November 1, 2008

EndNote Sends Thugs to Bust Inkwells

by Nick Montfort · , 6:56 am

Thomson Reuters, which vends EndNote, has leveled a $10 million lawsuit at the makers of open-source citation management software Zotero, alleging that the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University violated a license agreement by making their software interoperable. This dispute has some interesting nuances, as MacKenzie Smith describes:

An interesting twist to the case is that Thomson had previously encouraged EndNote users (primarily scholars) to create their own citation format style sheets for use in the software, and to share them with each other via donation back to Thomson or by posting on public web sites. But now Thomson is enforcing sole ownership of those style sheets regardless of who created them or where they’re located. In other words, unbeknownst to them EndNote users have been creating and sharing proprietary EndNote style sheets for years, but only at Thomson Reuters’ discretion …

Even the ivory tower isn’t free from rot. I wonder if EndNote users will be prompted to switch by this move, or if practicality and familiarity will outweigh any more remote questions?