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Re: Monopolies and copyright (RE: Wellcome Trust report)

Copyright is consistent with monopoly, but they are not inevitably

I can retain copyright in the sense of integrity of my work and right of
attribution, while at the same time freely distributing my work to anyone
who might like to read it.

Even in the commercial sector, there is nothing to stop me from selling
redistribution rights to as many different companies as I like, provided
of course that they are agreeable to these terms.

In some of the aggregated databases, we see this happening now - the same
magazine, with all its copyrighted articles, is available in several
products.  This is an illustration of how copyright can be just as
consistent with a competitive market as with monopoly.


Heather Morrison

On 8-Jun-04, at 5:00 PM, Jan Velterop wrote:

OK. You got me there. But I do think that a monopoly in a free market is somewhat of an oxymoronic notion. If monopolies are inevitable, they only work if they are well-regulated.

One could indeed argue if copyright does have a place in reporting
research results. In an article I wrote in 1995 I called reporting these results 'keeping the minutes of science'. They have the kind of quality of a witness account, an affidavit. Are witness accounts copyrighted? Maybe they are.

The law gives every author copyright whether they want it or not. So every author has to decide whether using copyright to limit the distribution of his or her article is appropriate, or whether using copyright to ensure maximum distribution and use is the thing to do. The power (and responsibility) is theirs. Authors may be 'helped' in coming to a decision by their funders, particularly public funders, whose objectives usually include adding knowledge, insight and understanding to the world's knowledge pool, for the benefit of all.

Jan Velterop