Re: Open Archiving: What are researchers willing to do?

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjw_at_GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 08:40:22 -0500

This is in response to Marvin Margoshes' concern about illegal posting of
articles by the authors of those articles (which I consider ethical).

>> Authors might judge it ethical to post any of their articles older than 1
>> or 2 years without asking permission for these two reasons: (1) they are
>> making the results of publicly supported research public; (2) they are not
>> reducing the revenues of the publisher.
>> I have decided that such posting is ethical and have a clickable
>> bibliography on my home page
>> (

>People who violate law for any reason, even based on ethics not greed, need
>to know that they are subject to punishment in court. The fact that the
>property is intellectual doesn't make it any different than taking physical
>property that you don't own.

One of the intriguing aspects of copyright law is that very few cases go to
court and hence there is very little case law to limit what persons of
different views can imagine would happen if a particular violation did go
to court.

In a satellite conference on Web copyright issues that I attended two years
ago, I learned from experts in the field that the two ways to invite legal
action in regards to copyright were to

(1) Cause a copyright holder to lose a significant amount of money or to
lose the opportunity to make that money.

(2) Continue violating a copyright after warning.

As for (1), if posting old articles on authors' home pages costs
publishers, I would like publishers to explain how and how much (and I will
post their explanations on my e-pub gateway site at

Alternatively, can anyone come up with an example of an old journal article
that has brought a publisher a significant amount of profit? (Examples
from more than a five years ago probably aren't relevant. Collections of
old journal articles sold as texts seem to have gone out of style.)

As for (2), here is what I suggest to authors:

"If a publisher asks you to take an article off the Web because it violates
the publisher's copyright, my advice is to obey quickly, tell the publisher
why you thought the posting was ethical and why the publisher should make
it legal, and, in place of the article's clickable link, put a notice that
the article had been posted but was removed at the publisher's request."

Tom Walker
Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida, PO Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:45:38 GMT