News: JSTOR Access to Public Domain; Orphan Works Project Grows; More Trouble for Google Settlement

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 12 01:42:03 UTC 2011

Here are some news items that I think are particularly important to
list members who perform searches on the large-scale text databases.

1) JSTOR now is allowing free access to public domain content.

2) Several institutions are implementing policies to increase
electronic access to "orphan" works.

3) In August a settlement in a long-running class action suit filed by
freelance writers was rejected by judges of the Second Circuit Court
of Appeals. The judges thought that the class should not have been
certified because it did not properly represent all class members.
This is a separate legal case from the Google Books dispute, but this
action has implications for the Google Settlement which is already in
trouble. A lawyer at the TeleRead website thinks that this ruling
"kills any possibility of Google Books settlement". (As a non-lawyer I
offer no judgment on this beyond its newsworthiness.)

Here are excerpts from the beginning of some articles together with links.

JSTOR–Free Access to Early Journal Content and Serving “Unaffiliated” Users
September 7, 2011 at

I am writing to share exciting news:  today, we are making journal
content on JSTOR published prior to 1923 in the United States and
prior to 1870 elsewhere, freely available to the public for reading
and downloading. This includes nearly 500,000 articles from more than
200 journals, representing approximately 6% of the total content on

Link to JSTOR announcement:
Link to news article:

HathiTrust Orphan Works Project Grows as University of California,
Others Join Up
By David Rapp Sep 1, 2011 at

A number of recent announcements have greatly expanded the research
bandwidth available to investigate the pool of orphan works in the
HathiTrust collections - a fact that could stir discussion on orphan
works access, both in and out of academia.

On August 24, the University of California (UC) Libraries announced
that it will join an initiative led by the University of Michigan
(UM), which aims to expand access to the in-copyright works in the
HathiTrust repository for which no rights holders can be found. The
same day, in a separate announcement, Duke University, Raleigh, NC;
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Emory University, Atlanta; and Johns
Hopkins University, Baltimore, also signed on. The institutions join
the Universities of Wisconsin and Florida, who joined up since UM
first announced the project in May 2011.

Link to news article:
Link to "Is Babar an Orphan?"

Second Circuit Rejects "Freelance" Settlement
By Andrew Albanese Aug 18, 2011 at

A two-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday
rejected an $18 million settlement in the long-running class action
suit filed by freelance writers following the landmark Tasini case,
and in the process have likely killed the chances of a revised Google
settlement. In a 2-1 ruling, the second circuit yesterday held that
the district court which approved a settlement between freelance
writers and publishers in the class action case known shorthand as
Freelance "abused its discretion in certifying the class and approving
the Settlement, because the named plaintiffs failed to adequately
represent the interests of all class members." New York Law School’s
James Grimmelmann didn’t mince words. "The Google Books settlement—any
settlement—is now dead," he noted. "There is no square one: this case
is going back to litigation."

Link to news article:

Court of Appeals kills any possibility of Google Books settlement
By Paul Biba at

That’s because in a class action the plaintiffs have to be
“representative” of the class they are supposed to represent.  If they
are not then the class will not be certified and all the litigation
can do is bind those plaintiffs who are actually present in the case.

Link to opinion article:

The American Dialect Society -

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