In The Problem With Discovery Tools and Law Firm Libraries Slaw’s Susannah Tredwell concludes

As the number of electronic resources increase, there is going to be an increasing need for effective ways to search and manage these resources. The ideal would be a “publisher agnostic” platform on which all content could be mounted, regardless of who supplies it, but the realities of the legal publishing world make that unlikely.

Unlikely indeed. Tredwell’s post and the three below listed references which formed the basis for her post are highly recommended. — Joe

Certainly there is a serious side to revenge porn but that’s not what this post is about. This post is a light-hearted riff on the notion of amending the Copyright Act to protect  amateur porn’s (aka “intimate media”) social value by “creat[ing] a right for identifiable subjects of intimate media to prevent unauthorized distribution or display of those images or videos, backed by statutory damages and injunctive relief, but leavened with immunity for service providers following a take-down procedure and for any defendant obtaining written consent or making newsworthy use of the media”. Quoting Derek Bambauer’s INFO/LAW post, Copyright, Sexting, and Revenge Porn: What Law Should Do, about his forthcoming Minnesota Law Review article. Here’s the abstract for Bambauer’s Exposed [SSRN]:

The production of intimate media – amateur, sexually explicit photos and videos – by consenting partners creates social value that warrants increased copyright protection. The unauthorized distribution of these media, such as via revenge porn, threatens to chill their output. To date, scholarly attention to this problem has focused overwhelmingly on privacy and criminal law as responses, neglecting the power of intellectual property doctrine to curtail harms and spur beneficial uses. Copyright law leverages an established, carefully limited system of intermediary liability that addresses the true risks of abuses, such as revenge porn. Importantly, copyright is also consonant with key statutory protections, such as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that protect the thriving Internet ecosystem.

This Article proposes creating within the Copyright Act a right for identifiable people captured in intimate media to block unauthorized distribution and display of those images or video. It then uses the proposal, and issues for intimate media more broadly, as a window into contentious scholarly debates over the nature of authorship and the balance between copyright and free speech. The Article closes by identifying the rise of intimate media and its concomitant challenges as part of the ongoing revolution in information production.

Imagine the soul-searching deliberations leading up to bedroom conversations, see for example, I post amateur porn secretly on Salon. Imagine congressional deliberations. Imagine Fox News interviewing Scalia after SCOTUS opines on such an amendment. Heck, imagine Scalia’s law clerks researching revenge porn’s chilling effect on intimate media’s social value. Hell, imagine Jason Wilson’s annotations to the oral arguments before SCOTUS.

For the serious side of revenge porn, see Victims are taking on ‘revenge porn’ websites for posting photos they didn’t consent to (ABAJ, Nov. 1, 2013). See also, Miami Law prof Mary Anne Franks’ blog, Moving Targets, and the work she is performing to draft model legislation to criminalize revenue porn.  — Joe

The Court issued one opinion yesterday.  The case is Burt v. Titlow  (12-14) and it concerns the effective assistance of counsel as raised in a habeas corpus proceeding.  Vonlee Titlow was convicted of first degree murder in Michigan.  The record indicates that she poured Vodka down the throat of her Aunt’s husband after which her Aunt smothered the victim.  Titlow’s first attorney arranged a plea deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to manslaughter in return for testifying against her Aunt.  Three days before the Aunt’s trial, Titlow retained a different lawyer who tried to alter the terms of the deal for an even lower sentence.  The prosecution refused.  Titlow had maintained her innocence and decided to go to trial.  She was convicted of second degree murder and given a sentence of 20-40 years.

The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld Titlow’s conviction and denied a claim on ineffective assistance of counsel for her second lawyer.  The claim was that the second attorney advised withdrawing the guilty pleas while not spending enough time learning the details of the case.  The appellate court held that the attorney’s actions were reasonable given Titlow’s protestations of innocence.  The record also shows that Titlow’s prior attorney had discussed the evidence against her in detail and explained that it could support a conviction for first degree murder.

The federal district judge denied habeas relief on deference to the reasonableness of the Michigan Court of Appeals’ decision.  The Sixth Circuit reversed.  It noted that the explanation for withdrawal provided by the second attorney at the hearing on the plea was that the jail time offered was higher than the Michigan guidelines.  As such, the Appellate Court’s rationale was unreasonable.     

The Supreme Court reversed.  It held that the Sixth Circuit unreasonably substituted its judgment for that of the state courts.  The record supports the factual finding that the plea was withdrawn after Titlow proclaimed innocence.  There was no evidence in the record of the advice the second lawyer gave to Titlow.  The standard presumes competency.  Titlow did not overcome that presumption.

There were some questions of ethics, such as the attorney agreeing to represent Titlow in exchange partially for publication rights.  The Court said of that:

He may well have violated the rules of professional conduct by accepting respondent’s publication rights as partial payment for his services, and he waited weeks before consulting respondent’s first lawyer about the case. But the Sixth Amendment does not guarantee the right to perfect counsel; it promises only the right to effective assistance, and we have held that a lawyer’s violation of ethical norms does not make the lawyer per se ineffective.

That statement reminds me of another opinion where the Court stated: ‘A defendant is entitled to a fair trial but not a perfect one.’ Lutwak v. United States, 344 U.S. 604, 619.  Take it from the Supreme Court, perfection isn’t everything.  In fact, it may not be anything.

Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court and was essentially joined by all Justices except Justice Ginsburg who wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment.  Justice Sotomayor wrote a separate concurring opinion but otherwised joined the Court in full.

Mark

Last week, ANSI launched its Incorporation by Reference (IBR) Portal. The website “provides a one-stop mechanism for access to standards that have been incorporated by reference in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These standards incorporated by the U.S. government in rulemakings are offered at no cost in ‘read only’ format and are presented for online reading. There are no print or download options.”

OK, it’s a “one-stop mechanism” to do one thing, namely read online. Apparently the sky will fall if ANSI offered free print and download options. Quoting from the Oct. 28, 2013 press release:

“In all of our discussions about the IBR issue, the question we are trying to answer is simple. Why aren’t standards free? In the context of IBR, it’s a valid point to raise,” said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. “A standard that has been incorporated by reference does have the force of law, and it should be available. But the blanket statement that all IBR standards should be free misses a few important considerations.”

As coordinator of the U.S. standardization system, ANSI has taken a lead role in informing the public about the reality of free standards, the economics of standards setting, and how altering this infrastructure will undermine U.S. competitiveness. Specifically, the loss of revenue from the sale of standards could negatively impact the business model supporting many SDOs – potentially disrupting the larger U.S. and international standardization system, a major driver of innovation and economic growth worldwide. In response to concerns raised by ANSI members and partner organizations, government officials, and other stakeholders, ANSI began to develop its IBR Portal, with the goal of providing a single solution to this significant issue that also provides SDOs with the flexibility they require to safeguard their ability to develop standards.

IBR standards hosted on the portal are available exclusively as read-only files. In order to protect the intellectual property rights of the groups holding these standards’ copyrights, the portal has built in security features that prevent users from printing, downloading, or transferring any of the posted standards; in addition, screenshots will be disabled and the standards will contain an identifying watermark.

Do note the following registration requirements:

You must register to view READ-ONLY documents posted on this site.

Please note that registration is for a single browsing session. Users who return to the site in another session or on another day will need to fill out the registration form again.

Smells like tracking usage of online IBR standards that have the force of law by specific users to me. Perhaps the SDO business model should be changed. — Joe

From the article abstract for Contreras and Hernacki’s Copyright Termination and Technical Standards [SSRN], (University of Baltimore Law Review, Vol. 43, 2014, Forthcoming):

Section 203 of the Copyright Act permits authors to terminate any grant of rights in a copyright between 35 and 40 years after the initial grant was made. In this article we analyze the application of Section 203 termination to technical standards documents, focusing in particular on the exclusion of works-made-for-hire, the treatment of joint works and derivative works. We conclude that, although Section 203 is theoretically applicable to technical standards, several statutory obstacles would impede the wholesale termination of standards-related license grants. Nevertheless, in order to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation, we recommend that Congress or the courts explicitly acknowledge the inapplicability of Section 203 to technical standards.

Hat tip to Christine Corcos’ Media Law Prof Blog post. — Joe

Oh, wait, that’s the null hypothesis. “Law libraries and their librarians have no value” also demonstrates that thinking or rethinking about value is a double-edged sword. What if the null hypothesis is proven to be true?

From this perspective it is clear that library associations will ignore the null hypothesis by publishing reports that identify value. See for example the FT-SLA report entitled The Evolving Value of Information Management And Five Essential Attributes of the Modern Information Professional (free registration required to download). This recent study identifies the perception gap between executives and information professionals in special libraries and identifies ways the latter group can demonstrate their value to the former group by the means of always illuminating case studies and an equally useful to-do list of recommendations.

And then, in the specific context of law libraries and their information professions, there is this:

The last several years have brought fundamental changes to the legal profession and business of law. These changes have served as an impetus for law libraries to transform their operations and services in varied and profound ways—and it is now imperative that law libraries demonstrate the value they bring in concise, measurable ways.

Instead of attempting to test the null hypothesis, AALL appears intent on spending money to prove the value proposition once someone offers an empirical methodology that only does half of the empirically sound task. For more, see the republished text of AALL’s Oct. 28, 2013 press release (source of the above quote) and commentary at 3 Geeks’ AALL’s RFP on Law Library Value Report.

Frankly, I think value is like porn. One knows it when one sees it by the impact it stimulates. Got a ruler to measure the null? — Joe

Here’s the Dear EOS Client letter I believe all EOS licensees received last Friday. — Joe

Dear EOS Client,

Hello! This is Scot Cheatham, CEO of EOS International. I’m writing to you today to announce the acquisition of EOS International by SirsiDynix [ed. note: link]. I am genuinely excited about this event and the benefits it will bring to you, our valued client. I would first like to introduce you to Bill Davison, CEO of SirsiDynix. For those of you who are unfamiliar with SirsiDynix, they have been around for over 30 years, and are the world’s leading provider of Integrated Library Systems. You will undoubtedly get to know Bill and the rest of the SirsiDynix team much better in the coming weeks and months. Bill and I want to be the first to welcome you to the SirsiDynix family!

Below, we have included a section of FAQ’s that will hopefully answer some of your most basic and immediate questions about this acquisition. Please take a few moments to review it. While it probably won’t answer all of your questions, hopefully it will give you a basic understanding of today’s announcement, what it means to you and what you can expect going forward.

The fact that EOS is now backed by SirsiDynix is beneficial to everyone involved. SirsiDynix brings a truly global reach, a world-class infrastructure and the solid financial foundation to take both companies to the next level while providing the vision, the products, and the support you need to succeed. With this acquisition, SirsiDynix is demonstrating its commitment to the library market we serve. Collaboration between SirsiDynix and EOS will allow us to apply significant resources to enhance our flagship product, EOS.Web. It will broaden our sales and marketing capabilities, and will help us to continue to strengthen our client services offering.

This acquisition will bring about the following changes. Effective immediately, Bill Davison will take the reins as CEO of the new, combined organization. However, please know that the senior management team at EOS will continue to see to all of your needs. Additionally, I will remain available in an advisory role to assist Bill throughout this transition.

We know that change can be uncomfortable and we appreciate the importance of keeping you informed as we navigate through this transition. To that end, we want you to know that most things will NOT change, including the following key items:   EOS will continue to do business under the EOS name. You won’t see any changes to the fundamentals of the EOS business.

With only a very few exceptions, you will continue to work with the same people at EOS that you have worked with in the past.

There will be no changes to your fee structure, maintenance and other product pricing.

The products and services EOS has provided you in the past will continue to be offered and enhanced. There are no product end-of-life issues, nor product roadmap changes.

Quite simply, the main thing you can expect from this announcement is business as usual. We genuinely appreciate having you as our client, and now welcome you to SirsiDynix’s larger client family. On behalf of Bill and the rest of the combined executive team, we will work hard to earn your trust, exceed your expectations and make you as big a fan of this acquisition as we are!

Sincerely, Scot Cheatham

Several anticipated questions are answered below:

Who is SirsiDynix?

SirsiDynix is the world’s leading provider of integrated library system software. For over 30 years, SirsiDynix has developed, distributed and maintained the most widely-implemented ILS platforms in history. With customers in all four major segments of the library market—public, academic, K-12 and special—SirsiDynix specializes in delivering robust Library Solution Platforms that are highly customizable, extremely efficient and designed to seamlessly deliver both physical and electronic content.

Why did EOS sell to SD?

Two of our core principles at EOS are We Care and We Love Growth. We are committed to the success of our stakeholders – our staff, partners and most especially, our clients. We are also committed to growth that benefits our stakeholders. With that in mind, we decided that partnering with SD will provide the broad infrastructure, solid financial foundation and significant growth opportunities that will ensure continued success for our world-class products clients.

Will I need to switch platforms?

Clients will not need to switch platforms. EOS will continue to support all of the products it currently supports.

How does this announcement affect the EOS product roadmap?

Our product roadmap will continue as currently planned. Jeff Goodwin, our VP of Product Development, will continue to lead our development team as we implement our extensive product enhancement schedule. One of the benefits of EOS being backed by SD is that new product enhancements and features will be added to our roadmap that will bring significant benefits for EOS clients.

How does it affect EOS support?

EOS product support services and offerings will continue unabated. Jeff Smith, VP of Client Services, will continue to manage our award-winning product support team. All of the services that clients have come to appreciate over the years will be maintained. Our Service Guarantee and 24/7/365 support availability will continue with no changes. You will call the same telephone numbers, use the same email addresses, and reach the same friendly EOS client service staff.

Will there be any changes in sales?

Sal Provenza, VP of Global Sales and Marketing will continue to lead our sales and marketing effort. You will continue to work with your existing sales account manager. All EOS sales proposals and license renewal proposals do not change as a result of this transaction.

Any changes in EOS contact information?

You will call the same telephone numbers, use the same email addresses and EOS will have the same headquarters address.

Will there be any changes in the terms of my contract?

All contract terms will remain the same. In some cases there is an ‘Assignment’ or ‘Change in Control’ provision that requires assignment of the contract. An EOS representative will be in touch with you in case such a provision is in your contract.

How will this announcement affect my library?

Our goal is for this acquisition to have only positive benefits for your library. Business, product development, and operational best practices at SD will be implemented at EOS where practical and beneficial. Collaboration between SD and EOS will help enhance our client services and accelerate product enhancements. Best of all, the same EOS team will be there for you, helping you use our products to “Connect People to Knowledge!”

“I think it’s safe to say a lot of people are going to be talking about this,” wrote Alfred Brophy about  Konefsy and Sullivan’s forthcoming Buffalo Law Review article. Coming from Brophy, that’s a good enough recommendation for me to “read more about it.”

In This, the Winter of Our Discontent: Legal Practice, Legal Education, and the Culture of Distrust [SSRN] by Alfred S. Konefsky, SUNY Buffalo Law and Barry Sullivan, Loyola Law – Chicago.

Abstract: This essay seeks to situate the challenges facing legal education within the broader context of professional culture — a context that seems to us to have been neglected in the present debates. In a sense, the “market reformers” have been swept up, consciously or not, in a wider movement that elevates markets over other forms of social analysis and therefore asserts and takes for granted what is in fact deeply contested. More specifically, they have pushed to the side the public-serving dimension of the lawyer’s role because it allegedly conflicts with the psychology of classical economic liberalism. Our aim, then, is to restore the concept of the public domain to a discussion now dominated by mere considerations of costs and a belief in the inevitable triumph of a narrowed sense of professional culture. Before we can begin to reform the infrastructures of legal education, we need to identify the function of the legal profession in a democratic society and the role that a legal education might play in preparing men and women for service in a profession so conceived. In that sense, cost is not an independent variable, and any judgment about the cost-effectiveness of legal education necessarily depends on a decision concerning the purposes to be served by a legal education.

In Part I, we discuss, in a general way, some of the changes that have occurred in society, the profession, and legal education in the past 40 years or so. We are particularly interested in the growing tendency to re-conceptualize many social phenomena in market terms and the effects of this trend on legal education and the practice of law. In Part II, we continue our discussion of those themes, as they relate to the current debate over the future of legal education, by considering the analyses of Thomas D. Morgan and Brian Z. Tamanaha, both of whom approach the problem from the vantage point of economic analysis. Notwithstanding the similarities in their methodologies, their respective prescriptions point in somewhat different directions. We suggest that a broader view is necessary and that the work of these commentators and others suffers from a failure to give sufficient attention to the public dimension and significance of the legal profession. In Part III, we endeavor to reframe the problem in a way that may be useful in developing a forward-looking approach to accomplishing the reforms that are necessary.

— Joe

The Supreme Court issued its first opinion of the October 2013 Term on Monday.  The Court had earlier dismissed the writ of certiorari in Madigan v. Levin (12-87) on October 15th.  The Madigan case was the first argued in the current term.  The case at hand, though, is Stanton v. Sims (12-1217).  It was apparently decided on the basis of the petitions and record as the case did not come up for argument in October.  It involves whether a police officer is entitled to qualified immunity for injuries to a property owner when pursuing an individual on to that property when the individual is only subject to being charged with a misdemeanor.  The District Court said yes to that question and was reversed by the Ninth Circuit.  The Supreme Court agreed with the District Court and reversed the Ninth Circuit.

Officer Stanton was investigating reports of an individual with a baseball bat in La Mesa, California.  He identified himself as a police officer and called for one individual to stop and that individual ran onto the property of Drendolyn Sims.  Stanton gave chase and kicked open a closed gate leading to the front yard of Sims property.  Sims happened to be behind that gate at the time and suffered an injury to her forehead and shoulder.  She filed a §1983 lawsuit alleging a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The District Court held that Stanton’s entry onto her property was justified by the need to pursue the individual and by the lesser expectation of privacy Sims had in the curtilage of her property.  The Court also ruled that Stanton was entitled to qualified immunity because there was no clearly established law that put Stanton on notice that his conduct was unconstitutional.  The Ninth Circuit relied on one Supreme Court case and circuit precedent in another case to reverse.

In reversing, the Supreme Court said the Ninth Circuit misinterpreted the meaning of Welsh v. Wisconsin, 466 U.S. 740 (1984).  The Court distinguished Welsh as there was no hot pursuit on that record compared the instant case.  The other case, United States v. Johnson, 256 F. 3d 895 (9th Cir. 2001) (en banc) did not involve circumstances of hot pursuit.  Moreover, there were two District Court cases out of the Ninth Circuit as well as two California Appellate Court cases that disagreed with the logic the Ninth Circuit applied in this case.  On that basis, the Supreme Court held that there was no clearly established law that would give Officer Stanton notice that he was violating the Constitution.  Officer Stanton was entitled to qualified immunity.  The opinion was issued per curiam.

Mark

According to a review of “Table 5: AALL Libraries Estimated Information Budgets” published in various online editions of AALL’s Biennial Salary and Organizational Characteristics Survey, the answer appears to be “yes.” AALL institutional membership (by which I mean law libraries, not vendors) declined by 57.5% since 2001.

I seriously doubt that 756 AALL member law firm libraries + 333 AALL member government law libraries + 51 AALL member academic law libraries for a total of 1,140 former AALL member law libraries shut down since 2001. So why such a very large, huge really, decline? That was the first question I had when reviewing the recently pay-walled release of the 2013 edition of The AALL Biennial Salary and Organizational Characteristics Survey this weekend.

And the second question I asked myself this weekend was “can AALL remain sustainable when institutional membership declines from 1,984 to only 844 law libraries in a little over a decade?” My hunch is the answer lies in becoming relevant. — Joe

aall member libraries stats

From the press release:

The Open Data Index is a community-based effort initiated and coordinated by the Open Knowledge Foundation. The Index is compiled using contributions from civil society members and open data practitioners around the world, which are then peer-reviewed and checked by expert open data editors. The Index provides an independent assessment of openness in the following areas: transport timetables; government budget; government spending; election results; company registers; national map; national statistics; legislation; postcodes / ZIP codes; emissions of pollutants.

Countries assessed (in rank order): United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Australia, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, Moldova, Bulgaria, Malta, Italy, France, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Israel, Czech Republic, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Isle Of Man, Japan, Serbia, Russian Federation, Ecuador, South Korea, Poland, Taiwan R.O.C., China, Indonesia, Hungary, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Jersey, Guernsey, Slovak Republic, Bermuda, Romania, Costa Rica, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Singapore, Lithuania, South Africa, Cayman Islands, Egypt, Nepal, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Gibraltar, Belgium, Hong Kong, Barbados, Bahamas, India, Bahrain, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Kenya, British Virgin Is., Saint Kitts & Nevis, Cyprus.

Full results of Open Knowledge Foundation’s assessment and graphs of the data. — Joe

It’s that time of the year for not being able to vote for “none of the above” in AALL’s E-board elections. But there may be a candidate or two to vote for after viewing their biographies and campaign statements, assuming you haven’t already turned in your AALL membership “card.”

The polls open today; “may I have the envelope please.”

Vice President/President-Elect:

  • Carol Bredemeyer, Assistant Director for Faculty Services, Salmon P. Chase College of Law Library, Northern Kentucky University
  • Keith Ann Stiverson, Director of the Law Library and Senior Lecturer, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

Secretary:

  • Katherine K. Coolidge, Law Librarian, Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP
  • Sarah K.C. Mauldin, Director of Library Services, Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Executive Board Member (vote for two):

  • John W. Adkins, Director of Libraries, San Diego Law Library
  • Miriam D. Childs, Associate Director/Head of Technical Services, Law Library of Louisiana
  • Tina Dumas, Reference Librarian, Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Donna Nixon, Electronic Resources Librarian & Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Kathrine R. Everett Law Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Joe

Hat tip to Slaw’s Monday’s Mix for information about the following University of Ottawa Press book.

The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law, Edited by Michael Geist.

Description

In the summer of 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada issued rulings on five copyright cases in a single day. The cases represent a seismic shift in Canadian copyright law, with the Court providing an unequivocal affirmation that copyright exceptions such as fair dealing should be treated as users’ rights, while emphasizing the need for a technology neutral approach to copyright law.

The Court’s decisions, which were quickly dubbed the “copyright pentalogy,” included no fees for song previews on services such as iTunes, no additional payment for music included in downloaded video games, and that copying materials for instructional purposes may qualify as fair dealing. The Canadian copyright community soon looked beyond the cases and their litigants and began to debate the larger implications of the decisions. Several issues quickly emerged.

This book represents an effort by some of Canada’s leading copyright scholars to begin the process of examining the long-term implications of the copyright pentalogy. The diversity of contributors ensures an equally diverse view on these five cases, contributions are grouped into five parts. Part 1 features three chapters on the standard of review in the courts. Part 2 examines the fair dealing implications of the copyright pentalogy, with five chapters on the evolution of fair dealing and its likely interpretation in the years ahead. Part 3 contains two chapters on technological neutrality, which the Court established as a foundational principle of copyright law. The scope of copyright is assessed in Part 4 with two chapters that canvas the exclusive rights under the copyright and the establishment of new “right” associated with user-generated content. Part 5 features two chapters on copyright collective management and its future in the aftermath of the Court’s decisions.

This volume represents the first comprehensive scholarly analysis of the five rulings. Edited by Professor Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, the volume includes contributions from experts across Canada. This indispensable volume identifies the key aspects of the Court’s decisions and considers the implications for the future of copyright law in Canada.

You can download the complete book as an open access PDF from the above link. — Joe

The news hit the feeds on Sunday:  Lou Reed was dead.  The news was surprising but not necessarily shocking.  Recent pictures showed Reed a bit frail at best.  He had a liver transplant not too long ago and apparently died from liver complications.  He was a unique talent who wrote unique songs.  His career began before the Velvet Underground with a band called The Primitives.  They had a minor hit in 1964 called The Ostrich featuring Reed on guitar and vocals.  He also co-wrote the song.  It’s available on YouTube.

Lou Reed’s music fit into little pockets of my life.  I had DeeJay’d at a punk bar in Chicago called LaMere Vipere in 1977.  The bar had gone punk from a gay disco.  The first song ever played in the new format was the live version of Sweet Jane from the Rock And Roll Animal album.  The second was Television’s Marquee Moon.  I arrived in New York City for the first time a few years before that.  I had taken the Broadway Express and walked out of Pennsylvania Station to a hot summer day in August.  It was 95 degrees as I headed south to the Village.  The smell of the city rose upward with the steam from the broken sidewalks.  My first thought was that I understood the music of Lou Reed much better all of a sudden.

I met Jackie Curtis at one point and we hung out for a while.  I have a 90 minute tape of one of our conversations somewhere in a box in my basement.  I asked Jackie about the reference to her in Walk On The Wild Side (“Jackie is just speeding away….).  She said she first heard the song when passing a record store that was playing it over street speakers.  She said she stopped, listened, and then she cried.  Jackie signed a matchbook from Max’s Kansas City for me.

I’ve seen Reed perform live four times, probably more than any artist.  The show that comes immediately to mind was on Thanksgiving night in 1975 at the Academy of Music.  It was billed as an evening with Lou Reed.  Was it ever!  I think it was probably the longest show in history, or at least it seemed that way to me.  I was still excited at the end of the first hour. By the time the third hour ended I wondered if the show would ever end.  My memory, hazy as it is, is that the show went on for another hour or more after that.  A review of one of his shows in the Chicago Reader said that Lou Reed had taken laid back and turned it into face down on the floor.  I knew just what they meant.

I have a lot of Reed’s music in my collection.  I think my favorite album is probably Berlin.  Rolling Stone reviewed it twice in two successive issues, calling it the best album since Sgt. Pepper and then the biggest piece of trash to ever been released.  One of my bands covered the title track in several live performances.  Others in my favorites category are Rock and Roll Heart, The Bells, Sally Can’t Dance, and Coney Island Baby.  His later stuff is good as well though I did not care much for The Raven or his collaboration with Metallica (Lulu).  My friends and I have argued about that.  But that was the music of Lou Reed.  It either grabbed you or it didn’t, and when it did, well, it really did.

Other little tidbits I remember include the first Velvet Underground “reunion” in 1972 when Reed, John Cale, and Nico performed in Paris.  The CD was released in 2004.  I have a tape of the performance from before the official release that included a hotel room rehearsal.  I don’t if Reed and Cale knew they were being taped but they said some very mean things about Nico along the way.  Speaking of mean things, John Cale would recount in one of his biographies that Reed would shoot a little too much heroin while riding around in limousines in New York.  I get the impression that Reed was lucky to be alive after some of his “experiences.”  There is also Victor Bockris’s unauthorized biography, Transformer.  The irony was that even though Reed cooperated with Bockris even though he portrayed Reed as a relatively unsympathetic character.  Such is Lou Reed.

We’ll miss you Lou though your music will live forever.  There is nothing quite like it.  Some of your music is not possible to cover since it’s so uniquely you.  In your own words, oh babe I’m going to miss you know that you’re gone, one sweet day.  I’ll end this with a video clip of one of the most unlikely and unnecessary covers of Perfect Day, one featuring Lou Reed with full orchestra in a duet with Luciano Pavarotti.  It truly is an OMG moment.

Mark