Re: FOS Newsletter Excerpts

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 18:26:50 +0000

On Thu, 6 Dec 2001, Joseph Pietro Riolo wrote:

> ...not
> to underestimate the monopolistic power in the copyright. There is
> no sign that the power will contract. Instead, it is expanding
> and I won't be surprised that the copyright holders in future will
> force, with the threat of lawsuit, the people and entities to remove
> the preprints from their storage.

Note that (1) this is a speculation on the part of Joseph Riolo, that
(2) it is based entirely on developments in the non-give-away sector,
the very sector to which all the goings-on in this Forum are explicitly
NOT addressed, and that (3) in the give-away sector (refereed research
preprints and postprints) all the evidence to date (10 years and
180,000 papers in physics, 500,000 papers in computer science, and
countless other publicly archived preprints and postprints in home
websites across disciplines) has been -- without exception, and for very
good reasons -- in the direction exactly OPPOSITE to the one Mr Riolo
"won't be surprised" that it will go in future.

Hence Mr. Riolo's opinion, though he is free to express it, is at best
overwhelmed by empirical evidence to the contrary, at worst completely
irrelevant to the literature in question.

> > Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber
> >
> Mr. Suber, why do you need copyright in your newsletter? Why don't
> you liberate it by putting it in the public domain? What are you
> really accomplishing with copyright in your newsletter?

Mr Riolo, you have received a reply to this several times in this Forum:
Although the give-away authors of refereed (and unrefereed) research are
not interested in receiving any money for access to their texts, they
are definitely interested in retaining intellectual ownership of it. They
would rather not see someone else passing their words and work off as if they
were their own, and this is one of the two protections (from theft-of-
text-authorship) that copyright gives them. (The other copyright
protection, from theft-off-text, these give-way authors do not seek).

This is why the public-domain option of which Mr. Riolo is apparently
an avid advocate is not the solution for the special authors and
literature that are under discussion in this Forum; indeed, it is not
even relevant to it.

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):

You may join the list at the amsci site.

Discussion can be posted to:
Received on Thu Dec 06 2001 - 18:28:32 GMT

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