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Re: BioMed Central Authors to retain copyright

> "BioMed Central promises to offer all primary research 
> without financial and copyright barriers," says Professor 
> Marc W Kirschner, Head of the Department of Cell Biology at 
> Harvard Medical School.  

> "We will make the publishing of original research quicker, 
> easier and free to all," says Vitek Tracz, Chairman of 
> BioMed Central.  

Ummmm... well, let's not exaggerate here.  If the copyright remains with
the authors, it's not exactly accurate to say that there are "no copyright
barriers" involved or that the authors' research will now be "free to
all."  In fact, unless the authors formally put their works in the public
domain, the full force of copyright law will still apply -- it's just that
it will do so on behalf of the authors, rather than the publisher.  This
is probably a good thing in that it keeps copyright in the hands of those
who are presumably driven more by professional (rather than economic)
interests, but it does not mean that their work has somehow become "free
to all"; users face the same restrictions under the law no matter who owns
the copyright.

Rick Anderson
Head Acquisitions Librarian
Jackson Library
UNC Greensboro
(336) 334-5281

"Which is the greater
miracle: to cause a stone
to speak, or a philosopher
to stop speaking?"
  -- Overheard at the
     Council of Nicaea