Re: A Role for SPARC in Freeing the Refereed Literature

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 18:12:27 +0100

On Wed, 21 Jun 2000, Jim Till wrote:

> If the radical (and undesirable) scenario outlined by David Goodman
> (illegal free distribution) cannot be prevented, perhaps extensive stable
> open-archiving of such illegally-distributed research results also can't
> be prevented?

My goodness. All this confusion!

Please distinguish (for want of a better word) consumer "allo-piracy"
from producer "auto-piracy."

Napster is ocnsumer allo-piracy: I, the consumer, steal YOUR product,
bypassing the toll-gates. This can only be done in the privacy of
computer-to-computer personal nabbing, because if anyone puts YOUR
product up openly, he advertises that he has stolen it (and is nabbed
in his turn).

Public self-archiving of one's OWN product is "auto-piracy" which
(apart from the sticky question of copyright assignment) is no kind of
piracy at all! It is the author's own, public give-away, for one and
all. I, the producer, publicly auto-archive my OWN product.

Now what Jim seems to be suggesting above is that one could somehow get
to open-archiving via allo-piracy. I steal YOUR product, and then
publicly archive it for one and all. Of course that won't work! For the
reason above. The only one who can SELF-archive his own work with
impunity is oneSELF. So napster-style, consumer-end allo-piracy has
nothing to whatsoever do with it; it's totally out of the loop.

> On Wed, 21 Jun 2000, David Goodman wrote [in response to Steavn Harnad]:
> > [dg] I think most of us in this discussion fully support the efforts
> > [dg] you and others are making to permit and facilitate legal free
> > [dg] distribution of the results of research. But regardless of their
> > [dg] sucess, the predominant mode of access may conceivably switch to
> > [dg] illegal free distribution, regardless of all efforts to prevent
> > [dg] it. Of course most of us -- I hope -- think this very
> > [dg] undesirable, but that might not prevent it from happenning.
> >
> > Stevan Harnad wrote:
> > > [sh] Please see the "napster" thread in this Forum. My own view is
> > > [sh] that there is a profound DISanalogy between consumer-end
> > > [sh] rip-off, napster-style, of NON-give-away work (such as MP3
> > > [sh] music), whichis illegal and not to be condoned, and author-end
> > > [sh] open-archiving of give-away work (refereed research reports),
> > > [sh] which can be done completely legally, and is both optimal for
> > > [sh] research and researchers and inevitable.

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
             Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton

NOTE: A complete archive of this ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature is available at the American
Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):

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Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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