[pp.int.general] Immediate action required!

Reinier Bakels r.bakels at planet.nl
Thu Aug 20 22:38:11 CEST 2009

>> This is sort of paradoxical. SURF is related to universities. Can
>> universities force their students and PhD candidates to grant copyright
>> licences? That is what they currently actually do. For me as an external 
>> PhD
>> candidate without university funding or support this was sort of a bad 
>> deal,
>> and I refused.
> Do Dutch PhDs and students not retain the sole right to their copyrighted 
> works?
Absolutely. Even PhD students employed by the university retain their 
copyright, at least in NL. There is case law about that.
> In Sweden, I think copyright is highly individual and tied to the
> maker of the copyrighted material unless explicit agreements about
> transferral of the rights are met. For instance, journalists tend to
> still own the copyright to their articles. The papers just have the
> right to publish.
> As a general comment though, if there is a need for an Open Access
> Year to promote the accessibility of knowledge and information, does
> that not in itself suggest that copyright in its full extent poses
> some threat to the dissemination of knowledge into society?

Oh yes. Recently there was a series of articles in my newspaper about Open 
Access and the "Berlin Declaration". Especially in the hard sciences, 
publishers play a questioable role. Authors (and peer reviewers) get 
nothing, sometimes authors even have to pay for publication. And the 
magazines are outrageously expensive for university libraries, and sometimes 
virtually impossible to access if you are not related to a university. 
Still, for their rating (important to get subsidies!), scientists are judged 
from the number of publications in top-level scientific magazines. One is 
now trying to break that vicious circle.

Many articles nowadays are only available in electronic databases. 
Fortunately, I still have an informal relationship with Maastricht 
university, so that I can access their databases. Many of these databases 
are provided to universities on "education" licences. If I vist the Max 
Planck Institute in Munich, I only get access to the databases they are 
subscribed to, if I declare *not* to be an attorney, else thy put their 
subscption into jeopardy and/or may have to play substantially more. 
Off-premises access is unthinkable. Yes, people have to travel to overcome 
copyright restrictions, in the Internet era (bad for the environment!) 
Fortunately, I can access a major legal German database ("Beck Online") in 
the Peace Palace in The Hague which is 20 km away from here.

I am happy t put my publications on the Internet. But I hate universities 
requiring me to put my publications into *their* repository - if at the same 
time they write me letter not to we wiloing to spend a single eurocent to 
me. (In NL, it is still possible to obtain a doctorate as an "external 
PhD" - perhaps that will change with the advent of "graduate schools").

Yes, there is some conflict with "Pirate" philosophies. I think it is 
essential that the *real* author (artist etc.,as opposed to publishers as 
copyright owners) still ma decide on the disposition of his work - which is 
not necessarily the same as *exploit* it.


More information about the pp.international.general mailing list