Re: What’s at Stake in the Georgia State University Copyright Case

Posting to NGC4LIB

On 30/05/2011 23:56, B.G. Sloan wrote:

> From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
> “A closely watched trial in federal court in Atlanta, Cambridge University Press et al. v. Patton et al., is pitting faculty, libraries, and publishers against one another in a case that could clarify the nature of copyright and define the meaning of fair use in the digital age…The plaintiffs are asking for an injunction to stop university personnel from making material available on e-reserve without paying licensing fees. A decision is expected in several weeks. The Chronicle asked experts in scholarly communications what the case may mean for the future.”
> Full text at:

I can only hope that this will be the catalyst to bring open access into full acceptance, as pointed out by Mr. Smith of Duke. If the publishers win the case, they will probably lose the war, which would be just as
well. More and more academics appear to be asking: why pay licensing fees to publishers who received the materials for free from the academics who created them, and who were practically forced to give up  all their rights to their own creations as well? Why should only one side pay and not the other? The centuries-old business models just don’t hold true anymore. With the internet and digital documents, it makes much less sense for a publisher to risk the expense of paying for the printing and distribution of physical books around the world, when a large percentage of them will never be sold and will be returned.

Scholarly journals have almost all become digital because it only makes sense; sooner or later it will be so with monographs as well. I personally think that the main reason it hasn’t happened yet with monographs is just habit and inertia.

These changes are not restricted to publishers, but other fields are having to adapt as well: newspapers, films, radio, and of course, libraries. I am sure that each of these agencies has an important role to play in the new environment, but undoubtedly, those roles will be quite different from what they have been.