Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More OA connections in the Georgia State case

E-Reserves Suit Raises Risks, Questions, Library Journal Academic Newswire, April 17, 2008.  Excerpt:

...The suit...carries risks for publishers as well --they are, after all, suing their customers, always a risky strategy, especially in light of new technologies and the open access mandates like those at Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health. If publishers were to win a broad victory in a Georgia court, it could push colleges and universities to move more aggressively on open access initiatives....

Kevin Smith, Trying to sue State U, Scholarly Communications @ Duke, April 16, 2008.  Excerpt:

...In effect, this is an attempt to enforce judicially a “pay-per-use” model of content distribution. The real irony is that it is justified as an attempt to remedy a “free-rider” problem — the claim that universities are appropriating the work of publishers and authors without just compensation. This claim is patently absurd, given the amount of money university libraries invest in published resources, but it is downright offensive when the real issue is clarified. Publishers here are themselves the free-riders, obtaining a huge amount of academic content from the universities and their faculty without compensation. The GSU complaint cites as an irony the fact that one of the professors who is cited as infringing the copyright of Sage Publishing has himself published three articles in Sage journals. The gall of the man! Nowhere is it mentioned that he was required to give up those articles without payment for the privilege of publishing with a company that is now suing his employer to recover even more money for those freely donated articles.

A little bit of attention to the economics of scholarly publishing quickly undermines the claim in this complaint that, without permission fees for electronic reserves, the incentive system of copyright will be undermined. No monetary incentive currently exists for the vast majority of academic publishing, from the point of view of faculty, yet academics keep writing. There is no evidence at all that this well of free content will suddenly go dry if publishers are not able to collect an additional income stream from that well. If this suit goes forward in spite of sovereign immunity, that should be the issue on which the court focuses its attention.