Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More on OA and the Georgia State suit

Georgia Harper, Suing Georgia, İollectanea, April 22, 2008.

I have taken nearly a week to mull over this case that has been buzzing around the blogosphere, around email and even in real life, and I'm glad I did. I think I see it more clearly now than I did a week ago when the news first hit. ...

I guess it was reading Claire Stewart's post at the Northwestern University Library Blog (NUL Copyright: What does the lawsuit against Georgia State mean?) that pushed the last little piece into place. OA.

Yes. OA. ...

Many are optimistic about the string of fair use cases coming out of the "transformative" field lately, and I am too, but I don't think they offer the life saver to digital course materials distribution that others hope for. I don't think courts will go that far.

So ... what's left if you really, really, really believe that educators ought to be able to use whatever they need to and want to use in their classrooms without worrying about what it costs or whether it's fair use?

Consumer resistance, or OA.

I don't have to advocate consumer resistance. We can get there without infringing people's copyrights. The very same arguments that Claire makes on behalf of educators and students being able to just read others works even if they can't afford to pay are turning the corner on OA for scholarly publishing. The battle for OA in journals is far from over, but the outcome is pretty clear. Now read anything about OA for the scholarly literature and substitute educational materials and see if you don't agree. It makes perfect sense. The same struggles the industry is going through to figure out how to make the economics of OA work for journals are going to come to monographs next and then why not educational publishing. If journals can figure out how to charge for other things besides digital copies, so can monographs, and monographs are, well, books with longer names. Books can be freely accessible without authorship, editing, peer review and distribution falling into the gutter. Do we know how right this minute? Maybe not. Is it impossible? Absolutely not. Do we need to figure it out? Absolutely. Will we. Absolutely.

See also Past OAN coverage of the case: 1, 2, 3, 4.