I really shouldn't raise my head in public about this lawsuit, because I try to keep quiet about non-OA issues in case I confuse the issues. However, what stands out to me in the [publishers' press release] is something commonly seen in the Open Access debate: publishers glorifying their role. Here's a quote:
“University presses are integral to the academic environment, providing scholarly publications that fit the needs of students and professors and serving as a launch pad from which academic ideas influence debate in the public sphere,” said Niko Pfund, Vice-President of Oxford University Press. “Without copyright protections, it would be impossible for us to meet these needs and provide this service.”
The inference to be drawn from the above paragraph is the obviously false "without copyright protections there would be no scholarship"....
The first copyright statute was adopted by the English Parliament for the "encouragement of learning." How well is copyright doing that job today? Two stories from today's news [4/16/08] provide different answers.
If learning is best encouraged by relying on for-profit academic publishing entities that compile educational materials, then it is proper for educators who create educational materials to transfer copyright to these publishers. These publishers can then use the author's copyright as a defense against incursions by professors who are sharing published materials with their students without requiring their students to pay. See [recent coverage of the Georgia State case].
If, on the other hand, in the age of the Internet learning is better encouraged by authors using their copyrights to create open educational resources designed for global, royalty-free sharing, then it is better for educators to hold on to their copyrights and license their materials accordingly. See [recent coverage of open textbooks].
Peter Suber at 4/17/2008 11:43:00 AM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.