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Copyright Law Is Killing Science

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the lessig-says-some-stuff dept.

Youtube 323

HansonMB writes "Whereas copyright tends to focus on protecting artists' ability to make money from their work, scientists don't use similar incentives. And yet, her work is often kept within the gates of the ivory tower, reserved for those whose universities or institutions have purchased access, often at high costs. And for science in the age of the internet, which wants ideas to spread as widely as possible to encourage more creativity and development, this isn't just bad: it's immoral."

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Minor document correction (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947302)

...To prevent the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for unlimited Times to Authors and Inventors and Trolls the exclusive Right to all Writings and Discoveries.

Patents as well (3, Insightful)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947348)

Government work should be public domain and PHD thesis I think are required to be. But the busness end of Academia is going whole hog into getting not only copyright but patents locked down. In my teaching they were trying to copyright all instructional material and video presentations with no benefit for the instructors. Certainly not only should schools add to the public domain but patents and copyrights should belong to the creators of that intellectual property.

Re:Patents as well (2, Interesting)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947420)

Work at a different school or negotiate a better contract, if you can. At many universities, the inventors (typically the grad. student or principal investigator) are the owners of their own works, in the first instance, but they can always choose to let the invention be prosecuted and maintained by their TTO. The exception is for research done with Federal funds which is subject Bayh-Dole and, frankly, the terms of the sponsor agreement with the government.

Re:Patents as well (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947982)

Work at a different school or negotiate a better contract, if you can. At many universities, the inventors (typically the grad. student or principal investigator) are the owners of their own works, in the first instance, but they can always choose to let the invention be prosecuted and maintained by their TTO. The exception is for research done with Federal funds which is subject Bayh-Dole and, frankly, the terms of the sponsor agreement with the government.

Are you really that fucking stupid??? *Every* university requires that their graduate students and professors sign away all their intellectual work while at the university. Which fantasy university are talking about where graduate students can negotiate better contracts? Which alternate-dimension United States do you live in where students can actually just go from school to school as needed?

Re:Patents as well (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948170)

Oh for mod points. This post is true. I've worked at three different universities and I own *none* of my work. In most journals (PLoS and the like might be exceptions but I haven't yet published there) you sign over your rights to the journal. Without a subscription, personal or through a university, I can't even read some of my own papers. For the one patent I'm on I got some cash from the university, but the university and not me is the patent owner. This is standard operating procedure and naturally the /. anti-intellectual property right trolls modbomb to oblivion a commentator who is 100% right. The oddity is that public ownership of published research that was done at public universities with public moneys is one of the rare areas where the typical /. anti-intellectual property right troll is actually correct and a position that the parent, probably my fellow academic, likely agrees with.

Re:Patents as well (2)

geezer nerd (1041858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947588)

I am retired now, but I never worked anywhere but that the company, as part of its conditions of employment, did not lay claim to any and all inventions that the employee might create during the term of employment. The employee is typically forced to agree to sell any patents arising to the company for a nominal fee, usually $1. I am not saying this is good or bad, but when you join the company, it is kind of hard to not know that signing on the bottom line agrees to this practice.

Re:Patents as well (1)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947792)

In software development, every company I have worked for wanted to own all your work lock stock and barrel. I know one employee that left because of that and with teaching at a university that had the same restrictions, I had to ammend the wording on the corporate agreement because the wording suggested that all work "during employment" would be owned by them. I think the patent law should be changed to not allow the rights to be held by a corporation but always with the individual. But then we will get companies that play the same sort of games that record companies played with the copyrights to songs from their stable of singers.

Re:Patents as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947938)

Worse than that I used to work at a company that laid claim to all your work "before" employment as well. We had one ghost employee that had no contract and refused to sign because it would mean turning over everything he was working on up to that point. I don't even know how this concept works in reality though I'm pretty sure this is an unfair contract term. The worst part about it is that the management were very adhoc about the policy and typically suggested people just ignore the contract term and work on their own stuff as they see fit. The problem is that this sets up selective enforcement where they wouldn't care unless mega-$$$ were involved - of course once your hard work pays off in any sizeable way they can swoop in and claim the cash flow as their own. You can't do anything at this point because the contract says so. Eventually all knowledge in the world is going to end up locked in one of more ivory towers with the net result that we all have to pay the piper...for just about anything. Serfdom for the 21st century.

We're in the same position with contract law that we are with politics; you can vote for whoever you choose but they're all the same. Similarly, telling people to "work for someone else" doesn't solve the problem either - they *all* do this, you have no bargaining power at all, they have all the money.

Re:Patents as well (3, Interesting)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948128)

Similarly, telling people to "work for someone else" doesn't solve the problem either - they *all* do this, you have no bargaining power at all, they have all the money.

Ummm...start your own business, then? My wife has done it twice in the last decade. It's a lot of work, and there are no guarantees that you will break even, much less earn the salary you earn as a cubicle drone in the tech sector, but if you don't like the terms of employment for anyone that's hiring, it IS an option. <shrug> I'm just not a big believer in the "I have no power at all" victim mentality.

Re:Patents as well (4, Interesting)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948088)

The company I work for had similar language in the contract I signed. However, before signing that contract, I negotiated slightly different terms with the HR person. Bottom line, I agreed that all software or inventions I created *on company time or with company resources* would belong to the company; however, any software or inventions I created *on my own time* were mine. I also agreed that I wouldn't use my "insider knowledge" of the company to create a tool that I knew the company needed on my own time so that I could license it back to the company, nor would I create products or services in my off time to compete with the company I work for.

So, yeah...the terms you mention are pretty much typical in the tech industry, but you can sometimes negotiate terms that will alleviate your employer's ethics or competition concerns while still allowing you to create and own things that are unrelated to the company's business interest.

Re:Patents as well (4, Interesting)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947638)

Government work should be public domain and PHD thesis I think are required to be.

That's news to me. My PhD dissertation is copyright by me, although I granted my university and my country's national library the right to distribute it.

Some PhD dissertations can be classified Top Secret, if they involve state or military secrets. I know at least one person whose dissertation was such.

As much as I favor the broad distribution of knowledge, ultimately I think the distribution of the results will depend on what the researcher arranges or negotiates with the institution who is paying him/her. Generally I favor the individual creator having copyright control.

But the busness end of Academia is going whole hog into getting not only copyright but patents locked down.

Don't be too quick to dismiss academic involvement with patents. As long as the patents themselves aren't "evil" I think academic institutions can provide valuable support to researchers who want to file patents, as long as the terms are fair.

In my teaching they were trying to copyright all instructional material and video presentations with no benefit for the instructors. Certainly not only should schools add to the public domain but patents and copyrights should belong to the creators of that intellectual property.

I agree that the instructors should be allowed to benefit freely from their own work. I confess I'm uncertain whether allowing a benevolent institution to hold the copyright (instead of the creator) is necessarily a bad thing.

Re:Patents as well (2)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947836)

I think one of the central issues is whether a patent stops progress or creates progress. It only creates progress in the incentive for new work to be done. It stiffles progress when others want to extend that work or improve on it or use it to create new work. The patent rights hold back innovation in this way. Therefore I feel that patents and copyrights probably don't belong in Acedemia. They should not be looking at extending the field of knowledge as a gold mine. Just like orivate prisons have a vested interest in laws that put people in jail. Institutions that have a vested interest in patents will support laws that get them the most money and control of IP at the expense of the general good.

Re:Patents as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947718)

Government work should be public domain and PHD thesis I think are required to be.

Bullshit. Why should some people profit from copyright and not others? Are artists so special that only they should make money? Everyone should be equal. Either reform the system, or let everyone go to hell. Selectively making some go to hell and not others is bullshit.

COPYRIGHT Law is helping science by protecting it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947822)

Commercial protections are what embrace and extend a science, in allowing a final product to reach market and allowing a monopoly to recover the Research and Development costs while further funding expansion of more sciences related to the implementation of that product.

What you see today is not Copyright Law, but an anti-competitive abuse in which technology unrelated to one-another are being attacked with malicious purposes.

It's like two inventors, one of a square wheel (otherwise known as a super-imposed Sprocket for a locked Track-Tread) and another of a round padded wheel (for rubber-on-pavement applications), both have completely different domains of use where one is for all-terrain heavy machinery while the other is for clear flat roads, and the inventors are suing eachother because they have domains that are efficiently capable of both the end-result in moving cargo or passengers yet the context is they are not competing neither are expanding their science other than capacity of branching their implementations through all kinds of redundant over-scaled equipment: then someone else puts them both out of business, by having two rails and a non-padded wheel, that lays-down track to travel on and picks-up the track behind it so-long as momentum is maintained (self-tracking choo-choo train).

I think I should drink moar.

Re:Patents as well (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947926)

But if we don't have strong Intellectual Property laws then all the great industrialists - the great creative minds - will simply walk away from our society of leeches and we'll never have those cars that run on static electricity and the reardon metal butt plugs!

Just look at the way the Galt of Our Times, John DeLorean, walked away and left the rest of us to suffer in our slop! Personally, I'm prepared to beg DeLorean to come back and save us!

Can you tell that last weekend I saw a preview of what might be the worst movie of the past thirty years?

Then don't publish there (5, Insightful)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947380)

Look: copyright has nothing to do with it. If you don't want the publication locked up, don't publish in journals that make you give up all your rights or negotiate a different deal. The fact is, on this point, copyright isn't necessary because the terms of the contract would just take over. If the publisher didn't want you to publish outside its pay wall it could ask you via your contract regardless of the copyright in the work.

This reflects more on the economic and business incentives of scientific journals than on copyright. The journals don't care about the copyright so much as they value the exclusivity and the first publication rights. Copyright is just a placeholder for a very simple non-publication clause and associated penalties (or liquidated damages).

Re:Then don't publish there (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947544)

The paywall system wouldn't actually work without copyright. They could still manage to get anyone who signed a contract to agree not to republish it, but that would only bind the author. Other third parties might be bound by EULAs not to republish the version they accessed via a library, if the EULAs are enforceable contracts. But even in that case, if even one such third party leaked a bunch of PDFs onto the internet (violating their EULA), there would be nothing illegal about other people hosting it and republishing the articles, if they hadn't signed a contract (or agreed to an EULA). It's only copyright law that allows the publisher to demand takedowns of copies hosted by people with whom the publisher has no contractual relationship.

Re:Then don't publish there (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947656)

While it's true that without copyright the paywall and exclusivity agreements wouldn't work, that doesn't change the fact that the paywall and exclusivity are at the heart of the problem. Fixing this hugely important issue is something that can be accomplished almost overnight by those that it affects directly, the scientists and engineers whose work is being locked up. As opposed to copyright reform which is a political nightmare and actually quite a divisive issue for many people.

If you bring your shiny new ball over to a friends house and they're being a total dick and hogging the ball and not letting anyone else, including you, play with it why on Earth would you keep bringing every shiny new ball you get to that guy's house? The problem isn't that no one can make a million copies of the ball, the problem is that you keep giving this jerk your new toys. Take your ball home, if you can get it away from him, and find a friend who is willing to play nice. And definitely keep any new toys you get in the future away from the asshole.

Re:Then don't publish there (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947896)

Prisoner's Dilemma again.

If you don't publish there but a little well timed back room dealing makes it the place to publish, from what I know academia has a bad habit of blackballing people as "second class researchers" because they only got to publish in some smaller journals.

You need some kind of critical mass incentive that tips the balance. Something like "$1,000 per quality article to be published CC-Attribution" or something.

Re:Then don't publish there (2)

ShiftyOne (1594705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947576)

Easier said than done. Tenure track positions rely heavily on publication in good journals. Losing your job over a copyright is not worth it for one person, it would take an industry wide movement, which is very hard to organize.

Re:Then don't publish there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947722)

Bingo. I would love to publish all of my papers in open journals, but can't afford the "loss of prestige".

Re:Then don't publish there (4, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948318)

Bingo. I would love to publish all of my papers in open journals, but can't afford the "loss of prestige".

Easily gained back: just refuse the Fields Medal [wikipedia.org] after you publish a meaningful article on arxiv.org.
What makes the "prestige" of a journal? Why an "open journal" would not be able to achieve the "prestigious" status? Who's to blame for the fact that anything "open" in science is associated with the lost of prestige... even if there are "prestigious open source projects"?

If the academia doesn't like to contribute by at least a honest "open-source-like" peer-reviewing [wikipedia.org] the work of others, why should I give away the protection of the copyright laws for my GPLv3 open-source code?

Re:Then don't publish there (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948168)

So you are saying we need college professors and grad-students to unionize?

Words by themselves are nothing (2)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947390)

Moral science isn't about publishing (peer-reviewed) papers for all to see. Moral science is about understanding the world For the Betterment of Mankind. That requires follow-through, and follow-through requires large amounts of money to turn a publication into a product*. The only way to attract that kind of money is either 1) get the Guv'mint decree that it be directed toward your pet project, or 2) entice Big Bigness and the Richest One Percent to fund it by promising them a cut of the revenue in a legally binding contract, enforceable in the legal framework set up by the same Guv'mint. Tell me why (2) is worse than (1), and show me an example of where the Public Option has succeeded on the same scale as the private option?

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (5, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947466)

For better or for worse, the "public option" probably deserves most of the credit for developing nuclear energy, the Internet, and space travel. Radio broadcasting as we know it was also large developed by the "public option," specifically university radio stations in the 1920s, a fact that was forgotten when radio became commercializable and commercial radio pretty well eclipsed the pioneers.

I don't think anyone can say what would have happened if the government had not chosen to fund these developments. The fact is, in the particular parallel universe we live in, they were developed publicly.

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947900)

Radio broadcasting as we know it was also large developed by the "public option," specifically university radio stations in the 1920s, a fact that was forgotten when radio became commercializable and commercial radio pretty well eclipsed the pioneers.

Actually no, it was developed privately and lead to massive patent wars with the people stealing the ideas ultimately winning and being kept in the history books (Marconi comes to mind).

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (3, Insightful)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947528)

Pretty much the entirety of basic modern physics and modern cryptography. Companies are happy to turn government science into products they can profit from, they are not happy to fund basic research. Yet basic research is what those products come from in a longer perspective. Companies only do the last step of research because it is only at the last step that it becomes clear what the profitable outcome is going to be.

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (4, Insightful)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947602)

I know, I should avoid answering obvious trolls especially ones who see the world only in terms of a philosophy that, much like communism, doesn't ever work in practice.

(2) is worse than (1) because not all science can produce a profit. Even if it can, it might not be an immediate enough profit. For example, how long did it take for the photoelectric effect to have a profitable application? How about quantum mechanics? General relativity? Heliocentrism? Modeling of stellar interiors? Sequencing genomes of lichen?

If (2) worked the way you think it would, (1) never would have been developed because the rich wouldn't have allowed government to get in the way of their revenue generation.

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947928)

IMO, having worked in science many years, scientists can be the most self-righteous pricks you have ever met, even more so than environmentalists, if you can imagine it. The very idea of research that pays the bills just seems to grate. Now, the photoelectric effect was soon incorporated into sensors, QM led to semiconductors within a couple decades, relativity affects lots more than you would expect, but heliocentrism was useless until Sputnik. So why did Galileo go to all that bother? Basically, it came down to "Someone on the internet is wrong." Modeling stellar interiors is just for fun, and it does society about as much good as one more person climbing up Mt Everest. Why can't we get an NIH grant to do that? Sequencing genomes of irrelevant species is similar, although I think we may learn more species are relevant than we thought, and it is pretty inexpensive, now.

You can pretty much forget #2 (5, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947604)

Businesses don't bother with anything that doesn't have big, short term profit. They let the Guv'mint (sic) pay for it :(. Right now there's work being done on a Leukemia vaccine... in Europe. No company in the states would pay a dime for the research, because it'd be a one time vaccine that only benefits a few million people (many too poor to pay $$$ for medicine).

Also, most of the major advances in basic science are done on the public dime, and then companies swoop in to monetize it. Look up the history of the Rail Roads in the US. Fact is, you can't build the giant cartel we know & love today w/o the Gov'mint (sic, again).

Re:You can pretty much forget #2 (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948134)

Businesses don't bother with anything that doesn't have big, short term profit. They let the Guv'mint (sic) pay for it :(. Right now there's work being done on a Leukemia vaccine... in Europe. No company in the states would pay a dime for the research, because it'd be a one time vaccine that only benefits a few million people (many too poor to pay $$$ for medicine).

A quick google shows that work is ongoing on this new vaccine. I also see that it's not a vaccine in the sense that you get the vaccine to prevent the disease. This "vaccine" is just another chemo-therapy variant.

I also see that they're fairly early in the human-testing part of the vaccine. Which means that it'll be another 20 years before it becomes available to the general public.

Assuming of course that it actually works half as well as expected, and doesn't have side-effects worse than the disease it fixes.

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (2)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947618)

I forgot to add, show we a case where the private option succeeded without building upon the work developed by people using the public option.

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (1)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948014)

Just to be fair, can you show me a case where the public option even existed without building upon the private one?

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948086)

Yeah, there was that MASSIVE private space program before NASA finally got involved.
[Of course, there was a lot built on top of German developments in WWII, but that was still "public" ie. military resources...]

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947646)

show me an example of where the Public Option has succeeded on the same scale as the private option?

IceCube South Pole Neutrino Detector [wisc.edu]

The inauguration events for the detector are being held this week in Madison, WI.

Re:Words by themselves are nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947664)

Australia's CSIRO seems to have a success on their hands with their wireless tech patent.

Stallman's been saying it since 2001 (5, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947392)

Here's an article he got published in Nature back in 2001

http://www.nature.com/nature/debates/e-access/Articles/stallman.html [nature.com]

Re:Stallman's been saying it since 2001 (0)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947426)

Which contradicts his very own GPL license, which makes it illegal to distribute software unless you comply with the demand you also distribute the source, and other restrictions. He even claims the author can require require distribution of the source even if you merely run the software, as in the AGPL (a term I think is unenforceable, I can run and modify the software without agreeing to the license regardless of what the license tries to say). Now I'm no fan of DRM and such but I can't imagine it would work without the looming threat of legal action under the DMCA and other copyright law.

Re:Stallman's been saying it since 2001 (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947504)

AGPL (a term I think is unenforceable, I can run and modify the software without agreeing to the license regardless of what the license tries to say).

When you run software you do so by copying it from hard disk into main memory and then copying it byte by byte into the processor registers.
So it is enforceable ...

Re:Stallman's been saying it since 2001 (3, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947546)

>He even claims the author can require require distribution of the source even if you merely run the software, as in the AGPL

BULLSHIT.

9. Acceptance Not Required for Having Copies.
You are not required to accept this License in order to receive or run a copy of the Program.

What part of that do you not understand?

It's amazing how idiots like you read a license and then state with a straight face shit you know is wrong.

Restrictions? What about the restrictions on commercial software? Where is your freedom to make a clone of Word by reverse engineering the software, which the Microsoft EULA specifically forbids?

Go fuck yourself. I'm tired of hearing the unfounded GPL hate. You don't like the GPL? Fine. Don't use someone else's software published under the GPL. Don't download it. Don't modify it. And most of all don't distribute it if you are unwilling to follow the terms of the GPL

Sure is Softie shill FUD in here. Go astroturf somewhere else, asshole.

--
BMO

How the GPL works (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947634)

The whole idea of the GPL is that distributors are required to pass freedoms on to recipients.

Do you have any suggestions for how to do this without placing requirements on distributors???

Re:Stallman's been saying it since 2001 (5, Insightful)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947654)

The GPL license doesn't make it illegal to distribute software unless you comply with the demand you also distribute the source. It's already illegal to distribute software that you don't own the copyright to. The GPL makes it legal to distribute the software iff you also distribute the source. The distinction is important, and you have failed to notice it.

Re:Stallman's been saying it since 2001 (3, Informative)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947854)

Your characterization of the GPL is interestingly rabid, and your depiction of the AGPL is not entirely accurate. The AGPL only kicks in if people other than yourself access the software over a network. You could easily argue that much of what the software produces and sends over the network could be considered to be covered by copyright, and you are distributing all of that stuff to everybody who accesses it.

But, regardless, even if you were 100% correct, there is no contradiction. RMS has stated in various places that while he feels the GPL is the right license for 'functional works', for programs basically, that it may not be the right license for all things currently covered by copyright. For example, the GFDL is distinctly different from the GPL is several respects.

Everything new is old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947396)

[...] which wants ideas to spread as widely as possible to encourage more creativity and development, this isn't just bad: it's immoral.

So someone rediscovered the hacker ethic [wikipedia.org] after ~50 years, or what? Stallman? Any of this sound familiar up there in the ivory tower?

Re:Everything new is old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947454)

Hey, you can't fool me. I'm informed. Mass media has clearly shown hackers to be evil.

Limited resources (4, Interesting)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947400)

Under natural law, you typically only own that which is limited, in such a way you can control its use exclusively. But what about ideas? They aren't limited resources, anyone can create their own instance of an idea, an invention, a writing... http://mises.org/daily/5108/Ideas-Free-and-Unfree-A-Book-Commentary [mises.org]

Re:Limited resources (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948244)

Under natural law, you typically only own that which is limited, in such a way you can control its use exclusively. But what about ideas? They aren't limited resources, anyone can create their own instance of an idea, an invention, a writing... http://mises.org/daily/5108/Ideas-Free-and-Unfree-A-Book-Commentary [mises.org] [mises.org]

My disdain for libertarians only seems to deepen the more I hear from them. This is the same website that promotes legalizing drunk driving (http://mises.org/daily/2343). Also, if this viewpoint were actually followed, it means everyone can sell anything - this isn't about free/web-based piracy, but it's about mega-corporations being allowed to print up all the books, movies, software, etc that they want and sell them. This is particularly an issue where the physical format is more valuable than the digital version. It also means movie theaters can show whatever they want without paying any movie production company. The reality is that libertarians don't really think about how their laws would actually impact society, they're completely wrapped up in their notions of "rights" with little appreciation for how they affect other people or society. I'd actually like to hear a libertarian explain why governments have a right to tax the public. I actually don't think they could do it. Even taxes collected for the purpose of national defense or roads aren't defensible within the libertarian framework.

just get it from the author (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947402)

I did not RTA, but just google the author and title of a paper and you usually get a pdf... lf not, check tbeir website or email them, usually they are hapoy to send it... depends on discipline for sure, and authors SHOULD give out papers on request, but I dont see what the big problem is.

Copyright law has killed written articles? (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947418)

I'm interested in this. Not interested enough to watch a 50 minute segment on it. Is there a transcript somewhere?

If this is about open vs closed access journals

1. The situation is rapidly improving. While it's not where it needs to be, in the last few years we've seen a lot more journals providing open access.
2. The practice has been going on quite a while and we have yet to see science die. I don't think it can possibly be "killing" science. Limiting its potential, sure, but there's no way pay-for-access is having nearly as much effect as cutting funding for basic research.

Re:Copyright law has killed written articles? (1)

hweimer (709734) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947674)

Most science papers are put on free preprint servers such as the arXiv [arxiv.org] anyway. I think it is safe to say that never before in the history of mankind such a large fraction of the population had access to the latest research results.

Re:Copyright law has killed written articles? (3, Interesting)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947780)

Most science papers are put on free preprint servers such as the arXiv [arxiv.org] anyway.

While arXiv and the like are popular in maths and physics, that is unfortunately definitely not true for science at large. In most of the life sciences for instance, papers are published in peer-reviewed journals with a paywall and only there. There is only a handful of publishers operating most journals in large portfolios and forcing the university libraries to cough up big bucks for the access even if they do not receive the journals in print. For Joe Sixpacks, it is even worse as the publishers sometimes ask as much as 40$ or 50$ for reading a single article.

On the other hand, there are recent initiatives, like PLoS (http://www.plos.org/) and Frontiers (http://www.frontiersin.org/) which publish mostly online journals within a free-for-all access scheme. However, while anyone can read those articles, having them published costs quite a lot, around 2000€ roughly for both Frontiers and PLoS. So basically, while everyone can access those articles, only scientists from relatively rich institutions can actually publish in those journals. In all fairness, PLoS can offer the publication costs to some but still.

Re:Copyright law has killed written articles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947920)

While arXiv and the like are popular in maths and physics, that is unfortunately definitely not true for science at large. In most of the life sciences for instance, papers are published in peer-reviewed journals with a paywall and only there

On the other hand, having seen the level of degradation in the life sciences that has happened over the last decade - it may be better so. Hideous amounts of very doubtful crap have been published - knowledge of it cannot possibly benefit anyone. Better sink that shit in a deep pit in the ocean.

Most of the life sciences publications of the past decade are so utterly corrupted and perverted we might as well forget about it. Unfortunately, it is very hard to tell the good from the bad. It is my impression that being published in Nature or PNAS is at best a mild negative indicator. So yeah, sink that shit behind a hefty paywall until the researchers in life sciences get their act together and clean up the mess.

Am I bitter? YES I AM!

my comment will nobody read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947424)

However, just to please myself for contribution...
It's totally true. Any renaissance into any discovery comes always after death of discoverers. OR after death of copyrights on it. Believe it or no, it is something close to 90%.
This system IS MORE ABUSED, THAN USED.
Microsoft patent on doubleclik, A patent for ordinary wall switch..., numerous patents on non existent things... That just for start of it.. That system is meant for this system abusers, not users.
Users in general always ain't so smart to use it, because of laws are supposed to work against abusers more than to support users. System is failing completely because of it.

Killing Science? (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947446)

Hardly. This practice is a minor parasite riding on the back of Science, it's been there for at least 100yrs.

Re:Killing Science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947798)

Hardly. This practice is a minor parasite riding on the back of Science, it's been there for at least 100yrs.

In fact, the latest science is more accessible today than ever before. Look how often Slashdot stories cite preprints.

Also, the more respectable journals have a self-archiving policy, which lets you put your papers on your own web site for Teh Google to find.

Re:Killing Science? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948060)

On the other hand, there are a lot of people out there who could be contributing to scientific progress, but who lack access to the journals and conference proceedings they need in order to do a basic literature search. Try giving a journal citation in an online discussion with people who may not be affiliated with a university, and you will see what I mean (this is more true of some fields than others).

It's pretty frustrating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947472)

I'm not sure if its inherently a huge problem.

I do remember I was looking into some computer vision stuff. Lots of papers referencing others. Every time I looked for a paper the top hit was for an online journal charging me for access. However, there was usually enough information to search for the website of the authors directly. More often than not, they had the paper freely downloadable.

The journals are leading a parasitic existence, but they'll be eliminated when someone has the idea that can be implemented cheaply and that the scientists like.

What's really killing science (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947496)

The biggest challenge to science is the misinformation created by groups that have a vested political/economic/religious interest against science.

Re:What's really killing science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947642)

Or is it the way that one week a study comes out saying eggs are good for you? Then next week they are bad for you.

Everything you don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947498)

Everything you don't like is immoral and/or illegal.

arxiv.org (1)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947526)

Actually, Cornell run arxiv.org which for my area of research provides brilliant access. It's free to access, no signing up even required, and has made it much easier to keep up to date with recent developments. It does give an interesting viewpoint, for me though. Most scientists (in academia, not corporate researchers) I know have, for years now, been freely giving access to their research away once they realised what they could do with the internet.

Not the point (3, Insightful)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947548)

A scientist does not publish papers so they could be read. He publishes so he can put the citation on his CV for the purpose of improving his employment. Most of those "peer-reviewed" journals are not read by anybody; their value lies not in availability, but in prestige.

Re:Not the point (2)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947660)

True prestige lies in having your work referenced by someone else.

Re:Not the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947990)

Very true. The reader to author ratio has fallen below 80% in scientific literature. The problem is, there are too many journals, and too many ways to distribute your work, so no one needs to read the papers unless they are looking for a recipe.

Does Copyright even matter any more? (2)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947562)

There's not a movie or album I can't find online for free or stream at my convenience for no fee. The only way copyright really affects people any more are people who seek to remix works and republish them. Wikileaks is another fine example. Information may not "want" to be free, but people want to share it. If anyone's really concerned about a certain piece of research's squelching affecting world prosperity, then go leak it there instead of crying about some need for law-change and encourage others to do likewise. The law will catch up eventually.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947690)

copyright or licensing is more effective when exerted against other businesses or commercial ventures. The end-user is typically unaffected. However, if RIAA busted you for piracy, is like the police busting a drug user instead of a dealer.

It's not that it doesn't matter, but unless you're a movie/ music producer/ author, you don't see how much licensing happens in the background. We, as the end-user, just see the credits for someone else's work at the back of the book/ credits/ etc. We never see how much money was traded or what the contract limits.

So yes, it matters.

Re:Does Copyright even matter any more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948300)

The only way copyright really affects people any more are people who seek to remix works and republish them.

In many cases, this is the worst way they can be affected - most people don't have time/money to verify with a lawyer that their remix counts as fair use. Even if they did get it verified, it can hardly ever be a guarantee and costly/risky to defend in court even if they are right.

Trying to defend a broken model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947586)

My dad works in the business and he says that the traditional gatekeepers of science journals are in real trouble because people are starting to look elsewhere for information, because they are raising the walls too high.

Re:Trying to defend a broken model (1)

jrminter (1123885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947714)

Sounds like the error the music publishers made in the early days of digital music. Look how Apple and iTunes changed that with reasonable fees. The fees charged for scientific articles are ridiculous. The big publishing houses reap tremendous profit for what? The authors submit electronic copies with publication-ready figures and all the information required to generate a BibTeX citation. Referees are volunteers. Print editions are fast becoming dinosaurs... PDFs are much easier to file... Here's a novel solution: give away the PDFs and get revenue via advertising: Put ads for equipment/reagents/services on the download page.

The Science is dead. (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947612)

Long live the Science!

Contract trumps copyright anyway (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947652)

In most (all?) jurisdictions, it's contract, not copyright, that says what the producer does with the work. You can pretend you own the work all you want, but if the contract you signed with the publisher, university, company, whatever, says you don't, then you don't.

If we really want to make a difference, reverse that relationship: make copyright trump contract and you're cooking with gas.

What if the Bible had a copyright? (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947680)

What if all religious texts were under strict copyright since their inception? What if the churches restricted publication to its clergy? Would the world be worse off?

Re:What if the Bible had a copyright? (4, Informative)

Pfhorrest (545131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947786)

Something close to that used to be the case. Not copyright per se because there was no such thing as printing and every Bible was transcribed by hand, but for about the first millennium and a half of the Church's existence most Bibles were written in Latin, which only the clergy could read. So to most people possessing a copy of the Bible would have been pointless; it was locked down, in effect, by a primitive DRM. A major point of the Protestant Reformation was the demand for Bibles written in the local languages so that people could actually read what God (supposedly) had said himself, rather than just taking the local priest's word for it.

Re:What if the Bible had a copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947810)

Well, the clergy would sure be a hell of a lot better off.

Cough (scientology) cough.

Re:What if the Bible had a copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947812)

What if all religious texts were under strict copyright since their inception? What if the churches restricted publication to its clergy? Would the world be worse off?

These days they are. Similar to developers of Android apps vs iPhone apps, when the bible was written, they were going for a more advertising based model. The bible was more or less a commercial for the church, and often convinced people to cede money and power to the it.

But, certainly, this hasn't stopped people from claiming a copyright on a mythos:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deities_%26_Demigods
http://gawker.com/#!5002319/church-of-scientology-claims-copyright-infringement

Re:What if the Bible had a copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948312)

What if all religious texts were under strict copyright since their inception? What if the churches restricted publication to its clergy? Would the world be worse off?

An interesting question. Actually, in Britain, the most popular translation of the Bible is under "perpetual copyright." See this [wikipedia.org] wikipedia article for details.

-Gareth

Re:What if the Bible had a copyright? (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948314)

The goal of religions is to spread their message as far and wide as possible - which means not putting it under copyright. Of course, they also have a little thing called the "tithe" which brings in quite a bit more money than any copyright ever has. Even the relatively small Mormon church is close to surpassing the music sales of the RIAA. (The Mormon church reportedly had revenue of $4.7 billion/year back in 1991 - http://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/02/us/income-of-mormon-church-is-put-at-4.7-billion-a-year.html [nytimes.com] )

Re:What if the Bible had a copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948422)

You mean like Scientology?

did anyone else actually listen to the video talk (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947682)

I'm about 10 minutes in, and bored out of my skull, as it doesn't seem that we are going anywhere..... right now, Lessign is reviewing copyright law back to the 1700s in teh house of lords.....
what I have learned is that he is a typical Harvard Preparation H: he constantly mentions his fellow H profs as , at a minimum as able to walk on water...

Re:did anyone else actually listen to the video ta (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947952)

Your ADHD is not Lessig's fault.

Just so you know.

--
BMO

Re:did anyone else actually listen to the video ta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947998)

Lessig is atypical harvard showman: very entertaining, but he stretched a thin bit of material out a long way. He had very little to say, and padded it outrageously. Thats not my ADHD, thats lawyers for you

Re:did anyone else actually listen to the video ta (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948360)

It's an academic presentation. Background must be given to those not familiar with the material. Arguments need to be supported.

Again, your ADHD is not Lessig's problem. It's yours.

If you get to the second half, he gets into remix culture, which is interesting. But you missed out on it, because you can't sit still for more than 10 minutes and pay attention.

--
BMO

UK IP Law is worse still it seems (2)

Freestyling (997523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947696)

As an example:

Extract from the University Of Manchester IP Ltd Website http://www.umip.com/university_policy.htm [umip.com] :

The University of Manchester, through the provisions of the Patents Act 1977 and the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, owns the intellectual property rights (IPR) in patentable inventions, computer software, designs and other copyrightable material arising from the research activities of its staff.

The nett income from exploitation is shared with staff and their departments and in accordance with a reward scheme approved by the University's Board of Governors.

I am third year physics student in the UK, hoping to go on to do PHD work in one of the nuclear energy fields, most likely fusion research. The big thing that has worried me for a while is the possibility that I can make a discovery only to have the University I work for pounce on it with patents and copyrighting that prevent the unhindered use of that discovery to improve the world.

I'm not for a moment bigheaded enough to think I would make such a discovery personally, but the concept is a frightening one; the idea that a technology that could revolutionize some part of our world never seeing the light of day, because an academic institution is more interested in profiteering than in actually furthering the cause of science.

As a previous poster (RightwingNutJob) said "Moral science isn't about publishing (peer-reviewed) papers for all to see. Moral science is about understanding the world For the Betterment of Mankind."

Problem is investing in development of real world things from this research is costly, and not always successful. If before even starting on the research a company has to pay through the nose to license the idea, that makes said company less likely to bother in the first place surely?

Open Source University Anyone?

Re:UK IP Law is worse still it seems (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947874)

As an example:

Extract from the University Of Manchester IP Ltd Website http://www.umip.com/university_policy.htm [umip.com] :

The University of Manchester, through the provisions of the Patents Act 1977 and the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, owns the intellectual property rights (IPR) in patentable inventions, computer software, designs and other copyrightable material arising from the research activities of its staff.

The nett income from exploitation is shared with staff and their departments and in accordance with a reward scheme approved by the University's Board of Governors.

I am third year physics student in the UK, hoping to go on to do PHD work in one of the nuclear energy fields, most likely fusion research. The big thing that has worried me for a while is the possibility that I can make a discovery only to have the University I work for pounce on it with patents and copyrighting that prevent the unhindered use of that discovery to improve the world.

I'm not for a moment bigheaded enough to think I would make such a discovery personally, but the concept is a frightening one; the idea that a technology that could revolutionize some part of our world never seeing the light of day, because an academic institution is more interested in profiteering than in actually furthering the cause of science.

As a previous poster (RightwingNutJob) said "Moral science isn't about publishing (peer-reviewed) papers for all to see. Moral science is about understanding the world For the Betterment of Mankind."

Problem is investing in development of real world things from this research is costly, and not always successful. If before even starting on the research a company has to pay through the nose to license the idea, that makes said company less likely to bother in the first place surely?

Open Source University Anyone?

How does the U make a profit on your idea if it never sees the light of day? Doesn't the profit motive give the U incentive to get your innovations out to the world?

And how is this different from an employer? The folks who pay the bills--pay for the labs and computers and lights and empty the trash bins--own the work. If you want to own your work, then work for yourself. Otherwise, that is the trade you make in exchange for salary, stipend, tuition, or whatever.

You bemoan the expense of starting the company on a licensed idea. Yet 1) you're talking about someone else's idea. And 2) if folks are hesitant to invest in idea because of licensing costs, aren't they even less likely to bother if there's no income at the end of the process?

"Problem is investing in development of real world things from this research is costly, and not always successful."

So expect people to carry that burden, then just give away the results at the end?

Re:UK IP Law is worse still it seems (1)

Freestyling (997523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948368)

And how is this different from an employer? The folks who pay the bills--pay for the labs and computers and lights and empty the trash bins--own the work. If you want to own your work, then work for yourself. Otherwise, that is the trade you make in exchange for salary, stipend, tuition, or whatever.

Okay so some research council gives the money for the research, and the the University gets the rewards? As far as I see it universities should be in the business of education and research, not profiteering. If anyone should own the IP it should be the taxpayers, it's originally their money afterall.

How does the U make a profit on your idea if it never sees the light of day? Doesn't the profit motive give the U incentive to get your innovations out to the world?

My point is that the Uni shouldn't be trying to make a profit on MY idea, I am a researcher, doing moral science for the benefit of the world, not trying to make a quick buck. I am never going to personally make an attempt to turn my research into a real world machine, rather I am saying "Hey Guys, look at the neat stuff this means we might do, look what it could do for the world, go make it!", and the whole idea of some guy sitting in an office somewhere, divining a myriad of different things the research could mean, and arbitrarily patenting them to make sure the university gets money, goes against my whole idea of what scientific study is about.

So expect people to carry that burden, then just give away the results at the end?

No, real world things have to cost money, to develop and make and run, the commercial enterprise of getting a product out to market and into use will always be profit driven.

The difference comes with the research and the science done to begin with, perhaps the distinction appears more subtle to others than to me, but I believe that all the research, done in the spirit of science and human improvement, should be available freely to the world, not locked up behind patent law and available only to the highest bidder.

Refereed online publications are the answer. (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947710)

Refereed online publications not associated with a publishing house are the answer. Or at least they would be the answer if people used them. Unrefereed sites like arxiv.org have too many bad papers. The refereed publications there are fine, but some journals demand the authors give up electronic publication rights.

All of my papers, except the last two are available there. The last two are in copyright limbo for a while.

It's not just bad or immoral. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947748)

It's also stupid and pointless. Thoughtlessness is much more harmful to society than immorality ever could be.

Science does not 'want' anything (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947788)

Science does not 'want' anything

This article is bullshit. (1, Insightful)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947796)

The only people who copyright and patents are really issues for, are those who want to utilize the IP of someone else (who went through the time and effort of conceiving, beta-testing, and proving a concept) without bothering with licensing the right to use it....and without any intention of compensating it's originators. I can't stand these bitchy leaches who can't be bothered with thinking for themselves and would rather just steal the fruit of your efforts and tell you to screw yourself when you ask them to pay for it.

As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to suggest that it is these fucking leeches that inhibit science more than anything. I mean really, why go through the investment of time, effort, and even money to create original IP if some asshole is just going to walk up and snatch your ability to make money off of it for yourself?

The only problem I have with copyright and/or patents is these fucking companies that patent and copyright their works then shelve them, and hold the patent and/or copyright just to keep other people from being able to utilize them. LICENSE THAT SHIT, AND SELL THE RIGHTS TO PRODUCE IT TO OTHERS!!!

-Oz

Re:This article is bullshit. (0)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947908)

You seem to misunderstand the US tradition of copyright/patent. It's basically supposed to be a subsidy on creativity for public benefit. Society waives the right to copy temporarily, and that theoretically lets the author or inventor make enough money from a temporary monopoly to justify their actions. The reality seems to be that with copyright, the public gets less, the actual authors/inventors get less, and we've got middlemen making large sums of money while not doing a whole lot of productive work. Said middlemen would be the actual leeches here.

Leadership is needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947806)

The U.S. President wants barriers to innovation removed, so the administration should be at the forefront of the movement to loosen intellectual barriers (such as copyright) that stifle innovation.

Wrong. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35947830)

It's a good thing. Yeah the internet* is a means to easily and cheaply to move data. That doesn't make it a moral ground, just a technical won.

Based on what I have seen int he last 10 years, there is real benefit for research to spend int's initial life held wityhing acadamia and the proper science community.

How many people have died because the general public didn't have the ability to understand the Wakefield paper?
How many times has the media cause alarm and panic over a paper they don't understand?
The media,. over and over again, grabs on to some detail of a paper and runs with it ?
How many people read the conclusion of a paper, but don't realize it's a bad or wrong conclusion**?
How many people don't even understand probability?
How many people just look at the paper and don't have the ability to apply against the larger research***?

I used to think it all should be out there, but I have watch the general populace and media twist it out of proportion and to very harmful result.

We need a vetting person for studies.

*The internet wants nothing. It has no desires and it hates it when you anthropomorphize it.
** This happens often, especially on new studies.
*** This is also a key reason Bayesian result are needed in studies.

That's not all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947968)

In a similar way, drug patents and profits are killing medicine. Let the sick and well to do subsidise drug R & D, not the sick & poor who just end up on the unfunded medicaid rolls or victims of death panels.

Paradoxical contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35947970)

A few days ago there was a big thread crying out about scientists being undervalued by the commercial sector.

Why is someone undervalued? Because the additional returns they contribute to an employer aren't great. If you wash floors and get hired out for $10 and hour, you will not be paid $20 an hour.

In other words: For scientists to be paid more by the private sector, the returns the private sector generates from them needs to increase.

Is abolishing patents and copyrights the right way to increase the returns companies generate from scientists? Seems surprising, and few companies have done it successfully. Those that have done it successfully have arguably been successful because so few others do it.

I thought pointing this out would be too glaringly obvious at the time, but hey-ho.

Re:Paradoxical contradiction (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948164)

You seem to forget another reason to pay someone less: because you can. For example, let's say you are working for a company and your research does something quite useful. Said company patents and copyrights that useful research as much as they can, and if a rival company wants to hire you, you have less utility to them because the first company has locked the second company out of your most direct expertise. Ignoring other factors for the time being, with copyright/patents, If the second company does hire you, they would have to pay you less because you are less useful to them. Because the second company will pay you less, the first company does not have to pay you as much to keep you from leaving.

Doesn't really bother me. (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948006)

You can't copyright facts, so if a scientific paper is copyrightable...I have no reason to read it.

What?

Open Access Publishing (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948024)

Check out http://www.plosone.com/ [plosone.com] New model for publishing where the publication is paid for by the grant and offered free and unencumbered to the public.

OH geee. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948034)

So, if you allow intellectual feudalism, a feudal system that allows access to resources by a hierarchy of powerful, privileged few ?

why, that would be something new, if it did not happen in middle ages already.

Copyright term the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948240)

"And yet, her work is often kept within the gates of the ivory tower, reserved for those whose universities or institutions have purchased access, often at high costs."

Last I checked, every university around here provides public-access terminals for journals. No login. At most you might have to show ID to get in the building. Then you can get access to the same journals as everyone else in the university. The rationale is pretty simple: the public pays in large part for the university (the research and library), so they should have access to the results. It's a hassle to have to show up there in person rather than doing it from your home, but public access does exist. Convenience is a different matter.

Unfortunately universities have to pay exorbitant prices for access to some journals and that is a legitimate concern, but some fees still need to exist to pay editors, typesetters, and the people who set up and maintain web access to the journal. It takes work to publish a good journal. That work needs dedicated people, some of which clearly should be paid for their work. Totally free access? It's possible to do and implemented by some journals (PLoS example), but you have to get the funds from somewhere (e.g., scientific societies or it happens via donations or page charges for the authors). I don't see anything fundamentally immoral about the system as it is. All we have here are some publishers that are extraordinarily greedy and/or inefficient with their operations, or both. That's their choice. The solution it to develop free access journals and let market forces do their job. Eventually competition will solve the disparity in prices, and time is on our side for that one.

I don't know why he criticizes JStor so much for charging some kind of fee for access of some articles. It is a great archive, but unless copyright is expired the original journal publishers have copyright and must give permission for articles to be lodged there. They probably expect to get paid. There is no way around this. Nothing he suggested fixes it. Anything from, say, the 1800s, should be completely free and clear with copyright expired, and some articles in JStor are free access as a result, but it isn't much.

Guess what, that reality means that even if we succeed in developing free access journals and everyone goes Creative Commons license we're *still* going to be stuck with almost a century of legacy stuff that is stuck in indefinite-copyright-term hell. We'll still be paying >$20 for a 6-page paper written in the 1940s. Forever.

If you want to find something "immoral" that impedes research and other activities, this is it. Copyright is supposed to expire eventually, at which point journal articles should fall into the public domain and can be distributed freely. That's the payout for the granting of lucrative exclusive rights -- it's temporary. Then the public gets repaid. Same for any other copyrighted material. Of course, we all know what's happening to the expiration of copyright these days: it isn't happening. Solution? Copyright terms should be shorter and should not be extended to infinity. Then the public gets what it is supposed to for its investment, albeit with some delay. Also, as far as I'm concerned, if a *cent* of public money goes into the creation of the work, it should automatically get a discounted term.

He's totally right we need reform. His suggestions are pretty good. But he hasn't proposed solutions for some of the most serious problems he's identified. His suggestions help going forward, but not with the legacy stuff. And if he thinks that the holders of copyright on this legacy stuff are going to give up their cash cow easily, he is not being realistic. They won't. (Jack Valenti's attitude is the perfect example).

We need to start a "TIME'S UP! You OWE the public domain. Expire copyright from the 1920s and 1930s NOW!" campaign, and then an "Expire copyright from the 1940s NOW!" campaign in another 10 years. Keep the message simple and maybe we will make progress on that. Without it, Lessig and everyone else will still be doing Google searches 40 years from now and getting the same paywall results when they click on the links. I really like his suggestion that Google provide a way to filter by copyright license, but it will not help get those key articles that are already published. It is indefinite copyright terms that are slowly but surely locking up our cultural and scientific legacy forever, and more and more is going into that paywalled pit every day.

Change the terms for taxpayer funded research (1)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948392)

A better approach is to put language in the funding contract stating that the money can only be used to produce research into the public domain. Funding is upstream, and such language trumps labs from giving away rights they don't have. If the researchers don't like it, they can find funding elsewhere. Eventually, the publications would have to adapt, as they'd find fewer and fewer big names publish.

From the funder's (AKA taxpayer's) perspective, this is a perfectly reasonable approach and outcome. Naturally, the payer should have free access to the thing for which they paid.

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