[Taxacom] Monbiot editorial on academic publishing

Chris Thompson xelaalex at cox.net
Fri Sep 2 07:52:20 CDT 2011


Interesting, but ...

Under US Copyright Law, one may violate the law, but unless the copyright 
holder can prove ECONOMIC harm (loss of income, etc.) there is no penalty. 
Given that this thread is about how the Academic publishers make their money 
from subscription to libraries, a single person posting a pdf to a herbarium 
listserv probably would not even be proven to cause any economic harm. But 
on the hand, the rich powerful Academic publishers can threaten legal action 
and so the cost of defending oneself against their legal action is 
undoubtedly too high, So then again Academic publishers win!

BUT as Steven kindly posted the URL for the Wikipedia article on Fair Use, 
at least American scientists for THEMSELVES (not sharing) can freely use 
copyrighted works, etc.

And another little known loop-hole is available to US Government scientists, 
virtually all government contracts and grants, such as NSF, have a clause 
which grants the US Government a unlimited right to use the results produced 
from those contracts and grants. So, in theory, a government scientist, if 
approved and consider part of their official duties, etc., could create a 
website and post pdfs of articles produced from research supported by the US 
Government. I wonder whether other governments have similar clauses, 
although most English derived country (Canada, England, etc.) have 
crown-copyrights, etc.

Oh, well ...

-----Original Message----- 
From: Richard Jensen
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2011 8:22 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Monbiot editorial on academic publishing

That was a case in which someone, not the author, found the article
online, downloaded the pdf, and then sent it out to a listserve.  the
"criminal" was at least threatened with a fine and I don't recall if the
fine was actually paid (but I think it was).  I know who the person is,
and would be willing to ask for more details if those on the list
believe it worth follow-up.

Cheers,

Dick J

On 9/2/2011 12:19 AM, Mary Barkworth wrote:
> A botanist sent a message to the herbarium listserv offering to make 
> available a pdf of a published article. The publisher did contact her and 
> she ended up paying what amounted to a fine. I cannot recollect whether it 
> was an article for which she was an author. Just FYI.
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Stephen Thorpe
> Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2011 4:04 PM
> To: Arne Erpenbach; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Monbiot editorial on academic publishing
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
>
>
> From: Arne Erpenbach<arne.erpenbach at gmx.de>
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Sent: Friday, 2 September 2011 9:46 AM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Monbiot editorial on academic publishing
>
> Excuse my interference, it is kindly ment.
> Wolfgang, you made quite a point:
>
>> However, it is
>> counterproductive to simply jump up and down and complain about the
>> status quo [...] without also pointing out that there are a
>> considerable number of unofficial ways in which one can get hold of
>> *most* publications for free. Perhaps we as individual publishing
>> academics should do our bit to educate the interested public in how to
>> get the papers.
> May I assume that the lot of those "unofficial ways" would be considered 
> illegal under the current copyright legislation in most countries on
> *this* globe? However, despite that, I totally agree with Wolfgang. But I 
> started wondering about two things:
>
> - First, to the knowledge of any taxacomers, are there any cases of legal 
> prosecution of individuals, or institutions, for sharing pdfs of 
> scientific publications with fellow researchers?
>
> - Second, are there more than two people to your knowledge (i.e., Aaron 
> Swartz and Gregory Maxwell) which are actively challenging the current 
> model of paywalling content in a novel way?  (Just to get this clear, 
> starting a new journal would hardly be considerd to be novel, would it?)
>
>
>
> If someone does not know what I am referring to, the "JSTOR incident"
> got some of media coverage a couple of weeks ago.
> cf. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/us/20compute.html?_r=1
>
> and
> https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/25/business/media/aaron-swartzs-web-activism-may-cost-him-dearly.html
>
> or directly at MIT, which has a lot of details:
> http://tech.mit.edu/V131/N30/swartz.html
>
> Money quote: "Demand Progress, a group which Aaron Swartz founded, runs 
> online campaigns to fight online censorship. The organization is currently 
> rallying support for Swartz with an online petition that has been signed 
> by over 35,000 people."
>
> (Wait... There have been already more that 35,000 people in July who would 
> support someone who did MAC spoofing to bulk download  scientific 
> publications from JSTOR?! Also, I learned they check your MAC adress on 
> download. As if the IP is not enough. I would assume JSTOR also saves it 
> in the PDF, like the time of access.)
>
> And this was a reaction to the detention of Swartz:
> http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2011/07/22/20000-legally-obtained-scientific-papers-released-online-in-protest-at-charges/
> or:
> http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/07/swartz-supporter-dumps-18592-jstor-docs-on-the-pirate-bay.ars
>
> Please be aware that he uploaded papers which were publicly available 
> through the Website of the Royal Society. See the file and it's 
> description here: https://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6554331/
>
> Bottom line: I am at all not sure if it would be legal to download and 
> redistribute this file (or any of the contained files) under the current 
> local legislation.
>
> Cheers,
>    arne
>
>
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-- 
Richard J. Jensen, Professor
Department of Biology
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Tel: 574-284-4674


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