Re: PostGutenberg Copyrights and Wrongs for Give-Away Research

From: Mark Doyle <doyle_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 17:41:45 -0400


On Thursday, June 28, 2001, at 01:29 PM, Leslie Chan wrote:

> While I am fully aware of the distinction between the "give-away"
> literature
> and the writing-for-fee literature, I can't help but wonder if the US
> Supreme Court ruling (see below) will have implications for the
> scholarly
> literature, as publishers have been digitizing back issues of journal
> articles that were published before the arrival of electronic
> publishing and
> before there were electronic rights for authors to give away. In other
> words, could authors prevent publishers from digitizing the material
> that
> they do not have the electronic rights to, just as some publishers have
> been
> preventing authors from self-archiving? And what would this really
> mean, if
> anything?

This is the bottom line argument for why the APS insists on taking
copyright and giving authors back the rights they want rather than
the other way around. Copyright law is well-established
internationally. Licenses to publish are not. In fact open
ended licenses (such as the ability to reuse the material in any
future format/product) are unenforceable in some countries (Germany
comes to mind). Without holding copyright, it would have been much
more difficult, if not impossible, for the APS to create our PROLA
archive covering all material back to 1893.

The issues isn't really who holds copyright - that is somewhat of
a red-herring. The issue is what rights does an author have to do
what they wish with their own work. The APS copyright transfer
allows authors to retain the rights they naturally want without
impeding us to do what we need to do to ensure wide dissemination
and access.


Mark Doyle
Manager, Product Development
The American Physical Society
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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