This just in, via beSpacific – Reuters is suing George Mason University for violating the Endnote TOS. Apparently (though I’m not sure I really understand the issue – this news story is very cryptic) Reuters claims the organization violated the terms of service when they analyzed ways to convert style files from Endnote to Zotero. Reuters (parent company of ISI, parent company of Endnote) accuses Zotero’s programmers of reverse-engineering Endnote files to make the conversion possible and that this threatens to destroy their customer base.
The Mark of Zotero, ACR Log, Barbara Fister, September 28th, 2008.
Here’s a bit more on the new forms of property front– or, rather on the old forms of property will defend themselves even when threatened in the most trivial ways front. Endnote has it’s own, uh, footnote in history, since it marked an early watershed in the automation (sort of) of certain aspects of writing. I imagine it is still very popular in certain scientific fields.
Zotero is the open-source challenger, although I am not certain that it is quite as full featured as Endnote. I am certain that will change, slowly but surely. What’s always interesting is the way open source tends to strip away the liberal niceties, maybe especially in relation to education. The rhetoric is all about making it easy to use and share knowledge, until you threaten my cash cow.