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Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing
Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 11:52 AM EST

One of the advantages of doing Groklaw is that our membership includes a wide variety of people with varying backgrounds and job skills I can ask to explain things to me. When the Sony rootkit and the Google Print stories separately broke, I got into an interesting conversation with Roy Bixler, who works in the field of academic publishing, about DRM. I know how Hollywood feels, and commercial publishing, but what about academic publishers? Have they fallen in love with DRM too?

It seems disjointed. As a publisher of educational content myself, I know exactly how much it costs to do such publishing digitally, and I'm puzzled by the love affair I see with DRM, particularly because it never seems to prevent piracy anyway.

Plus, copyright law is so powerful a preventive force, I've found it more than adequate to cope with any who might wish to stray beyond given permissions. What bothers me most about DRM, though, is that it prevents fair use, which is part of copyright law, but everyone is pretending doesn't matter. So, to me, publishers and Hollywood want customers to obey copyright law, while they flout it. When did Congress pass a law that we lost all fair use rights? In connection with DRM, don't miss BoingBoing today, on Google Video DRM: Why is Hollywood more important than users

With the introduction of its new copy-restriction video service, Google has diverged from its corporate ethos. For the first time in the company's history, it has released a product that is designed to fill the needs of someone other than Google's users. ...

Some examples of user-rights that Google Video DRM takes away:

* Under US copyright law, once you buy a video, you acquire a number of rights to it, including the right to re-sell it, loan it to a friend, donate it to your kid's school and so on. But with Google Video DRM, none of this is possible: your video is locked to your account and player.

* Educators, archivists, academics, parodists and others have the right to excerpt, copy, archive and use any video in their work, under the US doctrine of fair use. However, Google's DRM tool stops them from doing this, and Google's video can't be played on anyone else's tool.

Roy has graciously written an article for us on current thinking on DRM in the academic publishing field. Additionally, he asked a former boss of his, Bruce Barton, who has worked in this field for twenty years, to write about the tension between DRM and academic publishing and to suggest a solution, and that article follows Roy's. I found them very interesting, particularly the cost analysis, which makes perfect sense to me, and I hope you enjoy them too.

Roy mentions National Academies Press, whom I adore. They allow you to download PDFs of technical books, and if you wish a hardbound copy, you can buy one. I asked a representative there a couple of years ago how that works, and he told me that with technical works, people really do buy, because they want to have it handy on their bookshelf, so allowing free downloads seemed to help sales because it let customers browse to see what they wanted to buy.


Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing

By Roy Bixler
5 February 2006

As technology affects publishers of all kinds, whether the medium is video, audio or print, it is interesting to see how the publishers adapt to the changing environment. The primary challenge lies with the ease of making digital copies of works and the implications that has for the application of copyright law. Laws like the Digital Millienium Copyright Act in the US, which enforce technical restrictions on making copies, are well-known and are primarily associated with the music and film industries. However, due to the market failure of e-books, technological change has not been as quick to affect the print medium.

Nonetheless, print publishers still sell some e-books and it is increasingly common to see electronic editions of books published on CDs, DVDs or online. So it is relevant to explore what print publishers think of copyright in the digital age. Not surprisingly, the commercial print publishers hold a very similar philosophy to their counterparts in the video and audio sectors.

Commercial Publishers

In an Association of American Publishers white paper called "What Consumers Want in Digital Rights Management"1 , they have the following to say about DRM: "DRM does not implement copyright. DRM is technology that establishes and enforces to varying degrees certain permissions and restrictions on access and use of content. These permissions and restrictions are not, and in the current state of technology could not be, an embodiment of copyright law." Also, in testimony before the US House Judiciary Committee on allowing unrestricted (non-DRM) Internet access to books for intructional purposes, Allen Adler of Association of American Publishers said "AAP opposed the alternative bill's proposal because its version of a revised Section 110(2) exemption would have (1) permitted the online use of entire copyrighted works in a manner that substituted for the usual purchase or acquisition of instructional materials by or for students, and (2) exposed copyrighted works to potentially market-killing risks of unauthorized reproduction and distribution on the Internet." (Adler, 2001)"2

In other words, DRM is a supplement to copyright and is a perceived necessity because it is easy to copy unrestricted digital content. The assumption is that so many consumers would rather make a free copy than pay the author or publisher for their work that publishing in digital form would be unprofitable. However, there are duelling studies as to whether unrestricted downloads have any significant effect on sales.3; 4; 5

Academic Publishers

Academic publishing is a more interesting case because the market dynamic is different from commercial publishing. Academic publishing generally serves niche markets which are inherently unprofitable. The mission of academic publishing tends to focus on the dissemination of knowledge instead of on pleasing shareholders.

The relationship between academic publishers and their customers is a closer one. Oftentimes, the customer is also the author of some published work. Academics are accustomed to collaborating with each other, building on the works of others ("standing the shoulders of the giants that came before them") and reviewing each others' works. This dynamic puts a premium on openness6 and discourages technological measures which inhibit sharing of works.

In North America, the advocacy group for academic publishers is the Association for American University Presses (AAUP). When asked whether they take any position on digital copy restrictions, AAUP's executive director Peter Givler said "As an association I don't think we could take a position on this question." On the AAUP's Web site, one finds that they consider traditional copyright law to be for the public good7 and that technologies which push the limits of the fair use doctrine like Google Print (now Google Book Search) need to be further clarified8 and tuned.

The academic publishers' views can range from agreement with their commercial counterparts to cautious acceptance of free copying. For instance, when asked about DRM, the University of Chicago Press had this to say:

The University of Chicago Press acts as an agent of its authors in its publishing programs and works to protect their intellectual property rights as the Press makes their work available to the learned community.

We believe that Mike Shatzkin and the AAP's Allan Adler speaks well on the topic of Digital Rights Management.

Michael Jensen of the National Academies Press says that they have considered the issues of DRM and have decided not to use it in their publications because they would prefer to maxmimise availability of their content, they do not want to lock it down and also they do not want to deal with the customer service issues that may come with DRM. Jensen also says that they have started putting books on their Web site for free reading/browsing in 1994, have more than 3,500 books online and now have a significant amount of traffic at 1.25 million hits per month. In the past, they have implemented watermarking on their downloadable PDF (Portable Document Format) files but abandoned that practice 8 months ago since they have found so few issues with online copyright infringement that it was not worth the trouble.


According to the AAUP9 , university presses are subsidised and on average make about 85% of their revenues on sales. Given this, it is easy to understand why some university presses with uncertain subsidies are less enthusiastic about the idea of easily available copies which current technology enables. They can ill afford any significant loss to their already pinched revenues. But, at this point, any loss due to unrestricted digital copies is hypothetical.

There is also the Canadian model to consider, in which the government funds the lion's share of academic publishing. According to the estimates of Steve Izma of Wilfrid Laurier University Press:

Currently the Canadian government directly or indirectly funds a great deal of Canadian scholarly material:
  1. From my observations over the years about 30% of the income of the majority of Canadian-owned publishing companies (both profit and non-profit) comes directly from various levels of government (usually through arts councils, scholarly publishing committees) as grants
  2. Almost all (except for one or two notable exceptions) Canadian University Presses are significantly subsidized by their Universities through outright cash transfers or through grants-in-kind, such as free rent; most Universities see this kind of publishing as a form of promotion of the University as well as of its scholars, even if their press publishes material of wider origin. The amount of this subsidy varies widely and from year to year, depending on the income from sales, but it is not unusual to see the Press of any particular University benefitting to the equivalent of 20% to 30% of income through these sources
  3. Of the remaining actual sales income, more than half (and possibly as much as 75%) must come from either academics or students doing research or institutions like libraries -- so the income is either from government-funded organizations, employees, or from grants that academics themselves have received from government sources.

Even with all of these subsidies, the Canadian Encyclopedia says "... the university presses exist precariously. Editing and production costs are only one aspect of the problem in a country where funding, distribution and limited readership are factors never easily resolved."10

In sum

Ultimately, since it costs money to edit and produce print works, the questions are about business models. At the same time, the customers of academic works value the ability of free access to print works and would frown on any technogical restrictions which make this more difficult. If free copying is available, will current business models still work? If not, can an alternate model compatible with free copying be found? If DRM is inevitable, then can it at least be made minimally intrusive and user-friendly?11 As these questions are still unresolved, this is certainly a new era for academic publishing.

1 Slowinski, F. Hill (2003 March). What Consumers Want in Digital Rights Management (DRM): Making Content as Widely Available as Possible In Ways that Satisfy Consumer Preferences
Retrieved February 7, 2006, from:

2 Adler, A. (2001, June 27). Statement of Allan R. Adler vice president for legal and governmental affairs Association of American Publishers before the Subcommittee on courts, the Internet and intellectual property House Judiciary Committee concerning S.487 "The Technology, Education And Copyright Harmonization Act Of 2001."
Retrieved February 5, 2006, from:

3 Liebowitz, Stan J. (2005 March) File Sharing: Creative Destruction or just Plain Destruction
Retrieved February 12, 2006, from

4 Oberholzer, Felix and Strumpf, Koleman (2004 March). The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales
Retrieved February 12, 2006, from

5 Boorstin, Eric S. (2004 April 7). Music Sales in the Age of File Sharing
Retrieved February 12, 2006, from

6 McGreal, Rory (2004 November). Stealing the Goose: Copyright and Learning
Retrieved February 5, 2006, from

7 Givler, Peter (2003 February 9). Copyright: It's for the public good (originally appeared in The Chronicle Review)
Retrieved February 5, 2006, from

8 AAUP. Google Book Search, née Google Print
Retrieved February 5, 2006, from

9 AAUP. Some University Press Facts
Retrieved February 5, 2006, from

10 Canadian Encylopedia. University Presses.
Retrieved February 14, 2006, from

11 Jones, Pamela (2005 June 27). Grokster Decision - as Text
"Further, copyright holders may develop new technological devices that will help curb unlawful infringement. Some new technology, called "digital `watermarking' " and "digital fingerprint[ing]," can encode within the file information about the author and the copyright scope and date, which "fingerprints" can help to expose infringers."
Retrieved February 5, 2006, from

About the author: Roy Bixler has worked at the University of Chicago Press from 1994 to 2006 as a programmer and system administrator. During that time, he has spoken about technical issues at AAUP conferences and generally acquired a knowledge and appreciation of the world of academic publishing.

© Copyright 2006 Roy Bixler


The tension between DRM and academic publishing

By Bruce Barton
5 February 2006

With respect to DRM, what strikes me as both interesting and a challenge for university presses is the tension between the mission they serve and the business model under which they operate. Their mission, of course, is the certification and dissemination of scholarship. The business model comprises a number of things, most notably, the direct recovery of costs from readers. The tension follows from the most common cost recovery strategy: by restricting access to scholarship to only those readers who have paid for access, presses limit distribution and therefore, potentially, dissemination. I say "potentially" because in some disciplines I imagine presses reach the 200 people in the world capable of or interested in reading the most arcane of their publications. (Libraries purchase access for the communities they serve. Access nearly always implies that someone has paid for it.)

DRM is simply the implementation of this cost recovery strategy for electronic media.

What's wrong with this?

All would be well if purchasing power were unlimited. It isn't. And consequently scholarship is not thoroughly nor, one should note, equitably distributed. To the extent that this is true, university presses are failing their mission.

Distribution is not the same as dissemination. To disseminate the publisher must in addition to distributing scholarly materials notify readers that these materials exist. But in the electronic world, both notification and second-copy distribution costs are dropping dramatically. Let's assume for a moment that universities, scholarly societies, or other sources of funding were to pay for certification (managed peer review) and first copy costs. Then there would be no significant costs remaining and no need for DRM as a means of extracting payment in exchange for access. In effect, these funding sources are already paying for the production of scholarship. And compared to those costs, the cost of publication is tiny. There is certainly a precedent for this approach to publishing: a portion of research grants routinely go to paying for the page charges commonly assessed by scientific journal publishers.

Moreover, as Steve Izma points out, the same funding sources are paying much of the DRM fees. It seems like madness to suffer the transaction costs involved in this cost recovery model.

The way out of this?

I do not expect to see it coming from within the university press or the library communities. Budgetary expectations are too entrenched. I think that it is more likely that we will see a new generation of scholars organizing peer review and publication amongst themselves and deciding for their peers that this counts towards tenure and promotion. And they will teach their graduate students where to look for the best scholarship (as their teachers taught them). They will publish to whomever can find them and the good stuff by virtue of its citation network will rise to the top of Google's hit list (assuming Google doesn't make you pay to get there).

About the author: Bruce Barton is an eLearning Tools Developer with Academic Technology at DoIT, a unit of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He specializes in server-side system design and Java development. Prior to joining DoIT, Bruce worked for the University of Chicago Press where he led successful efforts in eBook publishing and eCommerce. He has organized workshops and been a frequent speaker and author on the effective use of technology in scholarly publishing.

© Copyright 2006 Bruce Barton.


Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing | 224 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
OT Here
Authored by: clark_kent on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 12:05 PM EST
Plase make links clickable

[ Reply to This | # ]

One Commercial Publishers take on DRM
Authored by: HavingPun on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 12:21 PM EST
Baen Books They don't believe DRM will work and are totally against it. For further editorials there is the a link on the left side called Prime Palaver.

Have Pun, will travel.
My spelling is not a strong suit.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here
Authored by: irtza on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 12:21 PM EST

[ Reply to This | # ]

The stranglehold by the publishers
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 12:27 PM EST
I am not a publishing academic myself, but I heard the following. In the not-so-distant past, if you wanted to publish an article in a high-profile magazine (for your area of expertise) (usually these are very specialist magazines with fairly small circulation), you have to pay the publisher to do so, and often transfer your copyright to them. The result is that you lost your work and have to pay very expensive subscriptions to have access to work of others. Obviously a lose-lose-lose situation. Hence, the recent formation of "article-pools" such as DARE.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing
Authored by: irtza on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 12:34 PM EST
Perhaps this is more a sign of societies failure to adapt to a new technology.
Maybe people need to go back and reassess how to accomplish
copyrights&patents original goal which is to promote the arts and sciences.
In an age in which distribution and replication costs have dramatically dropped
it is now possible to build off of other works with greater ease. Instead of
hindering progress perhaps some alternatives more in harmony with these advances
needs to be put in place

Maybe a system in which content is put onto a service for free distribution and
the consumers pay to access the system. At the end of the day, the system takes
out its operational costs and the money is split by the amount of
downloads/views of a product.

its kindof like payperview except that you never need to pay more than your
default amount.

Another method would be to embed advertisements into the product. Fairly easy
to do and redistribution would work in the advantage of those paying for the

As for academics, this opens up a whole new ballpark for publishing. One of the
greatest things this provides is living documents. Text books no longer need to
be out of date. Perfect example, in the medical field.
Doctors pay good money for this service because they can get the latest
information on a topic easily.

Similarly, this is a great publishing model for other academic fields. Submit
your articles/books to a paid service and people will pay to access it so long
as the information is being kept recent.

well... I suppose I should go do some work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

One Reader's Perspective
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 01:40 PM EST
Although I was active in the development of computers even before the PC came
out, I still much prefer a hardcopy book to a PDF or other electronic form, at
least for reading. Paper books are a great invention! You can read at your own
pace, go back, forwards, easily bookmark, even write notes in the margins (or
use Post-its). They do not need power, will not time out on you, are immune to
viruses, do not all of a sudden have their hard drives start thrashing about,
etc. However, the ease of searching the electronic books makes having such a
copy quite useful.

So for me, I would like an electronic, fully searchable, copy of every hard copy
book I purchase. That way I can sit down and relax and read the hard copy yet
be able to search when necessary. This is especially helpful in the books I
buy, which tend to be either academic or technical. Since most of the books I
buy cost on the order of $100 each, it wouldn't make much of a difference to me
if the price was a couple bucks higher and they either included a CD or made the
volume available for download.

As for piracy concerns, the grad students and others who can't afford to buy the
books just go to the library anyway. Most of the audience for this type of book
has easy access to a library.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 01:49 PM EST
The "subscribe by dues" can also be self defeating. I have seen a
couple of orgs (Foundation Fieldbus, HART, IEEE, IEC) that promote technologies
but a lot of the users have bad experiences trying to use products based on them
because they can not afford the membership dues to purchase all of the
documentation that is available. So they look for alternatives with more open

[ Reply to This | # ]

Self publishing vs Standard Publishing
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 01:50 PM EST
I have tried to publish two books using the standard
business model. This involved interacting with a publishing
house, being assigned an editor, handling manuscripts,
meeting deadlines, and various other activities. Neither
book saw the light of day.

Recently I moved to the 'self-publish' industry using Their business model allows me to upload my
content as PDF, choose my own cover art, and set my own
prices. The process, except for getting the ISBN
number,cost me nothing but my time.

The book is available for electronic download and hardcopy
purchase. Despite the availability of electronic download
and the fact that I personally distribute the book and its
latex sources as part of a computer program I am actually
selling hard copies of the book.

With the purchase of the ISBN my book automatically appears
in the "Books in Print" information. And with the purchase
of the enhanced ISBN my book appears on Amazon, Barnes and
Noble, Borders, etc.

Even more interesting is the fact that under the standard
business arrangement I was unlikely to receive actual
royalty payments "due to the overhead costs" and the fact
that most textbooks sell much less than 3000 copies. Yet
under the self-publish model I get paid for every
copy sold.

I think the traditional book publishing business is
unlikely to continue and that self-published books will
eventually be a more viable model.

The counter-argument would be that academic publishers
provide strong peer-review. However given that my name is
on the front cover I have an incentive to make sure that
my books have been read and reviewed before publication.
Since peer-review is an unpaid volunteer activity I don't
see any difference.

Tim Daly

[ Reply to This | # ]

Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 01:50 PM EST
"Roy mentions National Academies Press, whom I adore. They allow you to
download PDFs of technical books, and if you wish a hardbound copy, you can buy
one. I asked a representative there a couple of years ago how that works, and he
told me that with technical works, people really do buy, because they want to
have it handy on their bookshelf, so allowing free downloads seemed to help
sales because it let customers browse to see what they wanted to buy."

This statement speaks volumes - it tells me DRM is nothing but a tool of greed.
One is for microsoft to keep FOSS legally out of the desktop business by using
drm and the dmca. second the MPAA and riaa want you to pay everytime you
listen/watch one of their products.

again it speaks volumes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Related enterprises
Authored by: overshoot on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 01:53 PM EST
I think it pays to consider related enterprises which have faced the same issues: standards bodies. Historically, standards groups have used outside publishers for their standards documents, with the business primarily conducted by the outside firm and the standards body receiving authors' royalties.

The IEEE, for instance, once derived a large portion of its net income from publication royalties. On the other hand, a ten-page IEEE standard could cost $25 or more. This gets a bit hard to justify for a non-profit organization to justify, especially when the outside publisher is collecting the lion's share of the money.

I have copies of standards dating back to the 1970s, and the trend is quite visible: during the 1990s, standards groups started a process of re-examination on the subject of standards pricing in the era of the Internet.

Some, like the IETF or the W3C were always free-distribution groups. Others, like JEDEC originally charged for copies of standards but have moved to mostly-free electronic distribution [1]. Others, such as the IEEE, still charge for electronic copies but have made many of their publications available unencumbered to their members [2].

In general, the bodies have found that unencumbered copies are at worst a bearable obstacle to paid distribution, since both public and private libraries still subscribe to the omnibus distributions and have always had internal reprint rights. Even organizations such as the IEEE have been moving to less and less restriciton; as a member I can get a wide range of IEEE publications electronically without charge.

It stands to reason that the electronics industry should be ahead of the curve here, but that's well and good: others can see them exploring the territory and learn from their experience.

[1] Some publications such as JESD-100 are still primarily distributed as bound publications, partly because they're prime bookshelf references.

[2] Says /me, looking at my DVDs containing 50 years of The Journal of Solid-State Circuits.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The DRM folks mistake misappropriated proprerty for lost revenue
Authored by: dkpatrick on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 01:55 PM EST
The software, publishing, and media people have bought their own marketing. You
hear constantly about billions of dollars lost revenue because of theft. You
never hear how many of those 'thieves' would never buy the product and would do
without if they had no way to get it free.

From my own experience I used old napster to download specific tracks. I wound
up buying perhaps a dozen CDs to get more tracks based on what I had heard. Of
the dozens I got otherwise? Threw them away. Weren't good and I'm glad I didn't
buy the CD.

Software? I always buy these days and sometimes I regret it because the product
is awful. That means no repeat sales from that publisher or that line of

Books? I think e-books and other electronic distributions are a niche market and
will remain there. Going back 30 years when reading core dumps online was
"the great new thing", I found me and my peers preferred paper so it
could be dogeared, flipped, torn apart, etc. Paper is more malleable than the
monitor screen! The same is true today. As my eyesight gets worse, I prefer
printed material.

The long and short is that DRM is merely going to make the market for the
publishers' goods even smaller. They will continue to blame it on theft when in
fact it's just crummy products and lousy distribution.

"Keep your friends close but your enemies closer!" -- Sun Tzu

[ Reply to This | # ]

Academic journals
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 02:20 PM EST
He discusses the publication of academic books, but then there's the related
subject of journals. Many years ago, when scientific journals were just
starting to think about putting their content online, I was at a conference
where the Astrophysical Journal had set up a booth, so I stopped to chat with
them about this subject. I urged them to consider making the online version
available for free, and if that meant the page charges would be higher, I'd
happily pay them. Perhaps I should explain that academic journals are typically
funded both by subscription charges (technical libraries buy most of the
subscriptions) and page charges which are paid by the authors. They responded
that they probably weren't going to go that way because they were concerned that
higher page charges would create too much of a barrier to authors whose funding
wasn't so good. And in fact, in the end they and most other journals charge a
subscription to use the online copy.

Online "e-print" servers have sprung up, my favorite being,
which are free to read or submit, and I don't suppose they're very expensive to
operate. Inevitably you start seeing citations to papers on the e-print server.
Which makes people start asking, what do we need the journals for? I think the
two things of particular value the journals do that the e-print servers don't
are 1) refereeing, and 2) nice copy editing. (They also print and bind it
nicely, but I think we could live without that.) The actual refereeing is done
by volunteers, but the journal needs to pay the people who ride herd on the
referees, and the copy editors, and a technical editor or two, and the money has
to come from somewhere. Be nice if somebody tried a completely volunteer-run
online journal, but it hasn't happened yet in my field.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interview about Copyright with an Academic Publisher
Authored by: cjovalle on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 02:29 PM EST
I interviewed someone from University of Texas Press about copyright in Fall '04 ... she was the one who informed me about Google Print early on. ^_^ I didn't get to ask about DRM specifically, an oversite on my part, but we did talk about electronic distribution.
Interview with Laura Bost of UT Press

[ Reply to This | # ]

The whole DRM issues is directly related to Bank Robbery!
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 03:49 PM EST
DRM is a protection against being robbed? However, all you need is one computer
out there to hack the key and there goes the whole vault. And there is not a
key made that can not be reproduced given enough time and will. Ask any
computer security expert and guess what his or her answer will be to locks and

The paranoia is because the theft can happen so quickly. Instead of a physical
object being put under a coat in a store and walking out with it past the alarms
and security... With this digital age, if it is online it can be moved at the
speed of light.

The logic of the law enforcement legislation around this theft is that they can
stop it by a denial of rights to "fair use" because theft can happen
so fast.

Given this same logic then why don't the legislatures and lobby effort attempt
to outlaw the automobile? The automobile is used to get away from the crime
scene very quickly and complicates the efforts to catch the criminal.

So - given the logic of digital content protection, then why not apply the same
logic to other crimes as well. Outlaw the automobile... hey, fair is fair.

Or rather, unfair is unfair.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What IBM does
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 04:20 PM EST
For most documents, IBM self-publishes. You can go to web sites like IBM Readbooks and download what you want at no charge.

For IBM Research, where 'external publication' is part of the requirement, IBM typically uses SpringerVerlag, a scientific/academic publisher.

The deal here is that IBM has to assign Springer the commercial copyright, and pay them some money. There are two grades of service, depending on how much the author pays.

  • Cheap and cheerful. Anyone wanting to download the document pays Springer a few bucks. If you want to photocopy someone else's download, you have to pay Springer a few bucks too.

    'Open'. The author pays Springer rather more at the outset. Then anyone can download the document at no charge, and anyone can photocopy the downloaded document at no charge also.

    It's just business. But it's fascinating as a model.

    IBM's business is not 'publishing'. It is 'supporting the businesses of its commercial clients'.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

Publishing industry has dirty hands
Authored by: coats on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 05:34 PM EST
My copy of Vivaldi's Gloria claims copyright 1983 All Rights Reserved by a Time-Warner subsidiary.

Vivaldi died July 28, 1741.

This is but one of a host of examples in my music library; as far as I can tell the only honest music publishers are Kalmus and Oxford University Press.

My copy of the US Constitution demands that IP protection go to authors and inventors for a limited time. When will DRM expire?

To the extent DRM does not expire within humanly meaningful terms, the US Congress and the President have broken the Supreme Law of the Land.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Academic journals already manage digital rights
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 09:56 PM EST
Digital rights management is already in use in academic journals.

Practically all publishers provide on-line access to their journals. This access
is expensive but very convenient.
It also comes with strict limitations, i.e. most journals forbid users from
downloading all articles in a journal issue. Several on-line journals will
simply cut off network access to an IP address if their system detects automated
or systematic downloads. Access to journals is often done through library
gateways, which means that access can be cut to a whole university, although the
subscription fees have been paid.

At the same time, the cost of subscribing to the on-line version of a journal is
very high. Since on-line access is more convenient for users than the paper
copies, many libraries are considering to stop subscribing to the paper copy.
This will have very significant effects:

At the moment it is possible to go to a library and read a paper copy of a
hundread year-old journal. Once a library purchases a paper copy, that copy can
be held forever and made available to anybody in the world (e.g. through
inter-library loans or copying services).

With on-line journals, if cost-cutting results in abandoning paper journals, the
library has to pay every year to maintain access to a journal. If the
subscription stops, the library is left with nothing. As a result, in a few
years we may end up in a situation where the publisher controls access to the
knowledge stored in journal articles.

Single institutions, like a university library, are powerless to demand changes
to these access rules, like getting a digital copy of a whole journal for
storage in a library some time after publication. This can only change if
governments, which largely fund academic publication and subscription, demand

So DRM as such is not needed for journals. The basic rights management mechanism
is already effective and will only be strengthened by pushing up the cost of
annaul subscribtions to paper copies of journals, gradually forcing libraries to
stop ordering them and removing a distribution channel that doesn't have digital
access rights management.

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Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing
Authored by: Bas Burger on Wednesday, February 15 2006 @ 12:03 AM EST
Here we all know the issues at stake with DRM, but what surprices me is the
almost MAC zealousy when it comes to people in their love affair with Google.

A lot of people do not seem to understand and thus not care, that they, we the
users of their system are salesware in 2 ways, in short term we are
advertisement bait, but long term implications are much worse.

With the gathering of content, which is what google does through all their nice
applications they let people use, their library is skyrocketing.

Mix-in DRM of the boiling frog type just like used at itunes to have people
slowly used to the idea DRM isn't so bad afterall.

Wait a few years and then lobby in Washington or Brussels with big sums of money
for a virtual excavation of copyrighted domain properties the type like already
is being done with physical real estate. (for the greater good of us all)

Lock all gathered content into DRM and you have used all these years all these
people as slaves, then take all away from them to leave the hungry and enslave
their fruit of creation.

Don't you think that this sounds like modern feudalism?

I do...


b.t.w. I only use their websearch, but I know I shouldn't as much.


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Open Access Initative
Authored by: chribo on Wednesday, February 15 2006 @ 12:50 AM EST

I guess scientific publishers using DRM will lack of authors soon.

Leading European research institutes and universities have agreed to push forward Open Access to scientific publications.

Details can be found in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. The signing institutions are determined to push this project and have invested real money into it.


Sorry not time to explain further at the moment

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Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 15 2006 @ 04:50 AM EST
I think textbook publisher's especially elementary and high school texbooks.
the amount of money that the various governmental enties spend on textbooks they
could contact to have them written and retain reprint rights also digital

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Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing
Authored by: soronlin on Wednesday, February 15 2006 @ 09:10 AM EST
It was said a long time before the WWW: "The Internet views censorship as network damage, and routes around it." It is as true today as it ever was, and it makes the Internet something of a curate's egg. While nobody will agree that it is wholey good (take for instance child porn), no two people will agree exactly which parts of it are bad. The fact remains that the distributed nature of the Internet creates this behaviour, and it is impossible to remove without emasculating the entire network, or worse still, disenfranchising a single country from its riches; if the USA censors the Internet, then the Internet will route around the USA. This then is what we have to work with, and no amount of holding hands up in horror will change it. We either work with the free flow of information, or we find ourselves in a stangant and forgotten backwater that no one ever visits.

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Digital Copyright Issues in Academic Publishing
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 15 2006 @ 10:04 AM EST
The move to free content journals has already happened in the machine learning
community when the editorial board of the "Machine Learning Journal"
exited en masse to form the "Journal of Machine Learning Research",
with easily available content, short review times and excellent articles. It
seems that since then the quality of articles appearing on the former journal
has been declining.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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