Adding an OA Trust to the Google book settlement

From Hal Abelson, Harry Lewis, Lewis Hyde, and Charlie Nesson: “One wonderful promise of the Google Book Settlement is that it will bring back into circulation all the out-of-print books currently under copyright. An important subset of these works are “orphaned,” meaning that their legal owners have abandoned them, died, or simply cannot be located. These works have value, and renewed public access to them will create a stream of revenue.

To whom should that revenue be dedicated?

We argue that truly orphaned works should be thought of as a part of the public domain, and that any income generated from their renewed circulation should therefore be dedicated to the public good. Moreover, as this income has been derived from renewed access to printed books, the public good in this case can well be thought of as those institutions that are themselves dedicated to access to knowledge.

We therefore propose the creation of an Open Access Trust, funded by the revenue generated by unclaimed orphaned works.

Trusts are centuries-old institutions devised to hold and manage property for beneficiaries. The essence of a trust is a fiduciary relationship. Neither trusts nor their trustees may act in their own self-interest; they’re legally obligated to act solely on behalf of beneficiaries. These rules are enforceable by the courts.

Imagine a trust dedicated to access to knowledge. The beneficiaries of such a trust would be all living citizens, globally, and future generations. The trustees, in turn, would have as their primary duty the creation, encouragement, and maintenance of institutions that serve the goal of open access, worldwide….”

How expiring patents are ushering in the next generation of 3D printing | TechCrunch

“The year 2016 is quickly shaping up to be one of the hottest years on record for 3D printing innovations. Although there is still a lot of hype surrounding 3D printing and how it may or may not be the next industrial revolution, one thing is for certain: the cost of printing will continue to drop while the quality of 3D prints continues to rise.

This development can be traced to advanced 3D printing technologies becoming accessible due to the expiration of key patents on pre-existing industrial printing processes….”

More 3D Printing Patents Are Expiring Soon: Here’s a Roundup – 3D Printing Industry

“A few years ago, the expiration of many key 3D printing patents had the 3D printing community abuzz.  The 3D printing patents that expired in the 2013-15 timeframe are described here.  At that time, many articles challenged the conventional wisdom that intellectual property drives innovation by creating competition, since the existence of IP forces workarounds.  Those articles argue that patents prevented innovation in 3D printing because the fear of being sued led to a lack of investment in 3D printing R&D, and that patent litigation hindered the adoption of the technology.  The end result, some believe, is that IP creates barriers to entry for new market players, minimizes competition, and keeps prices artificially high.


The expiration of several key 3D printing patents in 2013, 2014, and 2015 was supposed to change the industry.  So what happened?  Did the expiration of those patents lead to market growth, reduction in prices, and new products?  Or were other forces, such as the technology itself, holding back new 3D printing technologies?  Are there other 3D printing patents that will expire soon that could have similar effects?  Although it is still too early to give definitive answers to these questions, this article describes developments in the 3D printing industry since the expiration of some of the so-called key patents and discusses 3D printing patents that have or will expire soon….”

Free Inactive Patent Search — 100% Free Inactive Patent Information

“To find patents that have merely expired you can simply set your search terms to look for patents that are 20 years old or older. However, finding a list of inactive patents is far more challenging. This website overcomes that challenge as it allows you to search through all inactive patents in the U.S. that are less than 20 years old. We created this database to help drive open source hardware (OSH) development. Our previous work has found that patents should be significantly weakened as they are actively retarding innovation and technical progress. By properly valuing open hardware development it is clear that the return on investment for OSH development is enormous. In addition, proactive measures to defend the public domain can also provide more safe space for innovators to operate. Our hope is that this database accelerates your open hardware development.

For more information please see the article published in Inventions (2016): Open Source Database and Website to Provide Free and Open Access to Inactive U.S. Patents in the Public Domain. doi: 10.3390/inventions1040024 …”

The case for open?access chemical biology | EMBO Reports

Although the creation of new chemical entities has always been considered the realm of patents, I think that it is time for change. Novel chemical tools, most of which will not have drug?like properties, are too valuable to be restricted; they will be of far greater benefit to research if freely available without restrictions on their use. Chemical biologists would benefit from the many advantages that the open consortium model brings: rapid access to research tools; less bureaucratic workload to enter legal agreements; the ability to work with the best people through collaborations focused on the publication of results; and freedom to operate for companies, harnessing the synergies between academic freedom and industrial approaches to systematically tackle a scientific challenge. My call for open?access chemistry public–private partnerships might sound impractical, but pilot projects are already underway….The SGC is a one example of an open public–private partnership. It was created as a legal charity in 2004 to determine the three?dimensional high?resolution structures of medically important proteins. As an open consortium, the resulting structures are placed in the public domain without restriction on their use. The SGC was conceived nearly ten years ago, based on the conviction that high?quality structural information is of tremendous value in promoting drug discovery and a belief that patenting protein structures could limit the freedom to operate for academic and industrial organizations….Although it is clear that open?access chemistry is in the best interests of society, the challenge is the cost. My arguments can be defended on the macroeconomic level, but costs for assay development and for chemical screening and synthesis are incurred locally, by the institutions and from the public purse. Free release of chemical probes by academia would ultimately benefit the pharmaceutical industry and society, but the possibilities for royalty and license payments for universities would decrease. One solution is to explore models in which both the public and private sectors contribute up?front in return for unrestricted access to the results and compounds, as in the SGC. It should also be noted that an open?access model is not in conflict with the aim to commercialize, at least not in the long term. It could be argued that experience built around specific biological systems would allow commercial development at a later stage if findings by the community indicate that a particular protein or pathway is a valid target. A chemical biology centre with such experience would be in an ideal position to develop new chemistry and launch a proprietary programme….

Open-source science to enable drug discovery

“The drug discovery process is losing productivity to the detriment of the global economy and human health. The greatest productivity gains in the sector can be achieved by solving the fundamental scientific problems limiting the progression of compounds through clinical trials. These problems must be addressed through a combination of ‘blue sky’ and targeted research on priority issues, perhaps defined within a ‘grand challenges’ framework. For many reasons, targeted research should be performed in PPPs [public–private partnerships] that release information into the public domain immediately, with no restriction on use.”

Bermuda Principles meet structural biology : Article : Nature Structural & Molecular Biology

“The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC; is a public-private partnership that places the three-dimensional structures of proteins of relevance to human health into the public domain without restriction on use. Over the past 3 years, the SGC has deposited the structures of more than 550 proteins from its Target List ( into the Protein DataBank (PDB); this accounts for about one-quarter of the new structures of human proteins in the PDB over this period (‘new’ is defined as <95% sequence identity to proteins whose structures were already available in the PDB) and the majority of the new structures from the human parasites that cause malaria, cryptosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis. Over the next 4 years, the SGC is committing to determining the structures of another 600 proteins from its Target List, including eight human integral membrane proteins.

The SGC has been releasing the coordinates for all the SGC structures into the PDB immediately after they meet the SGC quality criteria (, even if the ultimate intention is to describe the work in the peer-reviewed literature. This data release policy, which has often meant that coordinates were available for several months before the manuscript was even written, has not limited the ability of our scientists to publish….”

SGC | Structural Genomics Consortium

“The SGC is engaged in pre-competitive research to facilitate the discovery of new medicines. As part of its mission the SGC is generating reagents and knowledge related to human proteins and proteins from human parasites. The SGC believes that its output will have maximal benefit if released into the public domain without restriction on use, and thus has adopted the following Open Access policy.

The SGC and its scientists are committed to making their research outputs (materials and knowledge) available without restriction on use. This means that the SGC will promptly place its results in the public domain and will not agree to file for patent protection on any of its research outputs. It will seek the same commitment from any research collaborator….”


“Collecting data from international partners, analyzing it, creating a reconstruction of Palmyra in virtual space, and sharing the models and data in the public domain. We are using digital tools to preserve heritage sites.

Cultural Development

Hosting live workshops and building a network of artists, technologists, archaeologists, architects, and others to research, construct models, and create artistic works. We create exhibitions and experiences in museums and institutions globally, celebrating the cultural heritage of Syria and the world through the lens of architecture embodying culture and power.

Open Data

Helping to advance open data policies in museums and institutions through advocacy, education, and consultation.

Together with our international affiliates, #NEWPALMYRA sources archaeological and historical data, shares it with the community, and outputs art exhibitions, salons, and creative works using this data to carry the rich history of Palmyra forward to new generations….”

Thoreau’s 200th birthday brings gift for botanists | Harvard Gazette

“In honor of Thoreau’s 200th birthday, on July 12, hundreds of new images of his specimens, along with the data associated with them, will be posted online, part of a larger effort to digitize and open to the public the 5.5 million dried plant specimens in the Herbaria’s collection.

“I think it’s fair to say that the data that live inside these cabinets has been dark for far too long,” Davis said. “My vision for the collections is that we make everything online and accessible to the world.”

That larger effort has meant adopting a new “open-access digitization policy,” available on the Office for Scholarly Communication website, that puts most of the images — excepting those whose copyright is held by other institutions or individuals — in the public domain….

“The Herbaria is the first Harvard museum to adopt an open-access policy for its digitization projects,” said Peter Suber, director of the Office for Scholarly Communication. “Lifting restrictions from the bulk of its digital reproductions will bring this unique botanical collection to a global audience, and advance the Herbaria’s mission of research and education.” …”