5.0024 Copyright (1/105)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Fri, 10 May 91 16:48:53 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0024. Friday, 10 May 1991.

Date: Wed, 8 May 91 00:04:47 CDT
From: robin@utafll.uta.edu (Robin Cover)
Subject: Copyright: major initiatives for liberalizing public access

Many thanks to Bob Hollander, Richard Goerwitz, Norman Coombs and Neel Smith
and (HUMANIST 4.1323) for responses on the copyright issue. Other HUMANIST
readers may wish to muse over all three parts (Parts I-III) as a whole
before responding to any one part; the division was artificial, necessitated
by some brain-dead mailers.

I am grateful now at least for thoughtful interaction. The HUMANIST record
will show that there was no public response to a specific list of queries on
copyright posted over a month ago. I would now like to re-post this query
(appended below), in hopes of gleaning information about initiatives within
publishing consortia, scholarly societies, funding agencies and other bodies
to liberalize access to electronic text through relaxing restrictions
allowed under current copyright law. The Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS)
has made a slight concession, but most efforts by the publishing industry
appear aimed at tightening up the Copyright Clearance Center's ability to
collect revenues on a per-usage basis.

I would specifically like to know what goals the CITED Project has in
liberalizing access -- or whether the primary participants are once again
publishers seeking technical solutions for the enforcement of copyright and
generation of a revenue stream for themselves.


The British Library Document Supply Centre (DSC) has recently become a
member of two groups which are looking at the issues of copyright and
standardization for electronic document delivery. . .

"These new technological advances all raise serious questions of the
copyright in these materials. Few publishers wish to prevent access:
rather they want to control it and receive payment for it. . .

The British Library is taking part in a project called CITED (Copyright in
Transmitted Electronic Documents) to identify the requirements of users of
copyright materials, examine the problems which copyright raises and
develop mechanisms for control, monitoring, and access in this field. The
project is being funded by the European Commission and will last for two
years. Other partners in the project are from Belgium, France, Germany,
Spain, and The Netherlands." (the full copy of this announcement can be
posted if there's interest)

Now, RE-POSTING of my specific query (slightly revised/augmented) follows:

I have several questions on a perennial topic: copyright of electronic
text. These are questions to which I did not find adequate answers by
examining the HUMANIST topical collections (RIGHTS TOPIC-1 ... RIGHTS
TOPIC-5) from 1988-1989, or by examining the database output of HUMANIST
discussions during 1990-1991.

(1) Does anyone know of specific actions taken by professional societies to
help shape constituencies' awareness, attitudes, scholarly expectations and
professional ethics policies in the matter of "(non-) ownership" of
electronic literary texts? I missed the recent ACH/ALLC forum in Tempe
chaired by Mike Neuman (a summary to HUMANIST would be most appreciated)
which may bear on this question. I am most interested in MLA, APA and
similar societies where committees for 'Research and Publication' may
have taken steps formulate ethical standards which reflect the needs and
values of textual scholarship within its purview -- independent of what the
currently restrictive copyright laws and interpretations might be.

(2) Similarly, does anyone know of publishers or publishing consortia
which have formulated and publicized policy statements on their willingness
to support textual scholarship by releasing electronic texts from
traditional copyright restrictions -- e.g., declaring a commitment to place
primary texts -- pre-modern texts for which they has also sponsored paper
publication -- in public access, and on public networks?

(3) Can anyone summarize the current policies (publicized or induced) of
NEH or other granting agencies in decidedly favoring research and
publication efforts which commit to placing electronic texts in public
domain? By "public domain" I mean placed in areas of unrestricted public
access, accompanied by "copyleft" kinds of legal instruments to protect the
texts from becoming owned, sold or in other ways proprietarily controlled.
Would it violate antitrust laws for granting agencies to explicitly
publicize such policies?

(4) Among the many variations on Ted Nelson's (Xanaduvian) "pay-by-the-bit"
chargeback scheme to reward personal authors, have there been detailed
proposals by to differentiate between the primary texts themselves and
scholarly work in editorial comment and exposition (e.g., a transcription of
an ancient text as opposed to critical apparatus, textual commentary,
philological notes)? Royalties awarded on a "per byte" basis would seem to
involve several kinds of inequity. On the other hand, factoring in the
professional stature of the writer, the density and 'intellectual
difficulty' of the subject matter (e.g., a brilliant mathematical proof in
four lines, within a two-page article), etc. would seem to pose
difficulties for a Xanaduvian system applied to textual scholarship.

(5) Can anyone supply an analytical outline of all the relevant issues
surrounding the matter of copyright and intellectual property in electronic
text? A nice outline would emerge from re-reading the HUMANIST
discussions, but I don't wish to duplicate an effort that more competent
participants may have already done. Does anyone have a selected reading
list for distribution?

Thanks in advance for any assistance forwarded to me personally or to the
HUMANIST discussion.

Robin Cover BITNET: zrcc1001@smuvm1
6634 Sarah Drive Internet: zrcc1001@vm.cis.smu.edu
Dallas, TX 75236 USA Internet: robin@utafll.uta.edu ("uta-ef-el-el")
Tel: (1 214) 296-1783 Internet: robin@ling.uta.edu
FAX: (1 214) 841-3642 Internet: robin@txsil.lonestar.org