Karen Coyle has a new blog post detailing what Sky River’s specific allegations against OCLC are.
[O]ne could look on WorldCat as a shared community resource, not the property of OCLC. In fact, OCLC uses this kind of argument in its record use policy, but somehow leads to the conclusion that WorldCat should not be used to foster non-OCLC library services. It seems easy to make the opposite argument, which would be that WorldCat could be the basis for a wide range of services that would benefit libraries, even if they do not come from OCLC.
“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]