Archive for the 'Copyright' Category

Support Open Access: Contact House Judiciary Committee Members to Save the NIH Public Access Policy

Posted in Copyright, Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on February 15th, 2009

As indicated in recent postings ("Fair Copyright in Research Works Act: Ten Associations and Advocacy Groups Send Letter to Judiciary Committee Members Opposing Act" and "Urgent Call to Action: Conyers Bill Opposing NIH Open Access Policy May Soon Come to House Vote"), the fight over the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801) is heating up.

If you want to oppose the bill and support the NIH Public Access policy and open access, you should contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and your Representative immediately by letter, e-mail, fax, or phone. If a Judiciary Committee member is in your district, your opposition will have considerably more impact. If you are uncertain, about who your House member is, you can use the The Hill's search form to find out. The "Contact" tab for the House member's The Hill record, includes a "Contact [Congressional representative] via Web Form" function that can be used to send e-mail messages.

Below is a list of Judiciary Committee members and a draft letter from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access’ call to action.

Draft letter text:

Dear Representative;

On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 801, “the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,” introduced to the House Judiciary Committee on February 3, 2009. This bill would amend the U.S. Copyright Code, prohibiting federal agencies from requiring as a condition of funding agreements public access to the products of the research they fund. This will significantly inhibit our ability to advance scientific discovery and to stimulate innovation in all scientific disciplines.

Most critically, H.R. 801 would reverse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing the results of the crucial biomedical research funded by their taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in life-saving research and scientific discovery.

Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information from the NIH’s PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

H.R. 801 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research coming from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information on energy, the environment, climate change, and hundreds of other areas that directly impact the lives and well being of the public would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation.

[Why you support taxpayer access and the NIH policy].

The NIH and other agencies must be allowed to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please oppose H.R.801.

Postscript: ALA has issued a call to action about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801). The alert includes a link to a Web form that will allow you to e-mail a House Judiciary Committee Member from your district about the bill (will not work if your Representative does not serve on the Judiciary Committee).

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access has a Web form (with letter text) that you can use to e-mail your Congressional representatives.

The bill has been referred to the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy.

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    Fair Copyright in Research Works Act: Ten Associations and Advocacy Groups Send Letter to Judiciary Committee Members Opposing Act

    Posted in ALA, ARL Libraries, Copyright, Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on February 14th, 2009

    Ten associations and advocacy groups, including AALL, ACRL, ALA, ARL, and GWLA, have sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee members opposing the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801).

    Here's an excerpt:

    The U.S. government funds research with the expectation that new ideas and discoveries from the research will propel science, stimulate the economy, and improve the lives and welfare of Americans. Public support for science is enhanced when the public directly sees the benefits from our nation's investment in scientific research. Yet H.R. 801 would reverse the only U.S. policy for public access to research, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and make it impossible for other agencies to enact similar policies.

    Scientific research is advanced by broad dissemination of knowledge, and the subsequent building upon the work of others. To this end, the NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the results of our nation's $29 billion annual investment in research reach the broadest possible audience. The Policy requires that, in exchange for receiving federal research dollars, grantees deposit the final electronic manuscript of their peer-reviewed research results into PubMed Central, NIH’s digital archive, to be made publicly available within 12 months—and was specifically implemented in full compliance with current U.S. copyright law.

    The NIH Policy achieves several notable goals: First, it ensures broad public access to the results of NIH's funded research, allowing scientists and researchers to collaborate and engage in cutting-edge research. Such access allows for greater sharing of information, speeding discovery, medical advances, and innovations.

    Second, the NIH Policy ensures that the U.S. government has a permanent archive of these critical, publicly funded biomedical research results, ensuring that results can be built upon by not only this generation, but also future generations, of researchers.

    Finally, the Policy creates a welcome degree of accountability and transparency, which enable us to better manage our collective investments in the NIH research portfolio and ensure the maximum possible benefits to the public in return.

    At the direction of Congress, the NIH Public Access Policy, in place as a voluntary measure since 2005, was recently strengthened to a mandatory policy. As a result, the rate of eligible manuscripts being deposited for public accessibility quickly increased from 19% to 60%. This requirement proved crucial to ensuring that the more than 80,000 articles resulting from NIH funding each year are, for the first time, available to any researcher, physician, faculty member, student, or member of the public who wants them.

    H.R.801 presupposes that the NIH Public Access Policy undermines the rights of the author and conflicts with U.S. copyright law. As library organizations and allies we fully respect copyright law and the protection it affords content creators, content owners, and content users. NIH-funded research is copyrightable and copyright belongs to the author. The NIH Policy requires only the grant of a non-exclusive license to NIH, fully consistent with federal policies such as Circular A- 110 and Circular A-102. This policy leaves the author free to transfer some or all of the exclusive rights under copyright to a journal publisher or to assign these anywhere they so choose. Attached please find an issue brief detailing how the NIH Public Access Policy does not affect copyright law [see the letter for the brief].

    The NIH Public Access Policy advances science, improves access by the public to federally funded research, provides for effective archiving strategies for these resources, and ensures accountability of our federal investment. Given the proven success of the revised NIH Public Access Policy and the promise of public access to federally funded research, we firmly oppose H.R.801 and ask that you do the same. Thank you for considering the stake and position of the key constituencies in this discussion.

    Read more about it at "Conyers Introduces H.R. 801, "The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act."

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      Urgent Call to Action: Conyers Bill Opposing NIH Open Access Policy May Soon Come to House Vote

      Posted in Copyright, Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on February 13th, 2009

      There are strong indications that Rep. John Conyers, Jr. will try to get a House vote on the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801) much more quickly than previously thought. If you want to oppose the bill and support the NIH Public Access policy, you should contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and your Representative immediately by e-mail, fax, phone, or letter. This is especially important if a Judiciary Committee member is in your district.

      Here's an excerpt from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access call to action to defeat the Conyers bill:

      All supporters of public access—researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, and others—are asked to please contact your Representative . . . to express your support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and ask that he or she oppose H.R.801. Draft letter text is included below. . . .

      H.R. 801 is designed to amend current copyright law and create a new category of copyrighted works (Section 201, Title 17). In effect, it would:

      1. Prohibit all U.S. federal agencies from conditioning funding agreements to require that works resulting from federal support be made publicly available if those works are either: a) funded in part by sources other than a U.S. agency, or b) the result of "meaningful added value" to the work from an entity that is not party to the agreement.
      2. Prohibit U.S. agencies from obtaining a license to publicly distribute, perform, or display such work by, for example, placing it on the Internet.
      3. Stifle access to a broad range of federally funded works, overturning the crucially important NIH Public Access Policy and preventing other agencies from implementing similar policies.
      4. Because it is so broadly framed, the proposed bill would require an overhaul of the well-established procurement rules in effect for all federal agencies, and could disrupt day-to-day procurement practices across the federal government.
      5. Repeal the longstanding "federal purpose" doctrine, under which all federal agencies that fund the creation of a copyrighted work reserve the "royalty-free, nonexclusive right to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the work" for any federal purpose. This will severely limit the ability of U.S. federal agencies to use works that they have funded to support and fulfill agency missions and to communicate with and educate the public.

      Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information through the PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

      All supporters of public access—researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, and others—are asked to contact their Representatives to let them know you support public access to federally funded research and oppose H.R. 801. Again, the proposed legislation would effectively reverse the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as make it impossible for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place. . . .

      Draft letter text:

      Dear Representative;

      On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 801, “the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,” introduced to the House Judiciary Committee on February 3, 2009. This bill would amend the U.S. Copyright Code, prohibiting federal agencies from requiring as a condition of funding agreements public access to the products of the research they fund. This will significantly inhibit our ability to advance scientific discovery and to stimulate innovation in all scientific disciplines.

      Most critically, H.R. 801 would reverse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing the results of the crucial biomedical research funded by their taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in life-saving research and scientific discovery.

      Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information from the NIH’s PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

      H.R. 801 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research coming from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information on energy, the environment, climate change, and hundreds of other areas that directly impact the lives and well being of the public would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation.

      [Why you support taxpayer access and the NIH policy].

      The NIH and other agencies must be allowed to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please oppose H.R.801.

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        ARL, AAU, CNI, and NASULGC Release "The University’s Role in the Dissemination of Research and Scholarship—A Call to Action"

        Posted in Copyright, Institutional Repositories, Open Access, Scholarly Communication, University Presses on February 12th, 2009

        The Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American Universities, the Coalition for Networked Information, and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, have released "The University’s Role in the Dissemination of Research and Scholarship."

        Here's an excerpt:

        Primary Recommendation: Campuses should initiate discussions involving administration and faculty about modifying current practices and/or its intellectual property policies such that the university retains a set of rights sufficient to ensure that broad dissemination of the research and scholarly work produced by its faculty occurs. . . .

        Some specific institutional strategies include:

        • Initiate a process to develop an institutional dissemination plan by explicitly evaluating existing dissemination activities, policies relating to promotion and tenure, and policies regarding faculty copyrights. For instance, charge a campus blue ribbon task force to advise the provost on key issues raised by the emergence of new forms of scholarly publishing and the gains that might be had by utilizing more effective ways of sharing the high quality results of the processes of scholarly and creative endeavor.
        • With this foundation, develop priorities for supporting new dissemination strategies that enhance the value of the multifaceted investments in faculty research and scholarship by promoting the broadest possible access to it.
        • Engage departments on campus in developing fresh articulations of the criteria that are appropriate for judging the quality of contributions to their discipline, criteria that embrace emerging forms of scholarly work, where those possess the same attributes of quality and contribution to new knowledge, and do not rely solely on traditional publications and historic practices.
        • Develop institutional policies that enable the university to disseminate the full range of its community’s products now and in the future.
        • Where local dissemination infrastructure exists (such as institutional repositories), promote its use and expand its capabilities as required. Where needed, build new infrastructure that supports documentation of the products of faculty work, both for grant management and compliance and for more general purposes.
        • Seek opportunities to invest in shared dissemination infrastructure with other institutions – through shared facilities or by contributing funds to the development of dissemination services by another institution.
        • Encourage faculty authors to modify contracts with publishers so that their contracts permit immediate open access or delayed public access to peer reviewed work in a manner that does not threaten the viability of the journals or monographs.
        • Develop policies or strategies that redirect resources from high cost /low value dissemination practices to development of dissemination mechanisms residing inside the academy.
        • Where universities support presses, work to realign presses more directly with the university mission. Encourage press investments in dissemination activities that correspond to areas of excellence on campus. Consider revising reporting relationships to encourage collaboration between presses and libraries. Invest in press/library collaborations.
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          ALA, ARL, and ACRL Meeting on Google Book Search Settlement

          Posted in ALA, ARL Libraries, Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on February 12th, 2009

          In "ALA, ARL, ACRL Host Meeting of Experts to Discuss Google Book Search Settlement," District Dispatch reports on the numerous questions raised about the Google Book Search Settlement in a recent meeting on that topic.

          Here's an excerpt :

          • Access. What will the settlement mean for protecting the public’s ability to access and use digital resources from the nation’s libraries? Since the Book Rights Registry established as a condition of the settlement will represent the interests of the authors and publishers, who will represent the interests of libraries and the public? What are the financial implications of participation? Could the settlement create a monopoly that threatens the mission of libraries by raising the prices to an unreasonable level that limits public access?
          • Intellectual freedom. Are there academic freedom issues to consider? What are the implications of Google’s ability to remove works at its discretion? Will there be notification of their removal? What are the issues regarding possible access and use restrictions on the Research Corpus?
          • Equitable treatment. Since not all libraries are addressed in the settlement, what impact will it have on the diverse landscape of libraries? In light of tight economic times, will this negatively affect libraries with lean budgets? Will it expand the digital divide?
          • Terms of use. Under the terms of the agreement, will library users continue to enjoy the same rights to information under copyright and other laws? Will the settlement impact the legal discussions and interpretations of library exceptions that allow for library lending, limited copying and preservation?
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            SHERPA's RoMEO Service Tops 500 Publisher Self-Archiving Policies

            Posted in Copyright, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on February 12th, 2009

            SHERPA's RoMEO Service now includes over 500 publisher self-archiving policies

            Here's an excerpt from the press release:

            If an academic author wants to put their research articles on-line, they are faced with an increasingly complex situation. Evidence shows that citations to articles made openly accessible in this way are taken up and cited more often than research that is simply published in journals. Also some funding agencies require open access archiving for their research, to increase the use of the information generated.

            However, some publishers prohibit authors from using their own articles in this way. Others allow it, but only under certain conditions, while others are quite happy for authors to show their work in this way.

            Authors can be left confused: RoMEO helps to clarify the situation . . . .

            The RoMEO service, provided by the award winning SHERPA Partnership*, uses a simple colour-code to classify policies and inform authors of what can be done with their articles, and offers users the ability to:

            • View summaries of publishers' copyright policies in relation to self-archiving
            • View if publisher policies comply with funding regulations, as some publishers are too restrictive and cannot be used to publish funded research
            • To search journal and publisher information by Journal Title, Publisher Name and ISSN

            Additional RoMEO provides lists of

            • Publishers that allow the use of their PDFs in Institutional Repositories
            • Publisher with Paid Options

            RoMEO is seen as an essential resource by many in the Open Access community. RoMEO is funded by JISC and the Wellcome Trust. Journal information is kindly provided by the British Library's Zetoc service hosted by MIMAS

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              Authors Guild vs. the New Kindle: Reading Aloud a Derivative Right

              Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on February 11th, 2009

              In "New Kindle Audio Feature Causes a Stir," Paul Aiken, Executive Director of the Authors Guild, said about the new Kindle's read-aloud feature: "They don't have the right to read a book out loud. That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."

              In reaction, John Herrman at Gizmodo said ("Authors Guild Claims Kindle 2 Text-to-Speech Somehow Violates Copyright"): "the idea that a robotic reading of text is materially equivalent to a proper, recorded audio version of a book—read by the author in many cases—is ridiculous."

              Mike Masnick at Techdirt said ("According To Author's Guild, You Cannot Read Books Out Loud"):

              By that reasoning pretty much any use of text-to-speech software is illegal, which would make for a fascinating legal case. And, actually, if you take that reasoning further, any reading out loud from a book that is not yours is also a violation of copyright law, according to Aitken. Read to your kids at night? Watch out for the Authors Guild police banging down your door.

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                Public Knowledge: Copyright Filtering May Be Added to Recovery and Reinvestment Act

                Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on February 11th, 2009

                Public Knowledge has issued an action alert: "UPDATE: Say No to Copyright Filtering in Broadband Stimulus."

                Here's an excerpt:

                The House and Senate stimulus packages passed without copyright filtering language attached, but now the concern is that the language could return in the closed-door conference committee that works out the differences between the bills. Right now, we need you to contact those conferees and tell them to leave out this controversial provision.

                Hollywood’s lobbyists are running all over the Hill to sneak in a copyright filtering provision into the stimulus package.

                You can use the alert to send a message to your Congressional representative.

                An older alert provides background information about a defeated amendment to the bill that lobbyists are apparently trying to revive in the conference committee.

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