Get ready for the lawsuit

In case it hasn’t reached the chemistry blogosphere, here’s more from Peter Suber; More from ACS Insider2

“ACS Insider2” (a.k.a. “Miss Phlogiston”) reports that the American Chemical Society (ACS) has a plan in case the NIH adopts an OA mandate:

I’ve been told by multiple colleagues that ACS executives are creating a bogus controversy that Open Access will impede scientists’ copyright privileges in regards to the studies they publish.  ACS has already begun to “educate” scientists about intellectual property rights, with hints that this “education” will help them protect the integrity of their studies….

ACS might force a court case against the federal government based on copyright law, but management and lawyers are not sure that this will work.  At best it might just delay the inevitable….


PMR: The argument here is that scientists need publishers to protect the scientists’ copyright. It seems there is a huge body of IP pirates who want to rip-off my articles  and do something awful with them. I am not clear what this awful thing is – it can be selling them for less than I do, since I give them away free anyway. Do they mutilate them and dishonour my moral rights? Portray me as a pervert? A drugs trader? It’s never happened to me. Is this because the scientific publishers are constantly guarding my rights round the clock – they never sleep?
Here’s the  argument from the Copyright Alliance

The Copyright Alliance today urged Congress to eliminate a provision that would dramatically reduce the copyright protection from scientific research papers.

“The unintended consequence of this measure […any researcher receiving NIH funds to surrender a manuscript – after acceptance by a publisher and after a full peer review – to the government to be posted for free to the world, no more than one year after publication….] is the chilling effect it could have on the ability of would-be publishers to conduct peer review and publish and disseminate their works.
“Further, this change clearly would undermine the ability of the U.S. Trade Representative to argue with credibility for strong intellectual property rights in negotiations abroad. It is difficult to ask other nations to show more respect for the rights of creators when we are singling out a class of creators in our own country and all but eliminating its rights.

If this were true then any paper where the author had retained copyright would immediately be stolen and used for immoral and deceitful purposes. This has never happened to me – am I just lucky?
No. The answer is simple. Scientific papers have no monetary value UNLESS the author hands the rights to a publisher to resell on the publisher’s behalf. It may (or may not) be necessary to the business model of the publisher to protect the revenue through copyright enforcement, but in no way is this supporting AUTHORS’ moral rights.
The argument – if such it can be called – is obviously  based on non-existent premises. But its chilling effect is because a powerful body such as the CA puts such effect into promoting something it knows intellectually to be rubbish. I wonder whether the membership of the CA offers any clues:

Members of the Copyright Alliance include: American Federation of Television & Radio Artists; American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; American Society of Media Photographers; Association of American Publishers; Association of Independent Music Publishers; Attributor; Broadcast Music, Inc.; Business Software Alliance; CBS Corporation; Directors Guild of America; Discovery Communications; Entertainment Software Association; Graphic Artists Guild; Imageline Inc.; Imagery Alliance; Langley Productions; Magazine Publishers of America; Major League Baseball; Microsoft; Motion Picture Association of America; National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR); National Association of Broadcasters; National Collegiate Athletic Association; National Football League; National Music Publishers’ Association; National Basketball Association Properties, Inc.; NBC Universal; Newspaper Association of America; News Corporation; PPL and VPL; Professional Photographers of America; Recording Artists’ Coalition; Recording Industry Association of America; Reed Elsevier; SESAC; Software & Information Industry Association; Sony Pictures Entertainment; Time Warner; Viacom; Vin Di Bona Productions; and The Walt Disney Company.

Where are the scientific publishers? I imagine in the “Association of American Publishers” from whose head PRISM sprang fully armed… I am sure their voice is widely heard in the CA.

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