I read disturbing news in an article by Barbara Fister recently, that three academic publishers are in a lawsuit with Georgia State University over the right to share information. Sage, Cambridge and Oxford University Press want their university clients to ‘ensure that their faculty, students, and staff will be “restrained from creating, reproducing, transmitting, selling, or in any manner distributing, or assisting, participating in, soliciting, encouraging, or facilitating the creation, reproduction, download, display, sale, or distribution in any manner of, copies, whether in hard copy format, digital or electronic computer files, or any other format, of any and all Works without permission.”‘ Read the full article here.
This draconian demand would mean that nothing could be copied or even displayed without the permission of the publishers. As if academic publishers hadn’t got libraries over a barrel already over cost, they seem to want to go further and have complete control over research and scholarship, material which they didn’t even create. This sets a dangerous precedent and we should all be worried.
But, as Barbara Fister says towards the end of the article this is the perfect time for open access to step in and take over and thumb the virtual nose at greedy corporations. Let’s hope they lose the lawsuit.