On Friday, a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in the publisher’s appeal from the second trial court ruling in their lawsuit against Georgia State University, challenging GSU’s practices regarding library electronic reserves. The decision came 449 days after the appeal was heard, which is an astonishingly long time for such a ruling. I wish I could say that the wait was worth it, and that the ruling adds to our stock of knowledge about fair use. Unfortunately, that is not what happened, and the case continues to devolve into insignificance.
Siglufjordur is a small fishing village in the north of Iceland that my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting this past summer. It nestles between the mountains of the Icelandic highlands and the sea in a way characteristic of towns on the northern coast.
What is unusual about Siglufjordur is its economic history. It was a boom town in the 1940s and 50s, the center of the North Atlantic herring trade. In addition to fishing, a great deal of processing and packing was done in Siglufjordur, and the town was triple its current size. In the early 1960s, however, the herring industry in Siglufjordur collapsed quite suddenly, because the fishing grounds had been overfished. Now the town is a shadow of its former self, surviving on sport fishing and tourism (the Herring Museum, perhaps surprisingly, is very much worth a visit).
Sustainability planning is certainly a tricky business. Over the last several months I have been working with teams grappling with sustainability and other long-term plans for four projects: the Big Ten Academic Alliance’s Geoportal, Mapping Prejudice, the Data Curation Network, and AgEcon Search. These are all cross-unit collaborative projects, and multi-institutional in most cases, but their common element is that my library serves as administrative and/or infrastructural home and/or lead institution. This planning has led to an interesting thought experiment, spurred by the AgEcon Search planning.
It is one of the simplest, yet most frequently misunderstood, provisions of the U.S. copyright law. Section 105 of Title 17 says that “Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States government, but the United States government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest or otherwise.” A single sentence, but lots of nuance, both because of what it says and what it does not say. Last week, an important decision from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals again highlights some of the scope for confusion.
Earlier this month the University of North Carolina Press (where I am director) received a nearly $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to lead an OA pilot among multiple university presses (UPs). During the three-year experiment we will utilize web-based digital workflows to publish up to 150 new monographs. We intend to transform how university presses might publish their most specialized books while validating the legitimacy of high quality scholarship delivered in digital-first formats.
Over the past few years the MIT Libraries – like many US research libraries– have been watching with interest the development of “offsetting” agreements in Europe and the UK. In offsetting agreements, a single license incorporates costs associated with access to paywalled articles and costs associated with open access publication. This type of agreement has emerged in Europe and the UK and been the source of both new deals and broken deals.