Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, October 26, 2002

More on the Eldred case....I just discovered Deanna Marcum's excellent article, A Matter of Public Good, in the July/August issue of CLIR Issues. She describes the CLIR amicus brief on behalf of Eldred. "In the case of the Copyright Term Extension Act, there is little doubt that the economic interests are being served at the expense of the public good. The entertainment companies that hold rights to famous music or cartoon characters are the primary beneficiaries of the legislation. We believe that scholars want to make their research findings accessible, and their ability to create knowledge by exchanging and assessing the products of scholarship should not be thwarted because media companies are interested in protecting their digital assets. Their interests and problems are real, but we should not create a situation in which scholarly works are held hostage."

The November issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. This issue contains a long section on recent copyright news (P2P, copy protection, broadcast flags, Declan McCullagh, Eric Eldred, Janis Ian, the Lofgren and Boucher bills). It also reprints my verbatim response to his comments in the October issue on the Budapest Open Access Initiative FAQ. Since my response is lengthy, this takes a healthy chunk of his current issue. (Thank you, Walt, for this unusual grant of space.) At the end of my response, Walt adds some new replies.

The presentations from Fiesole Collection and Development Retreat (Amsterdam, July 18-20, 2002) are now online. The most notable for FOS purposes:

Ron Wyden (D-OR, Senate) and Chris Cox (R-CA, House) have introduced a joint resolution in Congress to restore the freedom to use digital content. Quoting Wyden: "Digital media simply shouldn't be more restricted than other copyrighted items, Digital technology is a great step forward, and it would be a shame to take a big step backward on consumers' rights when it comes to using this material." The Cox-Wyden resolution is based on the Consumer Technology Bill of Rights drafted by (PS: Also see the Cox-Wyden press release.)

Friday, October 25, 2002

Sam Vaknin published in United press International (UPI) a 2-part essay about the future of the book Part I and Part II

More on the Baystate case....A group of scholars and librarians has filed a brief in the Baystate appeal. The group argues that unless clarified, the Baystate ruling implies that clickwrap licensing terms preempt federal copyright guarantees including fair-use rights. "A scholar could lose his fair-use privilege to quote a novel ... A library could lose its ability under the first-sale doctrine to lend books." (Thanks to Andrea Foster in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Books Online, No US Access collects links to free online full-text books by authors who have been dead for more than 50 but less than 70 years. These books, therefore, are in the public domain for many countries around the world, but not for the US or the EU. Whether they are lawful to download depends on where you live. (Thanks to LIS News.)

Steve Hitchcock, Donna Bergmark*, Tim Brody, Christopher Gutteridge, Les Carr, Wendy Hall, Carl Lagoze*, Stevan Harnad, Open Citation Linking: The Way Forward . From DLib, October 2002. Excerpt from the abstract: The speed of scientific communication — the rate of ideas affecting other researchers' ideas — is increasing dramatically. The factor driving this is free, unrestricted access to research papers. Measurements of user activity in mature eprint archives of research papers such as arXiv have shown, for the first time, the degree to which such services support an evolving network of texts commenting on, citing, classifying, abstracting, listing and revising other texts. The Open Citation project has built tools to measure this activity, to build new archives, and has been closely involved with the development of the infrastructure to support open access on which these new services depend. This is the story of the project, intertwined with the concurrent emergence of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI).

Thursday, October 24, 2002

James Sweetland, Developing Digital Collections: Do We Know What We Are Doing? Library Collection Development & Management, October 2002. Students are disregarding literature that is not online, making a very large body of literature invisible. Libraries are cancelling print journal subscriptions, making back runs inaccessible even to those who care to look at them.

Ben Edelman and Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard's Berkman Center have released a report establishing that Google has deleted sites from its French and German editions. Google admits that it removes sites on a case-by-case basis in order to comply with local laws, but Edelman and Zittrain claim that Google has removed more sites than French and German law require. (Thanks to Declan McCullagh in

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

The audio of my Technology Source interview is now online here. (This is not the same URL I posted yesterday.) The interview runs about 55 minutes and requires free registration. It's a follow-up to the print interview published earlier this month.

Adam Smith and Ron Kind, both Democrats in the House, are trying to drum up support for the idea that the federal government should give no funds to projects using GPL (aka copyleft). (PS: On technology issues, why have the Democrats changed from the party protecting consumers to the party that doesn't get it?)

David Evans, Who Owns Ideas? The War Over Global Intellectual Property, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2002. Ostensibly a review of Thierer and Crews' Copy Fights, Evans goes well beyond a review to a detailed assessment of the current copyright controversies. His call for copyright balance is all the more persuasive because he has been so balanced in his analysis.

Lawrence Lessig, Copyright law and roasted pig, Red Herring, October 22, 2002. "The framers would never have allowed millions of monopolies for the benefit of just 2 percent; they would not have sacrificed the public domain to benefit a favored few. They had a bigger aim; their means were more focused. As the Supreme Court once said about a statute that banned all indecent speech so that children would not be exposed, we don't 'burn the house to roast the pig.' Exactly right --not even to save a mouse."

The National Archives of the Netherlands and the European Commission on Preservation and Access have launched the Gateway for Resources and Information on Preservation (GRIP). From the site: "GRIP is a a fully searchable database of information on preservation of the documentary heritage. It contains selected and annotated references to literature on preservation-related topics, links to websites, projects, organizations and discussion groups." (Thanks to Library News Daily.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

More on the Eldred case....Jeffrey Rosen, Disney's Copyright Conquest: Mouse Trap, The New Republic, October 28, 2002. (Free registration required.)

Excerpt: "In fact, the constitutional arguments against the CTEA are the same ones Rehnquist has made the centerpiece of his judicial legacy: that the Constitution grants Congress limited powers, which may only be exercised for carefully enumerated purposes. Seen in this light, the case for striking down the CTEA is actually stronger than the case for striking down the Violence Against Women Act, the Brady Bill, the Gun-Free School Zones Act, and other federal laws that Rehnquist and his conservative colleagues have held exceed Congress's enumerated powers. If the Court upholds the CTEA while continuing to strike down far less objectionable statutes in the name of limited federal government, Rehnquist's crusade to limit Congress's power will be clearly revealed to be based not on devotion to constitutional text and history but on the political and economic interests that a given law serves."

The Online Burma/Myanmar Library offers organized and annotated links to thousands of free-full text resources on Burma.

I just gave a live 45-minute interview on the FOS movement with Jim Morrison, Denise Easton, and web users connected by chat. The audio and associated web slides are now online (or will be very soon). Today's interview was a follow-up to the print interview published in the September/October issue of The Technology Source.

The presentations (including some audio and video) are now online from last week's Workshop on the Open Archives Initiative: Gaining Independence with eprints archives and OAI.

Thomas Krichel has created an email discussion list devoted to the Open Archives Initiative as a means to further the eprints movement. (PS: The URL doesn't work for me at the moment but this may be temporary. If the URL changes, I'll post the change here.)

Richard Stallman's book of essays, Free Software, Free Society, was published this month by GNU Press.

The Assayer publishes free book reviews of priced and free books. (Thanks to F-CIT.)

Ben Crowell argues that priced and proprietary ebooks have failed, but that free and open ebooks are succeeding. (Thanks to C-FIT.)

Monday, October 21, 2002

The October issue of c't is now online. It contains two FOS-related articles.(Thanks to Klaus Graf.)

In today's Washington Post, Christopher Lee profiles the CyberCemetery, which archives the web sites and electronic records of dead federal government agencies. The archive is maintained by the University of North Texas with help from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

Shohdy Naguib Surur was sentenced to a year in prison by an Egyptian court for posting one of his father's poems to the internet. He remains free only because he is in self-exile in Moscow, where he was born. His father's poem is online at the Index of Censorship where Egyptian authorities cannot reach it. Shohdy published the poem on an US-based web site, which is now hosting a petition calling for his exoneration.

Andrea Foster profiles Eric Eldred and his Supreme Court case in the October 25 Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cindy Carlson, The Big Picture: Limiting Information Access,, October 15, 2002. A brief overview of recent access-limiting issues from Eldred and Baystate to national security censorship and deep linking.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Hao-Ren Ke and three coauthors, Exploring behavior of E-journal users in science and technology: Transaction log analysis of Elsevier's ScienceDirect OnSite in Taiwan, Library & Information Science Research, 24, 3 (2002) pp. 265-291. (Only the abstract is free online.)

The presidents of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering and the Instittute of Medicine are objecting to the Bush administartion's tight control over access to scientific information over the internet. Since September 11, 2001 the White House and Federal Agencies have "asked researchers to remove or block access to information that was once freely shared. Some of this may be necessary, but the government has acted unilaterally and often against its own rules" according to the presidents of the National Academies of Science.
[via Reuters]

"The Namur Award is a biennial award to be accorded for an outstanding contribution with international impact to the awareness of social implications of information technology. The purpose is to draw attention to the need for an holistic approach in the use of information technology in which the social implications have been taken into account." Nominations for the 2002 award are due by December 10.

"In my view, access restrictions [on scientific research articles] are like trade barriers for the mind. Trade barriers restrict the exchange of goods and non-open access journals establish barriers for the exchange of knowledge. In both fields, economy and science, barriers hamper the development of the full potential. Our own paper at BioMed Central was thought of as a humble contribution to the open access movement in science." Hans Moises, Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Kiel University Hospital. (Thanks to the October 18 BMC Update.)

CLIR and Cornell have launched a web-based preservation tutorial. (Thanks to VASND.)

Slashdot is running a piece in defense of librarians against common misconceptions and clichés. Slashdotters are responding...

Homeland security v. DMCA....Of all people, Richard Clarke, cybersecurity czar for the Bush Administration, has said in public that the DMCA ought to be amended to permit scholars to publish their research on security holes and vulnerabilities. (PS: It's not really surprising that someone charged with homeland security would call for the freedom to publish computer security research. But it does break the pattern we've seen since 9/11 in which the executive and legislative branches of government one-sidedly view academic freedom more as a threat than a support to national security.)

Sarah Faraud has moved her Self-Archiving Thematic Bibliography to a new URL.

More on the Eldred case....Lawrence Lessig, Time to end the race for ever-longer copyright, Financial Times, October 20, 2002. In addition to recapping his argument in the Eldred case, Lessig highlights the importance of the Taiwanese refusal to adopt copyright extensions under US pressure. "Copyright is no doubt crucial to innovation and growth. But balance in the grant of copyright is crucial as well. The US has done a valuable job in convincing the world of the importance of copyright generally. The world would repay the service if it reminded the US that balance is also important."

In a posting to the O'Reilly Network, Richard Koman reflects on the Eldred case, the Internet Bookmobile, and the public domain. In deciding who understands the issues, Koman considers libraries, schools, publishers, and government. He wants to see two developments: a rich public domain, nourished by works whose copyrights expire within a reasonable time, and a public domain digitized and made accessible online.