[open-science] Should scientific text be put in the public domain rather than licensed with CC-BY?

Ignasi Labastida i Juan ilabastida at ub.edu
Thu Jan 13 08:45:55 UTC 2011

I've been reading all the discussion and I have a point from the legal
part, althought I am not a lawyer.
In many European countries, basically the ones that follow the french
"droit d'auteur" system, two moral rights are "perpetual": atribution
and intergity. It means that when a work is in the public domain, i.e.
free to be used without restricions, those two moral rights are still
I think CC0 is a good tool and I agree in defending norms instead of
legal obligations but in my opinion the use of CC0 in a work in some
European countries has the same effect that a CCBy because of those
two "perpetual" moral rights.
I think in the UK things are different, and of course in the US or Canada.

I am also playing devil's advocate because I support the defense and
the improvement of the public domain and in fact I have proposed to
change the Spanish law to include the possibility to dedicate works to
the public domain without wainting to the end of the copyright term.



2011/1/13 Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk>:
> First of all I support this completely from the fundamental point of view. I
> have some comments (concerns?) about the pragmatics
> On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 11:15 PM, Marius Kempe <m.kempe at qmul.ac.uk> wrote:
>>  On 12 January 2011 11:12, Marius Kempe <m.kempe at qmul.ac.uk> wrote:
>>> Hence why I'm bringing up the public domain vs CC-BY - if the community
>>> agrees that the public domain is as appropriate for writing as for data,
>>> such a website should advise scientists to use the public domain in the
>>> first instance and fall back on copyright licenses which meet the Open
>>> Definition if they can't or won't use the public domain.
>> Sorry, and I should clarify - if the community agrees that the public
>> domain is as appropriate for writing as for data _in the case of publicly
>> funded science_ (as Rufus pointed out above).
> Personally I don't think this matters but I'm not strongly bothered. I would
> see that the key thing was that the work was gifted to the world/community
> with no intention of monetary reward (i.e. unlike a book - there can still
> be publicly funded books which are sold and copyrighted).
> The argument in the 1970s  (and I remember it) from some publishers is that
> they *wanted* to protect authors from misuse of their work - they wanted
> copyright transfer so they could act on the authors' behalf when others
> starting ripping authors off. This IMO was either completely naive or
> deliberately specious. However some publishers will claim that it is because
> of their continued protection of authors (for which authors and readers pay)
> that there is currently no rip-off - remove copyright and all hell breaks
> out. This, of course, is rubbish but I expect this to be wheeled out to
> policy-makers and we have to anticipate it.
> The major problem is author apathy. Most hand their rights over without
> thinking. They jump through absurd hoops to publish in the chosen brand.
> This is an additonal requirement that they will not understand and will not
> try to understand.
> So if this is to happen it has to be through a funder-academia
> collaboration. Given the low level of effective action by universities it is
> down to funders at present. They are making progress in Open Access. We
> would need to convince them that PD/CC0 was better than CC-BY. I'm not quite
> sure how that will play. What is the single message I would give to a funder
> to insist on CC0? (My position is that *if* we had CC0 I would be as happy
> as with CC-By but it wouldn't make a lot of difference either way). I just
> expect it to be difficult to sell for not very much additional benefit.
> The academic/library/publishing system is besotted with copyright. We have a
> huge culture to overcome.
> P.
> --
> Peter Murray-Rust
> Reader in Molecular Informatics
> Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
> University of Cambridge
> CB2 1EW, UK
> +44-1223-763069
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