Will publishers try to shut down the free General Index of 107 million scientific journal articles?

One of the exciting possibilities opened up by the digital world is that access to all human knowledge could be made freely available to everyone with an Internet connection. Sadly, most publishers prefer boosting their profits to helping humanity, and have done everything they can to make sure that this possibility is never realised. Despite …

Technological progress + outdated copyright laws = huge swathes of our cinematic culture lost forever

Physical books can be bought, shared, and accessed in libraries quite easily. Films in a physical form, on the other hand, are hard to acquire, share or view in archives. Writing in the Guardian, the non-fiction filmmaker Charlie Shackleton says that 90% of archive collections consist of film prints that will never be seen. Moreover, …

Copyright law discriminating against the blind finally struck down by court in South Africa

Most people would agree that those who are blind or visually impaired deserve all the help they can get. For example, the conversion of printed materials to accessible formats like Braille, large print, or Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY) formats, ought to be easy. Who could possibly object? For years, many publishers did; and the …

Interview | Mirela Roncevic – Open Access, Open Science, Scholarly Monographs, E-Book Lending

Scholar, writer, editor, content developer, and publishing and library consultant, Mirela Roncevic talks about the long journey of open access and open science, how to pay for scholarly monographs, and the complex challenges of e-book lending. Do you prefer watching our passionate interviewees talking about the 21st-century walls blocking access to culture? Then check out …

Longer copyright protection means fewer books are available, and they cost more

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the standard copyright term of life plus 70 years makes no sense: a promise that they’ll be paid after their death is unlike to stimulate extra creativity from artists. Conscious of how weak this argument is as a justification for extremely long copyright, supporters have come up …

Widespread copyright anxiety, leading to copyright chill, means something is deeply wrong

Thirty years ago, copyright law was boring. It was the province of specialised lawyers, and had very little direct impact on ordinary people’s lives. The Internet changed all that. Now, everyone online is affected by copyright, which comes into play whenever people create something in a fixed form, like a post, or when they share …

ResearchGate: academic publishers forbid scientists from sharing their own papers, because “copyright”

ResearchGate is a social network for scientists, whose ideas seem pretty closely aligned with those of this blog: Our mission is to connect the world of science and make research open to all. The 20 million researchers in our community come from diverse sectors in over 190 countries, and use ResearchGate to connect, collaborate, and …

Interview | Cory Doctorow – Part 2: New publishing models for creators, Amazon as a frenemy, and the Internet Archive court case

Author, journalist, and activist Cory Doctorow talks about the new publishing models available to creators, the consolidation of the publishing and distribution markets, the emergence of Amazon as a frenemy to publishers and the misunderstandings that led to the Internet Archive court case. Do you prefer watching our passionate interviewees talking about the 21st-century walls …

Breaking down the walls: UK government supporting open science and open research

It’s not just culture that suffers because of walls built by copyright: science, too, has a terrible problem in this regard. In some ways, that’s even worse, since copyright often prevents the free, frictionless flow of information in the form of academic papers, reports, books etc. that will lead to more research and more discoveries. …

Interview | Cory Doctorow – Part 1: Newspapers, Big Tech, Link Tax, DRM and Right to Repair

Author, journalist, and activist Cory Doctorow talks about the evolution of newspapers, the role and threats posed by big tech, the collateral damage created by link taxes and the impact of digital rights management systems (DRM) on our daily lives, including on our right to repair. Do you prefer watching our passionate interviewees talking about …