Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Publisher Sues University Librarian Over His Personal Blog Posts

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the if-you-don't-have-anything-nice-to-say dept.

Education 126

McGruber writes "The Chronicle of Higher Education has the news that Herbert Richardson, founder of Edwin Mellen Press is suing McMaster University and University Librarian Dale Askey for $3 Million over Mr. Askey's posts on a personal blog. In 2010 Mr. Askey wrote a blog post about Edwin Mellen Press on his personal Web site, Bibliobrary. Mr. Askey referred to the publisher as 'dubious' and said its books were often works of 'second-class scholarship.' For a few months afterward, several people chimed in in the blog's comments section, some agreeing with Mr. Askey, others arguing in support of the publisher. In a February 11 statement, the McMaster University Faculty Association (MUFA) stated that The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) 'and the MUFA Executive agree that this case represents a serious threat to the freedom of academic librarians (pdf) to voice their professional judgement and to academic freedom more generally.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Break out the anti-SLAPP! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930101)

I think we have laws against these strategic lawsuits against public participation.

Re:Break out the anti-SLAPP -- and Striesand! (5, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 2 years ago | (#42930495)

The publisher's problem is that this isn't some nut-job that can just be dismissed out of hand. Dale Askey appears to have the qualifications to know exactly what he's talking about here so they have to try and shut him up. But suing McMaster University over the personal blog of one of their employees personal blog opinions is way beyond reasonable -- although that's probably either were the money is, or that they hope to punish Mr. Askey by getting the university to fire him as him being too much trouble to keep onboard.

Under all circumstances the publisher is wrong here. The proper course of action would have been for them to line up equally (apparently) qualified academicians on their side of the argument and let the book-buying institutions decide for themselves. It would seem that both sides of the argument were already being hashed out on the blog, and now arrives The Streisand Effect in spades!

Re:Break out the anti-SLAPP -- and Striesand! (4, Informative)

dakohli (1442929) | about 2 years ago | (#42930593)

The proper course of action would have been for them to line up equally (apparently) qualified academicians on their side of the argument and let the book-buying institutions decide for themselves. It would seem that both sides of the argument were already being hashed out on the blog, and now arrives The Streisand Effect in spades!

It would appear that this company's reputation is already well pretty [sspnet.org] . well [wikipedia.org] established [www.slaw.ca]

The nicest thing I have seen so far are the comments that say it is just one step above a vanity press.

They stepped down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931005)

Then fell over.

Re:Break out the anti-SLAPP -- and Striesand! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931915)

It's important to check the sources though. The citation for 'vanity press' on wikipedia is actually quoting an article that quotes the defendent mentioned in TFS.

Re:Break out the anti-SLAPP -- and Striesand! (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 2 years ago | (#42931191)

Librarians as a group tend to have pretty strong feelings about this sort of thing. If this publisher thought the blog post of one librarian might turn other librarians against them, they haven't seen anything like what this lawsuit will do.

Re:Break out the anti-SLAPP -- and Striesand! (2)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#42931633)

I would think if were a Head Liberarian, that simply avoiding Edwin Mellen Press products, would avoid imperiling my institution. My libarians wouldn't be able to critique Edwin Mellen Press, if they didn't have any.

Re:Break out the anti-SLAPP! (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 2 years ago | (#42930519)

This definitely looks like a SLAPP suit to me. They may be able to sue for libel but the last time I checked a claim is not libel (no matter how damaging it is) if it's 100% true. Askey could probably beat this if he can document and prove his claims with real evidence.

Re:Break out the anti-SLAPP! (2)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 2 years ago | (#42930931)

Another thing to consider are the dates. If the incident happened back in 2010, why is Edwin Mellen Press waiting until now (2.5 - 3 years later) to sue? If I had to guess, I would say that the statute of limitations is coming up (not sure how long it is in Canada but in the states 3-5 years is typical) and the plaintiff is getting the lawsuit pushed through while they still can. IANAL but I've seen stuff like this before. The very late timing appears to weaken the validity of Richardson's case against Askey since if there were actual damages the plaintiff would have logically done something about it much sooner. This is a SLAPP/shakedown attempt, nothing more.

Re: Break out the anti-SLAPP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931149)

Truth as a defense against libel is on shaky ground in Canada. I remember of prisoners claiming beatings by guards threatened with criminal libel chargeds regardless of the truth. Fortunately ori as oners won.

Re:Break out the anti-SLAPP! (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#42930637)

This is Canada. Such a suit would likely never have been filed in the states. although anti-SLAPP does vary from state to state, US defamation law is generally far more defendant friendly. The onus is reversed and there has never been something like NYT v. Sullivan in Canada so far as I know.

Re:Break out the anti-SLAPP! (4, Informative)

davecb (6526) | about 2 years ago | (#42930793)

Quebec does have an explicit prohibition on SLAPP suits, but to my knowledge, the other provinces do not .

I bet ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930103)

... that if also this librarian had been an Orangutan Mr Richardson would have thought twice about suing.

Huh? (0)

postofreason (1305523) | about 2 years ago | (#42930353)

WTF?

Re:Huh? (5, Informative)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | about 2 years ago | (#42930389)

The prior poster was referring to the fictional Librarian of the Unseen University in Ankh Mor-pork on the Discworld in novels written by Terry Pratchett. People don't criticize him as he tends to rip off their arms and or head.

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 2 years ago | (#42930507)

The prior poster was referring to the fictional Librarian of the Unseen University in Ankh Mor-pork on the Discworld in novels written by Terry Pratchett. People don't criticize him as he tends to rip off their arms and or head.

Sounds like Wookie problem resolution practices.

Thank you for the explanation. Love Discworld, (2)

postofreason (1305523) | about 2 years ago | (#42930677)

But I forgot about how touchy the monk....orangutan can be. ;-)

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931375)

What? You mean the monkey? Urk....

When a free man isn't free (5, Insightful)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 2 years ago | (#42930113)

Not only does this attempt to suppress free speech by means of the court, but it also treats the man like a serf. They sue the university (i.e. the employer or, in their view, the master) knowing that even if their suit isn't successful new policies will arise limiting employees' ability to have personal websites. The Servile State [wikipedia.org] is as relevant as ever.

Re:When a free man isn't free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930371)

If don't control the means of production then you pretty much ARE a serf.

Re:When a free man isn't free (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#42930443)

Luckily the means of production for blogs are fairly accessable.

Re:When a free man isn't free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931095)

Except the librarian in question isn't a professional blogger so those aren't his "means of production".

Re:When a free man isn't free (3, Funny)

cffrost (885375) | about 2 years ago | (#42930437)

Mellen Press is trying to make McMaster its McBitch.

Re:When a free man isn't free (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931273)

OTOH, it's the employer that gives the man his credentials and thus soapbox for being an authority on publishers. Look how he's identified in the headline.

Yes, I quite agree the lawsuit is repugnant. If it gets any traction in the courts (even as a threat) then we have to look at rewriting our laws. But that doesn't mean the employer is irrelevant here. It's not the same as "Publisher Sues Auto Worker Over His Personal Blog Post."

Hopefully McMaster will see this as good opportunity for headlining their reputation and support Askey fully at work and in the courts.

Different countries (0)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 2 years ago | (#42930141)

Have different ideas of what constitutes "freedom of speech".....

OHHH CAN-A-DAHHHH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930161)

Have different ideas of what constitutes "freedom of speech".....

Yeah, you know, I get really sick and tired of hearing all the horseshit Canadian Slashdot users trot out and flaunt in front of us whenever the US is so stupid and evil and screwed up and crap (not that they're wrong). And then they follow it up with "I moved my kid to Vancouver just to avoid the US public education system. Thank god we were smart enough to get out of that mess." Where are they now?

Re:OHHH CAN-A-DAHHHH (2)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#42930267)

Yeah, you know, I get really sick and tired of hearing all the horseshit Canadian Slashdot users ...

Uh huh. Wait for the judge's ruling. I doubt this's going to get much past the filing stage, and our courts do award court costs and legal fees paid by the loser. We also know the meaning of barratry:

4: the offense of vexatiously persisting in inciting lawsuits and quarrels

Re:OHHH CAN-A-DAHHHH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930273)

Yeah, you know, I get really sick and tired of hearing all the horseshit Canadian Slashdot users ...

Uh huh. Wait for the judge's ruling. I doubt this's going to get much past the filing stage, and our courts do award court costs and legal fees paid by the loser. We also know the meaning of barratry:

4: the offense of vexatiously persisting in inciting lawsuits and quarrels

Depends, what if he commits suicide first?

Re:OHHH CAN-A-DAHHHH (0)

djmurdoch (306849) | about 2 years ago | (#42930281)

Yeah, you know, I get really sick and tired of hearing all the horseshit Canadian Slashdot users trot out and flaunt in front of us whenever the US is so stupid and evil and screwed up and crap (not that they're wrong).

You do know that Edwin Mellen Press is American, right? American bloggers would be too frightened by the possibility of a lawsuit to publish their true opinion. You've got to go north to find the land of the free these days.

Re:OHHH CAN-A-DAHHHH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930943)

Yeah a frivolous lawsuit that will go nowhere by an American company will clearly show those stupid fucking Canadians! Fuck yeah Murika number one!

Re:Different countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930263)

This has nothing to do with countries' ideas of free speech.

This has to do with the personal views of censorious asshat Herbert Richardson, founder of Edwin Mellen Press.

Now, if he wins the lawsuit, then we get to start talking about ideas of free speech in different countries.

Re:Different countries (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42930679)

Does FIRE [thefire.org] have a counterpart in Canada?

Re:Different countries (2)

davecb (6526) | about 2 years ago | (#42930819)

Ours is very like the US's definition, with the same prohibitions on extreme misuse, such as inciting a riot or shouting fire in a crowded theatre. We differ only on edge cases, like inciting lesser crimes. We're in complete agreement on the librarian's rigfht to state an opinion or cite a fact.

Re:Different countries (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 2 years ago | (#42930947)

So, everyone can express their honest, unvarnished opinion about ethnicity, religion, and homosexuality in Canada, right?

Re:Different countries (2)

davecb (6526) | about 2 years ago | (#42931039)

Yup, but the librarian in question didn't stick to safe subjects like race, religion or colour (:-))

--dave
[In case people haven't been following Canadian politics, there's a real debate ongoing in Canada about when merely racist/sexist/religious language turns into inciting attacks on people who are the wrong race, colour or religion. See "Ezra Levant" on Wikipedia if you want an activist and libertarian position on the debate]

Re:Different countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931071)

So, everyone can express their honest, unvarnished opinion about ethnicity, religion, and homosexuality in Canada, right?

As long as you do it in English and French.

Re:Different countries (2)

canadian_right (410687) | about 2 years ago | (#42931807)

We have anti-hate speech laws. You can't incite violence against an "identifiable group". So you can say "I don't like X". You can't say "we should kill all the X."

Re:Different countries (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42931879)

So it would be OK to start railing against Anonymous?

Re:Different countries (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 2 years ago | (#42931985)

Like actual violence only? Or are stories like [catholiceducation.org] this [christianconcern.com] false? Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with religious conservatives on this issue. But Canada's reputation is of being a country where one can be civilly liable for expressing politically incorrect opinions, and if so, that's pretty fucking far from free speech.

Re:Different countries (2)

Pubstar (2525396) | about 2 years ago | (#42932163)

I love how everything posted on that site has no external links to stories and only names one person.

The librarian will win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930175)

The librarian can easily support his claim that Edwin Mellen Press produces "second-class scholarship". Everyone knows it is spelled MELON.

His blog needed a Post Anonymously option. (1)

Vandil X (636030) | about 2 years ago | (#42930183)

Until it gets subpoena'd for IP addresses.

Re:His blog needed a Post Anonymously option. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930307)

So far, I think I'd rather get a fine for not storing data like that, than get sued and be forced to pay some jackass with too much time and too few morals.

Would not fly in the US (5, Informative)

mpoulton (689851) | about 2 years ago | (#42930201)

I do not know much about defamation law in other countries, but in the US there would be no valid case. The statements are derogatory, but are opinions and not facts. Only provably false statements of fact can give rise to an action for defamation in the United States. Of course anyone can always try to sue for anything, but the plaintiff here would lose quickly and probably face a judgment for costs and fees for filing a case unsupported by law (Rule 11).

Re:Would not fly in the US (2)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 2 years ago | (#42930285)

You also have to know they are false when you make them. If you are false by accident, it's not defamation unless you were made aware it was false and failed to correct your post. (IANAL...)

Re:Would not fly in the US (3, Insightful)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#42930713)

it's more nuanced than that. Accidental is probably not what you're thinking of. What I think you're trying to refer to is called Actual Malice and this comes into play only when discussing public figures (or limited purpose public figures) on a matter of public interest. Otherwise, the plaintiff does not need to prove reckless disregard for the truth (which has it's own tests).

Re:Would not fly in the US (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about 2 years ago | (#42932173)

Also, if you believe your own crazy rhetoric, you get off scott free! Thanks Bill O'Reilly for teaching us that one.

Re:Would not fly in the US (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#42930469)

Doesn't change the fact that America sucks, is racist, and kills brown people with drones.

Re:Would not fly in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930487)

Doesn't change the fact that America sucks, is racist, and kills its own people with drones.

FTFY

Re:Would not fly in the US (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 years ago | (#42932579)

Doesn't change the fact that America sucks, is racist, and kills people.

TFTFY

Re:Would not fly in the US (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#42930481)

I do not know much about defamation law in other countries, but in the US there would be no valid case. The statements are derogatory, but are opinions and not facts. ... the plaintiff here would lose quickly

This, of course, assumes that the University would go to fight
In US they can (and often do, right or wrong!) choose to settle instead and institute new policies limiting what employees can blog on the next day.

Even in US, I am afraid this would not get tossed out of court automatically. Someone would have to stand and fight at a significant expense.

Re:Would not fly in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930739)

In US they can (and often do, right or wrong!) choose to settle instead and institute new policies limiting what employees can blog on the next day.

That wouldn't even help: the institutes would need new policies about what their employees posted before they were hired.

From the article:

And Mr. Askey was not even a librarian at McMaster when he posted on the blog. He was still an associate professor at Kansas State University, working in Hale Library, he said. He started working at McMaster in February 2011.

Re:Would not fly in the US (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 2 years ago | (#42931623)

Needless to say, that would be pretty horrible, especially in this day and age.

Re:Would not fly in the US (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#42930971)

Depends on the state, and whether the matter is covered by anti-SLAPP legislation. California is quite good, for example. I was sued there and my lawyers took the case on a partial contingent fee basis. Didn't cost me a penny in the end. Cost the other guy over half a million. It's not all bad, and even the worst state is better than anywhere else in the world, and I've lived in quite a few places.

Re:Would not fly in the US (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42930563)

While there was indeed no valid case, that didn't keep Edwin Mellen Press from suing the American magazine Linga Franca in New York state court over a 1993 article where they called it a "vanity press". The case was eventually dismissed in 1998 [google.com] after a series of appeals.

Re:Would not fly in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930699)

I do not know much about defamation law in other countries, but in the US there would be no valid case.

Moreover, this is Canada, and courts here regularly award legal costs when you defend yourself against a frivolous lawsuit and win.

Re:Would not fly in the US (2)

locketine (1101453) | about 2 years ago | (#42930849)

Have you heard of SLAPP [wikipedia.org] suits. They are very much alive in the US but some states have taken measures against them at least.

Re:Would not fly in the US (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#42930925)

Opinion can be fact or taken as fact. An accident scene interpreter gives opinion that is treated as fact. Expert witnesses give opinion that is considered fact.

In this case, the guy's standing and position could lead his opinion as being accepted as fact by most who viewed it. This is probably why the school was brought into the suit. Random guy rambling is obvious opinion. Specific guy who works in a specific field at a specific place rambling about his field of expertise creates fact.

Re:Would not fly in the US (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 years ago | (#42931303)

Specific guy who works in a specific field at a specific place rambling about his field of expertise creates fact.

Only in your specific imagination.

but does fly elsewhere (2)

terec (2797475) | about 2 years ago | (#42931027)

The US is pretty unique in that regard. In many other places, even demonstrably true statements can be libelous. And while in the US, these are merely civil matters, in other nations, libel, defamation, and slander are often criminal matters.

Re:Would not fly in the US (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | about 2 years ago | (#42932519)

Case in point: Westboro Baptist Church. If they can get away with it, then so could someone in this guys shoes.

Edwin Mellen Press is a first-rate publisher (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930215)

Barbra Streisand published her memoir there, Don't Take Pictures Of My House.

Re:Edwin Mellen Press is a first-rate publisher (1, Offtopic)

Xtifr (1323) | about 2 years ago | (#42930365)

Wow, whoever modded this down really showed their lack of knowledge of history and lack of a sense of humor.

(For those who have been living under a turnip truck for the last three decades, see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect Streisand effect]].)

Re:Edwin Mellen Press is a first-rate publisher (1, Redundant)

MrHanky (141717) | about 2 years ago | (#42930641)

Perhaps, but more likely it was modded down for being painfully obvious. Redundant would be better than off topic, of course, as the point is already made as the story is posted to Slashdot, but this tiresome meme regurgitation has to be struck down.

Re:Edwin Mellen Press is a first-rate publisher (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42930899)

but this tiresome meme regurgitation has to be struck down.

These tiresome smackdowns have to be regurgitated upon. The FAQ says (or said? not looking) to focus on positive moderation for a reason. Be positive, mang.

Re:Edwin Mellen Press is a first-rate publisher (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931479)

Yes, god forbid anyone make a joke the mighty and legendary MrHanky thinks is past its prime.

Been there (3, Funny)

srussia (884021) | about 2 years ago | (#42930291)

I taped a note on my locker saying "Jenny Arbuckle is a fatty".

She didn't sue, but she said 'no' when I asked her to be my prom date.

Re:Been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930449)

So if it was a true statement that means you asked a fatty to prom.

Re:Been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930941)

If he was pulling those stunts, he probably asked all sorts of people to the prom and ended up with his cousin.

Re:Been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931507)

ended up with his cousin

Isn't that the American dream?

Re:Been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931683)

I taped a note on my locker saying "Jenny Arbuckle is a fatty".

She didn't sue, but she said 'no' when I asked her to be my prom date.

That's because she met a guy into sweathogging!

I'd Agree with Mr. Askey (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930391)

All the books are liberal arts opinion papers on any topic. Even the History & Science and Math topics aren't rigid about the facts like dates or maths rigor.

From Edwin Mellen Press' Topic "Science and Math":
Title: "Numbers and Numeracy in Chinese Culture, Language and Education: The Social Substratum of the Development of Mathematical Thinking"

Here's a review promoted on EMP's site:
“Dr. Pellatt provides us with a 101 examples of the distinctive use of numbers by the Chinese. ... She reminds us that a mathematically gifted school pupil in Britain is regarded as a nerd but as a celebrity in China. Perhaps that is one reason, among many, for the belief that one day soon China will be the leading superpower in the world. I commend this monograph to all who wish to understand China better.
  - Dr. Anthony Butler, University of St Andrews

Re:I'd Agree with Mr. Askey (5, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | about 2 years ago | (#42930691)

You're an idiot if you think the subject matter of a book is what determines its quality.

Why isn't it Richardson Press? (1)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#42930411)

Why is the business named after a person whose identity isn't even known to Google, and not the name of the founder or some other relevant thing or person?

Re:Why isn't it Richardson Press? (2)

Moridineas (213502) | about 2 years ago | (#42930429)

Check out the history of the company (a real quality page, lolz): http://www.mellenpress.com/newhistory.cfm [mellenpress.com]

Apparently named after a grandfather.

Re:Why isn't it Richardson Press? (1)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#42930497)

Thanks for that. I should have found it myself.

Re:Why isn't it Richardson Press? (2)

dakohli (1442929) | about 2 years ago | (#42930635)

Wow.

According to the timeline, Africa went bankrupt in 1985!

Fact checking at its best

Re:Why isn't it Richardson Press? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42932493)

Wow.

According to the timeline, Africa went bankrupt in 1985!

Wasn't it 1985? Then with it did actually happen?

Carnival Hucksters (4, Informative)

Moridineas (213502) | about 2 years ago | (#42930457)

I work for a small academic publisher and I've seen the Edwin Mellen press at some academic conventions. Nice people, but they totally come across as carnival hucksters. They get their business knowing full well how important "publish or perish" is in academia. Their reps will literally ask every single person who walks by in the exhibit hall: "Do you want to get published?" (including me, on multiple occasions, wearing my vendor badge!) They basically make their money from minimal production values (look at their covers or insides of their books to see what I mean), small print runs, and very high prices. They sell a limited number of books to libraries, to the author, and maybe a handful elsewhere, and then they're done. They claim to be subsidy-free (i.e., not a vanity press) but I don't know if this is true or not.

Can't they get even in some other way? (2)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | about 2 years ago | (#42930525)

For instance, the publisher could start a blog in which they call the librarian "Mr. Poopy Pants".

That is essentially the equivalent of what he did to them.

If I think that some publisher's output is poor, that is my opinion. It is not libel. You can't sue people for having standards (even completely vague ones that change daily) and for claiming that some things don't measure up to those standard (in no objective way).

Libel would be if I claim that, say, the publisher cheated someone out of ten thousand dollars, when in fact that is false.

Re:Can't they get even in some other way? (3, Informative)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | about 2 years ago | (#42930595)

I wrote:

If I think that some publisher's output is poor, that is my opinion. It is not libel.

Ah, in the United States perhaps. But if I express that opinion in Canada, it might in fact be defamation. Oops!

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_defamation_law

True North Strong and Free, indeed ...

Re:Can't they get even in some other way? (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#42931329)

Ah, in the United States perhaps. But if I express that opinion in Canada, it might in fact be defamation. Oops!

And yet, part of what they're suing him about, was published when the blogger/librarian was still living and working in the United States.

Also Herbert Richardson is a dick (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930537)

Edwin Mellen Press is dubious and its books are often works of second-class scholarship.

Has anyone heard this?

Edwin Mellen Press is dubious and its books are often works of second-class scholarship.

It appears that a lot of the Internet are talking about it right now.

Edwin Mellen Press is dubious and its books are often works of second-class scholarship.

Is it true?

Re:Also Herbert Richardson is a dick (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931119)

Edwin Mellen Press is dubious and its books are often works of second-class scholarship.

Is it true?

I haven't heard anything to the contrary recently.

Mellen Press publishes TP for my bunghole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930575)

I don't understand where publishers get off thinking they can get away with this shit these days.

All they are doing is drawing massivly more negative attention to the shortcommings of their material and concurrently demonstrating themselves to be a bunch of assholes to their customers. Talk about biting the hand that feeds.

Someone needs to leash their lawyers before they self-inflict any more "irreparable harm"...

McMaster is probably right (4, Interesting)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#42930687)

Most textbooks are second, third or ass wipe class resources. Out of the 14+ textbooks I have, and out of the 100 I've read, maybe 2 of them are worth any money and out of those two, only the embedded software textbook is worth over $20. Textbooks are by far the worst way to learn / educate a student! Instead of suing the blogger maybe textbook publishers should sit back and finally ask "How do make a learning resource that works!", One thing is for sure it's not following the current methods.

Re:McMaster is probably right (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 years ago | (#42931313)

"Learning Resource?" It's a book, not a nontransferable software license. But we're getting off topic-- Mellon press appears to publish monographs [wikipedia.org] , not textbooks. If they're good enough, you can cite them in your research papers.

Re:McMaster is probably right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931713)

Absolutely. If the academic content of a textbook mattered, evolution would apply, and very quickly "survival of the fittest" would mean each area of teaching would recognise only a couple of first class works, and ensure only these books gained a recommendation.

Sadly, 80%+ of teaching is NOT about getting a person to learn something productive. It is simply a process to keep young people out of the job market until they are older and older (we've gone from 12 to 22 and rising), and then to ensure they are so deeply in debt, they are willing cogs in any system the elites are currently demanding. Thus most people are simply 'surviving' the classroom, and need at best to perform 'satisfactorily' at exams. The idea that the subjects they are exposed to are worth learning in depth never becomes close to true for the majority.

So textbooks reflect the actual purpose of schooling, NOT the possibility of effective teaching/learning.

Sadly, for a student, it is not easy to judge the quality of a textbook ahead of time. Usually we long skilled people find ourselves looking at current texts in our fields of expertise with a critical eye we could never have provided as students. This is the time we realise just how bad most teaching resources actually are.

Re:McMaster is probably right (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about 2 years ago | (#42932233)

The CCNA Discovery class I'm taking has amazing coursework for it. Mostly interactive slides, comprehension quizzes, and some streaming video lectures. Great stuff, snd it really makes it easy to grasp the harder concepts.

Re:McMaster is probably right (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#42932595)

Oh I never said good books don't exist but there rare. I have my CCNA and the course work is pretty good, how ever to be fair I never had to buy into it as I took it in high school for free.

Well, I'm voting with my money (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42930935)

As in, when I need to get published, I'll pay for a *real* vanity press rather than these "non-subsidized" publishers. You get what you pay for!

Moonies, not Scientologists (2)

David Gerard (12369) | about 2 years ago | (#42931065)

The publisher is upset that someone called them Scientologists. Well, they're absolutely not Scientologists. They're Moonies. [sdsu.edu] Yes, really.

Just looking at their website (2)

RaccoonBandit (2597025) | about 2 years ago | (#42931515)

So just out of curiosity I went to their website. On a poorly presented front page they advertise themselves not to potentials readers (i.e. customers) but to academics desparate to get a book "out there" for career purposes. One of their selling points is "Our books qualify for tenure promotion," for example. Reputable publishing houses do not have to advertise in that manner to potentials authors because their reputation means that they have many more inquiries from new authors than they could possibly accept. Seems like a pretty sketchy organisation.

Free speech (1)

CHIT2ME (2667601) | about 2 years ago | (#42931599)

This also involves free speech. I believe the university and the librarian should counter sue, claiming the publisher is trying to suppress their free speech rights. They should ask for millions of dollars in damages and Billions in punitave damage.

Would somebody repost it here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931639)

This needs a huge Streisand effect.

not just the freedom of academic librarians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42931699)

but the freedom for anyone to express an opinion about anything. It seems the only way is to have a completely anonymous separate online identity. However as we've seen in the past people can still sue and find out who is posting whatever and yes I see the irony of this given that I'm posting this as AC.

Petard ready? Hoist away! (1)

Maow (620678) | about 2 years ago | (#42932263)

IANAL, however...

I imagine it going something like this:

"Your honour, we move for dismissal due to lack of jurisdiction."

From TFA:

And Mr. Askey was not even a librarian at McMaster when he posted on the blog. He was still an associate professor at Kansas State University, working in Hale Library, he said. He started working at McMaster in February 2011.

Judge: "Okay, published in USA by an American; I have no jurisdiction."

Hopefully he adds, "I award costs to defendants."

Then, all the librarians that keep this publisher solvent by buying their books suddenly, in these days of cost cutting measures, can no longer justify the purchases.

As for Edwin Mellen Press, this is not the first time it has responded aggressively to criticism. The publisher once sued Lingua Franca for libel when, in a 1993 article, the now-defunct magazine criticized the publisher. Edwin Mellen did not win, but it did later publish a book about the lawsuit, which can be purchased for $119.95.

Yeah, that would be one book not purchased and $120 saved for starters.

No SLAPP (1)

statsone (1981504) | about 2 years ago | (#42932293)

there is no SLAPP law currently on the books in either Canadian law or Ontario law.

But the publisher needs to be careful. If they loose, they have to pay the legal fees of the blog owner and the university.

The simple defence is to show the comments are true. Doesn't seem to be to hard.

Dear Mr. Herbert Richardson, (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 2 years ago | (#42932327)

FUCK YOU. As an academic, I think I can speak for myself and at least a few others: FUCK YOU and the craptastic publishing company you rode in on. Douchebag.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?