This is getting ridiculous…

Two Canadian universities have agreed to pay a flat fee anytime faculty/staff/students include a link to copyrighted material in their university emails, because of an agreement with Access Copyright that linking is the same as photocopying (hat tip to miz_geek). This apparently will actually be monitored. Recall that, at least in the US, any work of intellectual effort created is automatically copyrighted, published or not, so any link to anything (unless you hold the copyright) could theoretically be included.

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Add this to the ever-growing list: Congress retroactively extending copyright out to several generations, George State U vs. Cambridge/Oxford/SAGE, Google Books/Hathi Trust vs. Authors Guild, Congressional acts that try to prohibit publicly-funded research from being published in open-access venues, university libraries that merely rent bundled journal subscriptions, publishers that refuse to let public libraries loan out e-books… I think I sense a pattern here.

I won’t publish everything that I write as open-access, but more and more I’m going to be figuring out how to publish as much of my work as possible outside of traditional publishing venues. I’ll probably start by posting up conference papers that I give.

Friendly reminder: this blog is under a Creative Commons license, which welcomes non-commercial non-published use with attribution. You should choose a CC license for any of your own materials that you have online. Let others know where you stand, and allow others to make use of your ideas.



3 responses to “This is getting ridiculous…”

  1. Gene Hughson says :

    Ridiculous is putting it mildly. I don’t know about Canada, but case law in the US (Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation, Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google Inc.) has upheld linking as not an infringement. Not only that, both case, particularly the latter, deem creation of thumbnails as Fair Use (i.e. not an infringement of the copyright holder’s rights). I’d love to know more of the back story as to why they’d sign on to such an agreement.

    Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

  2. miz_geek says :

    To clarify – the universities signed blanket agreements with “Access Copyright” that work out to $27.50 per student. Uses covered by the agreement include emailing links. It’s not that the universities are paying that flat fee every time someone links, but either when they calculated what that fee covers, or when they specified how the money will be paid out to the copyright holders (and thus, what needs to be tracked), they included linking.

  3. Gene Hughson says :

    Paying to license linking, which has no copyright implications, would seem to set a dangerous precedent. The cost of the “coverage” is irrelevant.

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