“The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University seeks an extraordinary full-time, salaried employee fellow to join the Center’s Lumen project. The fellowship provides the opportunity to develop substantive and scholarly work on the global takedown and intermediary liability landscape, especially as it relates to the major challenges of the current moment.
Lumen is a research project collecting and studying requests and demands of all kinds –both legitimate and questionable– to remove material from online, including copyright takedown notices, government requests and court orders. The project’s goals are to encourage and facilitate both research and transparency about the different kinds of complaints and requests for removal that are being sent to Internet publishers and service providers, and to provide as much information as possible about such notices — of which Lumen’s database contains over twelve million, referencing the removal of approximately 4.5 billion URLs — in terms of who is sending them and why, and to what effect.”
“In most cases and for most of the published research Duke produces, we aim to disseminate these works with no direct financial return; no royalty. If possible, our authors generally want no financial barrier to stand in the way of engagement with their research, operating under the idea that more and faster progress will be made without those barriers. In many cases, we find ourselves licensing around the controls that copyright law automatically provides. For example, more than ten years ago, Duke Faculty voted to adopt an institutional open access policy that provides for free, widespread distribution of research articles that Duke faculty have authored….
Given our interest in widespread dissemination of ideas, for research and academic work our strong preference is a system that is biased toward keeping content up online unless there is strong evidence that an infringement has occurred. The current notice and takedown system does not always accomplish this goal….
First, for some academic works, the ownership of rights is far from clear. Although authors are the holders of those rights initially, they are often asked to license them away at least in part through publishing contracts that are confusing and vary significantly from journal to journal and which can change with some frequency. As a result, some academic authors are unsure of whether they are legally permitted to share their own work online under the terms of their publishing agreement. Many research articles are also subject to pre-existing licenses that attach automatically upon creation—for example, at Duke under our Open Access policy—which provide that authors and their institutions retain certain rights to share and reuse their work. My experience with takedown requests we receive at Duke is that publishers do not take into account pre-existing open access licenses even though their existence is widely known….
Second, and perhaps the most important thing I can convey, is how important fair use is for research, teaching, and for libraries that support those functions….
Section 512 does not explicitly address how fair use factors into the notice and takedown process….[I]n practice we know that in many instances automated content identification systems are the first method of assessment, and they do not handle fair use assertions well….”
“The members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing have always been clear that we embrace and actively encourage copyright compliant sharing of content by the research community. However, the commercial science platform ResearchGate continues to provide access to millions of research articles on its site without publisher’s permission in contravention of copyright agreements and does not take any appropriate measures to stop this illicit activity.
On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Wiley announced that it will explore other possibilities to minimize the availability of copyright infringing articles on ResearchGate and made the decision to enter into an agreement with ResearchGate. [Hence, Wiley has dropped out of CFRS].
“We appreciate the support Wiley has put into the Coalition for Responsible Sharing over such a long time,” says James Milne, PhD, chair of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing and president, ACS Publications. “Members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing continue to believe the illicit posting and subsequent removal of infringing content on ResearchGate’s site is unsustainable and disruptive for the research community. Copyright-infringing content should not be made available on ResearchGate’s site at any time.”
To date, cooperation agreements proposed by ResearchGate do not address the Coalition for Responsible Sharing’s concerns. New copyright-infringing articles are constantly being added to the site, in addition to the millions of copyright-infringing articles it already illicitly distributes. An average of 130,000 articles have continued to be added to ResearchGate each month, approximately 45 percent of which infringe copyright. To date, Coalition for Responsible Sharing members have sent nearly 450,000 takedown notices to ResearchGate for copyright infringing content it distributes….”
“The staff of Lumen, a unique public resource at Harvard University collecting and studying millions of removal requests for online content, is thrilled to announce that the project has received a $1.5 million grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to expand and improve its database and research efforts.
From well-publicized takedowns from foreign governments, political campaigns and celebrities to more obscure requests from private entities and individuals, modern online platforms and search engines must regularly respond to requests and demands to remove content and links. Lumen provides a way for the public and its representatives – including academic researchers, journalists, and other stakeholders – to understand trends in demands for content removal and their outcomes in ways that balance public disclosure and privacy rights and serve the greater public interest….”
“As scientists and scholars, we create the intellectual content that appears in APA [American Psychological Association] Journals. We conduct the research, write the papers and review the work at no cost to your journals. We also edit your journals for minimal income. This makes the academic publication system incredibly profitable for publishers.
It deeply concerns us that APA uses these profits to pay staff to threaten us to remove these products of our free labor from our academic websites, where other academics can read and build on our work.
We engage in practices like voluntary reviewing for APA because we feel a commitment to producing a public good that others can use to promote scientific progress. By using these profits to restrict us from sharing our own work, you have privatized a public good and made our relationship transactional. Of course, it is entirely within your rights to do so.
If you wish to make this relationship transactional, we demand that you use the profits from our work to pay us for reviewing. If we learn that you have pressured any of the signees to remove their own APA publications from their academic website, then all signees will demand that you pay us $300 per review (unless otherwise agreed upon in writing).
In short, you have a simple choice: You continue to accept our free labor and allow us to share the products of our labor on our academic websites OR we move to a transactional relationship and you pay us for our reviewing and we use that money to pay for open access rights for our papers (or any other purpose we deem relevant).”
“Like many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles — published and soon-to-be — on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit.
So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by a takedown notice he received from the American Psychological Association, telling him that the articles he had published through the organization and then posted on his website were in violation of copyright law. The notice triggered a chain of responses — including a warning from his website platform, WordPress, that multiple such violations put the future of his entire website at risk. And because the APA had previously issued similar takedown notices, the threat of losing his website seemed real to Cunningham.
In response, psychologists started a petition to the APA, saying that if it didn’t stop policing authors’ personal websites for the sharing of science, then it needed to pay peer reviewers $300 for each article review….”
“For the past 25 years or so, Carl Malamud’s lonely mission has been to seize on the internet’s potential for spreading information — public information that people have a right to see, hear, and read….
Indeed, Malamud has had remarkable success and true impact. If you have accessed EDGAR, the free Securities and Exchange Commission database of corporate information, you owe a debt to Malamud. Same with the database of patents, or the opinions of the US Court of Appeals. Without Malamud, the contents of the Federal Register might still cost $1,700 instead of nothing. If you have listened to a podcast, note that it was Carl Malamud who pioneered the idea of radio-like content on internet audio — in 1993. And so on. As much as any human being on the planet, this unassuming-looking proprietor of a one-man nonprofit — a bald, diminutive, bespectacled 57-year-old — has understood and exploited the net (and the power of the printed word, as well) for disseminating information for the public good….”
“While Elsevier was completely within its rights to issue the take down notices, the end result is the view that Elsevier is not on the side of science, but merely of profit. There is room in the publishing landscape for non-profit and for-profit publishers, but those pursuing profits need to make sure that the pursuit of profit does not stifle scientific work. Otherwise those companies may see researchers turning to universities, libraries and non-profit organizations that prioritize the dissemination of scientific information.”
“Millions of articles might soon disappear from ResearchGate, the world’s largest scholarly social network. Last week, five publishers said they had formed a coalition that would start ordering ResearchGate to remove research articles from its site because they breach publishers’ copyright. A spokesperson for the group said that up to 7 million papers could be affected, and that a first batch of take-down notices, for around 100,000 articles, would be sent out “imminently”.
Meanwhile, coalition members Elsevier and the American Chemical Society have filed a lawsuit to try to prevent copyrighted material appearing on ResearchGate in future. The complaint, which has not been made public, was filed on 6 October in a regional court in Germany. (ResearchGate is based in Berlin). It makes a “symbolic request for damages” but its goal is to change the site’s behaviour, a spokesperson says….”
“ResearchGate, a popular for-profit academic social network that makes it easy to find and download research papers, is facing increasing pressure from publishers to change the way it operates.
On Tuesday, the American Chemical Society and Elsevier, two large academic publishers, launched a second legal battle against the Berlin-based social networking site — this time not in Europe, but in the U.S.
The publishers accuse ResearchGate of “massive infringement of peer-reviewed, published journal articles.” They say that the networking site is illegally obtaining and distributing research papers protected by copyright law. They also suggest that the site is deliberately tricking researchers into uploading protected content. A spokesperson for ResearchGate declined to comment on the accusations.
The court documents, obtained by Inside Higher Ed from the U.S. District Court in Maryland, include an “illustrative” but “not exhaustive list” of 3,143 research articles the publishers say were shared by ResearchGate in breach of copyright protections. The publishers suggest they could be entitled to up to $150,000 for each infringed work — a possible total of more than $470 million….”