copyright issues


googlebooks_logoIf you haven’t been keeping up with the GoogleBooks settlement too closely recently, Jason Kucsma’s METRO DigiTech Newsletter article entitled “Resources: Making Sense of the Google Books Settlement” offers a nice “roundup” of the issues and last-minute filings that led to a Department of Justice request to postpone the settlement, and to the subsequent cancellation of the “fairness” hearing, originally scheduled for  last week. 

 In the meantime, two recent additions to the spectrum of opinions on whether Google will be the “answer” to digital preservation, and whether it is up to the task of keeping well-meant promises:   Wired‘s Dennis Crothers discusses “Google’s Abandoned Library of 700 Million Titles” — hits and misses from an earlier GoogleGroups project designed to preserve the UseNet archive, and  a NYTimes op-ed piece by Sergey Brin (Google co-founder and technology president) touting that Google’s project will be a “A Library to Last Forever

open lockFollowing up on previous postings about the “open” movement in research and education, we refer you to a report in Library Journal’s (9/15/2009)  that five universities — Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, MIT, and UC Berkeley — have spearheaded a campaign to make OA publishing economically viable. They are the first to create and sign on to COPE: compact for open-access publishing equity. They are encouraging other universities to join in, and offering answers to “frequently asked questions about how/why to join.    Aside from the economic issues facing big institutional libraries, the OA model is a social justice issue, ensuring that timely, authoritative research is available to scholars in emerging nations.  The overview section of the COPE site briefly explains the need for such a compact:         

Universities subsidize the costs of subscription journals by subscribing to them. Universities and funding agencies can provide equitable support for the processing-fee business model for open-access journals — to place the subscription-fee and processing-fee models on a more level playing field — by subsidizing processing fees as well.

The compact for open-access publishing equity supports equity of the business models by committing each university to “the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.”

A full account of the motivation for the compact can be found in the article “Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing” published in the open-access journal Public Library of Science Biology

Citations:

Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (2009). http://www.oacompact.org/ Accessed 9/18/2009.

Hadro J (2009) Five Universities Sign Open Access Funding Compact. Library Journal.com  (9/15/2009). Accessed 9/18/2009.

Shieber SM (2009) Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing. PLoS Biol 7(8): e1000165. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000165

We noted in a prior blog entry that Open Access Scholarship got a boon in early 2009, when Harvard faculty decided to make their scholarship available in Institutional Repositories.  It marked a point where one of the premiere US Institutions of higher learning explicitly recognized that access to scholarship shouldn’t be limited to those Universities which  can pay increasingly prohibitive costs for access through publishers and vendors.  Six months later, and on the other end of the access spectrum,  Harvard Business Publishing is trying to charge Universities even more to deep-link to articles for which most University Libraries have already paid both the publisher and the EBSCO vendor.

open lockAcademic librarians have long questioned the economically voracious model of publishing in academia — Cornell’s public break with Elseivier is probably the most widely known rallying point, and they in turn are vocal and active proponents of OA Scholarship.   The recent buzz around making NIH-funded research publically available helps bolster the argument for Open Access among academic publishers.  Like government-funded publications, most University research is  funded, at least partially, by the  University itself, in addition to private or public grants.  The traditional commercial publisher model charges that author’s University Library a large subscription rate to have print access and then works with vendors to charge libraries for the convenience of electronic access to that research. Generally a publisher justifies the price by saying that they add value through editing, through sponsoring the peer-review process, and through volume printing costs.  With OpenAccess publishing (along with Open Journal systems that can automate peer-review work-flows for scholarly presses), these “added values” are becoming less valued.  

The basis, if any, for charging more to have a deep-link to an article, when the professor can aways link to the Library’s vendor-provided abstract (with PDF link or full-text-search link)  is unclear.  While HBP’s desire to charge for deep-linking to the article in EBSCO doesn’t exactly parallel the motives behind another linking-suit filed  against Georgia State University by Oxford, Cambridge and Sage, it appears that they are both related to lost revenue on Course Packs.   In the latter suit, the 3 presses claimed that Georgia State University made electronic versions of articles available in  online course reserves without proper permission. Ostensibly, their suit was based on the fact that access was not behind a password protected course-page; however, in the course of subsequent statements, they questioned whether “Fair Use” extends to electronic copies hosted on CMS and Library e-reserves (which would both be behind password protections and could be linked to vendor-database links).

There is an interesting posting “Libraries versus Salinger” on the Duke University Libraries Scholarly Communications @ Duke blog, a “web site [that] is intended to help keep the Duke community informed about developments in scholarly communications, including the application of copyright law and its exceptions to teaching and research.”

In early August, the American Library Association (ALA), the Association Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and others had filed an amicus brief in the appeal of the June 2009 court decision issuing an injunction to stop the U.S. publication of Sixty Years Later: Coming through the Rye, an unauthorized sequel to the Catcher in the Rye, on the grounds that its publication was a likely infringement of J. D. Salinger’s copyright.

imagesFollowing up on a previous blog entry on Google’s efforts to mass-digitize books, including copyrighted and “orphan” works, is this story at the New York Times, regarding Google’s mass-print effort to reach authors of otherwise orphaned works.

Since the copyright holders can be anywhere and not necessarily online — given how many books are old or out of print — it became obvious that what was needed was a huge push in that relic of the pre-Internet age: print.  …the bulk of the legal notice spending — about $7 million of a total of $8 million — is going to newspapers, magazines, even poetry journals, with at least one ad in each country. These efforts make this among the largest print legal-notice campaigns in history.

« Previous Page