Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Aaron Swartz: Mr. Swartz Goes to Washington, and meets up with the Internet Archive Bookmobile.

Unlike most Bookmobiles, this one didn't contain any physical books. Instead, it connects to the Internet Archive's servers in the Presidio to download them. Then the high-speed printer prints out the pages. The chopper cuts them in half so you can fold them together to make a normal-sized book, and the binding machine heats up the glue-smeared cover to hold it all together. The whole process takes about fifteen minutes. ...

"People have a hard time understanding the public domain," Brewster says. "It's an abstract concept; it's hard to grasp. The bookmobile changes that." He picks up one of the books he's made. "This is the public domain! The public domain means giving books to children. You want to extend copyright? You want to steal books from children? No one wants to steal books from children."

I'll be out of town October 10-13 at a post-Eldred conference in Washington DC on the strategies for copyright reform. My connectivity (and free time) will be uncertain, so I may not be posting any news for a few days.

More on the Baystate case....Mark Lemley has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to clarify its position on the relationship between the federal copyright statute and clickwrap licenses that ask users to waive their rights under the statute. Lemley is a law professor at Berkeley, and his brief represents the interests of numerous library and industry groups.

More on the Eldred case....Yesterday Theodore Olson and Lawrence Lessig presented their oral arguments to the Supreme Court for and against the constitutionality of retroactive copyright extension. Here are some of the numerous accounts of the give and take with the Justices. The verdict is not expected until July.The best site for links to Eldred news and legal documents is maintained by Harvard's Berkman Center.

In the October issue of FirstMonday, Steve Cisler has a detailed account of Brewster Kahle's Internet Bookmobile, which recently drove across the country to publicize the importance of public domain literature and the threats to it from the content industry and Congress.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Sébastien Paquet has recently issued an article on personal knowledge publishing and its uses in research. Following a profile of the general phenomenon of weblogs, it gives a perspective on research-driven weblogging and analyzes its usefulness and limitations from the individual and collective standpoints. If you are a researcher or knowledge worker who is not very familiar with weblogging and personal knowledge publishing, reading this document should help you grasp the significance of this practice and better understand how you might benefit from getting involved in personal knowledge publishing.

Apologies. Updates to the blog for the past few days have been queued up in limbo due to FTP problems at my server. The problem is now fixed.

Monday, October 07, 2002

More on the Eldred case....In the October 7 Brainwash, Jerry Brito does an excellent job previewing the legal arguments in the Eldred case. He's especially good on how the textualism of the the conservative judges cuts both for and against Eldred, making their votes hard to predict.

More on the problem of excessive accessibility....The Thursday, October 10, online colloquy in the Chronicle of Higher Education will address the question, "Should scientific journals take additional steps to prevent research they publish from helping terrorists? Should the government impose restrictions?" Richard Monastersky and Daniel Greenberg have written background articles on the issues. (Access to the background articles and participation in the colloquy are limited to CHE subscribers.)

In the October issue of Cites & Insights, Walt Crawford criticized certain aspects of the FAQ of the Budapest Open Access Initiative. I've written a reply and posted it to the FOS Forum.

In the October 1 issue of Library Journal, Carol Tenopir has an excellent overview of the UKSG and Charleston annual conferences on serials and access issues. One highlight is her summary of the talk by Derk Haank (Elsevier CEO) at the UKSG meeting. Haank admits that price increases have led to so many cancellations that Elsevier has lost "the corporate library market and the teaching college market". But he believes that electronic journals, without price reductions, somehow give Elsevier "a unique chance to win them back."