Re: OA Mandates, Embargoes, and the "Fair Use" Button

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 14:21:45 +0100

On Mon, 18 Jun 2007, wrote:

> ...'fair use' (USA) or 'fair dealing' (UK) refers
> to the limited situation in which a third party (usually a library)
> provides a single copy of a document to an individual user for their
> personal study or research.
> This is not quite the same thing as the provision by an author
> him/herself of single copies of his/her own work to those who contact
> him/her specifically requesting a copy. Publishers traditionally
> provided offprints of papers to authors for this very purpose, showing
> that they *did not disapprove* [emphasis added] of such distribution...

Fytton is quite right. But what never ceases to amaze me is how any
author could ever -- ever -- have imagined it was a matter on which
we should seek our publishers' "approval" when we choose to give out
individual copies of our own published articles to individual users for
their own research!

Yes, "fair use" mainly concerns 3rd party use; that makes it fair
*a-fortiori* for 1st-to-2nd party use!

(This is not by way of criticism of Fytton's correct observations, but a
cri-du-coeur about the kneedless knots researchers tie themselves into,
in their superstitious panic on no account to imperil acceptance of their
papers by their journals -- hence dancing desperately, willy nilly, for
the "approval" of their referees, their editors, their publishers, their
stock-holders, and their permissions lawyers everywhere, lest any faux
pas put them at risk of perishing rather than publishing!)

It was about time this voodoo was debunked.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Mon Jun 18 2007 - 15:34:25 BST

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