Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Lessons for publishers from the Google library project

John Blossom, Open Stacks: Pondering the Value of Copyrighted Content in a World of Online Archives, Commentary, December 20, 2004. Analysis aimed at publishers who want to sell their content. Excerpt: 'Google's scanning plan is a great development for libraries, which are now empowered more than ever to make their content available to the public in useful forms and is great for the reading public. For publishers it's neutral in the short run, since copyrighted materials are for the most part not fair game in this effort, only content that has always been in the public domain or has finally fallen in to it. In the long run, though, it's a huge warning sign to publishers and aggregators that have relied on the time-tested tool of copyright law as the basis for their profitability - not so much because of any direct threat to their domain but by highlighting the changing fortunes of a domain of content value whose time may have come and gone....Monetizing archives is more about enabling access than restricting access....This cooperative, enabling approach to content ecommerce is increasing in importance as more archives become more open to access, use and redistribution. Copyright can be the starting point of a dialogue rather than an impermeable barrier, a concept promoted by the Creative Commons approach to content licensing. When copyright becomes viewed as a right to discuss a relationship on one's own terms rather than a demand to avoid relationships, copyrighted content will find its way into more useful venues more quickly - with monetization to follow....Copyright is a tool born of the industrial age that is struggling to find its place in a post-industrial era. Copyrighting has allowed intellectual property to flourish for centuries, but as the factors supporting the flourishing of intellectual property shift so must our approach to copyright management. It's a useful tool that has not outgrown its usefulness, but one whose core value is shifting rapidly in an era of open access to content.'