Re: Legal ways around copyright for one's own giveaway texts

From: Christopher D. Green <christo_at_YORKU.CA>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 07:53:12 -0500

Stevan Harnad wrote:

> On Mon, 13 Mar 2000, Alan Story wrote:
> > 3. In this regard, C. Green statement that "soon we'll
> > simply expect students" to have "hand-held devices that
> > access the web remotely e.g. from the classroom" is
> > interesting. I ask: who will pay for them? individuals? the
> > state (that is, taxpayers)? And where? In affluent 1st
> > world countries? In poorer 3rd world countries? This is a
> > question this list needs to address, I think.
> [...] The fact is that the researcher's case for
> freeing his own research reports is NOT contingent IN ANY WAY on who
> pays for hand-held classroom devices, and whether or not they ought to
> be free. Not should it be.
> > And if you
> > don't and do not take into account the trends in higher
> > education finance in the UK, the US and elsewhere, you
> > face the danger of creating a further "information rich"
> > / " information poor" divide.
> Nothing of the sort. Freeing the research literature online now will have
> all the spinoff effects you desire, including the (secondary) DRIVING of
> demand for and provision of the means to access it (for teachers, students,
> 3rd world). Indeed, just the online freeing of the research literature
> will be an enormous boon for the disenfranchised 3rd world researcher
> right now: [...]
> > I assume, in other words,
> > that you actually do want to create an information
> > democracy and not reproduce the current and unjust
> > market-based and property-based (that is, private property
> > based) system in information.
> I happen to be a socialist; but the research self-archiving movement,
> its rationale and its objectives, have absolutely nothing to do with
> that. We do not need to take on capitalism in order to achieve those
> face-valid objectives!

Golly there's an awful lots of idealism and optimism at play here. I hardly know
where to start. First, contrary to Stevan, I suspect that much of the third word
will indeed be left behind by the increasing computerization of the first world.
Although this may "drive demand" for electronics in the third world (note,
however, I suspect the third world has far more pressing demands at present), it
certainly won't provide the funds necessary to satisfy that demand. I don't see
any obvious solution to that problem, however. Are we (scientists in the first
world), REALLY, as Alan seems to suggest, supposed to continue to labor under the
yoke of increasingly voracious publishing companies simply in order to satisfy
the needs of that tiny fraction of the scientific community that resides in the
third world? (Before someone righteously points out to me that the third world is
a huge proportion of the earth's population, note that India and China are
already making great strides toward computerization, and their best scientists
and students won't be "left behind." Countries like Zimbabwe, however -- the
case Alan mentions specifically -- are of a different order, I think.) In any
case, I suspect that *in the broader context,* it would be difficult could than
Alan suggests to make a strong ethical case for this (viz. "holding back" so the
third world can "catch up"). Consider: faster dissemination of scientific
literature to scientists means, among other things, more rapid scientific
progress (including improved treatment for disease in the third world, better
food production and management, better water management, etc.). Is that to be
traded away, or should, instead, those who are best off do the everything they
can to help solve the problems of the world as a whole? Even if you could make a
strong ethical case, do you really think that such an argument would really lead
first world scientists to abstain from using one of their most powerful tools
(computerized distribution of scientific results) or, do you, like I, expect that
those scientists who did would rapidly become second-rate first worlds

Christopher D. Green
Department of Psychology
York University
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
phone:  (416) 736-5115 ext. 66164
fax:    (416) 736-5814
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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