[open-science] Licence, Ownership and Copyright in scholarly publishing

Nick Barnes nb at climatecode.org
Wed Dec 14 17:08:18 UTC 2011

On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 16:49, Heather Morrison <heatherm at eln.bc.ca> wrote:
> The concept of "intellectual property" is a recent invention, and a concept
> that should be challenged moreso than clarified, for example through the
> counter-concept of the commons. See some of the works by Lessig, Boyle,
> Vaidhyanathan, Ostrom, Bollier, among others.
> SFU recognizes intellectual property rights as belonging to the scholar, a
> good model in my opinion which others should emulate. Adopting a
> Harvard-style mandate can help us to move in this direction, from my
> perspective.
> To summarize, I don't think we should be pinning down intellectual property
> rights at this point in time, but rather opening up discussion about whether
> this is a useful concept at all, and if so, how it should be defined.

Certainly I agree with this, and I have been challenging the term
'intellectual property', as I have on this list, for about 20 years.
However all of us also have to operate in the current legal milieu,
and an understanding of the law helps in that.  There are many who
believe that copyright itself is a dated and toxic legal fiction, but
while working for its abolition they would be well advised to
understand it, so that they might know the reach (and the limits) of
the law as it now stands.

For example, I think that I should be able to freely share
publicly-funded science papers, in any manner and for any purpose, and
I argue for the changes necessary for me to legally do that
(essentially, a well-defined and enforced OA mandate from funding
agencies).  In the meantime, it is important for me to know that I
could be sued for doing so.  In fact, publicising this fact is an
important part of the argument, as it highlights the fact that the
current system exposes many (or even most) working academics to legal
Nick Barnes, Climate Code Foundation, http://climatecode.org/

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