Magazine article Information Today

Letter to the Editor

Magazine article Information Today

Letter to the Editor

Article excerpt

Barbara Quint's NewsBreak, "Stop the Trash Trucks: A Tasini Case Damage-Control Proposal" [see http://www.infotoday .com/newsbreaks/nbO 10716-1.htm as well as Quint's Online on page 81, is characteristically thorough and sensible. As a former assistant director of the National Writers Union and consultant to the plaintiffs' attorneys in Ryan vs. CARL-a class-action lawsuit whose $7.25 million settlement similarly turned on Section 201 (c) of the Copyright Act-I have only one point to add.

Ms. Quint is right to insist that the information community hold database aggregators' feet to the fire by demanding an accounting of deleted content. This, however, is not a new problem brought about by the latest round of litigation results. As long ago as 1994, I was part of a writers union campaign called "Operation Magazine Index," through which we confronted, among others, Information Access Company (now Gale Group). Our experience was that when authors, individually or collectively, questioned the offering of their works in for-profit products, the operator simply deleted those articles. Sometimes the person registering the complaint was so informed; however, users never were. Indeed, this was a source of some frustration for us, since our objective was to spur comprehensive negotiations, not to turn databases into undisclosed Swiss cheese. …

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