Re: Do PrePrints and PostPrints Need a Copyright Licence?

From: Andrew A. Adams <a.a.adams_at_READING.AC.UK>
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005 11:33:45 +0100

Stevan Harnad wrote:
> But for the unpublished, unrefereed, not-yet-copyright-protected preprints, it is
> a good idea to adopt one of the Copyright Commons Licenses to protect it until
> the final postprint is ready, accepted by the journal, and thenceforward
> covered by the journal's copyright agreement.
> It is somewhat misleading, though, to say that "eprints," generically, need a
> separate license: The preprints do, the postprints do not.

The phrase here "not-yet-copyright-protected pre-prints" here is rather
misleading. Under the Berne convention, to which all the countries with major
research univerisites are signatory, to the best of my knowledge, material is
protected by copyright as soon as it is produced. The differentce between a
preprint and a post-print is that a pre-print is wholly copyright to either
the author, their employer or jointly to the employer/researcher. Journals do
not have a privileged position in law as to copyright. As a practical matter
they have "deeper pockets" generally and so could afford to be more
aggressive in asserting their rights, but the righs do not differ. Under
copyright law, putting something ont he web does not grant any rights except
the implied right to make a transitory copy for reading purposes, plus of
course the fair dealing/fair use rights oen always has with regard to
material, such as making a copy for private research or for teaching purposes.

Now, as a practical matter, journals may be unhappy with submission of
material which has already been made available freely on the web, but use of
a CC license is only in fact MORE likely to make this a problem for a
publisher, since there is no revocation clause in CC licenses so by
publishing something under one, the rights thus granted are perpetual for
those people who get hold of it while it is initially available under that
license, or who get it via an onward distribution by someone holding those
rights. CC licenses "release" some of the rights ordinarily granted to the
copyright holder _by_default_.

*E-mail*********  Dr Andrew A Adams
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Received on Mon Oct 17 2005 - 12:07:03 BST

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