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Bibliographic services company SkyRiver Technology Solutions, joined by library automation company Innovative Interfaces, Inc., filed a lawsuit July 28 in federal court in San Francisco against OCLC, alleging anticompetitive business practices.
The move initiates a major legal battle between OCLC, a worldwide library membership organization, and two companies owned and founded by Jerry Kline. It also represents the culmination of concerns expressed by some vendors and librarians that OCLC has used its tax-exempt status as not only a giant library utility but a hard-nosed business.
On August 5, OCLC stated that the lawsuit was "without merit" and that OCLC planned to "vigorously defend the policies and practices of the cooperative." (See the full statement at right.)
Given the 72,000 libraries involved with OCLC and the organization's breadth of products and services, the legal action raises enormous implications regarding the library automation and bibliographic services industry sectors.
Though SkyRiver, a relatively new and small start-up, leads the …