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Dewey Decimal Owner Sues 'Library' Hotel

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  • Matthew Winslow
    A friend pointed this out to me, via Neil Gaiman s blog, and since we ve discussed this hotel here, I thought I d send it on.
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
      A friend pointed this out to me, via Neil Gaiman's blog, and since we've
      discussed this hotel here, I thought I'd send it on.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41113-2003Sep20.html

      > Dewey Decimal Owner Sues 'Library' Hotel
      >
      > The Associated Press
      > Saturday, September 20, 2003; 10:01 PM
      >
      > DUBLIN, Ohio -- The nonprofit library cooperative that owns the Dewey
      > Decimal system has filed suit against a library-themed luxury hotel in
      > Manhattan for trademark infringement.
      >
      > The Library Hotel, which overlooks the New York Public Library, is
      > divided according to the classification system, with each floor
      > dedicated to one of Dewey's 10 categories.
      >
      > Room 700.003 includes books on the performing arts, for example, while
      > room 800.001 has a collection of erotic literature.
      >
      > In the lawsuit filed last week, lawyers for the Online Computer Library
      > Center said the organization acquired the rights to the system in 1988
      > when it bought Forest Press, which published Dewey Decimal updates. The
      > center charges libraries that use the system at least $500 per year.
      >
      > Melvil Dewey created his system - used in 95 percent of all public and
      > K-12 school libraries - in 1873, but it is continually updated, with
      > numbers assigned to more than 100,000 new works each year.
      >
      > "A person who came to (the hotel's) Web site ... would think they were
      > passing themselves off as connected with the owner of the Dewey Decimal
      > Classification system," said Joseph Dreitler, a lawyer representing the
      > center.
      >
      > Hotel general manager Craig Spitzer and OCLC spokeswoman Wendy McGinnis
      > did not return phone messages Saturday seeking comment.
      >
      > The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus seeks triple the
      > hotel's profits since its opening or triple the organization's damages,
      > whichever is greater, from the hotel's owner.
      >
      > Dreitler said Saturday he and his client do not yet know the size of
      > the hotel's profits. The center, based in Dublin, is willing to settle
      > with the hotel's owners, he said.
      >

      ----- End forwarded message -----

      --
      Matthew Winslow mwinslow@... http://x-real.firinn.org/
      "Nowadays we don't live in a literary generation. We live in a generation
      of lookers, not readers. That is one of our great problems as Christians.
      We are book people in a non-book world."
      --J. Alec Motyer
      Currently reading: Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
    • Jack
      ... It really should have avoided a lawsuit over this issue as I doubta judge is going have much pity on the library group as there s no evidence this use
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
        >A friend pointed this out to me, via Neil Gaiman's blog, and since we've
        >discussed this hotel here, I thought I'd send it on.
        >
        ><http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41113-2003Sep20.html>http://www
        >.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41113-2003Sep20.html

        It really should have avoided a lawsuit over this issue as I doubta judge
        is going have much pity on the library group
        as there's no evidence this use damaged their trademark.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Croft, Janet B
        It s been all over the library lists I subscribe to, as well. I don t think OCLC has a good case; the numbers aren t real Dewey numbers (just the broad
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
          It's been all over the library lists I subscribe to, as well. I don't think
          OCLC has a good case; the numbers aren't "real" Dewey numbers (just the
          broad subject number followed by a room number), and the broad
          classification scheme goes back to the late 1800's.

          Here's a follow-up article:
          http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/breaking_news/6836244.htm
          <http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/breaking_news/6836244.htm>

          Posted on Mon, Sep. 22, 2003
          <http://www.kansascity.com/images/common/spacer.gif>
          <http://www.kansascity.com/images/common/spacer.gif>

          NYC's Library Hotel Dismays Dewey Owner
          Associated Press

          DUBLIN, Ohio - A library-themed luxury hotel in Manhattan said Monday that
          it has not infringed on the rights of a nonprofit library cooperative that
          owns the Dewey Decimal system.

          The Library Hotel, which overlooks the New York Public Library, is divided
          according to the classification system, with each floor dedicated to one of
          Dewey's 10 categories and individual rooms to subcategories.

          Room 700.003 includes books on the performing arts, for example, while room
          800.001 has a collection of erotic literature.

          The Online Computer Library Center, based in this Columbus suburb, sued the
          hotel in federal court last week for trademark infringement, seeking
          damages.

          Craig Spitzer, general manager of the Library Hotel, said the theme was the
          idea of its owner, Henry Kallan, and is based on the hotel's proximity to
          the famous library on Fifth Avenue.

          "We do not believe that our guests or other consumers are confused into
          thinking that the Library Hotel's hospitality services and the OCLC's
          information services come from the same source," Spitzer said.

          The online library center charges libraries at least $500 a year to use the
          system.

          Joseph Dreitler, a lawyer representing the center, has said people looking
          at the hotel's Web site might think the hotel was connected with the owner
          of the Dewey Decimal System.

          ON THE NET

          <http://www.oclc.org/> http://www.oclc.org/

          <http://www.libraryhotel.com/> http://www.libraryhotel.com/


          Janet Croft

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Matthew Winslow [mailto:mwinslow-sf@...]
          Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 12:05 PM
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [mythsoc] Dewey Decimal Owner Sues 'Library' Hotel


          A friend pointed this out to me, via Neil Gaiman's blog, and since we've
          discussed this hotel here, I thought I'd send it on.

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41113-2003Sep20.html
          <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41113-2003Sep20.html>

          > Dewey Decimal Owner Sues 'Library' Hotel
          >
          > The Associated Press
          > Saturday, September 20, 2003; 10:01 PM
          >
          > DUBLIN, Ohio -- The nonprofit library cooperative that owns the Dewey
          > Decimal system has filed suit against a library-themed luxury hotel in
          > Manhattan for trademark infringement.
          >
          > The Library Hotel, which overlooks the New York Public Library, is
          > divided according to the classification system, with each floor
          > dedicated to one of Dewey's 10 categories.
          >
          > Room 700.003 includes books on the performing arts, for example, while
          > room 800.001 has a collection of erotic literature.
          >
          > In the lawsuit filed last week, lawyers for the Online Computer Library
          > Center said the organization acquired the rights to the system in 1988
          > when it bought Forest Press, which published Dewey Decimal updates. The
          > center charges libraries that use the system at least $500 per year.
          >
          > Melvil Dewey created his system - used in 95 percent of all public and
          > K-12 school libraries - in 1873, but it is continually updated, with
          > numbers assigned to more than 100,000 new works each year.
          >
          > "A person who came to (the hotel's) Web site ... would think they were
          > passing themselves off as connected with the owner of the Dewey Decimal
          > Classification system," said Joseph Dreitler, a lawyer representing the
          > center.
          >
          > Hotel general manager Craig Spitzer and OCLC spokeswoman Wendy McGinnis
          > did not return phone messages Saturday seeking comment.
          >
          > The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus seeks triple the
          > hotel's profits since its opening or triple the organization's damages,
          > whichever is greater, from the hotel's owner.
          >
          > Dreitler said Saturday he and his client do not yet know the size of
          > the hotel's profits. The center, based in Dublin, is willing to settle
          > with the hotel's owners, he said.
          >

          ----- End forwarded message -----

          --
          Matthew Winslow mwinslow@... http://x-real.firinn.org/
          <http://x-real.firinn.org/>
          "Nowadays we don't live in a literary generation. We live in a generation
          of lookers, not readers. That is one of our great problems as Christians.
          We are book people in a non-book world."
          --J. Alec Motyer
          Currently reading: Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb



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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
          Wow, sadly it s oh so typical in today s America. You d think the Dewey Decimal System would take all the publicity it could get, too. Lizzie Triano
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
            Wow, sadly it's oh so typical in today's America. You'd think the Dewey
            Decimal System would take all the publicity it could get, too.


            Lizzie Triano
            lizziewriter@...
            amor vincit omnia
          • David S. Bratman
            ... That s a little weak, though. I for one didn t even know that OCLC had bought DDC. And while presumably all libraries using DDC pay a fee for using it
            Message 5 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
              OCLC's real complaint seems to be expressed in the article's last paragraph:

              >Joseph Dreitler, a lawyer representing the center, has said people looking
              >at the hotel's Web site might think the hotel was connected with the owner
              >of the Dewey Decimal System.

              That's a little weak, though. I for one didn't even know that OCLC had
              bought DDC. And while presumably all libraries using DDC pay a fee for
              using it (something else I didn't know), and are thereby "connected" or
              "authorized" with OCLC, it's a pretty weak form of connection. And some of
              them, I know well, tinker with the schedules as much as the Library Hotel does.

              There's certainly no copyright issue, if (as the article suggests) the
              hotel only uses the ten main classes. (The room numbers, as Janet points
              out, are not real Dewey numbers; they're just formatted like real numbers.)
              The ten classes are unchanged since Dewey's original edition, and are thus
              long out of copyright.

              The hotel could solve the problem by posting a tiny notice on its web site
              saying "Not connected with the Online Computer Library Center." OCLC's
              claim of a presumption of connection reminds me of Bill O'Reilly claiming
              that a tiny picture of him in a tv screen on the cover of Al Franken's book
              implied that he endorsed it. Fox got laughed out of court when they sued
              over that; may OCLC meet the same fate.

              If the Library Hotel really mixed up the meaning of the Dewey classes -
              which they're not doing - I'd be unhappy about it, but I wouldn't consider
              it a suing matter. I'd have stayed in the hotel had I known about it when
              I was last in New York, and I'm no less likely to want to go there in the
              future.

              - David Bratman
            • Croft, Janet B
              I cataloged exclusively with DDC at my previous library. I never paid them any fee just for the use of the system -- I never assumed I might not be able to
              Message 6 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
                I cataloged exclusively with DDC at my previous library. I never paid them
                any "fee" just for the use of the system -- I never assumed I might not be
                able to purchase a used, older edition of the DDC hardbacks and catalog from
                them if I wanted to. But I did shell out an annual fee for purchasing and
                updating the DDC on CD-ROM, because I wanted the most up-to-date revisions.
                I knew OCLC *published* the DDC, but I didn't think they owned rights to all
                versions, forever and amen. But they have revamped their website within the
                past few weeks, and hidden the old list of the Dewey 100s and 1000s you used
                to be able to print out -- it's still there as a PDF, but very well hidden
                indeed. Interesting -- like they were planning something like this...

                Neil Gaiman's weblog has a review of the Library Hotel -- biggest complaint
                was no room service. No restaurant on the premises. But other people have
                given it glowing reviews. I'd give you the link but our campus internet is
                down right now, though email still works.

                Janet Croft

                -----Original Message-----
                From: David S. Bratman [mailto:dbratman@...]
                Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 2:54 PM
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Dewey Decimal Owner Sues 'Library' Hotel


                OCLC's real complaint seems to be expressed in the article's last paragraph:

                >Joseph Dreitler, a lawyer representing the center, has said people looking
                >at the hotel's Web site might think the hotel was connected with the owner
                >of the Dewey Decimal System.

                That's a little weak, though. I for one didn't even know that OCLC had
                bought DDC. And while presumably all libraries using DDC pay a fee for
                using it (something else I didn't know), and are thereby "connected" or
                "authorized" with OCLC, it's a pretty weak form of connection. And some of
                them, I know well, tinker with the schedules as much as the Library Hotel
                does.

                There's certainly no copyright issue, if (as the article suggests) the
                hotel only uses the ten main classes. (The room numbers, as Janet points
                out, are not real Dewey numbers; they're just formatted like real numbers.)
                The ten classes are unchanged since Dewey's original edition, and are thus
                long out of copyright.

                The hotel could solve the problem by posting a tiny notice on its web site
                saying "Not connected with the Online Computer Library Center." OCLC's
                claim of a presumption of connection reminds me of Bill O'Reilly claiming
                that a tiny picture of him in a tv screen on the cover of Al Franken's book
                implied that he endorsed it. Fox got laughed out of court when they sued
                over that; may OCLC meet the same fate.

                If the Library Hotel really mixed up the meaning of the Dewey classes -
                which they're not doing - I'd be unhappy about it, but I wouldn't consider
                it a suing matter. I'd have stayed in the hotel had I known about it when
                I was last in New York, and I'm no less likely to want to go there in the
                future.

                - David Bratman



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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Jack
                ... http://neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp Neil complains about room service a lot . [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                Message 7 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
                  >Neil Gaiman's weblog has a review of the Library Hotel -- biggest complaint
                  >was no room service. No restaurant on the premises. But other people have
                  >given it glowing reviews. I'd give you the link but our campus internet is
                  >down right now, though email still works.


                  http://neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp

                  Neil complains about room service a lot <grin>.

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Croft, Janet B
                  Thanks, Jack. If I d just waited a few minutes the internet would have been back... Janet ... From: Jack [mailto:jack@greenmanreview.com] Sent: Tuesday,
                  Message 8 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
                    Thanks, Jack. If I'd just waited a few minutes the internet would have been
                    back...

                    Janet

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Jack [mailto:jack@...]
                    Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 4:06 PM
                    To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Dewey Decimal Owner Sues 'Library' Hotel



                    >Neil Gaiman's weblog has a review of the Library Hotel -- biggest complaint
                    >was no room service. No restaurant on the premises. But other people have
                    >given it glowing reviews. I'd give you the link but our campus internet is
                    >down right now, though email still works.


                    http://neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp
                    <http://neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp>

                    Neil complains about room service a lot <grin>.

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Croft, Janet B
                    That s a question for David -- I don t use LC. But since it s produced by the Library of Congress, maybe it s a government document and therefore public
                    Message 9 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
                      That's a question for David -- I don't use LC. But since it's produced by
                      the Library of Congress, maybe it's a government document and therefore
                      public domain?

                      Janet (going farther and farther astray from Mythsoc topics... but one more
                      won't hurt)

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Jack [mailto:jack@...]
                      Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 4:35 PM
                      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Dewey Decimal Owner Sues 'Library' Hotel



                      >Thanks, Jack. If I'd just waited a few minutes the internet would have
                      been
                      >back...

                      No prob. It is a rather interesting story.

                      IS the LoC system copyrighted?

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Jack
                      ... No prob. It is a rather interesting story. IS the LoC system copyrighted? [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      Message 10 of 10 , Sep 23, 2003
                        >Thanks, Jack. If I'd just waited a few minutes the internet would have been
                        >back...

                        No prob. It is a rather interesting story.

                        IS the LoC system copyrighted?

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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