From: Sandy Thatcher <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2016 00:42:14 -0600
Subject: Re: SciHub
"Relieved" of copyright protection, seriously? I've never met a
scholar who published with a university press that would speak in
those terms. That smacks of coercion which, if actually present,
would invalidate a contract.
The truth of the matter is that very few academic authors want to be
bothered with all the details that are involved in negotiating and
selling licenses for subsidiary uses. And few care to become experts
in knowing what kind of fees to set, what clauses to include in
licenses, how to defend themselves when license terms are violated,
etc. That is why, in academic publishing generally, "all rights"
transfers have been standard. Academic publishers have taken on the
burden of fulfilling the functions that in trade publishing are
handled by literary agents. Every academic contract I have seen
provides for splitting the income from subsidiary rights with authors,
usually 50/50 and, for some rights, 75/25 in favor of the author.
Authors are not forced to sign these contracts; they do so because
they don't want the responsibilities that come with handling
Also, in the relatively few cases where authors express an interest in
handling a specific subsidiary right, say, a translation into a
foreign language about which the author has some expertise, the
publisher generally cedes that right back to the author so that the
author can handle the transaction separately.
You talk about copyright protection being wielded against authors. Can
you cite any examples of academic publishers suing their authors for
infringement of copyright?
> From: Laura Quilter <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2016 10:04:59 -0500
> It's interesting, Sandy, that in each of your examples you speak of
> the original creators, while in scholarly publishing it is the
> To be more analogous, you might say,
> 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, the recording
> industry should just give away their music for free and try to make a living on
> concerts, selling t-shirts, etc.? How about trade book publishers, or
> publishers of textbooks? How about art galleries and agents, or film
> distributors, etc.?
> Because of course, in the case of academic publishing, it is the authors
> who have been relieved of copyright "protection", and the authors often
> have copyright protection wielded against them.
> For instance, the academic author of a textbook with whom I recently
> worked who was misled by a major academic publisher into believing
> he would be able to publish his work in his own language -- and then
> was told that the rights were kept from him "for his own protection."
> Or the numerous authors who have had to pay publishers for the
> privilege of re-using their own work in various contexts.
> Laura Markstein Quilter / [log in to unmask]
> Attorney, Geek, Militant Librarian, Teacher
> Copyright and Information Policy Librarian
> University of Massachusetts, Amherst
> [log in to unmask]
> Lecturer, Simmons College, GSLIS
> [log in to unmask]