Issues concerning libraries and the law - with latitude to discuss any other interesting issues Note: Not legal advice - just a dangerous mix of thoughts and information. Brought to you by Mary Minow, J.D., A.M.L.S. [California, U.S.] and Peter Hirtle, M.A., M.L.S. Follow us on twitter @librarylaw
Question for readers: Can I use "tags" in my Typepad blog posts? I've been using "categories" but it seems like it would be more fun and flexible if I could use "tags" like in Flickr. Is this something I can do easily? Note: I'm no techie.
Senator Simitian reintroduced an RFID bill last month that would require government issued identification documents to meet certain security requirements. It specifically includes "Library cards issued by any public library." It would also make it a crime to knowingly disclose keys that allow someone to remotely read a patron's identity document using radio waves without the patron's consent. Further, it would direct the California Research Bureau to submit a report to the Legislature on security and privacy for government issued, remotely readable identification documents.
Senator Gloria Romero (Chair) Senator Dave Cogdill (Vice Chair) Senator Gilbert Cedillo Senator Bob Margett Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas
Minow take: I've never been a fan of legislation that aims at a specific technology. This one gets amazingly prescriptive in its security requirements. That said, I don't see anything better on the horizon. I'd like to see a more comprehensive privacy bill that could be applied to all current and future technology. Our political climate is nowhere near right for a comprehensive European-style approach, however. In the absence of better legislation, I do want government to be careful with our identifying information, and I want it to be a crime for those who skim it off.
How would this apply to libraries? Although many libraries now have or are moving toward RFID, I am not aware of any that make personally identifying information readable by radio wave. If readers know of any, please chime in.
The bill grandfathers in systems that began implementation before January 1, 2007, or for which a state, county, or municipal government request for proposal has been publicly issued before September 30, 2006, or executed a contract before September 30, 2006.
The libraries that should read the bill most closely are those that would miss these cut-off dates.
Also, does anyone know if other states have RFID bills that impact libraries?
It's time to contact your senator if he or she is on this committee. Last year, it sailed through the House, but didn't make it to the Senate.
Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI) John D. Rockefeller (WV) John F. Kerry (MA) Byron L. Dorgan (ND) Barbara Boxer (CA) Bill Nelson (FL) Maria Cantwell (WA) Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ) Mark Pryor (AR) Thomas Carper (DE) Claire McCaskill (MO) Amy Klobuchar (MN)
Republicans Co-Chairman Ted Stevens (AK) John McCain (AZ) Trent Lott (MS) Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) Olympia J. Snowe (ME) Gordon H. Smith (OR) John Ensign (NV) John E. Sununu (NH) Jim DeMint (SC) David Vitter (LA) John Thune (SD)
Themonitor.com has an article today about "child overload" at libraries in the McAllen TX area. I'm quoted as saying that unattended children at libraries is a huge issue around the country...I see it wherever I travel.
You may have read the NYT article Jan 2d about Maplewood Memorial Library (NJ) plans to close two buildings from 2:45 to 5 pm due to unruly behavior (urination, graffiti, threats). Here's the update which got less press: the library trustees rescinded that decision and report that the township is working with the community and the schools to come up with alternative places for middle school children to go to after school.
That sounds like the right approach. It's a community-based problem, and the best solutions come from working proactively with community programs, schools, police, recreation centers etc. San Marino (CA) and Virginia Beach (VA) took community-wide approaches, ultimately resulting in city ordinances to address the issue. [Correction: Virginia Beach has an administrative directive]
14.08.04: RESTRICTIONS ON UNATTENDED MINORS AT PUBLIC LIBRARY: A. Purpose And Intent: This section is intended to implement section 625.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, which authorizes the governing body of a city, by ordinance, to prohibit minors from remaining in or upon public places unsupervised after hours. The purpose of this section is to encourage parents and legal guardians to exercise reasonable care, supervision, and control over their minor children in order to prevent juvenile victimization and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of children.
B. Unattended Minors At The Public Library: Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 14.08.01A of this article, it is unlawful for any minor who is twelve (12) years of age or younger to be and remain upon the grounds of the public library for more than one-quarter (1/4) hour after the closing hour of the library, as established by the city council, unless one of the exceptions set forth in subsection 14.08.01D of this article is applicable to that minor.
San Marino City Code 14.08.04: Restrictions On Unattended Minors At Public Library
I am also really impressed with the Jacksonville Public Library policy. It sets a welcoming tone, and has clearly stated requirements. Children up to age 8 must have a parent/caregiver in the immediate vicinity of and in visual contact with the child. If a child is found unattended a second time, the police are called. Children age 8 and older may use the library on their own, but may be asked to leave the library if exhibiting inappropriate behavior. The policy states that if a child in this age group is not able to leave the library without an adult, he/she should not be in the library alone.
There's more good stuff in the policy regarding emergency contact info, vulnerable adults, and closing time. Take a look.
...I have started this blog as a forum for people to post comments on the treatise. As with The Patry Copyright Blog, you may post anonymously. The purpose of this blog is to begin to break down the one-way nature of legal treatises. I am interested in dialogue, and in improving my own understanding. Usually, one person gets the ball rolling, and that’s how I regard the treatise: it was a way for me to organize and discipline my thoughts. I have yet to have the experience of reading something I wrote (even the day before) and believe it to be perfect. Usually, I cringe. That’s the principal reason I insisted on having the treatise in looseleaf and with twice a year updates. [Jan 10th post]
Bad news. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today against the Internet Archive and Prelinger Associates in Kahle v. Gonzales.
The central issue was the elmination of the renewal requirement for some older works. Renewal served as a filter that passed certain works — mostly those without commercial value — into the public domain. Along the requirements of registration and notice (also gone now), renewal requirements created an “opt-in” system of copyright.
This meant that only a small percentage of works were protected for the maximum term. The Copyright Renewal Act of 1992 and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act changed the system to "opt-out." That is, everything with any shred of originality, once put into a fixed form, is automatically copyrighted, with no need for registrations, renewals, or even the copyright notice. If you write something, even a dumb email, it's copyrighted. You have to affirmatively take a step to dedicate your dumb email to the public domain.
"What is at stake is libraries being able to have out-of-print books on their digital bookshelves as they have out-of-print books on the physical shelves we grew up with," Kahle wrote in November when arguments were heard in the case, according to Reuters.
* Can the government search your computer without a warrant? * Can they obtain your personal information from your Internet service provider? * Is it constitutional for the cops to track your movements?
Free, open to everyone while registrations spaces last, with 8 CLE credits for lawyers. Draft papers by the speakers available as they are received. Here's one on RFID and Identification Objects by Nicole Ozer, ACLU-Northern Calif.
When good librarians and bad policies collide… By Cleaner Newer
Given the nature of my employment, I have on occasion had the opportunity to address questions concerning library policy. Recently, I was contacted by one of my colleagues from a public library who had a concern about a situation that had occurred at one of her branch libraries.
Apparently, a branch library that is part of a system from which she is affiliated refused to let a certain group of people use their community room based on the branch library’s community room policy. The group that sought to use the room supported a controversial position on a rather tumultuous topic. It is also noteworthy that the group possessed 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
In all fairness, I think that it is vital to mention that the policy upon which the controversy is based was adopted by a municipality and not by a library. As a matter of fact, my colleague who is very sharp indeed, recognized that the policy was problematic and contacted me.
As a result of the communication that I had with my astute colleague, I was able to obtain a copy of the policy in question. I was almost speechless after reviewing the policy. I believe it is the most constitutionally problematic room policy that I have ever seen. It is so troublesome that I felt it would be a great example of what not to do.
The restrictions are content based, the language is vague and ambiguous and lends itself to discriminatory application, and there is an utter lack of any sort of appeals process, so it fails to support aggrieved parties’ constitutional rights to due process. In short, it is an utter disaster.
I strongly urged my colleague to seek assistance from her library’s legal counsel, and to encourage the municipality to amend the branch library’s room policy immediately.
Anyway, such a rare treasure should be shared with all. I have included a word for word copy of it below, however I have intentionally omitted names.
Any thoughts about this gem? [CLICK BELOW FOR POLICY]