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

> From: Rick Anderson [mailto:rickand@unr.edu]
>> 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.
> First of all, yes, they are (if fixed in a tangible medium of expression).  
> Second of all, isn't it a bit disingenuous to characterize the 
> publication of original research as the functional equivalent of 
> "keeping minutes"?  If you spent five years developing original recipes 
> and then wrote a cookbook based on them, would you simply be "keeping 
> the minutes of culinary progress"?

'Keeping the minutes of science' is perhaps a bit of a simplification, but
not disingenuous, I think. Record keeping is very important in the
collaborative, incremental and cumulative process that the scientific
pursuit is. Most science is explicitly, overtly, and necessarily built on
previous knowledge. Might it be a little disingenuous to compare science
with developing cooking recipes?

>> The law gives every author copyright whether they want it or not. 
> Yes, copyright is granted automatically; the law is written on the
> assumption that a person who does the work necessary to create
> information will wish to retain some limited rights in regard to that 
> information. However, the law hardly forces authors to retain those 
> rights.

Indeed not. In the traditional model they readily and seemingly
unquestioningly transfer it to the publisher, retaining not even limited

> It takes little or no effort to make one's original work freely
> available to the public for unrestricted redistribution, adaptation,
> etc.

Precisely. That's exactly how authors use their copyright when they
publish with open access.

Jan Velterop