SkyRiver Files Antitrust Suit Against OCLC

July 30, 2010

SkyRiver Technology Solutions has filed suit (PDF file) in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco against OCLC, alleging that the "purported nonprofit 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." SkyRiver issued a news release July 29 announcing the suit, using a website created to present its side in the case.

The library community is abuzz with the news, especially since numerous competitors have for years voiced objections to the advantages they claim OCLC has over them through its nonprofit status. Marshall Breeding, director for innovative technology and research at Vanderbilt University Library in Nashville, Tennessee, has written an insightful overview of the situation for Library Journal, saying, "The move initiates a major legal battle between OCLC, a worldwide library membership organization, and two companies owned and founded by Jerry Kline," the other being Innovative Interfaces, a major competitor.

Both Innovative Interfaces and OCLC are Library Champions, a select group of corporate and foundation supporters of the American Library Association and its library advocacy efforts.