Welcome to the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) NewsletterSeptember 21, 2001
As you know from past issues, I regard many civil liberties issues as FOS issues, especially the freedoms to read, research, teach, write, and publish. This is why I've covered the DeCSS, Sklyarov, and Felten stories, and other DMCA, fair-use, and copyright news.
Since the September 11 attack, there has been a spate of legislative proposals to reduce civil liberties in order to assist law enforcement --for example, proposals to reduce privacy, reduce access to strong encryption, increase preventive detention, and increase surveillance. Accompaning these proposals is a surge of commentary and discussion. On the one hand, I'd like to cover this news here in FOSN, because it's relevant and important. But on the other hand, it is growing so fast and large that I cannot cover it without blurring the focus of the newsletter.
The problem in a nutshell is that civil liberties are not of secondary importance to Americans, but they are of secondary relevance to FOS. What's primary to FOS is getting scholarly literature online and making it free of charge for readers.
I don't have a good solution to this problem and plan to play it by ear. I will continue to cover some civil liberties issues here, but only when the connection to FOS issues is clear. However, I will probably have to exclude a growing number of stories with a clear FOS connection in order to give primary attention to what is of primary for FOS.
I look forward to the day when the volume of FOS news is too large for one person to handle in a sporadic newsletter. But this is not exactly what I had in mind.
* Postscript. Here are the best newsletters I know to help you stay on top of the civil liberties news.
American Civil Liberties Union action alerts and news
Electronic Frontier Foundation EFFector Newsletter
The Freedom Network
Global Internet Liberty Campaign mailing list
Declan McCullagh's Politech mailing list
Safe surfing in an unsafe world
In this context, "safe surfing" doesn't mean protection from pornography, cookies, scripts, or sniffers. It means protection from governments (even employers and schools) that would prohibit you from viewing the sites you would like to view. You should be able to bypass their filters and, when you do, you should be able to evade detection and punishment. The more scientific and scholarly literature moves to the internet, the more the freedom to surf will become a critical part of academic freedom. For non-academic sites and non-academic surfers, the freedom to surf is part of the freedom of inquiry, reading, and association.
SafeWeb is the leading provider of safe and anonymous surfing. PC World says nobody does it better and gave it a Best of the Web 2001 award. SafeWeb has been used to bypass government censorship in Afghanistan, China, Saudi Arabia, and other countries around the world. The Voice of America has just adopted SafeWeb to keep its web site of news and digital radio accessible in China. In a September 10 interview, SafeWeb co-founder Steven Hsu estimated that SafeWeb transmits three million web pages per day to users who would not otherwise have access to these pages.
Because SafeWeb is so effective at what it does, the governments of Bahrain, China, Saudia Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, block access to it. Some corporations, schools, and libraries also block access to it. To thwart them, SafeWeb has launched Triangle Boy, a small desktop application run by volunteers in a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. (Yes, it's named after the artist on Seinfeld who painted triangles.) If government interference prevents you from accessing SafeWeb directly, then you can access it indirectly through the Triangle Boy network. If I'm running Triangle Boy, for example, then you can access SafeWeb through me, and you can access prohibited sites anonymously through SafeWeb. SafeWeb sends the packets directly to your machine but disguises them so that they appear to come from me. If your censor decides I'm pernicious and blacklists me, you jump to another Triangle Boy volunteer. The more volunteers in the P2P network, the harder it is for any censor to keep up.
If you access SafeWeb through me, you use my IP address more than my CPU. Only your requests for pages (URLs) pass through my system. Hence, there is only a negligible effect on my processor and bandwidth, and I can easily host many surfers at once.
To run Triangle Boy, you need an ethernet card and either Linux or Windows 2000. SafeWeb has made the code for Triangle Boy open source so that anyone can verify that it encrypts all its traffic, and protects both the surfer and the Triangle Boy host.
SafeWeb and Triangle Boy are free of charge, funded by non-tracking banner ads and by investors. One investor without equity is In-Q-Tel, the technology venture capital fund of the CIA.
SafeWeb's Triangle Boy
PC World, Best of the Web 2001 Award to SafeWeb
Jennifer Lee, U.S. May Help Chinese Evade Net Censhorship
Ann Kellan, Voice of America Considers Anti-Censhorship Tech
Angela Gunn, Triangle Boy: A New Angle on Free Speech(Whether you should worry that the CIA has invested in SafeWeb.)
Anthony Kuhn, Censors and Surfers Locked in a Battle Over Internet Access
Voice of America
* Postscript. Please don't write to tell me that services like SafeWeb can help terrorists. I already know this. Roads and lending libraries can help terrorists. Freedom can help terrorists. We could reduce some freedoms for everyone (freedom to travel, freedom to communicate, freedom from surveillance), so that terrorists can't make use of them for terroristic ends, and perhaps this is what we will do. But that is the kind of defeat for them that is indistinguishable from defeat for us.
I just learned that some of the hijackers apparently used the internet from public libraries in Florida. Is this a reason to close the libraries?
I'm still surprised by the dearth of news on the effect of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) initiative. The September 1 deadline has come and gone. Are the 26,000+ signatories of its open letter shunning journals that do not provide free online access to their contents within six months of print publication? If so, is the impact large or small?
Here's a September 1 story from the BBC I hadn't seen before. But where are the subsequent stories?
* Minnesotans for Fair Copyright is hosting a series of three anti-DMCA lectures in October. It seeks publicity and attendance for the lectures, and donations to the cause. Its pitch: "Donate today, because it's pay now or it's Pay Per Use later."
* The Networked Computer Science Technical Reference Library (NCSTRL) is becoming OAI-compliant thanks to $30k of support from Virginia's Internet Technology Innovation Center.
* On September 18, The U.S. Patent Office apparently sponsored a public hearing on the latest draft of the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments (see FOSN for 7/10/01). Lined up to speak in favor were the industries that want strong world-wide copyright enforcement --movies, music, and publishing. Lined up to speak against it were civil rights organizations that want to prevent world-wide enforcement of censorship judgments.(PS: I've seen this September 11 anticipation of the public hearing, but no news yet about the hearing itself. If you've seen something, please send me a URL.)
* Banned Books Week is upon us. Some say it is September 20-27. Some say September 22-29. Some say September 23-30. In any case, here are some of the celebrations around the web:
New on the web
To become a contributing volunteer
The archive itself (content not yet accessible)
* U.S. Department of Transportation now provides free online access to a large collection of manuals, regulations, and reports relevant to transportation research.
* The Higher Education Digitisation Service has put online the papers delivered at the June conference in London.
Share your thoughts
* The Committee on Digital Preservation of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries has written a draft resolution on preserving the digital cultural heritage of Europe. The Dutch government will present the resolution to the October meeting of UNESCO. If you read and endorse the resolution, the European Commission on Preservation and Access urges you to ask your national UNESCO representatives to support it at the October meeting.
* If you can speak for a library offering a digital reference service, then the Information Institutes of Florida State University and Syracuse University would like you to fill out a short survey on your digital reference experiences and your evaluation of them. Your responses will provide data for a study sponsored by OCLC and DLF.
In other publications
* On September 18, the British Library's Co-operation and Partnership Programme (CPP) put online a progress report on the first six months of the Biomedical Collaboration in London Survey of Current Serials.
* In a September 18 posting to the _Nature_ debate on FOS, David Allen compares the ways newspapers and scientific journals use XML to code metadata to facilitate the discovery, retrieval, and publication of their information.
* In another September 18 _Nature_ posting, Andrew Odlyzko explains why he did not sign the Public Library of Science petition even though he supports most of its goals. His best argument is that the PLoS argument for a central repository underestimates the advantages of distributed storage and the growing flexibility of cross-archive searching.
* In another September 18 _Nature_ posting, Hans Roosendaa argues that universities generate less scholarly literature than other kinds of information, and consequently that the major influence on the evolution of information storage and retrieval systems for higher education will arise from these non-scholarly needs. He also argues that education will change from a 'push' system from teachers to a 'pull' system from students.
* In another September 18 _Nature_ posting, Colin Hopkins argues for a journal system in which publishers hold copyrights on articles only temporarily and only in trust for the scientific community. Publishers must find a business model in which their custody of copyrights is temporary, their profit margins are smaller, and readers have free access to searchable archives. Some costs of online publication should be paid by the foundations that funded the research.
* In another September 18 _Nature_ posting, Richard Kaser argues that the FOS-like alternatives to the journal system contain risks that have not been fully appreciated. One is that some specialized journals may disappear. Another is...well, he doesn't quite give a second example. He worries that allegory might replace rational thought, but spends most of his short piece elaborating an allegory from Pilgrim's Progress. He points out that online publication costs money and that many FOS proponents have not thought about how to bear these costs. (PS: Perhaps true, but it would be more constructive to assess the adequacy of the financing models which have been proposed.)
* In the September _GigaLaw_, Michael Landau describes the DMCA's chilling effect on encryption research. He discusses the Sklyarov and Felten cases, and argues that purchasers of digital content have fair-use rights and should be allowed to make copies for security or to run on a second machine.
* In the September _D-Lib Magazine_, Oren Beit-Arie and 10 co-authors describe how a prototype system can solve the appropriate copy problem in the Open URL Framework.
* Also in the September _D-Lib_, Dale Flecker reviews the CLIR initiative for archiving scholarly ejournals, the Mellon grant recipients who are trying it out, and the questions they face as they implement working solutions.
* Also in the September _D-Lib_, Hussein Suleman and seven co-authors describe the current state of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), its union database, its OAI-compatible metadata standard customized for theses and dissertations, and the prospects for merging the many distributed archives.
* Also in the September _D-Lib_, Susannah Wake and Dennis Nicholson describe the High-Level Thesaurus Project (HILT), which facilitates subject searching across disparate archives.
* The MAGiC Project (Managing Access to Grey Literature Collections) has just put a progress report online.
* The JISC/DNER e-Books Working Group has just published a working paper to lay out the issues for future study. It is particularly concerned with the use of ebooks in higher education.
* In the August 28 _Telepolis_, Felix Stalder argues that recent copyright developments strongly favoring publishers are crushing the "progressive potential" of the internet.
* In the August 29 _C|Net News_, Stephan Shankland reviews Lawrence Lessig's keynote address at the LinuxWorld Conference. Lessig argued (as Felix Stalder does, above) that "the desire of entrenched commercial interests to control information is crushing the spirit of innovation that allowed the internet to blossom."
Catching up (old news I should have discovered sooner)
* On August 1, Gartner G2 released a research report on digital copyright law. reviews the escalating struggle over copyright law between publishers and consumers. In addition to its recommendations, the report concludes that consumers will ultimately have the upper hand because if copy protections schemes become too cumbersome or invasive, they can stop buying. (PS: Is this more true of music than scientific and scholarly journals?)
Gartner G2, Digital Copyright Law: Protect Content and Consumers
Kevin Featherly, summary of the report and interview with its author
* You know that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) can prevent readers from exercising their fair-use rights and punish those who write software to help them do so. But did you know that the DMCA can be used to silence political opponents? The Envirolink Network (ELN) put up two web sites criticizing Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) for cruelty to animals. HLS accused ELN of violating its copyright and cited the DMCA as a way of waving a big stick. HLS did not specify where or how the web sites violated its copyright. ELN did not think the claim would stand up in court, but could not afford to litigate it and could not afford to risk the severe punishments permitted under the DMCA. So on August 30 it took down its critical web sites. Earlier in August, ELN had been silenced in a similar way by the Bank of New York.
Katharine Mieszkowski, No free speech for animal rights web sites
Huntingdon Life Sciences
* In an article earlier this month I argued for endowments to bear the costs of free online access to scholarly journals (see FOSN for 9/6/01). What about endowments for books? For three years now, the non-profit Library of America (LOA) has allowed patrons to endow any book in the series, guaranteeing that it will remain perpetually in print. This is interesting. If LOA can find patrons, why can't FOS? Is there more glory in endowing the works of Eudora Welty than endowing the Journal of Your Specialization? Don't answer that. Just think about how to raise the money. It would take only one patron to set an example or fund an experiment that other journals could monitor.
Patrick Reardon, Hey, Book Lover, Can You Spare $250 to $50,000?
The Library of America Guardians of American Letters Fund
* As of July 26, netLibrary is a voting member of NISO.
* In June, the Higher Education / British Library Task Force put online its report to the Research Support Libraries Group on the co-ordination of the distributed national collection of research resources.
* In May, the Council for British Archaeology put online the results of its survey on the publication of archaeological reports. Published archaeological reports are grey literature and as inaccessible as most other grey literature. Many respondents found that access problems outweighed the benefit of consulting the reports. The report recommends making reports accessible electronically, even if they are also published in print. It even recommends that grant foundations make online publication mandatory.
* In April, the National Academies put online on the proceedings of its workshop on academic intellectual property.
FOSN now has over 600 subscribers. Thanks again for forwarding copies to colleagues who may share your interest.
I just did a rough survey and found that FOSN has subscribers from Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lesotho, Macedonia, Namibia, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States --every continent except Antarctica, and growing every day. Is the internet cool, or what?
If you plan to attend one of the following conferences, please share your observations with us through our discussion forum.
* Intellectual Property and Multimedia in the Digital Age: Copyright Town MeetingNew York, September 24; Cincinnati, October 27; Eugene, Oregon, November 19
* Steal This Session: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act Great Debate (part of the 2001 Seybold Summit)San Francisco, September 26
* Digital Resources for Research in the HumanitiesSydney, September 26-28
* EBLIDA Workshop on the Acquisition and Usage of Electronic ResourcesThe Hague, September 28
* Exploring an Interface Between Cultural Heritage, Net Art, and State of the Art ProjectsCopenhagen, October 3-5
* Summer School on the Digital Library 2001: Electronic PublishingFlorence, October 7-12
* IT in the Transformation of the LibraryMilwaukee, October 11-14
* Collections & Access for the 21st Century Scholar: A Forum to Explore the Roles of the Research LibraryWashington, D.C., October 19-20
* Intellectual Property Rights in the Knowledge-Based EconomyWashington, D.C., October 22
* International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications 2001Tokyo, October 22-26
* e-Book Lessons: From Life-Cycle to User ExperiencesWaltham, Massachusetts, October 23
* Fourth Meeting of the [NAS] Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (only parts are open to the public)Washington, D.C., October 23-24
* Copyright Issues in the Electronic AgeWaltham, Massachusetts, October 29
* Paperless Publishing: Peer Review, Production, and PublicationWashington, D.C., October 30
* The XML Revolution: What Scholarly Publishers Need to knowWaltham, Massachusetts, November 1
* Information in a Networked World: Harnessing the FlowWashington D.C., November 2-8
* Electronic Book 2001: Authors, Applications, and AccessibilityWashington D.C., November 5-7
* Content Summit 01Zurich, November 7-9
* Internet Librarian 2001Pasadena, November 6-8
* First Annual Meeting of the Text Encoding Initiative ConsortiumPisa, November 16-17
This is the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (ISSN 1535-7848).
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to interested colleagues. If you are reading a forwarded copy of this issue, you may subscribe yourself by signing up at the FOS home page or the FOS Newsletter page.
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Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber