[Taxacom] BHL and print on demand publishers

Curtis Clark lists at curtisclark.org
Mon Apr 2 10:33:19 CDT 2012

On 4/2/2012 2:19 AM, Donat Agosti wrote:
> The discussion we lead about copyright is misguided. We discuss the issue,
> as if our interest is to make money from our works.

I discuss the issue because it is surrounded by laws, many of which are 
not in my best interest, and which create a potential minefield. You're 
looking at the world as it should be, and I don't disagree, but that 
doesn't mean we can ignore the laws we don't like. Even an anarchist, to 
be successful, has to choose battles.

And, as Martin Kalfatovic pointed out, misuse can strain the carefully 
negotiated relationship between aggregators and copyright holders, and 
in the short term make knowledge less free.

> 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 ).

I don't accept this argument. The systematist who creates a 
nomenclatural description chooses among the characters available; a 
different systematist would likely choose differently, resulting in a 
different description. If we are more than just automatons, our work has 
to be seen as a creative act, and thus subject to copyright. To argue 
otherwise solely for the purpose of freeing these works from restriction 
is short-sighted, because it deprecates the role of the investigator.

> 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.

I don't see any of us insisting on a misguided copyright policy; rather 
we are picking our way through a complex subject in hopes of achieving 
our goals with a minimum of threat to ourselves and our institutions.

Curtis Clark        http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark
Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4140
Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona CA 91768

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