Re: Copyright: Form, Content, and Prepublication Incarnations

From: Charles Oppenheim <>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 13:15:16 +0100 (BST)

I confirm Stevan's interpretation is correct. it is also worth noting that
the publishers' copyright in layout and typography is, in the UK at least,
confined to print publication only and does not refer to any electronic

Professor Charles Oppenheim
Dept of Information Science
Loughborough University
Leics LE11 3TU

> >On Mon, 22 Oct 2001, Peter Suber wrote:
> >
> >> [forwarding from Rainer Stumpe.]
> >>
> >> Scott Melon asked "What is copyrighted - the science or the look? Is
> >> there a difference?"
> >>
> >> The answer is: both. When an author has signed a standard copyright
> >> transmission form, the publisher has all rights to produce copies of the
> >> submission. Only the moral rights are retained by the author. If the
> >> author has deleted the term "exclusive copyright" in the transfer form,
> >> he/she may produce copies (print or electronic) in addition of the
> >> publisher.
> >>
> >> The copyright to the layout and typography is without question with the
> >> publisher.
> >>
> >> The delicate issue is, that by transferring the copyright on a journals
> >> article to the publisher exclusively, the author may not even post the
> >> original manuscript in different layout and typography on the web or
> >> duplicate it in print.
> >>
> >> A brief discussion of copyright issues, including links to the current
> >> versions of copyright laws can be found at
> >>
> >> Enjoy reading the law!
> >> Rainer Stumpe
> >> European Science Publisher
> >>
> >
> >I am forwarding this to Charles Oppenheim, for his view. My own is
> >this: This is Gutenberg (on-paper) reasoning, and it is simply moot in
> >certain respects in the (on-line) Post-Gutenberg medium.
> >
> >The question, as put, is, Does the copyright of a text pertain to just
> >the form or the content? On this, I plead nolo contendere, but on
> >the SUBSTANTIVE question, specific to the only literature with which
> >the self-archiving initiative is concerned, namely, the author-giveaway
> >refereed-research literature, the following is the only case that
> >needs to be brought into focus:
> >
> >(1) The author of an unrefereed report of scholarly/scientific research
> >does the research, writes the manuscript, and publicly self-archives
> >it on the Net as an unrefereed, unpublished preprint.
> >
> >(2) This means, for all intents and purposes, that that particular text
> >has gone irreversibly into the public bowels of the Internet, a Pandora's
> >box that can never again be fully closed, no matter what anyone tells
> >you.
> >
> >(3) Pause: Has there been any possible violation of copyright yet
> >(assuming the work was not plagiarized!)? Obviously not. Copyright has
> >not been transferred. Copyright for that unrefereed, unpublished
> >preprint rests wholly with its author.
> >
> >(4) At the time of this public self-archiving or some time thereafter,
> >that same unrefereed, unpublished preprint is submitted for refereeing
> >to a peer reviewed journal.
> >
> >(5) The submitted manuscript is refereed; it may or may not undergo
> >several rounds of revision and re-refereeing; and it may or may not
> >eventually be accepted for publication.
> >
> >(6) If and when it is accepted for publication, THAT final draft,
> >including the value added by the refereeing process (and perhaps also
> >the editing, markup, formatting), is the one on which the author is
> >asked to transfer copyright to the publisher.
> >
> >(7) (Parenthetically, the author of this kind of work should transfer
> >to the publisher all rights to sell, lease, or give away that draft,
> >on-paper or on-line, in perpetuo, with the exception of the author's
> >write to publicly self-archive that refereed final draft too, just as
> >its unrefereed precursor had been publicly self-archived. If this one
> >modification of the copyright transfer agreement is accepted by the
> >publisher [and many publishers will accept -- all one need do is ask]
> >then there is no further issue to discuss. We now proceed to (8) to
> >cover that minority of cases where the publisher declines to publish
> >unless all rights are transferred.)
> >
> >(8) If (7) is refused, the author merely self-archives and links a
> >corrigenda file to the already self-archived preprint, indicating
> >publicly what changes need to made in the already publicly archived
> >preprint in order to make it equivalent to the final draft.
> >
> >So you see, for this particular, anomalous, author give-away literature,
> >the question of whether it is the form or the content for which
> >copyright has been tranferred does not even come up.
> >
> >N.B. Do not confuse this copyright issue, which is a legal matter, with a
> >related, nonlegal, submission-policy issue, the "Ingelfinger Rule."
> >Journals that happen to have this submission policy proclaim that they
> >will not referee or publish submissions that have already been
> >self-archived publicly on the Net.
> >
> >There are things to be said about such policies, and ways to get around
> >them, but as they have nothing to do with the copyright question, I will
> >just point that out, and leave it at that. See:
> >
> > Harnad, S. (2000) E-Knowledge: Freeing the Refereed Journal Corpus
> > Online. Computer Law & Security Report 16(2) 78-87. [Rebuttal to
> > Bloom Editorial in Science and Relman Editorial in New England
> > Journalof Medicine]
> >
> >
> > Harnad, S. (2000) Ingelfinger Over-Ruled: The Role of the Web in
> > the Future of Refereed Medical Journal Publishing. Lancet
> > Perspectives 256 (December Supplement): s16.
> >
> >
> > 5. PostGutenberg Copyright Concerns
> >
> >
> > 6. How to get around restrictive copyright legally
> >
> >
> >Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature online is available at the
American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01):

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Received on Tue Oct 23 2001 - 13:15:35 BST

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