Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, June 16, 2008

STM on copyright limitations & exceptions

The International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers has released a position paper on limitations & exceptions to copyright.
... The public interest of research and education is best served by encouraging the creation of new publications and information services with [education and research] audiences and markets in mind. For example, journal articles, academic treatises and textbooks are published by STM publishers for the very purpose of contributing to scholarly communication and education. Libraries for non-commercial research or non- commercial educational institutions are the primary purchasers of (or licensees for) STM publisher materials and services. Offering publications and information services to these non-commercial communities, eg by way of subscription or individual journal article supply, is the very essence of “normal exploitation” which must be left free of exceptions that prejudice the legitimate interests of rights-holders unreasonably.

Further, STM publishers have embraced digital technology and offer much of their material online or in digital form (almost all journal and database content, and an increasingly large number of books) and provide online services such as individual article purchase and access. Publishers have entered the digital environment, recognising both the new opportunities for distribution it presents, and also the significant risk for widespread unauthorised downloading.

STM publishers are also actively engaged with other agents and distributors to distribute or provide access to or copies of such materials. ...
Comment. The paper goes on to discuss specific topics such as course packs, archiving, orphan works, and inter-library loan.

L&E's aren't OA, but they do offer the opportunity to reduce barriers to access and use (see, e.g., fair use). The position paper is also noteworthy because much of STM's rhetoric is identical to its positions on OA: that publishers are rightful rightsholders, that they provide useful services to the research and education communities, that their profit motive should be considered in the interest of research and education, etc.

See also Heather Morrison's comments on the paper:
... One of the disturbing elements of the STM statement is its complete lack of recognition of authors, as well as other contributors to scholarly publishing. ...

Libraries should post this prominently on their scholarly communications websites. When scholars are giving away their copyright, they should be aware of who they are giving it to.
See also past OAN posts on limitations and exceptions (1 and 2), as well as the post on OA as balance to copyright control.