SkyRiver vs. OCLC antitrust lawsuit

“In a move that could have far-reaching implications for competition in the library software and technology services industry, SkyRiver Technology Solutions, LLC has filed suit in federal court in San Francisco against OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. The suit alleges that OCLC, a purported non-profit with a membership of 72,000 libraries worldwide, is unlawfully monopolizing the markets for cataloging services, interlibrary lending, and bibliographic data, and attempting to monopolize the market for integrated library systems, by anticompetitive and exclusionary practices. ” Karen Coyle has a great series of posts explaining what is really going on

The article quotes Karen Coyle as saying

As the representative of a major ILS company explained to me a few years ago, the library market is a zero-sum game: every time one vendor wins, others must lose, because the number of customers is not growing. The library market is a pie that can be divided into any number of slices, but the pie remains the same. This makes the rise of any one company a threat to all. In the commercial marketplace, the vendors compete over functionality and price. With its non-profit status OCLC has a distinct advantage: it doesn’t pay federal income tax on the revenues it brings in. That said, given its size and depth of its involvement in day-to-day library operations, it is plausible that even without its non-profit status OCLC would be a formidable competitor for ILS vendors.

Interesting times indeed. Follow the conversation on Twitter by looking for the skyoclc tag or read posts to the autocat mailing list that mention SkyRiver and OCLC. [via openlibrary]

2 comments for “SkyRiver vs. OCLC antitrust lawsuit

  1. 27Aug10 at 9:01

    Have OCLC’s members been asleep at the controls? Some of the numbers like CEO salary are staggering for a co-operative. I feel that the best thing OCLC members could do is reassert control.

  2. Todd
    01Sep10 at 2:56

    I think that quote from Coyle is misleading. What OCLC is doing is to trying and remake the market place without the ILS vendors. The vendors are doing what all visonless corporate entities are try to do: sue to save themselves. III = RIAA. OCLC is not blameless, they need to be more accountable. But historically libraries do NOT hold our ILS vendors accountable so what do we expect from other vendors? Share the blame as is deserved.

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