For more on the case discussed in the statement below, see this Chronicle of Higher Education piece.
CHICAGO – Recently Edwin Mellen Press filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against McMasters University Associate Librarian Dale Askey. The suit alleges that Askey committed libel while criticizing Edwin Mellen Press on a personal blog while a librarian at Kansas State University. Edwin Mellen Press is seeking a total of $4.5 million dollars in damages to compensate for injury to their reputation.
American Library Association President Maureen Sullivan released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
As president of the American Library Association, I share the deep concern expressed by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries and the Canadian Library Association among many others in deploring the actions of the Edwin Mellen Press in filing a libel suit against Dale Askey, currently a librarian at McMaster University, for expressions of his professional opinion in a blog hosted first by the Kansas State University and now by McMaster University.
This action strikes at a core responsibility of all librarians as information professionals to provide considered, critical advice to the reading public regardless of the type of library in which they are employed.
In addition, it has the potential to significantly poison the good relationships enjoyed by the library and publishing communities. I call upon the Press to reconsider its actions and drop this assault on intellectual and academic freedom.