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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:

Sun, 6 Mar 2016 12:54:52 -0500

Content-Type:

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text/plain (53 lines)

From: Rick Anderson <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2016 14:32:50 +0000

>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.

That blog post didn’t answer the clarifying questions that I posed in
response to his posting here on LIBLICENSE the other day, and I’m
still hoping that he’ll respond to those here. My hope is growing
fainter, though.

Those questions were:

1. When you say we should “avoid reifying” copyright, are you saying
that you don’t consider copyright law to be real law now?

2. When you say that “it may be time to reconsider our commitment to
the copyright regime,” it sounds like you’re suggesting that we stop
abiding by copyright law. Is that correct?

>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.

I think we need to be careful about making categorical,
conversation-stopping assertions about what “there is no question”
about and what “we all know” to be true. It seems to me that
reasonable people can disagree about the degree to which current
copyright law serves its intended purpose, and the degree to which it
does the opposite.

>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.

I’m all for the idea of revisiting existing copyright law and
modifying it as needed to reflect the new information environment in
which we live. What I’m less convinced about is the idea (which I
think Kevin is promoting, but again, I hope he’ll either confirm or
correct me in this impression) that Title 17 of the US Code is somehow
not “real” law and that we should ignore it if we feel it’s no longer
relevant. My impression is that our profession is tending to give
Sci-Hub something of a pass on the basis of this idea (among others).

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

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