Here’s another important reason why academics should publish in open access titles: self interest

Open access has been discussed many times here on Walled Culture. There are several strands to its story. It’s about allowing the public to access research they have paid for through tax-funded grants, without needing to take out often expensive subscriptions to academic titles. It’s about saving educational institutions money that they are currently spending …

Streaming services today sell musicians access to their own fans; SoundCloud shows a better way

Back in January, Walled Culture wrote about an interesting initiative by the German online audio distribution platform and music sharing service SoundCloud, with its Fan-Powered Royalties (FPR) approach. At the time, we noted that it was a kind of halfway house to the true fans idea this blog has promoted many times. We also pointed …

Warhol understood what transformative art looked like, the US Supreme Court doesn’t

Last year Walled Culture wrote about an important copyright case before the US Supreme Court. It concerned Warhol’s images of the musician Prince, which are based on a photo taken by Lynn Goldsmith. At issue was whether this was fair use of the work. By seven to two, the Supreme Court judges ruled that it …

Top EU court to issue definitive ruling on whether copyright is more important than privacy

Back in November last year, Walled Culture reported on the shocking opinion by a top EU court advisor that copyright was more important than privacy. The case in question was brought by four French associations for the protection of rights and freedoms on the Internet (La Quadrature du Net, the Federation of Associative Internet Access …

Mass resignation by top academics over “too greedy” publisher, as Council of the EU calls for open access

It’s no secret that academic publishers are making fabulous profits by exploiting the work provided free of charge by researchers and funded by taxpayers. This is still happening, despite over two decades of efforts to move to a fairer system based on open access publishing. Now, over 40 of the top researchers in the field …

Generative AI in Google search is great news for the true fans model, but what about publishers?

Most of the analysis of generative AI – things like Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT – has focused on how it will affect creators. But another important aspect is the impact it will have on newspaper and magazine publishers. It flows from this recent move by Google: With new generative AI capabilities in Search, we’re now …

A “blatant no” from a copyright holder stops vital linguistic research work in Africa

Copyright discussions typically concern texts in just a few languages, and often only in English. In part, that’s because copyright law has evolved most quickly in anglophone countries. But it means that the copyright problems faced by those speaking less well-known languages – particularly languages with limited quantities of textual material available – are completely …

Ed Sheeran has won yet another copyright infringement case – and that’s outrageous

Ed Sheeran keeps on getting hit with accusations of copyright infringement. It’s partly his own fault, as he himself admits, reported here by the Guardian: in 2017, he settled out of court after songwriters of the Matt Cardle song Amazing claimed it had been copied by Sheeran for his song Photograph. Sheeran later said he …

Librarians of the world unite: call for action on ebooks

The terrible lawsuit against the Open Library for daring to increase access to books during the Covid pandemic is not just an attack on the Internet Archive’s selfless work. It is a broader attack on the very idea of the library, and on the vital services that libraries provide to society. These include offering ready …

Germany wants to include copyright infringement as an example of “digital violence”

The hyperbolic rhetoric that is a feature of the copyright industry, which tries absurdly to characterise making an additional digital copy as “theft”, can lead to some serious legislative harm. For example, Germany is currently aiming to bring in a new law against “digital violence” – things like bullying and stalking, but also identity abuse …

Canadian musician Grimes shows how to embrace generative AI for fun and profit

Back in November last year, Walled Culture wrote about the growing panic in the copyright world as a result of generative AI programs writing music. Since then, the issue the entered the mainstream, not least with the following story, reported here by The New York Times: For Drake and the Weeknd, two of the most …

UK Performing Right Society insists that every copyright is sacred – no exceptions

Most of the stories on this blog are about copyright absurdities, and the poor fit of an 18th-century legal framework for a 21st-century technology. But it’s important to remember that the copyright world is not just silly, but can be downright selfish. Here’s a great example of how copyright’s enforcers cannot imagine forgoing the tax …

Yet again, the copyright industry demands to be shielded from technological progress – and the future

Back in October last year, Walled Culture was one of the first blogs to point out the huge impact that generative AI would have not only on copyright but also on creativity itself. Since then, the world seems to have split into two camps. One believes that generative AI will revolutionise everything, and create some …

No big deal: calling the publishers’ bluff on high-price access to publicly-funded research

This blog has written a number of posts about open access, and its difficulties. One important impetus for the move towards open access was the increasing use by academic publishers of so-called “big deals”. Wikipedia explains: In a big deal, a library or consortium of libraries typically pays several million dollars per year to subscribe …

What Professor Litman’s classic open access book “Digital Copyright” teaches us

The central theme of Walled Culture the blog and the book (free digital versions available for download) is how copyright is a bad fit for the digital world. That has become increasingly evident over the last twenty years, as more copyright laws have been passed. But the story begins back in the early 1990s, when …

Writers and publishers face an existential threat from AI: time to embrace the true fans model

Walled Culture has written several times about the major impact that generative AI will have on the copyright landscape. More specifically, these systems, which can create quickly and cheaply written material on any topic and in any style, are likely to threaten the publishing industry in profound ways. Exactly how is spelled out in this …

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