At the edges of academic copyright

Anytime that academic authors sue each other over a journal article, it is worth attention in this space.  A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts ruled in such a case, and the ruling raises some interesting points to consider for those of us involved in working with scholarly publications.

Note first that this is a very fact-specific case and a decision by a district court, so it is not a control precedent for anyone other than the parties.  A decision would have more weight if this ruling were appealed, but, because the motive behind the lawsuit seems to have been more wrath than reason, I think that is unlikely.

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Building Open: OJS 3.0

Note to readers: This is the second post in our new series “Building Open” where we interview those who are building tools and services to support scholarship in the open.

In terms of the future, I think we still have a long way to go in determining sustainable models. APCs aren’t it, especially outside of big science and North America and Europe. Our research into open access publishing cooperatives, which brings together the major stakeholders — researchers, societies, journals, libraries, funders — is showing that this can be an important alternative model.

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Toward a Digital First OA Monograph

Project MUSE announced over the summer a $938,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to integrate OA university press (UP) monographs into their platform. *

Digital aggregations of UP books are becoming a key discoverability mechanism. The possibility of using linked data tools to discover content within a much larger body of humanities and social science scholarship is one of the few very clear and bright developments for UPs. After years of our printed books being relegated to the ever-dustier library stacks, our digital content is now feeding a significant corpus of highly usable humanities research and being made available in a growing number of library collections. With this grant, MUSE wants to ensure that OA content is seamlessly discoverable within these collections, rather than isolated in some segregated position.

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Copy shops, economics, and educational use in India

A few years ago, I was asked by the U.S. State Department to give a presentation on copyright for librarians in India.  I spoke via web conferencing to a group of Indian librarians gathered in an auditorium at the U.S. Embassy, and the session was moderated by an IP professor from Delhi University.  This moderator began the session by asking me a very challenging question; pointing out that the standard textbook that he would like to use for his class in trademark law cost more than a month’s salary for the average Indian, he asked me how the copyright balance between rights holders and the public could be calibrated in such economic conditions.  I don’t think I provided a very good answer at the time, but last week the High Court in Delhi took on that question and offered an amazing response.

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Library as Safe Haven

This is a guest post written by Jennifer Chan of UCLA

On June 1, 2016, UCLA’s Westwood campus was suddenly thrust into the media spotlight across the world when a shooter entered a campus building and fatally shot one of our engineering faculty. I was just days shy of my one-month anniversary as UCLA Library’s Scholarly Communication Librarian. What I knew, and what most of us on campus knew that June morning, was that “police activity” had been reported at the other end of campus. Far, but not far enough. Soon, the details began trickling in.

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Is VHS an obsolete format under Section 108?

Libraries routinely rely on Section 108, the limitations on exclusive rights specifically for libraries and archives in US Copyright Law, even if librarians don’t always realize that the services they provide, such as ILL, are encompassed in Section 108. Also included in Section 108 are provisions for libraries and archives to make replacement copies of published works in their collections if the work is ‘damaged, deteriorating, lost or stolen, or if the existing format in which the work is stored has become obsolete’. What is obsolete? Well, 108 (c) defines a format as obsolete ‘if the machine or device necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.’ For convenience, the text of 108 (c) is below.

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