[Taxacom] BHL and print on demand publishers

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Mon Apr 2 04:19:52 CDT 2012


Dear Stephen and Curtis

The discussion we lead about copyright is misguided. We discuss the issue,
as if our interest is to make money from our works. It is not. It might be
at most to recover the costs to print, but not to create the content. Worst
to publish to cross finance institutional activities and thus removing the
prime objective of a publication to distribute new discoveries.

Our donors, the science foundations or natural history museums are not Sony
or Universal Studios that make money to invest into new movies, music, etc.
by selling movies, music.

Our donors give us money upfront (and billions of it every year) to do
research AND publish, and with that, among other create the reputation of
the institutions and the scientists themselves. The higher the reputation,
the more money. The funds are paid upfront and thus follow a reverse
business plan than the one of the industry.
Reputiation is created by citation. The more cited, the more fame. Citation
depends on the value  of the publication and research, the discovery of the
work and on the principle that the work is cited whenever used or referred
to (essentially the BY CC licence). We thus should be very happy, whenever
somebody cites our work. In extremis, one could argue that even printing by
Nabu of copyrighted material is in our favour, and hardly in disfavour of
those holding the copyright of works, that are out of print.

Another point is to ask, as Rod did, what qualifies as work. We would argue
not a nomenclaturial act, not a description nor an entire treatments. They
are not creative works in the legal sense but follow a standard language and
terminology, are often pee-reviewed, underlie a long tradition, often going
back to 1758 and tens to hundreds of millions of them are out there (see
Agosti and Egloff, 2009: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1756-0500/2/53 ).

The internet is not about a single nomenclaturial act that one can read
online, nor a pdf. It is about access to information, search engines to find
information, and ultimately tools to mine and extract information that is
relevant to our work. If we insist on a (misguided) copyright policy and do
not let knowledge to be free (and really pay for the infrastructure to keep
it free), then we bar us from a grandious future that the internet offers.
The technologies build around the 18M abstracts and publication on PubMed to
extract and mine is should be what we want to strive for.

First of all we have to remove the copyright barrier, that the young and
ingenious new generation of scientist can study our body of knowledge.

Second we should learn from the discussion and our fears that we are being
caught by copyright holder: Publish open access, refuse to do anything else
than provide the best possible access to our knowledge. There are examples
like Zookeys, Phytokeys or Mycokeys that can serve as an example on how to
publish for the future.

Donat





-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Roderic Page
Sent: Saturday, 31 March 2012 1:05 PM
To: taxacom
Cc: Martin Kalfatovic
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] BHL and print on demand publishers

Dear Stephen,

I suspect BHL will be able to answer this better than I can, but there's a
big difference between "free" as in "beer" and "free" as in "liberty."

Copyright essentially means the creator of a work gets to decide what you
can do with it. That may, in the case of the GPL license used by Mediawiki
(for example) to place no commercial limitations on what you do with the
work (with the proviso that if you do use it you must make your own work
available under the same license, i.e., make the source code available). GPL
is based on copyright and is legally enforceable, but it's not about money,
it's about not restricting people's freedom to build on the work of others. 

Obviously, most uses of copyright are to limit what you can do ("all rights
reserved").

I'm guessing that the noncommercial restriction in BHL is there to placate
the providers of the literature being scanned. Providers are presumably
fearful that by making their content openly available someone will make a
money, not the provider (whether this is a legitimate fear is another
question).

There's been a lot of discussion about the wisdom of apply non-commercial
restrictions to biodiversity data (and data in general), see for example
"Creative Commons licenses and the non-commercial condition: Implications
for the re-use of biodiversity information"
http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.150.2189 . What counts as "non-commercial"
is not obvious, and may exclude some activities that are not, on the face of
it, commercial (e.g., a field course that charges to recoup its costs).

Copyright is also messy because once you start to aggregate data it's not
always clear what happens to copyright, who really has the authority to
claim copyright (BHL has page scans that state the original copyright of the
printed material, how do I determine which copyright [the original or BHL's]
applies if I want to aggregate that content?). Aggregations themselves may
be copyrighted, even if the data isn't, and so on. I gather that in the
commercial world there are companies whose business model is simply to
provide content where all such issues have been resolved.

Copyright is complicated and messy, and full of unintended consequences. The
distinction between "free beer" and "freedom" probably doesn't matter to
most users, if it's freely available it's free (I want to read this article
now!). It makes a big difference, however, to the kinds of resources users
can expect to see created by developers. If you are reusing or repurposing
content then licensing becomes a big deal.  Many publishers are blissfully
unaware of these issues as well, and claim they are "open access" when they
either implicitly or explicitly don't allow you to repurpose their output.

Personally I'm not at all against commercial use, and I suspect in the long
term preventing commercial use is short sighted. This field could benefit
from some commercialisation, and the energy brought by startup companies
with bright ideas. I'd pay money for a decent app to display BHL content on
an iPad, for example.

Regards

Rod




On 30 Mar 2012, at 23:49, Stephen Thorpe wrote:

> Hi Martin,
> I find your comments interesting. I, for one, find BHL extremely useful,
and I use it all the time (though I don't see any significant advantage, for
me, over accessing the same content on Internet Archive). You say [quote]at
the same time, we have discouraged 3rd party commercial use of the digitized
content without permission from the copyright holders[unquote]. I am a
little confused as to the exact meaning of this, and whether it is
enforceable legally? Or are your letters of protest to Nabu all just hot
air?  I'm a simple guy, with a simple brain, but I just can't get my head
around this simple issue: 
> If you are giving a publication away, free of charge, to anyone who 
> wants one, then why do you care if they put it to some commercial use? Not
only that, but why does the original publisher ("copyright holder") care?
Note that selling copies is only the most obvious commercial use, but there
are potentially many other, more subtle, "commercial uses", such as
obtaining information (such as research findings) to help to develop a new
product. Copyright is typically an issue relating to financial losses to the
copyright holder resulting from other people copying the work without
permission. But if you are making it freely available to everyone anyway,
then there are no overt financial losses to BHL or the copyright holder.
Perhaps, strictly speaking BHL doesn't want a monopoly for itself, but
rather a monopoly for itself and its chosen partners, where there is
presumably some sort of direct or indirect mutual financial gain in the
partnership? Probably a perfectly legal and legitimate arrangement, I'm
sure.  I am interested ... how does it work??
> Cheers,
> Stephen
> 
> From: "Kalfatovic, Martin" <KalfatovicM at si.edu>
> To: "'taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu'" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Cc: "'biodiversitylibrary at gmail.com'" <biodiversitylibrary at gmail.com>
> Sent: Saturday, 31 March 2012 5:21 AM
> Subject: [Taxacom] BHL and print on demand publishers
> 
> Dear Taxacom members:
> 
> I want to thank you all for your participation on the discussion around
the discovery that print on demand publishers, specifically, Nabu Press,
have been using BHL digitized materials for commercial purposes.
> 
> BHL has worked closely with scientific societies and publishers for
permission to digitize and make available via BHL (and the Internet Archive,
our scanning partner) in a free and open manner. At the same time, we have
discouraged 3rd party commercial use of the digitized content without
permission from the copyright holders.
> 
> Generally, this is in the spirit of a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) license.
> 
> In looking specifically into the Nabu Press issue, BHL staff have found
that we've had some erroneous metadata in the rights field that indicated
"NOT IN COPYRIGHT". We believe this has led to Nabu scooping this content.
We are working now to correct this problem and will work with Nabu, Amazon,
etc. to remove the copyrighted materials from commercial sites. It is also
possible that Nabu and other POD publishers have scooped content with
appropriate metadata, we will also investigate that.
> 
> I also wanted to address a couple of points that have come up in the
discussion, specifically, "BHL would no doubt like to have a monopoly on
providing access to the publications it has (even though the access is free,
it can still make money indirectly)". BHL does not seek a monopoly on access
to taxonomic literature. Our mission and mandate has been provide ease of
access to as much content as possible. This is why content is available
through both the BHL site as well as the Internet Archive (and its
associated site, OpenLibrary.org). We hope that the BHL portal provides the
tools and services to make the content more findable and usable there
(through APIs, web services, etc.) but hope that the community doesn't feel
that we're enclosing the content in just a different way.
> 
> Again, our apologies to rights holders who entrusted their content to BHL
in good faith agreements. Be assured we will revise our workflow to make
certain that our digitization work will reflect the parameters  given to BHL
by the rights holders.
> 
> Martin Kalfatovic
> BHL Program Director
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> Martin R. Kalfatovic
> Associate Director, Digital Services Division || Program Director, 
> Biodiversity Heritage Library Smithsonian Institution Libraries 10th 
> Street & Constitution Ave., NW Room 24 Mz MRC 154 PO Box 37012 
> Washington, DC 20013-7012
> email: kalfatovicm at si.edu<mailto:kalfatovicm at si.edu>
> tel: 202.633.1705
> twitter.com/silibraries | smithsonianlibraries.si.edu | 
> research.si.edu | biodiversitylibrary.org Help save trees by printing only
what you need.
> 
> 
> 
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---------------------------------------------------------
Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine College of
Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graham Kerr Building University of
Glasgow Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Tel: +44 141 330 4778
Fax: +44 141 330 2792
Skype: rdmpage
AIM: rodpage1962 at aim.com
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Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html


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