Archive for the 'Publishing' Category

“The Google Book Search Settlement: A New Orphan-Works Monopoly?”

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on April 16th, 2009

Randal C. Picker of the University of Chicago Law School has self-archived "The Google Book Search Settlement: A New Orphan-Works Monopoly?" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

The settlement agreement is exceeding complex but I have focused on three issues that raise antitrust and competition policy concerns. First, the agreement calls for Google to act as agent for rights holders in setting the price of online access to consumers. Google is tasked with developing a pricing algorithm that will maximize revenues for each of those works. Direct competition among rights holders would push prices towards some measure of costs and would not be designed to maximize revenues. As I think that level of direct coordination of prices is unlikely to mimic what would result in competition, I have real doubts about whether the consumer access pricing provision would survive a challenge under Section 1 of the Sherman Act.

Second, and much more centrally to the settlement agreement, the opt out class action will make it possible for Google to include orphan works in its book search service. Orphan works are works as to which the rightsholder can't be identified or found. That means that a firm like Google can't contract with an orphan holder directly to include his or her work in the service and that would result in large numbers of missing works. The opt out mechanism—which shifts the default from copyright's usual out to the class action's in—brings these works into the settlement. . . .

Third, there is a risk that approval by the court of the settlement could cause antitrust immunities to attach to the arrangements created by the settlement agreement. As it is highly unlikely that the fairness hearing will undertake a meaningful antitrust analysis of those arrangements, if the district court approves the settlement, the court should include a clause—call this a no Noerr clause—in the order approving the settlement providing that no antitrust immunities attach from the court's approval.

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    Scholars and Open Access Trust Ask to Intervene in Authors Guild v. Google

    Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Open Access, Publishing on April 15th, 2009

    A group of scholars and the Open Access Trust have sent a letter to Judge Denny Chin asking for a conference about a motion to intervene in the Author's Guild v .Google suit.

    Here's their letter.

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      Draft Report on the Provision of Usage Data and Manuscript Procedures for Publishers and Repository Managers

      Posted in Digital Repositories, Institutional Repositories, Publishing, Self-Archiving on April 15th, 2009

      The PEER (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research) project has released Draft Report on the Provision of Usage Data and Manuscript Procedures for Publishers and Repository Managers.

      Here's an excerpt:

      This draft report sets out specifications for deposit procedures for both publishers and authors, and the reporting in log files of subsequent usage. Since this report is presented in draft format, it is anticipated that such specification will be adjusted as a result of actual implementation experience. Until the ultimate formulation of specifications and guidelines is achieved, a support mechanism is envisaged to assist both publisher and repository communities to share the experience gained. . .

      This report is designed to be preliminary investigation of the issues addressed herein. As such, it forms the basis for a common understanding of the expected outcomes of the PEER project, and it highlights the issues of concern that need to be monitored and evaluated in the final report. Significantly, it indicates workflows, procedures and best practices that will be explored towards the establishment of best practice shared by publisher and library communities to ensure the future of scholarly communication.

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        “Reality Bites: Periodicals Price Survey 2009″

        Posted in Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Serials Crisis on April 15th, 2009

        Library Journal has published "Reality Bites: Periodicals Price Survey 2009."

        Here's an excerpt:

        As waves of grim economic news wash over state and federal governments here and abroad, libraries of all types and sizes are bracing for budget cuts the likes of which have not been seen in three generations. Unlike most financial crises, this one is ubiquitous, with all but a handful of states in the red and getting redder. Globally, the meltdown is playing havoc with currencies, and the cost of journals priced in currencies other than the pound, the euro, or the U.S. dollar have skyrocketed. Severe losses in endowment revenue, which in the past insulated materials budgets to a degree, have left even larger and wealthier libraries facing cuts.

        A number of librarians expect the budget cuts to be permanent; others say funds will rebound, but the recovery will take years. Even if the recession is less severe than feared, experts say not to expect relief before 2012. In journals parlance, that’s three renewal cycles from now—more than enough to stress publishers without deep reserves. For an industry that is already in the throes of reinventing itself, this recession will hit hard.

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          Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and the American Physical Society Agree on Open Access Arrangements

          Posted in Author Rights, Copyright, Open Access, Publishing, Self-Archiving on April 13th, 2009

          The Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and the American Physical Society have come to an agreement about how to implement Harvard's open access policies for articles published by Harvard authors.

          Here's an excerpt from the press release:

          As a result of the new agreement, APS recognizes Harvard's open access license and will not require copyright agreement addenda or waivers, in exchange for Harvard's clarification of its intended use of the license. In general terms, in exercising its license under the open access policies, Harvard will not use a facsimile of the published version without permission of the publisher, will not charge for the display or distribution of those articles, and will provide an online link to the publisher's definitive version of the articles where possible. The agreement does not restrict fair use of the articles in any way.

          According to Professor Bertrand I. Halperin, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in the Harvard Physics Department and Chair of the 2008 Publications Oversight Committee of the American Physical Society, "Harvard’s open access legislation was always consistent in spirit with the aims of the APS publication policies, but there were differences in detail that would have required faculty members to request a waiver for every article published in an APS journal. It is a credit both to Harvard and to APS that these differences have been worked out. Since APS journals include, arguably, the most important journals in the field of physics, the fact that faculty will now be able to continue publishing in APS journals without seeking a waiver from Harvard’s policies will strengthen both Harvard and the goal of promoting open access to scholarly publications worldwide."

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            Columbia’s Center for Digital Research and Scholarship Launches Harm Reduction Journal Companion Site for Supplemental Materials

            Posted in E-Journals, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on April 8th, 2009

            The Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University Libraries/Information Services has launched a companion site for the Harm Reduction Journal, an open access published by BioMed Central.

            Here's an excerpt from the press release:

            Professor Drucker partnered with CDRS to build a site that would allow HRJ authors, editors, and readers to share supplemental materials—such as datasets, commentaries, and translations—and respond to newer articles published on the journal's dot com home. The new dot org site accomplishes this by transforming every article published on HRJ dot com into its own blog. HRJ dot org also provides a forum for announcements, links, and discussion on harm reduction trends and efforts. "This approach enables HRJ to take full advantage of the rapid publication, secure and authoritative archiving, and the powerful dissemination and reach inherent in the medium of open access publishing, while simultaneously creating an open space for 'the long tail' of post-publication possibilities that make internet publications living documents," explained Professor Drucker.

            BioMed Central's Director of Journal Publishing, Sarah Cooney, elaborated, "The open-access platform ensures the swift and unrestricted communication of scientific information to researchers. This new companion site will prove hugely significant for encouraging future advances and lead to an increased level of data sharing within the scientific community." CDRS Director Rebecca Kennison noted, "This new site demonstrates in very practical terms the possibilities inherent in open-access publications, which in addition to free access also allow for creative reuse of articles, such as we actively encourage on this companion site."

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              Reading Rights Coalition Protests Kindle Read Aloud Limits at Authors Guild

              Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Publishing on April 7th, 2009

              The Reading Rights Coalition has staged a protest demonstration at the Authors Guild's headquarters about Amazon giving author's and publishers the ability to restrict the Kindle's read aloud function for their works.

              Here's an excerpt from the press release:

              When Amazon released the Kindle 2 electronic book reader on February 9, 2009, the company announced that the device would be able to read e-books aloud using text-to-speech technology. Under pressure from the Authors Guild, Amazon has announced that it will give authors and publishers the ability to disable the text-to-speech function on any or all of their e-books available for the Kindle 2.

              Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The blind and print-disabled have for years utilized text-to-speech technology to read and access information. As technology advances and more books move from hard-copy print to electronic formats, people with print disabilities have for the first time in history the opportunity to enjoy access to books on an equal basis with those who can read print. Authors and publishers who elect to disable text-to-speech for their e-books on the Kindle 2 prevent people who are blind or have other print disabilities from reading these e-books. This is blatant discrimination and we will not tolerate it." . . .

              Andrew Imparato, President and Chief Executive Officer for the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), said: "It is outrageous when a technology device shuts out people with all kinds of disabilities. AAPD works to remove barriers to accessibility and usability in technology, and we don’t expect to see people with disabilities singled out by having to pay more for access. New technologies, such as electronic books, should be available to everyone regardless of disability." . . .

              The coalition includes: American Association of People with Disabilities, American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, Association on Higher Education and Disability, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Burton Blatt Institute, Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), IDEAL Group, Inc., International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet, International Dyslexia Association, International Dyslexia Association––New York Branch, Knowledge Ecology International, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Disability Rights Network, National Federation of the Blind, NISH, and the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. In addition to the April 7 New York City protest, the coalition will participate in the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 25-26.

              Read more about it at "Disabled Group Protests Removal of Kindle's Text-to-Speech."

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                Cambridge University Press Staff Cuts Reduced

                Posted in Publishing, University Presses on April 7th, 2009

                After consultation and protests, Cambridge University Press is planning to limit job cuts in its printing division to 60 positions.

                Read more about it at "Cambridge University Press: Dons Step in as Digital Age Threatens Jobs at World's Oldest Publisher" and "Cambridge University Press Plans Scores of Job Cuts."

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                  Consumer Watchdog Challenges Google Book Search Settlement

                  Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Publishing on April 6th, 2009

                  Consumer Watchdog has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that challenges the terms of the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement.

                  Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                  The proposed settlement announced last year creates the nonprofit Book Rights Registry to manage book digital rights issues. Here are the deal’s two most troubling aspects, Consumer Watchdog said:

                  —A "most favored nation" clause guarantees Google the same terms that any future competitor might be offered. Under the most favored nation clause the registry would be prevented from offering more advantageous terms to, for example, Yahoo! or Microsoft, even if it thought better terms would be necessary to enable either to enter into the digital books business and provide competition to Google. It is inappropriate for the resolution of a class action lawsuit to effectively create an "anti-compete" clause, which precludes smaller competitors from entering a market. Given the dominance of Google over the digital book market, it would no doubt take more advantageous terms to allow another smaller competitor to enter the market.

                  —The settlement provides a mechanism for Google to deal with "orphan works." Orphan works are works under copyright, but with the rights holders unknown or not found. The danger of using such works is that a rights holder will emerge after the book has been exploited and demand substantial infringement penalties. The proposed settlement protects Google from such potentially damaging exposure, but provides no protection for others. This effectively is a barrier for competitors to enter the digital book business.

                  The most favored nation provision should be eliminated to remove barriers of entry and the orphan works provision should be extended to cover all who digitize books, Consumer Watchdog said.

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                    “Reflections on University Press Publishing”

                    Posted in Publishing, Scholarly Books, University Presses on April 5th, 2009

                    In "Reflections on University Press Publishing," a former University of Toronto Press executive examines the current state of university presses.

                    Here's an excerpt:

                    As the revenue from sales of books decreases, there has been a corresponding increase in the need for subventions. The average monetary loss from publication of a scholarly book is in the range of $10,000-$12,000—defined as the shortfall between anticipated revenue and all costs, including all fixed and variable costs. In Canada, the usual subvention for an academic book (provided by the Aid to Scholarly Publications Program) is $8000. Thus there is a need for $2000-$4000 in additional subvention for each book published. Some scholarly publishers are able to find this money from within their own operation—usually from private endowments. Frequently, publishers are asking authors to subsidize their own books—either from research funds or, in some cases, from their own pockets. In some cases, publishers are forced to ask authors to provide books in camera ready form—effectively becoming their own typesetters—to subsidize this cost.

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                      Services for Small OA Publishers: Launched

                      Posted in Open Access, Publishing on April 3rd, 2009

                      Co-Action Publishing, Datapage and T Marketing have launched, a publishing support service for small open access publishers.

                      Here's an excerpt from the press release:

             addresses the needs of a growing segment within Open Access scholarly publishing. The Open Access journals market is growing quickly, and currently represents approximately 9% of the refereed journals listed in Ulrich's Periodical Directory. A number of these journals are operated by single editorial teams, societies or university presses. allows these publishers to combine independence with behind-the-scenes professional support on virtually any aspect of journal development and the publishing process.

                      "We recognize that many scholars and societies wish to remain independent of a publishing house as they transition a current subscription journal to Open Access or launch a new journal," stated Caroline Sutton from Co-Action Publishing, adding "By teaming up with Datapage and T Marketing, we are able to offer these publishers access to the same professional skill and know-how that large publishers take advantage of everyday in a format that is scalable to their needs."

                      Nisha Rahul, Operations Manager for Datapage, further commented, "Datapage has been providing typesetting and pre-press services to publishers worldwide since 1987. Our ultimate aim is to make ourselves "easier to do business with". Through we make publishing easier for small publishers by providing seamless solutions from several vendors, allowing each publisher to create an optimal service package.

                      T Marketing Founder Natasha White shared her thoughts on the launch, stating, "After having worked at some of the world's largest publishers, I am now working daily with smaller businesses. Like Datapage and Co-Action Publishing, T Marketing welcomes the opportunity to work together with small-scale scholarly publishers to augment the skills and competencies of their in-house teams."

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                        DOAJ and e-Depot to Preserve Open Access Journals

                        Posted in Digital Curation & Digital Preservation, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on April 2nd, 2009

                        With support from the Swedish Library Association, the Directory of Open Access Journals and the e-Depot of the National Library of the Netherlands will preserve open access journals.

                        Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                        Long-term preservation of scholarly publications is of major importance for the research community. New formats of scholarly publications, new business models and new ways of dissemination are constantly being developed. To secure permanent access to scientific output for the future, focussed on the preservation of articles published in open access journals, a cooperation between Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ—, developed and operated by Lund University Libraries and the e-Depot of the National Library of the Netherlands ( has been initiated.

                        The composition of the DOAJ collection (currently 4000 journals) is characterized by a very large number of publishers (2.000+), each publishing a very small number of journals on different platforms, in different formats and in more than 50 different languages. Many of these publishers are—with a number of exceptions—fragile when it comes to financial, technical and administrative sustainability.

                        At present DOAJ and KB carry out a pilot project aimed at setting up a workflow for processing open access journals listed with DOAJ. In the pilot a limited number of open access journals will be subject to long term preservation. These activities will be scaled up shortly and long term archiving of the journals listed in the DOAJ at KB’s e-Depot will become an integral part of the service provided by the DOAJ.

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