Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Does medical emergency justify uncompensated copying and distribution?

The Japanese government is considering a new exception to Japanese copyright law that would allow pharma companies to photocopy journal articles and send them to doctors who ask about the safe and effective use of a drug.  STM has filed an objection (November 14, 2007):

...The electronic, physical or other delivery of individual copies of articles and books is an important source of revenue for scholarly publishers....

I haven't seen the original proposal and can only reconstruct it from the STM criticism.  But according to the STM, the proposal would

...allow the provision of photocopies of medical articles or other STM no, or limited, compensation....[It] generally assumes that the provision of such photocopies was necessary because those cases involved the lives and bodies of patients, and therefore required prompt measures. Allegedly, the prior seeking of licenses would not be possible without putting the lives and bodies of patients at risk....