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LIBLICENSE-L  March 2016

LIBLICENSE-L March 2016

Subject:

On reifying copyright (Re: SciHub)

From:

LIBLICENSE <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

LibLicense-L Discussion Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 2 Mar 2016 18:32:07 -0500

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text/plain (39 lines)

From: Rick Anderson <[log in to unmask]>
To: LibLicense-L Discussion Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2016 14:05:50 +0000

>Copyright is not a god-given natural right, and we should avoid reifying it.

So, Kevin, I’m wondering if you could clarify your meaning here.
Copyright is certainly already real in that it is a matter of legal
statute. When you say that we should “avoid reifying it,” it sounds
like you’re suggesting we should avoid treating this area of the law
as real. Is that correct? If not, can you clarify?

>When it no longer serves its
>purpose, it may be time to reconsider our commitment to the copyright
>regime once again, as a policy decision made for specific historical
>conditions that no longer obtain.

I have the same question about this statement. Here you refer to the
“copyright regime” and to copyright as a “policy decision,” but in
fact copyright is a matter of law, not just of policy or standard
practice. When you suggest that it may be time for us to “reconsider
our commitment to the copyright regime,” are you suggesting we should
reconsider whether this is a law worth abiding by, or are you calling
on Congress to consider amending the law?

The reason I ask is that you’re saying these things in the context of
a discussion of Sci-Hub, which makes it hard to avoid the conclusion
that you’re suggesting we should ignore copyright law if we feel it’s
no longer valid or appropriate in our current circumstance. That
strikes me as a rather remarkable thing for an attorney to be
suggesting in a public forum, but it’s certainly possible that I’m
misunderstanding.

---
Rick Anderson
Assoc. Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication
Marriott Library, University of Utah
[log in to unmask]

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