Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Should Copyright of Academic Works Be Abolished?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the time-for-the-copyright-anarchist-movement-to-start dept.

Education 349

Dr_Ken writes to mention recent coverage of a Harvard Cyber-Law study on Techdirt that analyzes the uses of copyright in the academic world. Some are claiming that the applications of copyright in academia are stifling and that we should perhaps go so far as to abolish copyright in the academic world entirely. "I've even heard of academics who had to redo pretty much the identical experiment because they couldn't even cite their own earlier results for fear of a copyright claim. It leads to wacky situations where academics either ignore the fact that the journals they published in hold the copyright on their work, or they're forced to jump through hoops to retain certain rights. That's bad for everyone."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why consider this for academics but not music? (5, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841333)

The biggest arguments here seem to apply to academics no more than to any other field. Why allow stifling of creativity elsewhere?

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (4, Insightful)

grahamsaa (1287732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841401)

I don't think music copyrights are generally a good thing (that is, they tend to benefit recording companies far more than artists, and do stifle creativity) but academia is different. Academics should be even more deserving of the right to use / cite / republish papers or scientific studies.

The point of working in academia is to seek knowledge and share it with others. Copyright prevents or severely limits that. If knowledge isn't shared, we're all more ignorant because of it. Academic works should all be published under the creative commons attribution license, or something similar.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841445)

The point of working in the music industry is to create music and share it with others. Copyright prevents or severely limits that. If music isn't shared, we're all less cultured because of it. Music works should all be published under the creative commons attribution license, or something similar.

Now, see how similar that is?

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (3, Insightful)

Issildur03 (1173487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841561)

The big difference is that academics get money from grants and departmental funding, not from selling their papers. So, in theory at least, removing copyright takes away a musician's income, but not the academic's.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842367)

Selling recordings is a recent innovation in business models for musicians. (And only a small percentage of musicians make any significant amount of money that way.)

Most musicians throughout history have made money by performing the work. (Musicians, not composers).

You don't need copyright protection at all in that case, since you're the only person who can possibly be you playing your music.

Our current copyright system retards that process. Copyright assignment to recording distributors means that many musicians have to pay somebody for the right to play their own songs.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842235)

The other point of working in the music industry is to make gobs of money. Any scheme to change music copyright laws must allow for that.

Although there is a tendency to attribute noble and altruistic motives for artists, experience suggests otherwise.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (2, Insightful)

rawr_one (1474675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841659)

The creative commons license is a copyright, it's just a different (more permissive) kind of copyright.

The idea of copyright isn't a bad thing, it's just that the execution of it can often (most of the time) benefits people who can legalese their way around the actual creators of content.

In my opinion, there is absolutely no reason that the copyright for something should be held solely by the person(s) who created it; regrettably this is a very hard call to make with music, but with academia it seems a rather clear-cut answer. Even more criminal than journals seizing the copyrights to this work, though, is the university situation. Most universities force researchers to fork over all of the copyright licensing to them on some sort of bizarre idea that "because you used our stuff to do that, it's ours." (this, actually, is part of what intellectual property rights were created to stop; the idea is that other people could make the same thing that you have made but the important part is you did it. The tools are not important, it's the idea that matters)

I suspect the music industry operates on a similar reasoning, but it's also much fuzzier. For instance, if a hip-hop artist lays down a beat and rhymes, but the rest of the music surrounding that is made by an in-house music producer, it's hard to say whose contribution was more important. Would people even listen to the "song" if it didn't have all of the other music? It's a hard question, and that's why I don't even want to try to address it.

So, tl;dr, copyrights should be held by the people who make content, not the distributors of that content.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841797)

Don't sign a contract that requires you to hand over your intellectual property rights if retaining them is so important to you. They have value, and signing an employment agreement that hands over the rights to your university/employer/etc. is something that is or should be reflected in your salary or other form of payment.

Just because people don't understand a basic property law concept (this isn't even strictly an IP concept ... if I make a widget using university equipment, my employment agreement may say they own that, too) doesn't mean the whole thing is flawed.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1)

rawr_one (1474675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842033)

Speaking personally, I would rather get paid less and be able to retain all of the rights to what I create, but I don't really know if that is much of an option anywhere... It seems to me like many industries (including academic research) are so oversaturated with content producers that, if you want to get your content out to people, you have to play by the rules of the people who can distribute it and pretty much let them take your money.

I mean, there's something to be said for independent production, but it's still a long way away from being a viable option for most people (and, indeed, most industries). Sometimes it seems like the options are:

  • Keep the rights to your work
  • Make money off of your work
  • Get exposure

Pick two, because you can't have all three.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842075)

IP is NOT PROPERTY. We kinda treat it like it is, but if you can duplicate it for no cost, and you don't lose it when someone else gets it, IT IS NOT PROPERTY.

Oh, and those contracts that require handing over intellectual "property"? The problem with most musicians is that the people who write those contracts are the gatekeepers to national exposure, so if you don't play their game, you're limited in how far you can go. The Internet is slowly changing that, but old habits die hard.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (2, Insightful)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842087)

"...if I make a widget using university equipment, my employment agreement may say they own that, too) doesn't mean the whole thing is flawed."

No, it kinda does at least in this case. And especially so if taxpayer money (i.e., our money) is used to fund the research in the first place. It isn't justifiable that we should then have to pay to access it. And nearly all of the major research universities public or private use taxpayer funds for their research.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1, Troll)

photomonkey (987563) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842185)

Who modded this insightful? I'm not trolling, but the fact that copyright allows labels to benefit from sales more than artists is THE FAULT OF THE ARTIST for signing away forever and ever rights in exchange for an advance from the label. Especially since today a record label is largely obsolete.

But yeah, ruin it for everyone because you don't like David Geffen or the teeny bopper shitheads who know nothing of the world and are willing to sell what proves to be millions, if not billions, of dollars of music for and advance that works out to be pennies on the dollar, but will slake their beer, coke and hooker binges until they have to keep releasing shitty album after shitty album as indentured servants paying off a lien.

It is copyright that ALLOWS individuals to make a living simply by being creative. How, again, does making a living making some form of art hamper creativity? I hear that all the time, but NO ONE has been able to flesh it out.

Academics (or anyone else) can ALREADY cite papers within their own. When was the last time that someone got sued for a cited quote and an entry for the source of that quote in a bibliography or footnote?

It sucks that stuff costs money, I guess. But take away the profit incentive for people who research, write books, record music, take pictures and make movies and you'll see all of it wane and disappear.

There is a certain amount of creative talent that can emerge when you can dedicate your life to the pursuit of your interest. I get a lot more work done by doing it full time, rather than working at McBurger or Ikea or Lawfirm 1120 and playing in my "spare time."

The solution is to educate people about what copyright is, how it applies to them, and how to use it effectively.

As the US and most industrialized nations shift part of their economies away from manufacturing and raw materials to information, copyright becomes an absolutely more necessary protection for the economy.

I'm not saying it shouldn't be fair, but why shouldn't I have the ability to make money as a photographer because you want to download the new Metallica album for free so that they can "make it up on concerts and t-shirts?"

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (2, Insightful)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842423)

The problem is since US copyright allows the artists to give away their rights, the sheer power of the music cartel has forced the musicians to either accept their terms or not get their music put on disc at all.

The situation in Europe, Canada and elsewhere is slightly different where some inalienable rights cannot be signed away, making the situation a bit better in other markets, but since musicians sign away their copyrights for the US market anyway it doesn't help that much. In fact it makes for weird and annoying situations like Hulu's where they can't publish their material in other countries without obtaining the necessary rights from the artists.

Of course, the internet age of music has been changing things: the powers of the music cartel is waning, and self-publishing is much more possible than it ever was. You can hire private studios for reasonable amounts of money and sell and promote your music on the net. Although self-distribution is easy, self-promotion is still a problem for new artists because of payola and the hold the cartel still has on a lot of attached industries.

And you know, I think copyright violation for non-profit use should be legal. Yet I buy my music (online).

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841423)

For one thing I bet 80% of the research has been funded by taxpayer dollars.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841571)

"For one thing I bet 80% of the research has been funded by taxpayer dollars."

And you'd probably bet wrong.

Unless you mean, at least 80$ of research has SOME tax payer dollars in it, of which I'd say closer to 99%.

At the same time, most businesses have been funded by taxpayer $$$s at some point. Tax incentives, small business assistance, credits for something or other...the ability to donate large amounts of money to pet causes that generate a lot of advertising without having to pay their fair of taxes.

I can guarantee you, almost everything is funded by taxpayers at some point and htis is a good thing because it keeps progress moving.

Research? I get my lights paid for by the gov't, but other than that, 99% of my research comes from donations from private multicorps that want a share of my research. This is how most is done...

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842437)

I'm playing the bullshit card on your comment.

A tax incentive or tax credit isn't government funding. The government may call it funding... But they also call reducing the amount a department's funding is scheduled to increase a budget cut, which is also not true except by their broken definition.

Taking less of money that doesn't belong to you yet is *not the same* as funding something. Not even close. 100% of the invested capital still has to come from somebody other than the government.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841577)

Possibly, but we won't know unless we find.. omg.. a citation for your statement.

Moreover, the journals that publish these papers ARE in the business of making themselves money. Sure, they may be non-profit, but they sure do want to protect the content that they funded to print up for everyone so that they can continue to do so.

Speaking broadly, I hate, as a student, that so many papers are locked behind the websites for journals and I cannot access these to even read for free! What the hell?

It sure is stifling my ability to learn.

Thankfully most academics, including professors everywhere, make copies of these papers available to their students to study.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841869)

Possibly, but we won't know unless we find.. omg.. a citation for your statement.

Not quite a citation for the statement, but NIH's budget is ~30.5billion/year [nih.gov] while the DOD expects to spend $78.94 billion in research in 2010 [pennnet.com]

Is there $100 billion dollars of private research dollars floating around out there? I doubt it, but please do try to prove me wrong

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842189)

NSF
DOE

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (2, Informative)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842283)

You should be able to access the journals/websites from your library.

I know at my school, Iowa State University, that I can directly access the restricted journal content if I'm anywhere on campus. If I'm at home I can still access it through the library website, and logging in to their proxy. YMMV, but everywhere I've been the library computers are cleared to access the "restricted" content.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (2, Informative)

caerwyn (38056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841433)

Because the scientists generally get paid for their results (or even just for doing the research regardless of the results), which are not copyrighted; the copyright on the papers is ancillary (except for where it prevents plagiarism and other academic dishonesty).

Other creative fields get paid based on individual copies of what they've created- books, music, etc. The model is entirely different.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841477)

It's not just that; there really is no objective boundary between "academic" work and non-academic work. Even in music, there are certainly musical works that are "academic," produced by scholars to make a contribution to knowledge and receive scholarly recognition. So there's no way to apply this sort of proposal to only "academic" works. But I don't think copyright needs to be abolished -- it's just that the purpose of copyright law (at least in the US - promoting knowledge and creativity) should *always* supersede the "property" rights claimed by the copyright owner. This means in part a greatly expanded notion of fair use, and it also definitely means a realistic limit on the time of ownership of copyrights -- something more on the order of 10 years or less rather than life plus 70. And in every case where a court has to determine whether to restrict rights, it should always err on the side of promoting "the progress of science and the useful arts."

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841657)

Why allow stifling of creativity elsewhere?

In Canada at least, research is funded mostly by the taxpayer (I believe the same to be true of the US with institutes like the NIH, DARPA, etc.). I think a strong argument can be made that the results of said research should be freely available to the public

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (2, Insightful)

imamac (1083405) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841665)

Because a musician's income is directly related to holding that copyright. With today's technology musician's only give up that copyright by choice. Most musicians I know are happy to be idnependent and keep the copyright to their material in order to earn some income or at least suplement their "music habbit". Doing away with music copyright would be a travesty.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842171)

Unfortunately, the recording industry (and publishing industry) largely benefits, it seems, the publishers and a few publishees (hehe). But the solution to not rewarding publishers so much while still rewarding artists is *not* to abolish copyrights altogether (which I think is your point).

Live shows may work for some, but not all. I, as a composer, cannot make money by selling live showings of my sheet music. And if anyone can copy my music and sell it for their own profit as much as they want, I'm not going to be making much money by selling my sheet music, either.

As it stands, I don't care either way, since I mostly just give it away. But the option is there, and it's a nice option.

Let's put it in Slashdot Geek terms. Not doing open-source coding. If you write some software and don't want it open source, for whatever reason, and want to actually SELL it as your own... well, I would think you'd like to have that ability and not be required to let anyone copy your work and profit from it, undersell you, or what have you.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (2, Insightful)

marnues (906739) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842471)

You have this equation backwards. No one requires you to let someone else copy it. People copying anything they please is the natural course. It only through copyright law that we are not allowed to copy something. You only have rights to what you physically make, not the abstract ideas and art behind it. And you can still sell work without copyright law. You just don't have a monopoly on it.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842237)

And copyright shall if anything belong to the creator and not be transferable. That would solve a lot of problems.

In all - the copyright world seems to have a lot of weird unwanted results.

Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (3, Interesting)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842287)

Copyright is vital, albeit flawed. Friend of mine made guitar lesson videos for YouTube, he spent half a year creating them, week after he posted them. Some dudes picked them up and uploaded them using their own YouTube accounts some of them have been placed above the original videos, gathering views, stealing credits, possible subscribers etc. Copyright is your only lever to prevent this from happening.

YES! (0, Redundant)

Biljrat (45007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841345)

YES!

Re:YES! (0, Redundant)

naeone (1430095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841633)

+1

Cite? (2, Insightful)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841361)

I was always under the impression that you could, say cite the other work in your work and make comparison's and contrasts to the other work.

Example: If someone came up with a theory with supporting test results and ten universities duplicated those test results - proving the theory - then those ten universities could publish their results all the while citing the originating test results.

Re: (1)

TinFoilMan (1371973) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841405)

Citing your above work as reference to my own, hasn't that been going on for hundreds of years?

Re:Cite? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841521)

Yeah, I imagine it meant something more like "include part of" rather than literally citing. Many publishers just ignore the issue, but some publishers are sticklers who complain if you re-use a graph of your own data that had already been published in a previous paper---and was therefore copyrighted by that previous paper's journal. So people end up having to do stupid things like re-graphing the same data in a different piece of plotting software so the figure looks different.

Re:Cite? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28842181)

...but some publishers are sticklers who complain if you re-use a graph of your own data that had already been published in a previous paper...

If someone really badly needs to reuse the same graph in two different papers, they are likely playing the LPI (least publishable increment) game - make as tiny a modification to earlier work as possible to get it published, just to boost your publication count. Think of how much easier it would be to play that game if no copyright law exists.

It is often trivial to regenerate the graph if you have the raw data (which is often the case) just to make it look different. I don't see how it really hinders anybody.

Re:Cite? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841531)

Example: If someone came up with a theory with supporting test results and ten universities duplicated those test results - proving the theory - then those ten universities could publish their results all the while citing the originating test results.

The problem here is that it is not just a matter of citing. The person in question wants to use part, or all, of what he published in another paper to show how the various studies he/she has done support the conclusion they are reaching in the current paper.
The problem as I see it is that they are able to surrender their copyright to their own work. That should not be possible. I should always be able to use material that originated with me. Ultimately the problem comes back to the fact that copyright laws have made the length of copyright excessive.

Re:Cite? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841687)

> The problem here is that it is not just a matter of citing. The person in question wants
> to use part, or all, of what he published in another paper to show how the various
> studies he/she has done support the conclusion they are reaching in the current paper.

That's a classic example of fair use.

> The problem as I see it is that they are able to surrender their copyright to their own
> work. That should not be possible.

Why do you want to take away my right to sell my copyright?

> Ultimately the problem comes back to the fact that copyright laws have made the length
> of copyright excessive.

While the length of copyright is certainly grossly excessive the time spans involved here are typically only a few years.

The fact that it's a boilerplate policy (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842439)

Why do you want to take away my right to sell my copyright?

It's not that as much as someone might want to take away the right of the academic publishing cartel to make it a boilerplate policy [wikipedia.org] to require all authors to sell their copyrights.

Re:Cite? (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842233)

I was always under the impression that you could, say cite the other work in your work and make comparison's and contrasts to the other work.

It's odd that the summary and article claim that without actually citing any examples. The article just says "I've heard of..." Makes me wonder if it's not an overstatement, a misstatement, a severe miscommunication, or an absurdly bad publication that told a researcher an outright lie which he believed. Citing your own work, saying "I found this and published it here" can't possibly be barred by any publication. For one thing, citing an article increases the impact factor of the article, it's worth. A journal that is trying to decrease it's impact factor by saying you can't cite your own work is a journal that is shooting itself in the foot about three different ways.

I think what might be more likely is that the author of the article heard about a researcher who wanted to republish a figure he had published in another journal, and that journal wouldn't let him. And that's something that SHOULD be barred, you can't republish the same data twice, nor do you need to. BOTH journals would have problems with that, as would other researchers in the field. It's basically getting credit twice.

One exception to that would be if a researcher was publishing a review type article and wanted to include a figure or diagram from the original paper, making it clear though that it was not a new result but was old data included in a summary of the literature on a subject. That again is a journal shooting itself in the foot and would be ridiculous if it happened. I've often seen figures from other publications in review articles, journals that published the original data seem willing to work out an agreement with whoever is publishing the review. I've never published one, so I'm guessing, it again goes back to the impact factor. If you run a journal and an important result was published in it, you want people to know it was both an important result and was published in your journal.

This really seems like something that can't occour often to me. I could easily be wrong for other non-biological fields that I have no experience in though.

Re:Cite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28842303)

If someone came up with a theory with supporting test results and ten universities duplicated those test results - proving the theory - then those ten universities could publish their results all the while citing the originating test results.

Publishing doesn't really work that way. You don't get published for verifying someone else's results. You only get published for doing something novel.

No (5, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841375)

It shouldn't be abolished, but fair use should no longer be restricted. What these publishers get away with should be completely illegal under fair use provisions. Authors not being allowed to use their own works? And charging 75 cents a page for articles published in coursepaks is unconscionable, especially considering there is no economic loss to republishing in this form; it's not like the students in these courses would run out and pick up the September 1982 issue of Political Science Quarterly at the local bookstore if they didn't get this free version from their teacher. (I understand why publishers want copy shops to fork something over, but there should be an agreed upon reasonable limit in the area of a penny a page rather than a blank check, which is the way it currently is).

Actually what would be nice to see would be that the copyright stays with the creator in all cases. Allowing the journals to acquire the copyright to this work in the first place is a bizarre economic fiction anyway; when the author can't even cite their own studies due to this fiction, it has been taken to its absurd logical conclusion. But the proposal here is unworkable without some kind of objective standard of what constitutes "academic work," and that's not likely to happen.

Re:No (4, Interesting)

DdJ (10790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841733)

It shouldn't be abolished, but fair use should no longer be restricted.

I'll take this further: it cannot be abolished, because in this field in particular, tools to combat outright plagiarism are pretty important. But it should be dramatically altered in ways that promote the free flow of ideas. It should be converted almost entirely into an anti-plagiarism tool, within this domain. Some sort of mandatory "go ahead and use this as long as you give full attribution" license ought to do the trick I think.

Would Creative Commons Attribution License work? (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842477)

Some sort of mandatory "go ahead and use this as long as you give full attribution" license ought to do the trick I think.

Would a well-known license like Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 work as is, or would it need significant adaptation to cover the scholarly use case?

Suggestion not well thought through (3, Interesting)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841987)

I agree. Without copyright every OSS product with significant academic contributions would suddenly lose GPL protection. There would also be huge legal fights for faculty over whether work was done on your own time (and therefore copyrighted) or done at work (and therefore public domain). You will also have trouble finding people to write academic textbooks - why write something if a publisher can just rip it off and make a (relatively small!) profit from your work? In addition you may see a significant brain drain from the US as faculty who make money from copyrights (authors from all disciplines, artists etc.) move to countries where their work is protected.

Indeed it would likely curtail sharing of material since I am more than happy to share my reserach code and educational material to those who ask for it under the CC non-comercial, share-alike license but would be far less likely to share if I knew some publisher could get hold of the material and sell it for profit (assuming they thought it worthwhile which is doubtful!) without my say. As you suggest what we really need is sensible fair use rights defined and enforced. Just because the current copyright system is being abused does not mean that the solution is to abolish it!

Re:No (1)

BForrester (946915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842129)

Who charges $0.75 per page for coursepaks? I've taught at two large colleges, and my cost has always been 15 to 20 cents per page including covers and binding.

Although I'm generally shifting to open-source, online, and original materials as much as possible, coursepaks are a good middle ground that cost students a mere fraction of what they'd pay for hardcover equivalents from the publishers.

Re:No (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842415)

You're probably working with copy shops who don't clear copyrights with publishers. There's a lot who do that. But from what I've seen there is considerable variation in cost for journal articles; 75 cents is definitely on the high end but is not unheard of (25-35 cents is not at all uncommon; and of course that's on top of basic printing costs). I haven't paid much attention to the details since I go with under-the-radar copy shops as well. But when they follow the copyright clearance path you see very high prices for some coursepacks.

Re:No (1)

BForrester (946915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842513)

No - I always go through the college's in-house service. Copyright is rigidly enforced, and makes up most of the costs I've stated.

I have three official college coursepaks on my desk for courses that I'll be teaching in the fall. All of them are over an inch thick, and none of them are over $35.

Public domain sans copyright = bad idea (2, Informative)

nyet (19118) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841389)

As long as others can copyright things, the public domain will always be susceptible to looting. The appropriate fix is to choose a *license* that makes sense.

Re:Public domain sans copyright = bad idea (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841507)

How about this instead: banning unreasonable licenses, ensuring fair use and that the original author retains his/her moral rights.

Re:Public domain sans copyright = bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841645)

As long as others can copyright things, the public domain will always be susceptible to looting.

define "looting" in this context. are you afraid that someone will copy your work, and put their name on it to claim credit? in an academic setting it would be easy to prove who was first based on journals, however this raises an interesting question.

for works in the public domain (shakespeare, the bible, mickey mouse, etc...), could someone republish them, in their entirety, only changing the author to "by Anonymous Coward"? is there anything legally wrong with that? I'm hoping someone can enlighten me as I can't even think how to google for that...

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841421)

It's just another option. You don't have to sell your copyright. Why do scientists sell their copyright to journals? Because journals pay for it. Without copyright, journals would not pay for scientific articles. Well, simply don't sell your work and you can have that result right now, without changing any laws. You keep your copyright, the journal keeps its money.

Re:Bullshit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841525)

Journals don't always pay the author for scientific articles. In fact, oftentimes the authors pays the journal. e.g. IEEE transactions charge you $125 per page over a certain number, plus $2000 if you want colour figures.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841533)

It's just another option. You don't have to sell your copyright. Why do scientists sell their copyright to journals? Because journals pay for it. Without copyright, journals would not pay for scientific articles. Well, simply don't sell your work and you can have that result right now, without changing any laws. You keep your copyright, the journal keeps its money.

Before people start lining up to agree with a very dryly sarcastic post, you should have the decency to provide the "and you don't get tenure" part.

Re:Bullshit (5, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841699)

It's not just about tenure; it's about the very goal of academic research -- to help advance knowledge. You don't do this without publishing in recognized peer-reviewed journals. And those journals call the shots in terms of what you give up to publish with them -- there is no negotiating; in fact, authors don't get paid at all. If you refuse to sign the contract, your article doesn't get published, even though it survived peer review. And don't say "just publish it on the web" -- it's not going to be taken seriously in your peer community without publication in recognized journals in your field.

Academic authors are not in it trying to make a buck -- very few ever do, and certainly not through journal publications. I think that peer review should be the only filter on academic publishing; there is no reason that journals can't start publishing academic work without such contracts.

Re:Bullshit (4, Informative)

slimak (593319) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841555)

Most scientific journals that I have experience with to not pay authors in any way. This is certainly the case with all IEEE journals and several other scientific journals. Signing over the copyright is the cost of entry if you want your work published. There are probably exceptions to this, possibly for work that is easily identified as ground breaking. But my experience has always been that there is nothing paid when the copyright is transfered. In fact, most journals still ask for printing charges. This are usually optional (and I opt out) except when color figures are included in the manuscript. If there are journals paying authors I would like to know.

Re:Bullshit (3, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841621)

The problem is that the writers are a kind of captive labor force in this situation. Often there is no way to publish in these journals without giving up your copyrights, and your profession (and perhaps the progress of knowledge itself) demands that you publish in these journals. So they don't have to offer a fair price for your work; in fact, they don't have to offer anything at all, and usually don't. (The better journals will at least send you a few offprints that you can share with family members). And the author can't turn down their contracts without sacrificing his/her goals in terms of producing knowledge and achieving peer recognition.

Frankly, I don't see why journals should be allowed to acquire copyrights to creative work they didn't produce in the first place. I realize this is a practice that goes back about a century but I think it's time to reexamine it -- any copyrights should lie with the creator if they are really to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts."

Re:Bullshit (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841747)

Why do scientists sell their copyright to journals? Because journals pay for it.

This is not entirely true, at least not in my experience. In many cases, signing over the copyright is a precondition of publication, and no compensation changes hands.

For example: A few years ago, I wrote a paper for an conference. To get it included in the proceedings, I had to sign over the copyright to the paper to the professional organization running the conference. Giving them a non-exclusive license to reproduce the paper was not good enough; they wanted the copyright outright. Not only was I not compensated for this, it was in addition to having to pay a non-trivial registration fee to attend the conference in the first place. When I complained to my management about this, they just shrugged their shoulders and said, "That's the way it's done." So I find myself in the curious position of not being legally allowed to distribute a paper that I wrote, and neither I nor my employer were compensated for the transfer of copyright.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842429)

And why, might I ask, did you put it into the proceedings then?

If it were the property of your employer, you pretty much do what they say as you've already been paid for the work. If it were your own material, then you choose to do it or not. Now, you may have received some other compensation (tenure, perhaps - though that's not really fair since tenure does not hing on a single presentation).

I wonder how many would blink if you refused? I have had people ask for unlimited liability on several jobs, and specifically stated that they would go no less than $Xx10^6. I told them that $100k was my limit, and if that was too low they should find another designer. I ended up with the job, with my limit.

I suppose you just have to be in a situation where you can take your marbles and go home.

Re:Bullshit (2, Informative)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842461)

For example: A few years ago, I wrote a paper for an conference. To get it included in the proceedings, I had to sign over the copyright to the paper to the professional organization running the conference. Giving them a non-exclusive license to reproduce the paper was not good enough; they wanted the copyright outright. Not only was I not compensated for this, it was in addition to having to pay a non-trivial registration fee to attend the conference in the first place. When I complained to my management about this, they just shrugged their shoulders and said, "That's the way it's done." So I find myself in the curious position of not being legally allowed to distribute a paper that I wrote, and neither I nor my employer were compensated for the transfer of copyright.

That is the way it works. If you include colour graphics, then many journals require payment before publishing your paper. In that case, you need to pay for the conference, and pay for the paper. In return the journal keeps your copyright, and stops you from reprinting your own paper.

To prevent some of these excesses, the ACM now has a rule that explicitly allows authors to include ACM papers on the author's own website. As far as I know, the ACM is the only association that permits this.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841497)

But the "of Academic Works" needs to be removed.

Don't Abolish, Educate (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841499)

"I've even heard of academics who had to redo pretty much the identical experiment because they couldn't even cite their own earlier results for fear of a copyright claim."

Pretty sad when an academic doesn't learn the relevant details of copyright as pertains to their work.

You can't copyright a result, only the work that contains it. The results can always be expressed and referred to elsewhere. The ideas can be expressed elsewhere as long as they are not presented in the same words (apply 'fair use' here; this is academics after all). The situation as stated pertains to academic research. When done commercially, or in an academic setting for a commercial entity, the copyright goes to the owner, not the researcher. Cross that line and you're in far deeper waters than mere copyright infringement.

Re:Don't Abolish, Educate (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842395)

Pretty sad when an academic doesn't learn the relevant details of copyright as pertains to their work.

Some of us are so busy trying to teach relevant classes, get the results to publish, write the papers, get them approved, get our work funded, pass tests, give lab meeting, and/or manage our non-academic lives that we don't give much thought to the subject.

And then there are those few of us who waste so much time on /. and other websites that it really invalidates the points we are trying to make on those websites...

I wonder how MIT's "Open Journal" handles this (4, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841519)

MIT is encouraging every faculty member to deposit an electronic copy of their published papers into a free library server. And MIT is providing free software and hardware resources to do this. MIT is one of 50 universities that now do this, but made the biggest splash announcing it earlier this year.

However a faculty can opt out a paper if a journal absolutely refuses making a paper open as some do. A more common compromise is the journal has electronic rights for 12 months with faculty rights after that. All in the name of financing the journal.

Re:I wonder how MIT's "Open Journal" handles this (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841807)

A more common compromise is the journal has electronic rights for 12 months with faculty rights after that. All in the name of financing the journal.

Interesting - some journals have the same deal with databases for university libraries, which I find ludicrous. The library subscribes to the database, which includes a subscription to X journals online... But it turns out, many of those journals are incomplete, the most recent issues are not available. This forces the library to subscribe to the print journal as well, at least in any field where there is a department who wants to stay current at that university. Why bother to offer online subscriptions when they are so crippled as to be less useful than print?

Re:I wonder how MIT's "Open Journal" handles this (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841817)

Are scientists really at the mercy of these journals?

If a journal won't publish you under acceptable terms, find a different journal?!?.

This is more about understanding and negotiating contract terms than it is about copyright law.

Yes (4, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841999)

Yes, they are at the mercy of these journals, at least until they start their own, and it gains recognition in the field as an acceptable outlet for peer reviewed scholarship. The problem is that many of these journals have a monopoly on peer recognition in specific fields. And when scholars do open up new journals they usually go with one of the major publishers who set the terms anyway. See, scholars don't see themselves as providing a product to a market -- they are interested in advancing knowledge through their research, or getting tenure, or whatever. They're not trying to make a profit, but their work has been coopted by people who are. That's not inherently a bad thing -- obviously it allows for these nice paper journals to be published in the first place -- but the publishers have taken advantage of the situation and turned academics into a captive labor force. I simply don't believe they should be allowed to set such terms in the first place -- they should make known their peer review criteria and process, and publish anything that survives that peer review. Authors should retain the copyrights to their work.

12 years of tenure slavery (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842159)

(inclduign grad school publication)
You get much more recognition and brownie points for tenure if you publish in certain journals in your field. Its a racket.

Re:I wonder how MIT's "Open Journal" handles this (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842343)

I thought these people were supposed to be educated, why the fuck are they letting themselves be taken advantage of?

Fuck you submitter and/or ScuttleMonkey (0, Flamebait)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841563)

Some are claiming

Can't wait to meet those Some! They seem to appear in every propaganda story about copyright on /.

I've even heard of academics who had to redo pretty much the identical experiment

Really?! Where did you hear of them? Overheard conversation on a bus? National Enquirer letters to the editor? Can't wait to find out!

That's bad for everyone.

Wow, thanks! I finally get it now!

From TFA: admittedly, I'm already a strong believer in the harm done by copyright in many instances

Impartial source too! This story really makes me excited! Let's overthrow those evil copyright laws right now. Rise up comrades, you've nothing to lose but your chains!!!

Re:Fuck you submitter and/or ScuttleMonkey (1)

jstults (1406161) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841973)

Parent is not flaimbait; the summary and the article are bullshit and cite no relevant sources (they obviously don't understand how academics work).

No one has to 'redo pretty much the identical experiment' because they published some results and analysis based on some measurements. The journal owns the copyright on the *article* not the *data* ...

And citing previous academic works is the definition of fair use...

Fucking slashtards

Same reason I hate patents (1)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841569)

In engineering there is a quiet underground of folks who are smart enough to never patent the really good stuff. If the really good stuff gets patented, you are screwed out of using it once your MBA overlords Layoff/RIF/Right Size/Down Size/Work Force Manage/etc you into working elsewhere.

Costs of transition... (1)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841575)

If you read the PDF on Harvard's website instead of just the linked techshit (er, sorry, techdirt) article you will be well rewarded.

One of the things I found unpersuasive in Professor Shavell's article was the following:

Furthermore, universities should not face great difficulties in financing publication fees, for they would no longer have to purchase journal subscriptions or books.

I am wholly unpersuaded that the savings of having to purchase a small number journal subscriptions would in any meaningful way offset the costs of having to pay for printing (for physical distribution) and bandwidth (for digital distribution).

I don't disagree with the article in general, but he does a lot of hand-waving about the costs of this proposed transformation. Just something to keep in mind.

Re:Costs of transition... (1)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842363)

Do you have any idea how much journal subscriptions cost? And any institution with more than a handful of fields is subscribing to dozens and dozens of them.

Copyright violations (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841585)

The original article violates copyrights on the Webster Dictionary. Please refrain from using words in future articles.

The Implications of the Alternative (1)

Shirakawasuna (1253648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841587)

What would replace the current system, exactly? Free peer review coupled with nearly-free publishing? Take a look at the PLoS, which is invaluable. However, it also does *not* have peer review because that requires maintaining a specific board of reviewers and at least one editor. This is why you can find unscientific trash like Intelligent Design 'papers' in there along with the world-class science. While I think the best situation for science would be great peer review with completely open access, I just don't see it working well without a huge amount of peer review volunteering, which could arguably switch the incentives for (peer-reviewer) performance completely around. If someone finds a solution to this, it would be great, but it's a dangerous experiment to simply throw out copyright in academia, particularly science.

Re:The Implications of the Alternative (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841865)

While I think the best situation for science would be great peer review with completely open access, I just don't see it working well without a huge amount of peer review volunteering

Peer review is already done on a volunteer basis. Your peers are other researchers in your field, not employees of journals.

Re:The Implications of the Alternative (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841943)

Take a look at the PLoS, which is invaluable. However, it also does *not* have peer review because that requires maintaining a specific board of reviewers and at least one editor.

Ahem, are you sure? I sent a paper early this year to PLoS ONE and indeed there was quite a bit of peer review, in fact I had to significantly modify it to have it accepted. So much for absence of peer review...

A bit of work to do first... (4, Insightful)

Profmeister 3000 (926684) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841595)

Many academics are rewarded by publishing in journals with top reputations. It takes time to develop alternative, low-cost, online journals that use better copyright regimes AND have a solid reputation. Creating a new journal with a decent rep takes years (best case 2-3, to get indexed and earn a healthy impact factor, and likely much, much longer). Worthwhile goal, but progress will be slow.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater (3, Insightful)

netruner (588721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841605)

The example in the summary could be easily handled by disallowing the transfer of copyright ownership for academic materials - making the originator always the owner with the option of allowing others to use their work.

We have to remember the purpose of IP law - when it ceases to protect creators of intellectual works, it is no longer serving its purpose.

Let's fix that typo... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841697)

We have to remember the purpose of IP law - when it ceases to protect creators of intellectual works, it is no longer serving its purpose.

I think that should be "We have to remember the purpose of IP law - when it ceases to encourage the production and publication of intellectual works, it is no longer serving its purpose."

Not that this changes your conclusion significantly... the journal would get a non-exclusive license to the work, rather than copyright, with possibly some embargoed period of exclusivity for the work as a whole. Yes, I know that sounds like it's recreating part of 18th century copyright law as a contract between the author and the publisher, but that may be what's necessary.

Moral but not necessarily practical problem (4, Informative)

MLCT (1148749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841611)

I've even heard of academics who had to redo pretty much the identical experiment because they couldn't even cite their own earlier results for fear of a copyright claim.

They can cite them, i.e. "we have previously found [REF]", without infringing anything, so I think you have gotten mixed up there. What they cannot necessary do without infringing is reproduce data/figures without gaining copyright exemption. It can be handled two ways, both involve citing the earlier work along with the reproduction to be absolutely sure that you are nobody thinks you are plagiarising yourself, and if you want to be proper about it then you can get a copyright exemption (which happens all the time for review articles). It will almost always be granted, but it is just a bit of a hassle to get sometimes. These points don't negate any discussion about the moral or ethical repercussions of being forced to sign over copyright - that is different - but practically there are no great repercussions.

I have had to sign away copyright on work I have done, and it does feel wrong. But on the other hand the journals are relatively relaxed about the situation, and you don't see legalise copyright warnings being posted to anyone. If journals annoy authors then said authors don't publish in those journals so they have to be careful. If academic establishments stopped paying subscriptions to journals then it might also be different - as at that point all of the copyrighted works the publishers hold become a rather more active asset to exploit since they may not be making any money from subscriptions (in some open access models for example).

Re:Moral but not necessarily practical problem (3, Insightful)

datababe72 (244918) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841853)

Yeah the bit about not being able to cite your own work is just wrong. In fact, journals compete partially on impact scores, which are based on how many citations their papers get. The would have no motive to go after people citing papers they published, even if they had some legal basis to do so- which I don't think they do.

Copyright on academic papers is to provide some financial reward for those who edit and publish the paper, not the person who created the paper. There are other models emerging to pay for this work (e.g., PLoS), but it is real work and it won't get done for free. Just abolishing copyright is unlikely to be a productive approach.

Don't copy that floppy mofo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28841643)

Sup dawg we herd you liek citing copyrighted academic works so we put a citation in your citation so you can cite while you citing!

What we need is publicly funded journals (5, Insightful)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841653)

Basically journals get academics to edit and review for free, to write for free, they force you to sign over copyright, and they charge you to access your own paper. Generally university libraries fork over tons of money to get a campus wide subscription to each and every journal. Everyone has to publish or perish (even masters students). Most of the research is probably government and publicly funded anyways. Anyone see anything wrong with this??

Re:What we need is publicly funded journals (1)

cathars1s (974609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841959)

Nothing wrong with this, as long as you enjoy having academic research controlled by the government.

So it's a good thing? (-1, Offtopic)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841683)

I've even heard of academics who had to redo pretty much the identical experiment because they couldn't even cite their own earlier results for fear of a copyright claim.

I would think that repeating an experiment falls into the category of "Scientific Rigor" -- if academics are unwilling to their experiments (albeit this seems for the wrong reasons), they are in the wrong job...

Re:So it's a good thing? (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841863)

I would think that repeating an experiment falls into the category of "Scientific Rigor" -- if academics are unwilling to their experiments (albeit this seems for the wrong reasons), they are in the wrong job...

Most people doing experiments don't have unlimited resources to redo something they did right the first time. As far as the "rigor" part goes, the idea is to get *other people* to do the experiment...having the same people do it over again doesn't really do much to show reproducibility.

Re:So it's a good thing? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842173)

There's also the issue of doing it "right the first time", probably means that they *already* ran the experiment some reasonable number of times. If I've already reproduced the results an appropriate number of times for the experiment in question, then how is it scientific rigor to go to all the time and expense of having to do the whole series of tests again?

tweeting and blogging banned at science meetings? (2, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841779)

One of the leading science journals Nature just had an editorial [nature.com] requesting that scientific societies establish policies on tweeting an blogging of talks at conferences. They recommend either complete openess or complete closure. Much of this now done by tech-savy excited grad students chatting among themselves. But some scientific societies consider this a form of competitive pre-publication, particularly in biosciences where commercial speed is important.

This concern is not new. I've been at conferences in the pre-digital era where sneaky people tape record the talk and film photograph every slide. New technology in every cellphone make this much easier to do.

Re:tweeting and blogging banned at science meeting (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841901)

But some scientific societies consider this a form of competitive pre-publication, particularly in biosciences where commercial speed is important.

As an aside, that is why I think the life sciences area has been completely dried up due to this mentality and to the publish or perish syndrome. And yes, I happen to work in the field myself...

Re:tweeting and blogging banned at science meeting (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842073)

So what? Once something is presented at a conference, as far as any patent or "commercial" issues are concerned, it has been publicly disclosed. It's possible a conference that intends to publish abstracts might object to the prepublication but that's their problem - if they want to try and stop it, good luck to them.

Yes, if you decide to go to a conference and present your "secret" results, then you've potentially got a problem. You should have thought of that before submitting the abstract. No, you can't get precedence on the record by submitting to a conference AND keep your results secret. There's a tradeoff - respect in the scientific community versus potential profits. That's the way it's supposed to be.

Personally, I think it's great if someone wants to tape, photograph, blog, tweet, e-mail, whatever my poster/presentation/chat in the hallway. Provided they do so with proper attribution. If they don't then you point out that your results are on record in the conference's proceedings and nail them for scientific misconduct.

The Nature editorial doesn't "request" anything. It suggests that the only viable options are completely open or completely closed.

Re:tweeting and blogging banned at science meeting (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842375)

But some scientific societies consider this a form of competitive pre-publication, particularly in biosciences where commercial speed is important.

This is insane. I don't go to Bioscience conferences, but the conferences I go to usually ask that as many people as possible in the audience videotape, tweet, and blog about their event. It's not competitive pre-publication. It's free advertising. And if you do it constantly enough, people start sending you free full passes for their conferences, and plenty of free books to review.

Need for a special academic copyright? (2, Insightful)

Volda (1113105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841791)

Maybe they should make a special copyright for academic works. Allow the schools to create a copyright but its a limited copyright of sorts. People could freely use it, reference it or copy it for their personal use but if they ever want to sell it they then have to talk to the institution that holds the copyright for it and get permission or setup a deal.

Personally though im of the mind that if something was created in the academic world it should be fair game for everyone not looking to make money because our tax money partially paid for it. Anything innovated for profit from said copyright should at least acknowledge and pay something to the original inventor. You take public funds and you'd better be willing to give that item, idea or whatever to those that funded it. The public. They couldn't of made it otherwise.

Shorter Copyright? (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28841879)

Why abolish? Why not simply shorten?

Originally copyright was 7 years plus 7 years (if you filed for an extension). That might work better than either abolition or the current situation.

Or how about logarithmic payments? Free for the first five years, $1,000 for the next five, $1,000,000 for the next five (or whatever).

Black and white debates, all or nothing, strike me as mimicking our current political trainwreck of two sides hating each other and refusing to consider the middle ground. Academics should be able to profit from their work (or their sponsors should) for a limited period of time, then it should enter the public domain.

FWIW, I think the same approach makes sense for all copyright -- a period to make a profit, an extension period where you can choose to pay to keep your monopoly, with the cost increasing over time. Seems to capture the best of copyright (giving the creative the opportunity to turn a profit) and also captures the increasing cost to society over time of monopoly.

I don't care what information 'wants' (3, Insightful)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842131)

Academic information should be free. Scarcity is bad; we won't get to post-scarcity (which only the very mean, in the literal sense, shouldn't want) if we continue to allow for artificial, weapons-enforced, scarcity. Neither should the Academy become like the Market---societies work better when there are multiple power centres, multiple ways of gaining status.... One whose only allegiance is to what's so (as opposed to whatever the State or the Market would value) is a great reality-check for the others.

Who funds the research? (3, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842289)

If the school is funded in any way by tax money, then its public domain. Take one dollar in tax breaks or tax money into the school and you're public domain for everything, period. No exceptions. No loop holes. Don't like it? Go to a completely privately funded school that gets nothing at all from the government. If you want to enjoy the benefits of using my tax money then I get to enjoy the benefits of you using my tax money. This bullshit of schools selling stuff I paid to research to companies which then charge me a fortune to buy it back from them needs to end.

I have no problem making our children and future generations more intelligent and throwing into the pot to better the future for all man kind. I have a distinct problem with throwing into the pot to make some asshole professor more money while he rides the coattails of the students that he cons into doing all of his research for him in exchange for little pay (in the case of a phd student) or the students actually helping to pay his salary as well!

If they take ANY money from the government then I'm paying for the research and I expect access to it. I don't give a damn if someone else donates money to the specific project, if the the school takes any money what so ever from the government then you can not disassociate that money from the project. So if they got government funding for something specific, such as paying for some other building on another campus, you still can not disassociate the funding from the entire school because money the school would have spent on its own for the now government funded building is used for these other projects.

The school IS NOT A PROFIT CENTER. Its an educational center.

A completely privately funded, doesn't get any tax breaks, doesn't get any government funding, doesn't get any of my money or benefits of the government which are sponsored by my money, can do whatever the hell they want to at their school. Anything that has ever seen a dime of my money however, should not be allowed to do research that I can not use for myself.

University research is public domain, sorry if that pisses some douche bag professor off because he can't use someone else's money to make a name for myself, he should have got a real job.

Something wrong here... (1)

witch-doktor (1592325) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842325)

"I've even heard of academics who had to redo pretty much the identical experiment because they couldn't even cite their own earlier results for fear of a copyright claim."

This statement is incorrect. You may need permission to reproduce a figure from a journal even if the paper is yours, but you can sure replot the data and you can for sure cite the data or reprint the data itself.

This is a bit melodramatic . . . (1)

pacergh (882705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842387)

Having to redo an experiment or study because of copyright concerns means you have bad legal advice.

You can't copyright facts. Writing about the facts of a study or experiment is nothing more than restating facts.

Sure, you can't just cut and paste someone else's summary of those facts verbatim (well, actually, you can in cases where they only state facts), but this still leaves you with clear ability to write about the experiment or study.

If you are unable to reword a summary of an experiment, do you really deserve to be in academia? There are thousands of PhD holders who'd love to take your place . . .

Of course, maybe the Techdirt author is from one of those legal jurisdictions (like the UK) which does allow authors to capture facts from the public domain in a compilation and thus gain a copyright claim over them. Even so, those protections are further limited to the compilation.

The Harvard piece, however, doesn't focus on the naive idea that copyright prevents the creation of new academic work directly.

Rather, it focuses on the indirect effect on innovation copyright imposes through barriers for disseminating copyrighted works. In other words, people are less able to gain access to academic works when medical journals cost literally hundreds of dollars to subscribe to.

Open access to scholarship aids this, but it does not eliminate the problem. No matter how open the access, the license to access the academic work depends upon whether the open access organization continues to grant it. Further, it often leaves academic work in one location and limits its ability to be republished and spread around.

Removing copyright poses the potential of aiding dissemination of copyrighted work, but of course it comes with its own problems. U.S. copyright law does not afford moral rights for authors as to attribution and other considerations -- whereas European laws do. Lack of moral rights may give rise to plagiarism and passing off in the academic world.

Nevertheless, the melodramatic idea that copyright stifles innovation because it prevents experiments or studies occurring is nonsense. If you have legal counsel advising this, dig deeper and ask pointed questions about what exactly they mean by this. If they can't articulate why you can't do the work, I would recommend seeking new counsel.

Heck, even patent law allows other people to recreate a patented device for personal use and the purpose of study.

Copyright law is bloated. Patents should be abolis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28842443)

Copyrights should only apply to what they were created for...literature and musical compositions. Patents are so easily and heavily abused and if managed correctly would eat up so much taxpayer dollars...patents should be abolished. do this and the world's economy will be back on track.

as far as mp3 and video goes, spare me the poor suffering artist and stealing from the record labels and studios routine argument. downloading music and video, is it stealing? yes. however, many opportunities exist for the labels and studios to make money from people downloading un-DRMed, free music and video. if i leave 100 dollar bills on my front lawn, it's a bit rediculous to have someone thrown in jail or fined a million dollars for taking 24. it's plain foolish. if i was smart, i'd put up a fence and charge a well calculated admission fee to my lawn of 100 bills. i'd even let other enterprises put billboard advertisements on my lawn for the right price.

this is the philosphical crux of our time (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28842485)

new technologies change societies. the wheel, the sail, the arrow, the printing press, the gun, the locomotive, the radio, the a-bomb... each sets in motion dramatic changes in how societies are organized and the rules of that society, written and unwritten. basic human truths don't change, but how they are interpreted DO change. established orders are upset and are shuffled

and now the internet is dramatically changing how we view "intellectual property". the entire set of laws concerning intellectual property are completely defunct. the internet has made them defunct. publishers are not a gentleman's club of a few powerful industrialists anymore, but any teenager with a cable connection. there is no way the rules that bound the gentleman's club can bind a billion teenagers. enforcing existing intellectual property rules is a joke. its not some sort of amazing revolution to fight those archaic intellectual property rules, its more that it takes farcical effort to continue abiding by them

the notion that people deserve something for creating a work never changes. but what they actually deserve and how that recognition is attributed DOES change. those who cling to the past think the debate is about giving content creators nothing. those who understand the future know its just about changing how attribution and respect will come to content creators tomorrow. no one thinks it is about ripping off content creators, that's just an unbridled fear

distributors, of course, are completely doomed. the internet has simply replaced them as much more efficient and cheaper. distributors must evolve into glorified talent agents, shadows of their former selves, or succumb to inevitable extinction. no one weeps for the chimney sweep or the horseshoe blacksmith, and so no one should shed a tear for nature, bertelsmann, etc.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?