Friday, February 23, 2018

Patent Trolls Target Small Businesses With Lawsuit Threats. Here's How One Startup Fought Back; Inc., February 22, 2018

Minda Zetlin, Inc.; Patent Trolls Target Small Businesses With Lawsuit Threats. Here's How One Startup Fought Back

"Why are they targeting small businesses?

For years, these entities made their money by suing or threatening to sue large corporations with deep pockets. This worked well because they could take advantage of the rule that companies can be sued anywhere they do business, and large companies tend to do business in every state. Patent trolls found a few federal court districts where they had greater odds of winning. From their point of view, life was good.

But in May 2017, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that companies could only be sued for patent infringement in the state where they reside. That made collecting much harder for patent assertion entities. Many turned their attention to small companies and startups for which the cost of defending a patent case could pose an existential threat. They began sending letters containing a simple proposition: Pay us a (relatively reasonable) one-time fee and we'll sell you a permanent license and drop our planned lawsuit."

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tech's biggest companies are spreading conspiracy theories. Again.; CNN, February 21, 2018

Seth Fiegerman, CNN; Tech's biggest companies are spreading conspiracy theories. Again.

"To use Silicon Valley's preferred parlance, it's now hard to escape the conclusion that the spreading of misinformation and hoaxes is a feature, not a bug, of social media platforms -- and their business models.

Facebook and Google built incredibly profitable businesses by serving content they don't pay for or vet to billions of users, with ads placed against that content. The platforms developed better and better targeting to buoy their ad businesses, but not necessarily better content moderation to buoy user discourse."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ford's president of North America is out over 'inappropriate behavior'; CNN Money, February 21, 2018

Julia Horowitz and Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN Money; Ford's president of North America is out over 'inappropriate behavior'

""We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration," CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement. "Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values."...

The culture at Ford's factories has also come under scrutiny following a lengthy investigation by the New York Times, which explored decades of misconduct at two plants in Chicago."

Whatever Trump Is Hiding Is Hurting All of Us Now; New York Times, February 18, 2018

, New York Times; Whatever Trump Is Hiding Is Hurting All of Us Now

"Putin used cyberwarfare to poison American politics, to spread fake news, to help elect a chaos candidate, all in order to weaken our democracy. We should be using our cyber-capabilities to spread the truth about Putin —just how much money he has stolen, just how many lies he has spread, just how many rivals he has jailed or made disappear — all to weaken his autocracy. That is what a real president would be doing right now.

My guess is what Trump is hiding has to do with money. It’s something about his financial ties to business elites tied to the Kremlin. They may own a big stake in him. Who can forget that quote from his son Donald Trump Jr. from back in 2008: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets.” They may own our president.

But whatever it is, Trump is either trying so hard to hide it or is so na├»ve about Russia that he is ready to not only resist mounting a proper defense of our democracy, he’s actually ready to undermine some of our most important institutions, the F.B.I. and Justice Department, to keep his compromised status hidden.

That must not be tolerated. This is code red. The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office."

'Access+Ability' exhibit showcases designs for, and by, those with disabilities; CNN, February 21, 2018

Erin Gabriel, CNN; 'Access+Ability' exhibit showcases designs for, and by, those with disabilities

"Eye-catching objects designed for, and by, people with physical and other disabilities are the focus of the current "Access+Ability" exhibition in New York.

More than 70 exhibits, including colorful prosthetic leg covers and jeweled earrings that are also hearing aids, are featured as examples of "inclusive design" at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

"There has been a surge of design with and by people with a wide range of physical, cognitive, and sensory abilities," according to the museum's website.

The new exhibit -- like the museum itself -- aims to reflect that trend. "This year Cooper Hewitt embarked on a very ambitious initiative about accessibility, about making our campus, our program, who we are, much more accessible and it seemed like the perfect moment to do the exhibition 'Access + Ability,' " said Cara McCarty, the museum's curatorial director."

6 Core Values and 5 Emotional Intelligence Skills Leading to Sound Ethical Decisions; IPWatchdog, July 6, 2017

Bernard Knight, IPWatchdog; 6 Core Values and 5 Emotional Intelligence Skills Leading to Sound Ethical Decisions

"Ethical conduct is required in all jobs and by all organizations.   It also applies to positions at all levels.   Anyone can disagree with a substantive business or legal decision, but make an ethical mistake and your company, firm or individual career could be in jeopardy.   I explain below some excellent tools to avoid ethical missteps...

This article discusses how you can use core values and emotional intelligence skills to avoid ethical mishaps.   These skills are easy to gain and can save you from an unintended ethical mishap.   For more on the importance of emotional intelligence, see my prior IPWatchdog article."

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Creating Chaos Symposium on the Future of Libraries speakers share how they innovate in education; American Libraries, February 11, 2018

Terra Dankowski, American Libraries; Creating Chaos

Symposium on the Future of Libraries speakers share how they innovate in education


"[Peter] Piccolo [executive director of innovation at the Imaginarium: Denver Public Schools Innovation Lab] kicked off “Libraries Transform: Education Innovation” at the American Library Association’s 2018 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Denver on Saturday by sharing his organization’s framework for creating change: design thinking and research, two concepts familiar to library professionals. The session was part of the Symposium on the Future of Libraries series, and Piccolo was joined by copresenter Nina Sharma, managing director of the University of Denver’s Project X-ITE.

“As human beings, we’re not biologically wired to change,” Piccolo said. “You have to manage change intentionally.” He offered 10 key takeaways to spur innovation and inspire attendees, including creating psychological safety for employees so they’re inclined to take risks; eliminating structural barriers so people have incentive to innovate; inviting “diversity of perspective and creative chaos” instead of waiting for eureka moments; and being an ambidextrous leader who does not confuse innovation with implementation.

Piccolo also stressed that innovation means having a bias toward action—even if that means failure. “Failure has been romanticized,” he said. “There’s bad failure and good failure, and when there’s good failure you have to know how to improve.”

Monday, February 19, 2018

The students at Florida’s Douglas High are amazing communicators. That could save lives.; Washington Post, 2/17/18

Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post; The students at Florida’s Douglas High are amazing communicators. That could save lives.

[Kip Currier: This article touches on the overarching themes of our past two weeks of learning modules in my LIS 2700: Managing and Leading Information Services course: (1) the power of effective communication, and (2) managing change and being a "change agent".]

"Telegenic and media-savvy is one way to describe David Hogg, a lean and dark-haired senior at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

But maybe a better way is this: Change agent.

And what could be more sorely needed than a change agent right now? Because the mass shootings in America have become a horror of repetition in which meaningful change has come to seem impossible.

Enter Hogg. The 17-year-old is the school’s student news director, who not only interviewed his fellow students during the horrific massacre at his school on Wednesday, but then spoke with passion to national media figures, providing footage that has now circled the globe.

In a level gaze directly into CNN’s camera, Hogg called out politicians for their hapless dithering."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

More than 40 percent of Trump’s first Cabinet-level picks have faced ethical or other controversies; Washington Post, February 16, 2018

Aaron Blake, Washington Post; More than 40 percent of Trump’s first Cabinet-level picks have faced ethical or other controversies

"President Trump came to Washington promising to “drain the swamp.” But after less than 13 months, more than 40 percent of the people he originally picked for Cabinet-level jobs have faced ethical or other controversies. The list has grown quickly in recent weeks.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt are that latest to have their questionable travel practices probed. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that an inspector general's report determined Shulkin and top aides misled ethics officials about expenses for a controversial 10-day European trip Shulkin took with his wife. The Post also reported Sunday that Pruitt has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on first-class travel; since then his agency has said it obtained a waiver for him to fly first-class for security reasons.

The two of them join three other Cabinet-level officials who have faced ethical questions over their travels."

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Christopher Bailey Takes a Final Walk Down the Burberry Runway; New York Times, February 17, 2018

Elizabeth Paton, New York Times; Christopher Bailey Takes a Final Walk Down the Burberry Runway

"“Trying to be both a C.E.O. and creative director backfired for Christopher Bailey,” said Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas. “Quite simply, he took on too much.” Josie Cox, the business editor at The Independent, a London newspaper, was equally blunt in a recent article about Mr. Bailey’s departure: “He became C.E.O. and couldn’t quite hack it.”...

“Burberry was clearly at the start of a new chapter. Would I, could I, commit to another five or 10 years there, and keep doing what I know in a world that is so familiar? Or do I explore another way of life, and at the same time spend some more time with my husband, Simon, and my two beautiful little girls?” (Mr. Bailey married the British actor Simon Woods in 2012. The two have two daughters, Iris, 3½, and Nell, 2.)...

“Whatever he touches will turn to gold,” Ms. Campbell added. “It isn’t just because he is a visionary. It is because unlike many people in this business, he is so decent. He treats everyone from a C.E.O. or celebrity to an intern with a basic level of kindness and respect. He only deserves the best.”"

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Bad Parent Caucus; New York Times, February 15, 2018

Timothy Egan, New York Times; The Bad Parent Caucus

"Let me try another take for you bad parents in office. Pretend you live in a pleasant, well-protected community of like-minded people, and you’re in charge. O.K., you don’t have to pretend. And let’s say there was a natural gas leak every three days in one of the homes in that community, a leak that killed entire families.

Your response would be to pray and do nothing. Or to pray and talk about everything except the gas leak. Or to pray and say you’re powerless to act because the gas company owns you. The response of those suffering would be to take control and kick you out. That’s what we have to do, and will, next November."

Book-burning Pontypridd librarian jailed for thefts; BBC News, January 31, 2018

BBC News; Book-burning Pontypridd librarian jailed for thefts

"A librarian stole books from her workplace - including one on the Aberfan disaster - and tried to sell them online for up to £400.
Elizabeth Macregor, 57, burned several books in a bid to escape justice.
Macregor, of Hirwaun, stole hundreds of books from Pontypridd Library in Rhondda Cynon Taff.
She was jailed for eight months at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court after being found guilty of two counts of theft and perverting the course of justice."

Copyright For Libraries Around The World In 2018; Intellectual Property Watch, February 16, 2018

IFLA via Intellectual Property Watch; Copyright For Libraries Around The World In 2018

"Note: This roundup of changes to copyright laws around the world was prepared and originally published here by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). It is reposted with permission of the authors.

Copyright laws around the world are constantly changing in an attempt to adapt – or react – to the digital world. These changes can have a major impact on how libraries function and on the public service they provide. While some reforms offer new possibilities and legal certainty, others look backwards and seek to use the law to restrict the ability of libraries to guarantee meaningful information access to their users.

IFLA therefore follows the evolution of copyright reforms around the world, as well as bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that impact copyright regimes.

With the input of the IFLA copyright and other legal matters committee and network, we have compiled an inventory of recent and ongoing reforms that affect libraries and their services around the world. Following part 1, part 2 will identify topics that seem to be gaining importance in copyright reforms, and the approach that countries are adopting."

Unique law library has served community for 79 years; The Chronicle [St. Helens, Oregon], February 1, 2018

Rigmor Angel Soerensen, The Chronicle [St. Helens, Oregon]; Unique law library has served community for 79 years

"Davis and Ballentine visited different law libraries around the state. They talked with people, took photographs and interviewed librarians to get a feel for what law library facilities are like.

“I was particularly interested in what law libraries are going to look like in 10 or 15 years,” Davis said. With changes in technology and the availability for resource materials Davis wondered how the role of law libraries would change in today’s society.

Davis and Ballentine worked on their study for about six months, then wrote up a report and presented it to the commissioners, the district attorneys and the law library committee which hired them to implement their recommendations in the fall of 2015. With new lighting, a repaired floor with new carpet and a computer work area with digital access to online resources the law library was reopened for business in January of 2016 and Davis was hired as the law librarian."

PLA-sponsored forum surfaced contentious constitution situations in public libraries; American Libraries, February 11, 2018

Terra Dankowski, American Libraries; PLA-sponsored forum surfaced contentious constitution situations in public libraries

"What can a library do when a user’s viewing of pornographic images offends another user? How should a library respond when a patron says that an educational program on the Hindu celebration of Diwali represented religious proselytizing and caused him emotional harm? What steps should a library take when a visitor violates the code of conduct because of behavior stemming from mental illness?

These were some of the questions addressed at the “Legal Issues in Public Libraries Forum” at the American Library Association’s 2018 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits on Sunday. The session, sponsored by the Public Library Association, brought together lawyers and librarians for a frank, casual conversation on some of the most contentious issues popping up at public libraries, along with best practices on how to handle them.

“To caution you, this is not legal advice,” said moderator Tomas Lipinski, dean of the School of Information Studies at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. He also noted that different states in the US may define protections differently depending on the issue."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

IBM-Microsoft Spat Elevates Diversity to Tech-Secret Level; Bloomberg, February 12, 2018

Chris Dolmetsch, Bloomberg; IBM-Microsoft Spat Elevates Diversity to Tech-Secret Level

"While the lawsuit highlights the contention that can ensue when a senior employee bolts for a rival, it also shines a light on the increasing role that diversity measures play in corporate America. Technology and financial companies have reserved those fights in the past to employees who possessed key technical or strategic knowledge, not those entrusted to make decisions on hiring and the makeup of the workforce...

In its complaint, filed Monday in federal court in White Plains, New York, IBM pointed to Microsoft’s own attempts to keep details about its diversity efforts secret. In a separate lawsuit, in which Microsoft is accused of discriminating against women in technical and engineering roles, the Redmond, Washington-based company insisted that internal communications and documents about its diversity data and strategies be filed under seal because they’re so sensitive.
Non-competition clauses are common in the technology industry, covering most employees, said Evan Starr, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business."

Research: A Strong Privacy Policy Can Save Your Company Millions; Harvard Business Review, February 15, 2018


  • Kelly D. Martin and 
  • Abhishek Borah and 
  • Robert W. Palmatier
  • Harvard Business Review; Research: A Strong Privacy Policy Can Save Your Company Millions

    "Our research shows that data breaches sometimes harm a firm’s close rivals (due to spillover effects), but sometimes help them (due to competitive effects). What is more, we found that a good corporate privacy policy can shield firms from the financial harm posed by a data breach — by offering customers transparency and control over their personal information — while a flawed policy can exacerbate the problems caused by a breach. Together, this evidence is the first to show that a firm’s close rivals are directly, financially affected by its data breach and also to offer actionable solutions that could save some companies hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Our research shows that sometimes a breach creates spillover, where investors perceive a guilt-by-association effect that harms the breached firm’s close rivals."

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    Trump’s budget eliminates NEA, public TV and other cultural agencies. Again.; Washington Post, February 12, 2018

    Peggy McGlone, Washington Post; Trump’s budget eliminates NEA, public TV and other cultural agencies. Again.

    "In a repeat of last year, the Trump administration’s budget proposal for 2019 calls for eliminating four federal cultural agencies in a move that would save almost $1 billion from a $4.4 trillion spending plan.

    Trump’s proposal calls for drastically reducing the funding to begin closing the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The four agencies would share $109 million in 2019, a overall cut of $917 million.

    Congress rejected a nearly identical plan from the Trump administration last year...

    In a statement, IMLS director Kathryn K. Matthews said her agency is the primary source of federal funding for museums and libraries.

    “Without IMLS funding for museums and libraries, it would be more difficult for many people to gain access to the internet, continue their education, learn critical research skills, and find employment,” Matthews said.

    Laura Lott, president and chief executive of the American Alliance of Museums, blasted the “continued threats” to the cultural agencies that support the work of her membership.""

    How To Make The Library More Inclusive; Sage Publishing via Library Journal, February 12, 2018

    Karen Phillips,Sage Publishing via Library Journal; How To Make The Library More Inclusive

    "In a new series that celebrates innovators in libraries across the U.S., I have the privilege of diving deeper into the work of a segment of the 2017 Movers & Shakers announced by Library Journal. This week, I had the opportunity to catch up with Cynthia Mari Orozco, a Librarian for Equitable Services at East Los Angeles College Library. Dedicated to making the library inviting for librarians and students of all backgrounds, Cynthia works to raise awareness of micro-aggressions in librarianship and library anxiety among students. Read her interview below to learn more about her efforts to make the library a space of refuge and community..."


    In what ways can librarians help to reduce students’ library anxiety and make the library a welcoming place for the student?
    Being kind, personable, and compassionate can go a long way. Before working in libraries, I spent years working in restaurants, and I think libraries can learn a lot about customer service and making patrons feel welcomed and appreciated. There are many small acts that go a long way. For example the 10/5 rule: whenever within 10 feet of a patron, make eye contact and smile; within five feet of a patron, eye contact, smile, and some sort of friendly greeting or gesture.
    Librarians also need to understand their users, free from preconceived assumptions. Related to my first response, I was sheepishly telling some librarian colleagues that I didn’t know what “stacks” meant until I was in library school. I was relieved and slightly horrified to know that they had similar experiences! At the very least, you shouldn’t need to go to library school to know how to navigate a library’s physical and online spaces.
    In 2014, you founded the LIS Microaggressions blog (LISM), a safe, anonymous space for users to submit descriptions of microaggressions expressed toward individuals from marginalized communities that occur within the library and information science field. Can you give us some examples of the microaggressions taking place in libraries?"

    Navigating choppy waters: why good leadership is essential for managing change; HR Director, January 23, 2018

    David Willett, HR Director; Navigating choppy waters: why good leadership is essential for managing change

    "The key to effective leadership
    Many roles in the UK jobs market are expected to change over the next few years, which means that business leaders must become all-rounders; able to adapt to changing economic, political and technological climates.
    Increasing automation and digitisation are likely to have the most significant impact on the workforce, with the Institute for Public Policy Research recently suggesting that machines threaten jobs worth up to £290 billion in UK wages, both creating new roles and making others redundant.[2] An agile business must be led from the top, with those in leadership positions being capable of implementing new technology, processes and procedures, and also communicating change effectively to staff without damaging motivation, retention and productivity."

    Monday, February 12, 2018

    Universities Rush to Roll Out Computer Science Ethics Courses; New York Times, February 12, 2018

    Natasha Singer, New York Times; Universities Rush to Roll Out Computer Science Ethics Courses

    "The medical profession has an ethic: First, do no harm.

    Silicon Valley has an ethos: Build it first and ask for forgiveness later.

    Now, in the wake of fake news and other troubles at tech companies, universities that helped produce some of Silicon Valley’s top technologists are hustling to bring a more medicine-like morality to computer science...

    “Stanford absolutely has a responsibility to play a leadership role in integrating these perspectives, but so does Carnegie Mellon and Caltech and Berkeley and M.I.T.,” said Jeremy Weinstein, a Stanford political science professor and co-developer of the ethics course. “The set of institutions that are generating the next generation of leaders in the technology sector have all got to get on this train.”"

    White House budget proposal continues to miscalculate the value of libraries; American Library Association via PRNewswire-USNewswire, February 12, 2018

    American Library Association via PRNewswire-USNewswire; White House budget proposal continues to miscalculate the value of libraries

    "In its FY 2019 budget released today, the White House proposed eliminating the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to America's libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The decision echoes the FY 2018 proposal, which also eliminated the grant-making agency and its programs. The administration's budget also calls for elimination and/or severe cuts to many other federal programs that support libraries, including Innovative Approaches to Literacy, a Department of Education program."

    Video: Candidates For ALA President Discuss Issues During ALA Presidential Candidates’ Forum; Library Journal, February 11, 2018

    Gary Price, Library Journal; Video: Candidates For ALA President Discuss Issues During ALA Presidential Candidates’ Forum

    "The ALA Presidential Candidates’ Forum was recorded at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver on Saturday afternoon (February 10, 2018).
    The Candidates

    KY Governor’s Budget Would Eliminate Library Funds; Library Journal, February 7, 2018

    Bob Warburton, Library Journal; KY Governor’s Budget Would Eliminate Library Funds

    "DEPENDENT ON STATE AID

    State law KRS 171.201 provides for a Public Library Services Improvement and Equalization Fund and uses a formula to determine how much county library systems can receive.
    To begin with, each library system gets a lump sum grant: $9,000 for counties with a population of 22,000 or fewer, $8,000 for counties with a population between 22,001 and 45,000, and $7,000 for counties with more than 45,000 residents. The remaining aid is doled out at a rate of 73 cents per capita, to be used for a wide variety of purposes at the discretion of each library system.
    The 2018–20 Executive Budget Recommendation posted online includes this notation: “Notwithstanding KRS 171.201, the Executive Budget provides no funding for non-construction state aid to local libraries.”
    The vast majority of Kentucky libraries rely on tax revenue to fund the bulk of their operations. State aid is usually a smaller, but not insignificant, piece of their budget, Adler said. But for the 20 or so small county systems that aren’t part of a library taxing district, state aid is the only thing between them and serious financial hardship."

    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    When You Have to Carry Out a Decision You Disagree With; Harvard Business Review, February 9, 2018

    Art Markman, Harvard Business Review; When You Have to Carry Out a Decision You Disagree With

    "To convince yourself of the decision, put yourself in the shoes of someone who believes deeply in the decision that was made. Ask yourself why someone would make this choice. Look for factors you may not have considered before that would make this option a good one. While you’re at it, also be explicit about all of your objections. Those will be useful as well.

    Once you’ve wrapped your head around why this decision was reasonable, you’re ready to start working with your team to carry out the new plan.

    This approach helps you – and your team – in two ways."