15.213 Free Online Scholarship newsletter

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Sat Sep 01 2001 - 01:33:54 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 213.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2001 06:25:56 +0100
             From: Peter Suber <peters@earlham.edu>
             Subject: FOS Newsletter, 8/31/01

           Welcome to the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
           August 31, 2001

    Public Library of Science (PLoS) deadline tomorrow

    Remember that the PLoS deadline is tomorrow, September 1. That means that
    starting tomorrow, the 26,000+ worldwide signers of its public letter are
    committed to avoiding journals which do not put their contents online free
    of charge within six months of print publication.

    In a letter sent out today (which I've forwarded to our discussion forum),
    the original eight signers point out that there are more signers producing
    research articles than compliant journals to publish them. The number of
    PLoS-compliant journals is about six. The exact number depends on how
    strictly one interprets compliance, but now matter how one interprets it,
    the number is small. Hence it appears that one PLoS strategy for moving
    forward will be to encourage the development of new (free online) journals.

    This will be the real breakthrough. We never had to wait for the existing
    journals to see the light, consent to FOS, or change their policies. We
    always had the option to create new journals. For journals publishing
    online, and dispensing with a print edition, the chief obstacle is to find
    respected and motivated scholars willing to serve on the editorial
    boards. The PLoS initiative has convened a very large number of them. A
    related problem is giving scholars an incentive to publish in online
    journals when print journals have more prestige, and when career pressures
    mean that increased readership and impact do not offset the loss of
    prestige. Again, the PLoS has gathered a large number of researchers who
    not only have the incentive, but who have taken a pledge.

    The technical problems have long since been solved. For PLoS signers, the
    significant political problems have also been solved. Let's see what
    happens. As new FOS journals come online, publishing good articles in good
    numbers, and charging no subscription fees, I wonder how long it will take
    for the number of PLoS compliant journals to rise from six to six hundred.

    Public Library of Science


    U.S. Copyright Office releases long-awaited study of DMCA

    On August 29 the U.S. Copyright Office released its long-awaited study of
    the Digitial Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), which was required by Section
    104 of the DMCA itself. The study recommends that purchasers of digital
    content be allowed to make personal back-ups, provided these are not shared
    or sold. This requires that purchasers have the technical means to make
    back-ups, which requires publishers to drop the absolute copy protection
    that many are using today.

    The study does not recommend a "digital first sale" doctrine, which many
    DMCA critics wanted. This would have given purchasers of digital content
    the right to distribute the content, just as a purchaser of a physical book
    has the right to loan or give away the book to others. Because digital
    works can easily be loaned or given away while the original owner retains a
    copy, the Copyright Office found the analogy between digital works and
    physical, printed texts limited.

    The study sees no violation of user-rights when publishers "tether" a
    digital work to a particular piece of hardware. Tethering prevents
    purchasers from taking their purchased works with them when they upgrade
    machines or switch platforms. Tethering seems to bother the Copyright
    Office, but it is taking no steps because it believes that tethering is
    rare "outside the context of electronic books". (So what about inside that

    Librarians and user-rights groups have already criticized the
    study. Quoting Rick Weingarten of the American Library Association: "In
    our view, [the copyright office] still doesn't grasp what technology is
    doing to the issue of user rights." Quoting Fred Von Lohmann of the
    Electronic Frontier Foundation: "Our worst fears about the [DMCA] are
    coming true."

    The study is based on public comments and a public hearing, which are
    faithfully recorded in Volumes Two and Three of the study.

    Ariana Eunjung Cha, Keep Digital Copyright Law Intact, Agency Says

    Andrea Foster, Libraries Criticize Federal Report on Digital-Copyright Law

    DMCA Report by the U.S. Copyright Office


    Another way to pay for FOS

    In the U.S. consumers once paid a surcharge on blank audio and video
    cassettes. The money went into a fund which was eventually disbursed among
    copyright holders of music and video. The theory was that some consumers
    would make illegal copies, and the surcharge would compensate the rights
    holders. I cannot tell how successful this system was --my search results
    are always oddly thin. (If you know what happened to this system in the
    U.S., please send me an email or post your information to our discussion
    forum.) But as a consumer, I liked the idea. Even though it made all
    consumers pay for the copying of some, it legitimated copying. I taped
    some copies of LPs and slept without guilt.

    This system is used widely in Europe. The agencies levying the surcharges,
    however, are stirring controversy by extending their reach to scanners,
    recordable DVDs, burnable CDs, hard drives, and other computer
    hardware. Their reasoning is impeccable. Computers and their peripherals
    are now the ultimate copying machines.

    I don't know the algorithm for determining the surcharge applied to each
    hard drive, or the algorithm for distributing money to each copyright
    holder. But if done fairly, this system has revolutionary
    potential. Legalize copying of all kinds, but charge for it when consumers
    buy copying systems and media.

    Question. Would you prefer that system to what we have now? For most
    consumers the question will be about music and video. But here let's limit
    the question to scientific and scholarly literature, both in book and
    journal forms. Would you pay a little extra for a computer (say, $35) if
    all the literature you wanted to read was freely accessible and permission
    to copy was universal?

    I get the $35 figure from the estimated surcharge on computers to be levied
    in Germany. (See Juliana Gruenwald's article, cited below.) But this
    estimate may be based on music and video copying. If so, it would have to
    rise if the system also covered research literature. But compared to the
    volume of copied music, the volume of copied research literature must be
    tiny and would raise the surcharge only slightly.

    To make the system fair, we would need reasonably accurate measurements of
    the amount of copying. Otherwise we wouldn't know whether to bump up the
    price of a computer $35 or $350 or whether to give Elsevier 1% or
    10%. Download counters wouldn't catch the peer-to-peer traffic. So would
    you put up with packet sniffers or other eavesdropping technologies to take
    random samples of the copy traffic, as long as your identity was not recorded?

    Is there any reason why this system couldn't be extended from music and
    video to scientific and scholarly literature? What have we learned from
    the experience with music and video, or from the wider experience in
    Europe, that might help here?

    If you are a publisher, would you be willing to make your literature freely
    accessible and copyable if you were sufficiently compensated by the
    surcharge fund? If you feel short-changed by freely shared digital copies,
    would you rather sue readers for violating your copyright, lobby your
    national legislature to prohibit the technologies of free copying and
    sharing, or take your complaint to the surcharge fund distribution board?

    Juliana Gruenwald, Digital Copyright Tug O' War

    FOS discussion forum
    (Anyone may read; only subscribers may post; subscription is free.)



    * On August 29, Texterity launched the TextCafe eBook Logistics Service for
    translating ebooks from the Open eBook format to all the other major ebook

    * An anonymous U.S. programmer has broken the fifth or highest level of
    encryption on Microsoft ebooks. The programmer has announced that he or
    she has no plans to make the program public. The purpose was to make his
    or her own purchased ebooks readable on more than one platform. Dmitry
    Sklyarov faces harsh penalties for taking the same steps with Adobe ebooks
    and making his program public (see next item, below).$493
    (Thanks to Denise Troll for bringing this to my attention.)

    * On August 28, Dmitry Sklyarov and his company, ElcomSoft, were indicted
    on five counts of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
    (DMCA). This ends speculation that a plea bargain was in the
    works. Sklyarov faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of half a
    million dollars.

    * While Sklyarov faces punishment for presenting his method for bypassing
    the copy protection on Adobe ebooks, his boss at ElcomSoft, Alexander
    Katalov, has announced that he will give an updated version of Sklyarov's
    presentation at a November conference in Amsterdam.

    * Harvard's Berkman Center is throwing its weight behind Edward Felten's
    lawsuit to declare that he has a First Amendment right to present his
    encryption research and that any part of the DMCA which would prohibit him
    from doing so must be found unconstitutional. (See FOSN for August 16.)

    * The Computing Research Association (CRA) is working with the Berkman
    Center to support Felten. The CRA is a consortium of North American CS

    * The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is also supporting
    Felten. It has written an amicus brief to support his First Amendment and
    anti-DMCA claims.

    * Most of the journals published by Nature (except the weekly _Nature_
    itself) will adopt Advance Online Publication (AOP), the policy of posting
    accepted articles to the internet as soon as they are ready. These are the
    refereed and edited versions of the articles, final in every way except for
    their pagination. _Nature Genetics_ turned to AOP last month, and the
    other Nature journals will turn to it in coming months. Nature makes
    abstracts available on its web site free of charge, but limits full-text to
    paying subscribers.

    * Questia, which calls itself the World's Largest Online Library, has
    launched version 2.0 of its service. This is not FOS. Questia charges
    students $19.95 a month for access to online texts and study aids like text
    highlighters and footnote and bibliography citation generators. Version
    2.0 enlarges the online collection from 35,000 to 60,000 full-text
    sources. (We last covered Questia in the July 31 issue, when it struck a
    deal with AOL.)

    Press release

    Questia home page


    New on the web

    * BrightPlanet has released version 2 of LexiBot, its software for
    searching the deep internet, the databases not crawled by standard search
    engines and by some estimates 500 times larger than the surface
    internet. Since much online scholarship exists in these databases, a deep
    internet search engine will be a valuable FOS tool. However, while LexiBot
    claims it will search 2,200 databases, it doesn't enumerate them anywhere
    that I could find, so it's hard to know which scholarly databases are
    within its scope. The software is free for a 30-day trial.

    * Planet eBook has posted to the web summaries of all the presentations
    from the Open Publish 2001 conference in Sydney, July 30 - August 2. For
    most presentations, it also offers downloadable full-text.

    * The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) has updated its "Pizza Chef" software
    for helping users build a document type definition (DTD) for their work.

    * In the last issue I printed a dead link for the preliminary results of
    the survey conducted by the developers of eprint software (for creating
    OAI-compliant archives). The link has since been fixed. You can find the
    survey results here:

    * Does progress toward FOS seem to be moving slowly? It may seem that way,
    day to day, but it helps to remember that the World Wide Web is only 10
    years old this month. While FOS was possible on pre-internet computers,
    and on the pre-web internet (e.g. arXiv), it didn't really ignite
    widespread passion or imagination until the arrival of the web. If you
    look at what's been done, and what's on the drawing board, then it's clear
    that we've come a very long way in only 10 years. The article at the link
    below is not about this at all, but simply reminds us that this is the
    web's 10th birthday.


    In other publications

    * In an August 28 contribution to the _Nature_ debate on FOS, Jon Bosak
    argues that XML can greatly improve the presentation and retrieval of
    digital scientific literature but, unfortunately, only by increasing the
    production costs. (Bosak is one of the creators of XML.)

    * In the August 28 _New York Times_ David Kirkpatrick reports that ebooks
    are not taking off as fast as boosters hoped.

    * Archives should be interoperable. So should information-swapping
    applications, publishers, and text formats. But digital rights
    languages? In an August 24 article posted to Planet eBook, Renato Iannella
    makes the case for the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL), an
    interoperable language allowing a description of rights to accompany
    digital content.

    * In the August 23 _Wired News_, Kendra Mayfield describes the University
    of Phoenix's plan to phase out print textbooks in favor of ebooks. The
    University of Phoenix is a for-profit university specializing in distance
    education. Even apart from Phoenix's special needs, Mayfield reports that
    publishers see demand from the education market for customized, interactive
    electronic textbooks.

    * In the August 17 _NewMedia_, Bob Woods describes the success of the
    Library of Congress's American Memory site: 100 million hits in the 12
    months from April '00 to April '01. American Memory is a huge, free,
    online collection of Library of Congress materials in many media. It's
    aimed at students studying American history. If material useful to
    students deserves the name of scholarship, then American Memory is an FOS
    success story.

    * In the August 9 _Chicago Tribune_, David Streitfeld argues that consumers
    don't see ebooks as solutions to real problems. The article focuses on
    fiction and trade non-fiction, not scholarly ebooks.

    * In the August 3 issue of _The Filter_, Lawrence Lessig shows how the
    copyright debate has changed since 1995, when it seemed that the thriving
    of the internet meant the death of copyright. He re-articulates the
    problems with the DMCA in light of recent defenses of it, and argues that
    the real issue is not whether copyright is dead but "how many other values
    get sacrificed in the name of protecting copyright."


    Share your thoughts

    * On August 31, the RLG and OCLC want your comments on their draft report
    on the "Attributes of a Trusted Digital Repository." The goal is to
    develop strategies and systems for long-term access and preservation to
    digital content.


    Catching up

    * In May, Adobe launched eBook U, an initiative to sell ebooks to
    universities and explore the potential for ebooks for teaaching and
    learning. Under the plan, Adobe's university partners will get free
    software and training for making ebooks, and Adobe will study how they used.


    Following up

    * In the August 7 issue, we explored the problem of the commercial
    exploitation of FOS. One defense against it is to copyright free online
    articles, rather than put them into the public domain. This gives the
    author the right to stop a publisher from making copies which it might use
    commercially. An August 23 story posted to Cosmiverse reports on an
    intriguingly analogous problem --with no FOS connection beyond this
    analogy. If you are a celebrity worried that stalking fans steal might
    your hair brush or restaurant fork, and have mad scientists clone you, then
    you may thwart them and sleep soundly at night by copyrighting your
    DNA. Can you really copyright your DNA? Either you can, or California's
    DNA Copyright Institute, which secures DNA copyrights at $1,500 a pop for
    clone-anxious celebrities, is a fraud. (Could clone-worthy celebrities
    really be gullible?)

    Copyright your DNA

    The DNA Copyright Institute


    I've been receiving a steady stream of helpful suggestions for my Guide to
    the FOS Movement, launched last week. I've noted all of them an acted on
    most of them already. Meantime, I have my own backlog of worthy sites to
    add. If only I didn't have this newsletter to take my time--



    If you plan to attend one of the following conferences, please share your
    observations with us through our discussion forum.

    * The International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting
    Milan, September 3-7

    * 5th European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital
    Darmstadt, September 4-8

    * DELOS Workshop on Interoperability in Digital Libraries
    Darmstadt, September 8-9

    * Experimental OAI Based Digital Library Systems
    Darmstadt, September 8

    * Preserving Online Content for Future Generations
    Darmstadt, September 8

    * International Autumn School on the Digital Library and E-publishing for
    Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics
    Geneva, September 9-14

    * Digital Libraries: Advanced Methods and Technologies, Digital Collections
    Petrozavodsk, September 11-13

    * Intellectual Property and Multimedia in the Digital Age: Copyright Town
    New York, September 24; Cincinnati, October 27; Eugene, Oregon, November 19

    * Digital Resources for Research in the Humanities
    Sydney, September 26-28

    * EBLIDA Workshop on the Acquisition and Usage of Electronic Resources
    The Hague, September 28

    * Summer School on the Digital Library 2001: Electronic Publishing
    Florence, October 7-12

    * IT in the Transformation of the Library
    Milwaukee, October 11-14

    * International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications 2001
    Tokyo, October 22-26

    * Information in a Networked World: Harnessing the Flow
    Washington D.C., November 2-8

    * Electronic Book 2001: Authors, Applications, and Accessibility
    Washington D.C., November 5-7


    This is the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (ISSN 1535-7848).

    Please feel free to forward this newsletter to interested colleagues. If
    you are reading a forwarded copy of this issue, you may subscribe yourself
    by signing up at the FOS home page or the FOS Newsletter page.

    FOS home page, general information, subscriptions, editorial position,
    feedback form

    FOS Newsletter, subscriptions, back issues

    FOS Discussion Forum, subscriptions, postings

    Guide to the FOS Movement

    Peter Suber

    Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber

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