Is the copyright world tired of exhaustion?

Over the last two weeks, I have been putting together a syllabus to teach a course in copyright law at the University of Kansas law school.  Although I have taught copyright a lot, I have never done so in a formal law school class, so this is both an exciting and intimidating process for me.

As part of planning a class session about the doctrine of first sale, I was doing a little bit of research about the Capitol Records v. ReDigi  case, which squarely confronts the issue of whether or not first sale can survive in a digital age.  The case has been going on for a while, so I will claim the process of creating a syllabus as my justification for writing about it now. Read more

Women Working In the Open

I came across this question on Twitter recently, and it got me thinking about something that I think about quite a bit:

"Please recommend women leaders in the Open Access/Science area."

Screenshot of tweet by @lteytelman

I do a lot of work around diversity, inclusion, and representation in librarianship, publishing, and higher education. And I get a lot of questions like this from people looking to diversify their lists of potential collaborators, speakers, etc. I’ve even written a bit about ways to incorporate diversity into our programming and work. Read more

Singing Out Loud: Fair Use in an Opera MOOC

This is a guest post by Barbara DeFelice, Program Director for Scholarly Communication, Copyright and Publishing at the Dartmouth College Library.

Dartmouth offers a small number of MOOCs, selected from faculty proposals, through the DartmouthX infrastructure. This includes a cross-unit team of librarians, educational designers, students and faculty. Dartmouth is providing this level of support for faculty to develop MOOCs in order to influence long-standing teaching practices through experiments in the MOOCs that are evaluated and brought into the on-campus learning experience. Read more

When is enough enough?

The lawsuit is really a rather local affair; an action brought by Louisiana State University against Elsevier alleging breach of contract.  But the facts raise significant questions  for all Elsevier customers, and especially for public universities that do business with the publishing giant (which is to say, all of us).  Even more significant, I think, is what the specific circumstances, and some of the comments made about the lawsuit, tell us about the future of scholarly communications.  In my mind, we have reached the “enough is enough” point with Elsevier. Read more

What are the next steps for open access?

Recently there has been a spate of comment expressing frustration about the allegedly slow progress of open access, and especially Green open access. It is hard to disagree with some of this sentiment, but it is important that frustration not lead us into trying to solve a problem with a worse solution.   The key, I believe, to making real advances in open access is to walk away from the commercial publishers who have dominated the market for scholarship. Only if we do that can libraries free up money from our collection budgets to do truly new things. A new business model with the same old players, even if it were possible, would be a mistake. Read more

A Restart on the eBook License Agreement

Last month, I attended the Charlotte Initiative Open Conference. This Mellon-funded project brought together publishers, librarians, and technology providers to explore a reconsideration of the transactional models between publishers and libraries for eBooks. To quote the initiative, “Our starting premise is that permanent acquisitions of eBooks requires these licensing terms:

  • Provision of irrevocable perpetual access and archival rights.
  • Allowance for unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Freedom from any Digital Rights Management (DRM), including (but not limited to) use of proprietary formats, restricted access to content, or time-limited access terms.”

I was invited to be on the project’s advisory board two years ago and I’ll admit the premise seemed like quite a stretch at that time. In a climate where the rhetoric of accountability is paired with market-optimizing tools like DDA and EBA, the idea that libraries will only buy our most successful books and then insist on broad usage terms like the Charlotte Principles just felt like a non-starter. As John Unsworth mentioned in his conference keynote, publishers operate in the world of risk and libraries have historically helped academic publishers mitigate risk by building deep monograph collections. Predatory publishers figured out how to game this system, forcing libraries to use “accountability” as a reason to reduce monograph purchases despite the arrival of digital platforms making them less expensive and more accessible than ever. As a director at a public university press, I can attest to the acute pain that strategy has had on mission-driven non-profit publishers and on the humanities and social science disciplines we support. More on that in a moment. Read more