GBS: LULAC Likes the Settlement

The League of United Latin American Citizens has submitted a letter favoring the settlement, citing the same kinds of pro-access arguments that the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools and the American Association of People with Disabilities did. I suspect we’ll see a fair number more such similar letters before September 4. I’d guess that the parties have been making an effort to reach out to groups that advocate on behalf of traditionally disadvantaged communities, emphasizing the settlement’s equalizing effects.

In some important ways, both proponents and critics of the settlement have been obsessed with its distributional implications. Advocates point to the free terminal, the broadly available subscription service, and the various free online uses as opening up the world of books to those who have had to go without a research library collection. Critics worry about the pricing of the institutional subscription being out of reach of all but the richest institutions in their categories. Note that these are, in a sense, the same exact concern. Note, too, that no matter what structure the settlement takes or doesn’t, the rich institutions will always look for ways to parlay their wealth into competitive advantage. The question thus has to be what the actual situation on the ground will look like, given that many are playing the positional game.