[Taxacom] BHL and print on demand publishers: interpretation of law

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Mon Apr 2 11:45:36 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.

There are two issues. You are not a lawyer, and most of us are not in this
discussion. We discuss a law for which you assume the outcome even though
there is no case available which is the ultimate interpretation by
At Plazi we got one of the most prominent copyright lawyer in Switzerland
involved and thus I believe in him rather than any what I read here on this
Because of reading the law in your way, and many others, we fiddle around
with Creative Commons licences, forgetting that all we want is to be cited,
which is our long tradition, and in fact also the quality control of our
work. We do not want to create cull du sac with licences that allow no
derivate work and no commercial products.
Again, most of us have the funds to create work (from science foundation,
from another job or your wives' income, from your employer with the goal to
deliver great discoveries), not to live of works we create. There is no
museum, nor an individual that can make a live in this environment by
selling, what most obviously dream of, a NYT (taxonomic) Best Seller.
If I am an anarchist, I would dearly make sure that all I do is open access
to avoid this quagmire, and I would fight for that any new taxon and
nomenclatorial act has to be accompanied by an open access publication to be
available. If at all, I would at most use a CC BY licence; rather would I
believe in the good old science tradition of citation and put everything
into the public domain. Finally, I would not spend my time fighting about
the legacy publication but to change the law to get what I want for
prospective publishing.


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