If publishers have their way, libraries’ digital options will see major cuts | The Hill

“To many, controlled digital lending might sound obscure and disconnected from their own lives, and to be honest, I can see why. After all, controlled digital lending is based on the finer points of well-established U.S. copyright law — loaning books to people — it’s not something a lot of library patrons pay attention to. Moreover, when it’s working seamlessly, it’s a bit like one of those apps that runs unobtrusively in the background of your computer’s operating system. Patrons only notice it when it slows or stops working.  

If a pending lawsuit by major American book publishers challenging its legal limits succeeds, controlled digital lending’s absence might be a lot more noticeable to a lot more people. It will be harder to borrow digital books and other materials from the growing number of libraries that practice controlled digital lending or some form of it.

Combine that with other efforts by book publishers to curb access to digital content and there are troubling consequences for how an information-based society like ours continues to drive economic, social and political progress….”

UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science – Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU

“In late 2021, the UNESCO General Assembly approved a new Recommendation on Open Science. All the member states agreed on a final version, that for the first time provides an official definition of what open science is, and that calls for legal and policy changes in favor of open science. As a recommendation is the strongest policy tool of UNESCO, “intended to influence the development of national laws and practices”, this is important news for the entire scientific community. 

The recommendation presents a framework on, and principles for, open science. It aims to build a common understanding on the topic, and calls for publicly funded research to be aligned with the principles: transparency, scrutiny, critique and reproducibility; equality of opportunities; responsibility, respect and accountability; collaboration, participation and inclusion; flexibility, and sustainability. 

It asks for more dialogue between the public and the private sector, and for new, innovative means and methods to be developed for open science. Finally, the recommendation stresses the importance of citizen science and crowdsourcing, and the need for cooperation between different kinds of actors, nationally and internationally.

In Sweden, the recommendation is currently being discussed with stakeholders. A few weeks ago, Wikimedia Sverige was invited by the Swedish National UNESCO Commission to a round table conversation on the subject. Other than Wikimedia Sverige, organisations and institutions such as the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions, the Swedish Research Council, the Ministry for Education and the National Library, took part – many of those who will bear the largest responsibility for putting the recommendations in practice. …”

Case leaning against Sci-Hub, Delhi HC remarks in hearing

” “I am ready to (issue a) decree and it will not be good for you, it will beagainst you,” the Delhi High Court said to lawyers representing Sci-Hub, an online repository of pirated academic papers, while hearing a lawsuit filed by three publishers of scientific journals and articles – Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society (ACS) – on May 13.

Sci-Hub’s counsel Nilesh Jain challenged the plaintiffs’ claims that it has a copyright of the material that is hosted on Sci-Hub – a new turn in the case. But Amit Sibal, the counsel for the publishers, pointed out that Sci Hub had not amended their written statement (containing the rebuttal arguments of the parties that have been sued)….”

The Libraries’ Will Cross receives a Fulbright to study open knowledge and copyright across the EU | NC State University Libraries

“Will Cross, Director of the Libraries’ Open Knowledge Center (OKC) and Head of Information Policy, will be a 2022-2023 Fulbright-Schuman Innovation Fellow studying the future of copyright law and open knowledge practices and policies across the EU.

His project, titled “Community-Based Copyright Literacy in the European Union: Codes of Fair Practice as Core Open Knowledge Infrastructure,” will be centered in the Netherlands where he will study the copyright literacy practices of Dutch researchers, conduct comparative research across the EU and explore the Codes of Fair Practice model for knitting together national laws in order to create shared open knowledge practices. As a Fulbright-Schuman Fellow, Cross will work with partners including the Institute for Information Law (IViR) in the Netherlands and consortium members participating in the reCreating Europe Project. …”

Negotiating Open Access: Ethical Positions and Perspectives: Library & Information Science Book Chapter | IGI Global

Abstract:  In this chapter, the authors interrogate the discursive terrain of the open access phenomenon to position the processual as well as the discourse communities that open access is inevitably enmeshed in. The essay explores the current climate of open access and investigates the ethical dilemmas that its subversive sibling of guerrilla open access foregrounds. Further, the essay also recommends a viable model that can be deployed by state players as an exemplar of academic socialism that is flexible, accommodative, and a true reflection of the open-access philosophy which also counters the development of otherwise illegal and ‘pirate’ models of open access.


Sci-Hub, Libgen case needs CCI attention | Deccan Herald

“There are no slam dunk legal provisions that can change the situation. Several creative legal and policy arguments have been proposed – from fair dealing rights, amendments to compulsory licensing provisions to better government funding. The publishers too have very strong arguments to support their case of copyright infringement. The legal battle between the ‘greedy’ publishers and the ‘rouge’ websites has been going on for more than a year. While legal clarity on the copyright front will take its own time, a significant regulator that should take interest in this vital market is the Competition Commission of India (CCI)….”


In Keeping with Academic Tradition: Copyright ownership in higher education and potential implications for Open Education | Journal of Copyright in Education & Librarianship

Abstract:  Most postsecondary institutions in the United States have a copyright and/or intellectual property (IP) ownership policy, outlining under various circumstances the ownership of copyright and IP generated by faculty, staff, and students (Patel, 1996). As awareness of open educational resources (OER) increases and both faculty and student creation of openly licensed materials builds momentum, a closer examination of copyright ownership policies and what legal and ethical implications they may have for open education is crucial. This study analyzed 109 copyright ownership policies at both public and independent two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions of higher education in the U.S. and surveyed facilitators of open education initiatives (generally librarians and related educators) at these same institutions (N = 51) to gather the perceptions and preferences of their copyright policies with respect to locally-developed OER.

The content analysis revealed that while the ownership of scholarly works overwhelmingly belongs to the person who created the work, variables such as unusual support and potential uses affect copyright ownership. These factors can be problematic for faculty who receive support through campus programs to create and share openly licensed instructional materials beyond their institution and are also problematic for students participating in OER-enabled pedagogy coursework and projects. While our survey showed that many in the open community indicate that they have great confidence in their understanding of these policies, that certainty is often pinned to a sense of shared values and unspoken assumptions, rather than clear legal rules or reliable policy.


“As a legal research fellow you will assist the PI(s) in the analysis, impact and opportunities of IP regulations, in particular copyright, in relation to a variety of topics/projects including Open Science, Open Data/PSI, trade secrets, and more generally to emerging issues of data governance from a property/IP perspective. You will be assisting in research projects either as a researcher or as a coordinator (depending on junior/senior) in the aforementioned areas employing a wide range of methodological approaches (case scenarios, EU comparative analysis, historical development of legal regulations, etc) and you should be able to develop their work in close collaboration with the PI, but also show the ability to perform specific tasks with a certain degree of autonomy.  As the research may also develop in other areas of law (e.g. fundamental rights, competition law, consumer protection, property law, unfair competition), your familiarity with (some) of these topics will be an asset duly considered….”

Research Report: How well did copyright laws serve libraries during COVID-19? – IFLA

“83% of responding library professionals said they had copyright-related challenges providing materials during pandemic-related facility closures. These intersected with ongoing challenges predating the pandemic, including budget pressures, external financial crises, difficult negotiations with publishers, and demand for eBooks that outpaces publisher offerings.

While many publishers offered expanded access to services and content during the early months of the pandemic, these offers usually did not last for sufficient time for libraries to meaningfully integrate them into teaching and research activities. 69% of respondents who had challenges said they included issues providing access to textbooks, and 52% of libraries that had copyright challenges indicated challenges with providing access internationally, as students and faculty returned to their home countries. To access content digitally, some libraries made use of programs such as the HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access project and ‘Resource-Sharing during COVID’ (RSCVD)….”

RE: Copyright Concerns With Public Access Language in U.S. Innovation and Competition Act – Section 2527(b)

“We write to express our serious concerns about Section 2527(b) of the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (“USICA,” S. 1260). Instead of supporting American innovation and competitiveness, this provision—which addresses public access requirements for certain copyrighted works that discuss federally funded research—would undermine copyright protection and weaken American intellectual property exports, ultimately impeding the commercialization of research and stifling American competitiveness. We understand that this language remained in the Senate-passed USICA last year largely because of procedural challenges with amending the bill following its introduction. We were grateful that this language was not included in the House’s America COMPETES Act 2022 (“COMPETES,” H.R. 4521), and we urge you to ensure that Section 2527(b) of USICA is not included in the final legislation following a conference on these two bills….”

RRS campaign preview | Plan S

“Open Access benefits everyone. Retain your rights.
It’s good for you, for science, and for society…

The Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) enables authors to exercise the rights they have on their manuscripts to deposit a copy of the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in a repository on publication and provide open access to it. To help researchers acknowledge and assert their rights, cOAlition S is launching an online campaign, under the theme “Publish with Power: Protect your rights“. The campaign aims to encourage researchers to retain their intellectual property rights, explains the steps they need to take and highlights the benefits for them and also for science and society. Below is a suite of resources about the Rights Retention Strategy, freely available for downloading, using and sharing….”

OASPA Webinar: Shadow Libraries and Access to Knowledge: Origins, Policies, Legality, and Accessibility, May 12, 2pm (BST)

Large segments of the scholarly literature, both from backlist catalogues and new publications, continue to be only accessible behind paywall infrastructures. This poses a challenge to those scholars not affiliated with well funded research institutions, in particular in the Global South, exacerbating extant inequities. At the same time, the often cumbersome user interfaces of paywall-protected platforms continue to prevent efficient usage by researchers who do happen to have access to these materials. As a result, an ecosystem of so-called “shadow libraries” has evolved, developing different strategies to make closed content accessible to a wide scholarly public. Contrary to for example the music and movie industries, the academic publishing industry has been unable to formulate a platform solution that would provide an alternative. This OASPA webinar will address the origins and architecture of these forms of widely used online repositories, their position in relation to Open Access policies, legal aspects in terms of copyright and fair use, and what they can teach us in terms of accessibility. The webinar will be chaired by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei (punctum books) and we welcome panelists Arul George Scaria (National Law University Delhi), Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck), Marcell Mars (Memory of the World, Pirate Care) and Balász Bodó (University of Amsterdam). Please join us live for this free webinar and contribute to the discussion and please share within your networks.

Intellectual Property and Youth: Copyright Laws Must Advance the Right to Education | infojustice

“On the occasion of a World Intellectual Property Day focused on Intellectual Property and Youth, we call on governments to ensure that national and international copyright laws ensure the right to education for all.

We applaud the choice of theme, which draws attention to the largest generation in history, who will be the driving force for sustainable and inclusive development.

Yet, young people today are faced with considerable barriers to engage politically, economically and socially. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated preexisting challenges and created new obstacles that prevent youth and students from thriving. This has been particularly evident with regard to education.

As affirmed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, education is a human right and a public good that plays an essential role in enabling young people to transform their lives and their communities. The right to education includes access to knowledge and, as highlighted by UNESCO’s International Commission on the Futures of Education, it is a life-long right that is “closely connected to the right to information, to culture and, to science”. Alarmingly, the world is completely ‘off track’ to achieve SDG 4 on Quality Education by the 2030 deadline.

Overly restrictive and outdated intellectual property laws are among the factors that have aggravated the situation facing educators and students, adding complexity, confusion and unnecessary costs. Consequently, young people and students throughout all sectors of education have been hindered from fully participating in society, from innovating and fully unlocking their creativity to benefit themselves and their communities.

In short, we must act now to ensure that Intellectual Property rules are a support, and not a barrier, to inclusive, equitable, adaptable, and high-quality education….”

Suber | Publishing Without Exclusive Rights | The Journal of Electronic Publishing

Abstract:  Journal publishers don’t need exclusive rights. Or, they don’t need them for publishing. They don’t need them to make a work public or to add value in the form of peer review, copy editing, metadata, formatting, discoverability, or preservation. Nor do they need them to make enough money to pay their bills and grow. Publishers only need exclusive rights for monopoly control over the published work and any revenue it might yield. Publishers who say they need exclusive rights are saying they need this monopoly control. The best evidence that journal publishers don’t need exclusive rights is that so many peer-reviewed journals do without them, for example, open access journals using CC-BY. 



Copyright and emergencies: tips for librarians | EIFL

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, librarians in EIFL partner countries began to alert EIFL about problems providing access to educational resources during lockdowns, in particular much needed textbooks. For printed materials in the library’s collection, there are often no licensed electronic versions available, especially for textbooks and other materials in local languages. In this situation, copyright law determines what librarians can and cannot do to alleviate the situation.

EIFL has put together a tip sheet on the steps to take, from a copyright perspective, to guide librarians in emergency situations when institutions are forced to close, for example, due to extreme weather, conflict, or pandemics. There are also links to resources and further information.

If the copyright law does not allow the library to supply a digital copy, unfortunately there often isn’t a quick fix. However, forewarned is forearmed and we hope that the tip sheet will encourage librarians to check their copyright law, and to initiate any national copyright law reforms that are needed to support access to resources for online education now and in any future emergency situations….”