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LIBLICENSE-L  March 2016

LIBLICENSE-L March 2016

Subject:

Re: SciHub

From:

LIBLICENSE <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 3 Mar 2016 18:42:39 -0500

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From: Gretchen McCord <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2016 10:23:41 -0600

By the time this is posted, most of you will probably have read
Kevin's blog post from this morning, and maybe that will to explain
the thoughts behind his Liblicense post. But I have to jump in anyway,
because I think Sandy's interpretation of Kevin's statements is a bit
unfair. Questioning our laws is something we should do regularly as a
matter of being good citizens, and to question or criticize the law
itself or even its very purpose does not equate to advocating its
dissolution (even as applied to a specific industry or other
application).

I don't always agree with Kevin. I sometimes think he's a bit
idealistic, and perhaps he is on the issues raised by the Sci-Hub
situation. But I think Sandy made a huge leap here in his
interpretation of Kevin's statements. Opining that the copyright
system is broken (which is more a fact than an opinion; I'm not sure
anyone can argue with a straight face that it's not) and therefore
advocating copyright form, as Kevin did in this post, is a long way
from suggesting that any industry should "be relieved of copyright
protection."

"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."

There is no question that, to a great extent, copyright DOES NOT
currently serve it's purpose. It's purpose is to promote the creation
of new works and the expansion of the body of human knowledge. In the
modern world, it FREQUENTLY achieves the opposite. We all know this.

Thus, it is time to rethink the POLICY behind our current law, that
is, to ask how we rewrite the law to ensure as best we can that its
implementation will achieve the constitutional purpose of copyright
law in the modern world.

As an aside, copyright is not the only area of law to go through this.
The vast majority of our civil laws are "forms of economic social
engineering" (or political engineering) -- tools to manage/control
behavior, really -- written in attempts to achieve certain
bigger-picture goals. (The first example that springs to mind of
another area of law that's WAAAY exceeded its original purpose is our
electoral college...but that's another discussion for another venue
entirely.)

Respectfully,
Gretchen

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Gretchen McCord MSIS, JD
Making sense of complex legal issues
TRAINING • CONSULTING • LEGAL COUNSEL
512.470.8932 | [log in to unmask]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sandy Thatcher <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2016 22:54:31 -0600

Are you saying, Kevin, that copyright no longer works for any
industry, or is it just the scholarly publishing industry you want to
see relieved of copyright protection?  Do you believe, say, musicians
should just give away their music for free and try to make a living on
concerts, selling t-shirts, etc.? How about trade book authors, or
authors of textbooks?  How about painters or sculptors, or film
makers, etc.?

Sandy Thatcher


> From: Kevin Smith <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2016 10:28:33 +0000
>
> It is probably worth remember that the policy of ignoring copyrights
> granted by foreign governments, which is what SciHub is doing, was
> also the stance of the American publishing industry throughout the
> 19th century.  Publishing grew as fast as it did in the U.S. in part
> because it was able to publish works from abroad without negotiating
> royalties, since our nation did not recognize rights over foreign IP.
>
> Copyright is not a god-given natural right, and we should avoid
> reifying it.  It is, in fact, a form of economic social engineering
> design to achieve particular conditions.  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.
>
> Kevin

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