall. LJ reports that in a statement handed out during the protest, the organizers explain —

“The Central Intelligence Agency stands in direct opposition to our core values…. That is why today, we join those librarians who came before us as we stand up to oppose CIA recruitment at the ALA Annual Conference….The CIA has participated for decades in the violent overthrow of governments while propping up dictators all over the world. The CIA believes in absolute secrecy for itself, but total surveillance for all others. The CIA makes use of ultra-secretive ‘black sites’ to conduct torture and extrajudicial detention. We need not list their entire history to show that library workers should not be associated with them, that the CIA’s actions are incompatible with the values of librarianship. In an era where democracy is in jeopardy, where the government and its agencies are under the control of a dangerous white supremacist regime, library workers must take a stand against undemocratic forces — particularly those as powerful as the CIA.”

More on LJ.

Public.Resource.Org and its President and Founder Carl Malamud are recipients of the 2019 AALL Public Access to Government Information Award. From the press release:

“The activism of Carl Malamud and Public.Resource.Org in the public domain has been crucial in providing the public with vital access to essential government information,” said AALL President Femi Cadmus. “For his critical work and advocacy in advancing government transparency, AALL is proud to recognize Carl and his organization with the 2019 Public Access to Government Information Award.”

Long overdue. Congratulations!

In addition to proposed revisions to Article VI., Nominations and Elections; Article IX., Committees, Other Organizations, and Representatives; and Article X., Special Interest Sections of the AALL Bylaws, the Executive Board approved extensive proposed revisions to  our association’s Ethical Principles, which were last revised in 1999. The proposed revisions may be reviewed in mark-up format here. From the revised preamble:

“The following Ethical Principles are informed by longstanding best practices and in consideration of emerging ethical issues. They are not enforceable by AALL and they are not meant to govern specific situations. They are aspirational, constructive, and generally achievable principles meant to guide Association members in ethical reflection concerning their professional activities.”

According to AALL’s press release, all revisions to the AALL Bylaws and the AALL Ethical Principles will be voted on by rank and file membership. Voting will open on Monday, July 29, 2019 and will remain open through Thursday, August 29, 2019. The results of the vote will be announced on Friday, August 30, 2019.

End note: For comparison’s sake, see ALA’s Code of Ethics and SLA’s Professional Ethics Guidelines.

This year’s inductees are Paul George, associate dean for curriculum development and the Biddle Law Library at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Jolande Goldberg, senior cataloging policy specialist for law classification, policy & standards at the Library of Congress and Robert Oaks, retired chief library and records officer at Latham & Watkins LLP. Read the press release here.

Kudos to all

From the LJ article, Deal or No Deal: Periodicals Price Survey 2019: “For the past decade, libraries have battled declining university budgets and increasing serials expenditures. With each Big Deal package renewal or cancellation, librarians and publishers have asked themselves: Did I make the best deal? Did I make the right deal? Recent developments in open access (OA) promise to bring major reform to academic publishing and, with that, new challenges and opportunities to the way that librarians and publishers choose to deal.”

The price survey indications that law periodicals increased 7% over last year’s pricing.

The LexisNexis tying controversy was on the agenda for our association’s Spring executive board meeting. It appears on the April 5 agenda as one of six items listed under the heading “informal considerations.” See the Spring 2019 Meeting Board Book. The agenda indicates that AALL President Femi Cadmus gave an “update on current LexisNexis Practices.” There was no action item associated with the tying controversy agenda item. Hopefully AALL will communicate the substance of this update to the rank-and-file membership in the near future.

The AALL State of the Profession 2019 Snapshot is a preview of the inaugural AALL State of the Profession 2019 report. The preview takes a quick look at law librarians’ role in technology management, as well as topics of note in each setting. The Snapshot’s content is an excellent teaser for the full report.

The full report provides an overview of the law library and legal information landscape. This report captures the range of legal information professionals’ contributions and talents, challenges in the field, and ambitions for the future. It is intended to be used as a tool for benchmarking, advocacy, or organizational planning, and personal development. The report is available for preorder on AALLNET (http://bit.ly/AALLSOTP19).  The price is $199 for members and $299 for non-members.

 

Referring to my Nov. 8, 2018 LLB post entitled So what’s up? Is AALL going to follow up on the LexisNexis tying controversy? a reader asked what I knew about the current status of the AALL-LexisNexis tying dispute last week. My response: to the best of my knowledge, nothing has happened since the July 2, 2018 meeting between AALL officers and LN where LN executives served up the company’s usual word salad over this controversy.

The reader could have but didn’t ask:

  • “Will the LexisNexis tying matter be on the agenda for the executive board’s next meeting?” Don’t know. Too soon to say because the meeting’s agenda will not be released until early April.
  • “If not, does this mean that the executive board doesn’t intend to take legal or commercial action after the unproductive July 2, 2018 meeting?” I fear it may.

What AALL has done so far.  After fielding requests for assistance from law firms without obtaining satisfactory resolutions of the tying complaints, CRIV recommended that the executive board issue a “letter of disapproval.” The matter was placed on the executive board’s Spring 2018 meeting agenda and after the meeting the executive board issued a statement that the executive board was going to investigate LN’s tying sales policy.

On June 7, 2018, the executive board sent LN’s CEO Mike Walsh a letter criticizing the tying sales policy and calling for a meeting to resolve the controversy. That meeting took place of July 2, 2018 and was reported to the rank-and-file membership. In a nutshell, LN stonewalled AALL by stating that  the company is unable to discuss any product packaging or pricing matters, except with their customers, since each relationship is customized to meet the firm’s needs, and because Lexis has negotiated NDAs with all of its customers. From the meeting’s summary prepared by AALL:

“AALL President Greg Lambert strongly urged Lexis leadership to reconsider the new practice. While we do not anticipate that will occur, he further urged that they communicate fully to the membership and to their individual customers at the local level the specifics of this new sales practice and how it will affect them when renewing their Lexis contracts. … AALL will continue to pursue any rights we might have in addressing these product-tying policies.”

Since then, CRIV has continued to field requests for assistance by law firms over the tying policy and on Nov. 29, 2018, CRIV brought up the matter during its semi-annual vendor call once again. In essence, LN’s response stated its tying policy was legal so the company was going to continue executing it. Here’s one pertinent part of LN’s statement to CRIV:

“We appreciated the time and effort the AALL leadership team put into sharing their insights on our products and pricing. We will certainly keep these perspectives in mind as we move forward. We also were grateful for the opportunity to discuss our integrated product strategy and our compliance process that includes internal and external legal review of all pricing and packaging prior to release to customers.”

And that’s where the matter stands.  If it is not on the Spring 2019 executive board meeting agenda, then in all likelihood, AALL’s first significant attempt at consumer advocacy for law firms in many, many years has failed due to the executive board’s collective lack of will power to stand by its statements.

At ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, ALA Council adopted revisions to “Copyright: An Interpretation of the Code of Ethics”. The changes, proposed by the Committee on Professional Ethics, strengthened “Copyright: An Interpretation of the Code of Ethics” by adding legal citations; expanding the text to include definitions of important principles for “Fair Use” and “First Sale Doctrine”; and addressing digital licensing agreements. The interpretation has also been broadened to encompass all types of libraries and material formats.

H/T InfoDocket.

ALA’s Library Bill of Rights has been updated to include an article focused on the concept of ensuring privacy and confidentiality for library users.The new article of the Library Bill of Rights, Article VII, states: “All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.”

H/T beSpacific.

The Legal History and Rare Books (LH&RB) Section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), in cooperation with Cengage Learning, announces the Eleventh Annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition. The competition is named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, late Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School.

The competition is designed to encourage scholarship and to acquaint students with the AALL and law librarianship, and is open to students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in library science, law, history, and related fields. Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The winner will receive a $500.00 prize from Cengage Learning and present his or her paper in a national webinar.

Winning and runner-up entries will be invited to submit their entries to Unbound, the official journal of LH&RB. Past winning essays have gone on to be accepted by journals such as N.Y.U. Law Review, American Journal of Legal History, University of South Florida Law Review, William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities, and French Historical Review.

The entry form and instructions are available at the LH&RB website. Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m., April 15, 2019 (EDT)

From the press release:

ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions announces a new facilitated eCourse in collaboration with the Office for Intellectual Freedom, The First Amendment and Library Services. Theresa Chmara will serve as the instructor for a 4-week facilitated eCourse starting on Monday, March 4, 2019.

Librarians and library staff are aware that the free and equitable provision of information is an important part of the library’s mission. The First Amendment protects the right to speak, publish, read, and view materials in the library, but courts have recognized that libraries also must have reasonable rules in place for patron use of the library, consistent with the library’s mission to provide access to library materials and services to the entire library community.

This course, brought to you in collaboration with the Office for Intellectual Freedom, will introduce you to the legal principles behind the First Amendment, their practical implications in daily life, and how those principles affect library work. You will learn basic legal concepts, your rights as library employees, the rights of library patrons, and what the First Amendment does and does not obligate the library to provide.

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled is a key legal instrument adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in 2013. It sets out to end the book famine for visually impaired people around the world. The Treaty provisions allow institutions such as libraries, under specific circumstances, to produce and exchange accessible format copies of works, including across borders. By doing so, more works will be available for people with print disabilities.

IFLA is keeping track of changes at the national level to bring national legislations in line with the Treaty. This is important, as in almost all cases, for the Treaty to have an impact, there needs to be both ratification or accession to the Treaty, and national reform.

The monitoring report follows up on the previous edition from October 2018. Many countries have been added to the list, and several more have made legislative changes in their national law since then.

H/T INFOdocket

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published the ARL Statistics 2016–2017, ARL Academic Law Library Statistics 2016–2017, and ARL Academic Health Sciences Library Statistics 2016–2017. These three publications present information describing the collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities of the Association’s 124 member libraries in fiscal year 2016–2017. Of these 124 members, 114 are university libraries (15 in Canada and 99 in the US); the remaining 10 are public, governmental, and nonprofit research libraries (1 in Canada, 9 in the US). The law and health sciences publications focus on the 72 law libraries and 58 medical libraries among the Association’s membership that completed the law and health sciences surveys. Unfortunately the reports are paywalled.

H/T Gary Price’s INFOdocket post.

On Nov. 29, 2018, CRIV conducted its Fall semiannual call with LexisNexis (reported in CRIV Blog on Dec. 18, 2018 here). CRIV tried to address two advocacy requests from law firms unable to renew their Law360 subscriptions without having a Lexis Advance contract. Here’s what LexisNexis said:

We’ve worked with Law Librarians and AALL over many years and deeply respect our longstanding relationship with this community. We see Law Librarians as critical collaborators in the journey to evolve our offerings and better serve all customers. It is in that same spirit that we’re engaging with AALL to fully understand the concerns that have been raised. Ultimately, our goal is to provide legal information and analytics that help lawyers cut through vast amounts of data to efficiently gain insights, make better decisions, and achieve the best outcomes possible.

We appreciated the time and effort the AALL leadership team put into sharing their insights on our products and pricing. We will certainly keep these perspectives in mind as we move forward. We also were grateful for the opportunity to discuss our integrated product strategy and our compliance process that includes internal and external legal review of all pricing and packaging prior to release to customers. Since pricing and packaging plans vary by customer type and are customized to meet specific customer needs, we encourage members to follow-up with their LexisNexis account representative with any questions regarding their firm’s specifics.

AALL leaders shared their “insights” in this June 7, 2018 letter to LN CEO Mike Walsh. That letter stated, among other important points that “The AALL Committee on Relations with Information Vendors (CRIV) his attempted to open a dialogue with LexisNexis regarding the impact of its anticompetitive policy on law firm libraries and on law firms. But, to date, LexisNexis’ response has been vague, incomplete, and unsatisfactory, evincing. no interest or intent to revoke or otherwise modify the practice in question.”

Nothing has changed; AALL leadership has yet to take action against LexisNexis.