Monday, February 16, 2009

Publishers make another play to lock up research

Back in September, I had this to say about the “Fair Copyright in Research Works Act:”

"Imagine that a movie studio just spent $100,000,000 on a terrific new movie, but if they want anyone to see it, they have to give it to a movie theater. Not just the film itself, but all rights to the movie forever and ever. And the theater owner says this is perfectly fair, because the studio doesn't pay for the screening or provide any popcorn."

Like Jason, Freddy, and all those other slasher movie staples, it's back, as H.R.6845 and introduced by Michigan's own John Conyers (D, 14th district). Once again, the the idea is to outlaw the NIH Open Access Policy, which requires taxpayer-funded research to be deposited with PubMed Central, but only after 12 months.

That embargo is, for a front line researcher, a lengthy time. A research library cannot afford to wait a year and avoid paying the subscription prices for journals; they have to buy access to that research ASAP. But that's not good enough for the publishers because, y'know, it's just so cool for business when you can own other people's work without ever paying them a penny.

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