[Libs-Or] Fwd: [alacoun] Fwd: FW: EBSCO and Colorado Library Consortium targeted by lawsuit

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 12:27:22 PDT 2018

Wow, I’m passing this along because what happens in one state often ends up
happening in other states as well.  It probably is worth it to watch this
one and see how much traction it gets.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: K.G. Schneider <kgs at freerangelibrarian.com>
Date: Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 12:22 PM
Subject: [alacoun] Fwd: FW: EBSCO and Colorado Library Consortium targeted
by lawsuit
To: <alacoun at lists.ala.org>

Just saw this -- it was shared widely across the California State
University system. How serious is this?

Karen G.Schneider
ALA Councilor at Large

*From:* icolc-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org <
icolc-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> *On Behalf Of *George Machovec
*Sent:* Wednesday, October 10, 2018 10:30 AM
*To:* ICOLC Confidential List <icolc at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
*Subject:* [Icolc] EBSCO and Colorado Library Consortium targeted by lawsuit

*Dear ICOLC Colleagues,*

Today I just received a press release indicating that EBSCO and the
Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) are being sued over alleged
“pornography” in EBSCO products that are being licensed to libraries in
Colorado.   This is baseless but is of great concern over broad censorship
issues. In some products, EBSCO provides indexing for magazines like GQ,
Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, etc that they claim have objectionable material
along with further links from those articles to Websites they find

Our consortium (Colorado Alliance) is not in the suit, but our sister
in-state CLiC consortium is in the crosshairs since they are licensing for
public and school libraries.  Be aware that this could spread to your
region particularly if you do licensing for public or school libraries.
Other companies like ProQuest and Gale could also be at risk but EBSCO is
the primary target in this lawsuit since that is the vendor being used for
a big statewide contract.


*From:* Thomas Ciesielka <tc at tcpr.net>
*Sent:* Wednesday, October 10, 2018 9:46 AM
*To:* George Machovec <George at coalliance.org>
*Subject:* Pornography Hidden in School Children’s Databases: Parents Sue
Educational Tech Company


Today, a law suit was filed suit against EBSCO, a nationwide corporation
that imbeds pornography in databases it markets to schools for use by
unsuspecting school children for their homework and research, and the
Colorado Library Consortium (details below).

Please let me know if you would like to speak with an attorney with the
Thomas More Society.

Best regards,

Tom Ciesielka, TC Public Relations            312-422-1333

*Pornography Hidden in School Children’s Databases: Parents Sue Educational
Tech Company*

*EBSCO and Colorado Library Consortium Are Plying Children with Graphic

Contact: Tom Ciesielka, 312.422.1333, *tc at tcpr.net <tc at tcpr.net>*

*(October 10, 2018 – Denver, CO) *The Thomas More Society filed suit today
against EBSCO, a nationwide corporation that imbeds pornography in
databases it markets to schools for use by unsuspecting school children for
their homework and research.  In the same suit, the Thomas More Society
also sued the Colorado Library Consortium, a tax-supported nonprofit
corporation that knowingly brokers EBSCO’s pornographic databases to
schools and libraries throughout Colorado.

“This case is about two things: protecting children and calling out
corporate deceit,” explained Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Matt

“EBSCO gets schools to purchase databases by falsely promising the
databases are age-appropriate and specifically tailored for elementary,
middle and high school children,” said Heffron. The Colorado Library
Consortium has parroted and supported EBSCO in brokering these databases to
schools, according to the suit.

But unknown to most parents, the databases are anything but safe or
kid-friendly.  They are riddled with easily accessible graphic
pornography.  And both EBSCO and the Colorado Library Consortium are well
aware of it, according to the law suit.

“This is not the internet, as some school officials have falsely stated,”
said Heffron.  Instead, EBSCO controls and limits the content of its
databases marketed to schools.  The curated databases are simply initially
accessed through the internet.  “That control of the databases is why
parents can expect the databases to be safe for their children at school,”
he said.  “They should not be infested with adult sexual fantasies.”

The law suit is filed under the Colorado Deceptive Trade Practices Act,
under which it is illegal to make false claims to sell a product.  “These
databases definitely are not age-appropriate, nor can parents consider them
reliable, as EBSCO claims,” said Heffron.

Heffron and the Thomas More Society are representing Pornography is Not
Education, a Colorado group that includes parents who are “understandably
outraged” at what they have discovered, said Heffron.

Parents in Aurora, Colorado, initially discovered two years ago that EBSCO
databases marketed for use by school children contained substantial amounts
of easily accessible, hardcore pornography. And they discovered the EBSCO
database system bypasses school internet filters and private,
parent-supplied internet filters.  Within the last year, the Aurora parents
have been joined by parents and citizens in other Colorado counties.

A month ago, the parents claimed a major victory after one of the largest
school districts in Colorado, Cherry Creek, acknowledged it had
discontinued purchasing or using any products from EBSCO.  That development
followed a two-year struggle with the parents ... and just before to the
filing of a law suit against the school district by the Thomas More Society.

“We were happy Cherry Creek finally did the right thing,” said Dr. Robin
Paterson, one of the parents most involved in the effort.  “But EBSCO still
is supplying its pornographic databases to school children in other school
districts across Colorado.  With this law suit being filed today, the other
shoe has dropped.  Now it’s time for EBSCO and the Colorado Library
Consortium to do the right thing also.”

“EBSCO had plenty of chances to avoid a law suit,” said Paterson.  “We
tried to work with them for the last two years. So did the National Center
on Sexual Exploitation. But all EBSCO was willing to do is put on a
band-aid, not fix the problem.”  Due to the materials discovered by the
Colorado parents, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation named EBSCO to
both its 2017 and 2018 “Dirty Dozen List” of the worst twelve corporations
in America that perpetuate sexual exploitation.

Technology exists to allow EBSCO to exclude sexually explicit materials
from the databases for school children, and it would be relatively
inexpensive for a corporation as large as EBSCO to apply that technology,
according to the parents’ lawsuit. EBSCO simply has decided not to use such
technology, they say.

The law suit gives a sampling of what parents have found in their
children’s school databases, provided by EBSCO and the Colorado Library

   - a “summer reading list” for children contained many erotic and BDSM
   (bondage, discipline, sadomasochism) stories, which could be located
   through as innocent a search as “romance;”
   - an EBSCO database marketed to school children contained a full-text
   e-book entitled “Pornography in America: A Reference Handbook,” which
   contained live url links to a company hosting video pornography and
   promoting the pornography industry;
   - benign searches for terms such as “robotics,” “girl’s stories,” “boy
   stories,” “grade 7 biology,” and “respiration” retrieved hyperlinks to
   “Lust”, “Bondage,” “Sex Toys,” and “Sexual Positions;”
   - more than 100 different instances of advertising for one particular
   large-scale sex toy store;
   - an allegedly teen website that advises children to use saran wrap to
   prevent sexually transmitted disease.

“Children don’t have to be looking for porn,” said Paterson.  “They can
stumble into it in these EBSCO databases.  Imagine how that might affect
your grade schooler!”

“This case also is about corporations obeying the law,” said Heffron.  “It
is against the law to ply children with pornography.  If the local
convenience store or movie theatre can’t do it, why should EBSCO and the
Colorado Library Consortium be allowed to get away with it?”

The second count of the law suit, alleging a civil conspiracy between EBSCO
and the Colorado Library Consortium, lists six federal and state statutes
outlawing sexually explicit materials from being supplied to children.
These statutes apply two well-established legal standards,
“obscene-as-to-minors” and “harmful-as-to- minors,” which have withstood
constitutional challenges. The law suit alleges EBSCO and the Colorado
Library Consortium agreed, at least tacitly, to violate laws such as these.

“As one would expect, courts apply a much stricter standard when deciding
whether to shield children from pornography than they apply when deciding
cases involving adults” said Heffron.

The Thomas More Society, and the Colorado parents, find themselves now on
the forefront of what appears to be shaping up as a national movement of
parents outraged by pornography in the schools.  The Colorado parents
demonstrated their EBSCO searches recently to Utah parents, who in turn
brought to the attention of the Utah Education Network, which immediately
shut down EBSCO while Utah investigates.

“EBSCO claims to be in 55,000 schools across the country,” said Heffron.
“We’re just getting started.”

In April this year, the Thomas More Society filed a law suit against a
Chicago public school, *(Wagenmaker et al (parents) v. Kenner et al.
(Whitney Young administrators
*forcing the school to cancel sexual education instruction for 7th through
12th graders by a sex columnist,  whose extensive online articles advocated
casual hook-up sex, pornography use, and other risky sexual behaviors.

In the Colorado case, the Society is associated in this case with attorney
Theresa L. Sidebotham, of Telios Law, Monument, Colorado, whose law
practice regularly includes advising organizations on how to protect
children, particularly those harmed by sexual abuse.

Read the Complaint, *Pornography is Not Education v. EBSCO Industries, Inc.
and Colorado Library Consortium, *filed by the Thomas More Society at the
District Court of Arapahoe County, Colorado, on October 10, 2018, here

George Machovec

Executive Director

Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries

3801 E. Florida Ave., Suite 515

Denver, CO  80210

(303) 759-3399 x.101

(303) 759-3363 (fax)


*Diedre Conkling*
*diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude.”―Maya Angelou
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://omls.oregon.gov/pipermail/libs-or/attachments/20181010/53fe183c/attachment.html>

More information about the Libs-Or mailing list