Re: Producer Give-Aways Vs. Consumer Rip-Offs

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 17:02:31 +0100

As I suspected, Peter and I are in almost 100% agreement. My cautionary
suggestion (to prominently tag consumer-ripoff-facilitators so as to
distinguish them unequivocally from producer-giveaway-facilitators) was only
made in the hope of preventing misunderstandings on the part of others
who, unlike Peter, have not yet given this crucial distinction enough

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

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On Thu, 16 Aug 2001, Peter Suber wrote:

> Thanks for writing. I accept the distinction between
> give-away literature and non-give-away literature, and made a similar point
> myself in my June 8 issue (fifth story):

> Let me put my position positively, not negatively. The scholarship
> that should be free and online is that which its authors want to be free
> and online. Since scholarly authors are not paid for journal articles
> anyway, they lose nothing by making their work available for free, and they
> gain readers (and impact, as you've argued). Book authors, and certainly
> musicians, can hope for royalties from their work. More power to them. I
> hope that authors of scholarly books will prefer wide readership and impact
> to royalties (which are improbable for most anyway); but this is their
> choice. Scholarship is more useful online than in print; and if online,
> then free is better than priced, and affordable is better than
> expensive. When authors and publishers of online scholarship choose to
> limit readership in exchange for revenue, I hope they can find a way to
> respect readers' fair-use, back-up, and migration rights, and I hope their
> price is affordable; but so far, this combination is very rare. Note that
> my list of readers' rights is limited; I don't say they have a right to
> read or possess priced works without paying. By the same token, the
> legitimate functions of copy protection are also limited, and I wish
> publishers would back off from absolute copy protection to forms that only
> protect their legitimate interests and are otherwise compatible with
> readers' rights. This is complicated and controversial, but the good news
> is that free online scholarship makes it all unnecessary. For works that
> are fully free and online, we don't have to worry about fair use or copy
> protection.
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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