Re: Copyright: Form, Content, and Prepublication Incarnations

From: Joseph Ransdell <ransdell_at_DOOR.NET>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 14:02:38 -0500

In response to my second question:

> > 2nd Question: What about the case where there is no such special permission
> > mentioned in the copyright transference? Is there any legal problem in this
> > case?

Stevan wrote:

> Not sure what you mean. Are you referring to papers that may have been
> archived in violation of copyright? Hard to enforce, but I guess
> enforcers could try to go after the original site, if they can find and
> prove it. But all they can do with sites that have linked to or harvested
> those URLs would be to ask them to drop the link or the copy (if they can!).
> I detect a lot of inadvertent Gutenberg thinking behind these PostGutenberg questions.
> It's another world we're talking about now.

No, I wasn't concerned with that but was merely making sure that the general
case was dealt with, whereas the question was first posed with reference to
the special copyright permission about self-archiving. The general case is
the more important one.

I see this as a way of hastening the process aimed at by the OAI-compliant
archive system. It requires two special actions rather than only one: one
by the self-archiving author and one by the third party website agent (who
need not be explicitly collaborating with the author); but the compilation
of field specific and/or field-relative lists of URL's is common, and now
and again one sees some especially ambitious attempts along this line,
especially in the humanities, though it could be done just as easily for
scientific fields by dedicated individuals there. There are, I would guess,
quite a few such individuals, actual and potential.

What might tend to inhibit it, though, is fear that, preposterous as it
might seem, there might actually be something illegal in it.
(Unfortunately, it is not all that preposterous in view of the abuse to
which the practice of copyright has already been subjected and the
cleverness which software writers have already shown in crippling access to
what is put up on some websites.) In any case, the point is to be able to
advise people, with confidence, that this is legally okay.

Joseph Ransdell

Professor Emeritus
Dept of Philosophy
Texas Tech University
Lubbock TX 79409
Received on Wed Oct 24 2001 - 20:24:30 BST

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