Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, December 26, 2008

LCA comment on the EU green paper

The Library Copyright Alliance has released comment on the EU green paper, Copyright in the Knowledge Economy.  Excerpt:

...Libraries routinely enter into licensing arrangements that enable online access to content. These licenses can make access more convenient to patrons. But this convenience comes at a significant cost. First, there is the economic cost. Largely because of consolidation, particularly in the science, technology, and medical publishing market, the price of journal subscriptions has increased dramatically over the past twenty years. The long-term solution to this problem involves the authors of these articles – typically university professors -- exerting more control over their copyrights, rather than just assigning them away to publishers. The Commission should work assiduously to educate authors on how to exercise better control over their copyrights, and to promote the development of alternative distribution channels, such as open access publishers.

The second cost of licensing is the diminution of users’ privileges with respect to the content. Publishers routinely include in their licenses prohibitions on reproductions and distributions that the fair use doctrine or other exceptions under the U.S. Copyright Act would otherwise permit. LCA has long taken the position that the Copyright Act and the U.S. Constitution’s Intellectual Property and Supremacy Clauses preempt such prohibitions in non-negotiated licenses....There is precedent in the European Union for invalidating contractual terms that run contrary to intellectual property policy objectives....The EU should similarly invalidate non-negotiated licenses that diminish the effectiveness of exceptions to copyright protection....