NAFTA Negotiations: Authors Alliance Joins Public Interest Groups in Support of Transparency and Balanced Copyright Policy | Authors Alliance

“Today, Authors Alliance joins with other public interest advocates such as Creative Commons, SPARC, Internet Archive, OpenMedia, and Public Knowledge to sign on to a statement in support of transparency and balanced copyright policy in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The statement was sent to the trade ministries of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, urging all three countries to make trade negotiation processes more transparent, inclusive, and accountable.

Closed-door trade agreements are not the right forum to create intellectual property policy, particularly when negotiations lack transparency. It is critically important that drafts of international agreements that address intellectual property issues be publicly available for comment so that authors and other stakeholders can weigh in on the proposed rules that will bind all member states. Moreover, such agreements are not flexible enough to account for rapid changes in technology.”

The open science movement: Revolution is underway | PhySoc Blogs

“The world’s first academic science journal, Philosophical Transactions, was published by the Royal Society in 1665. At last count there were some 11,365 science journals spanning over 234 disciplines by 2015, and yet the primary model of scientific publishing remained largely unchanged throughout the centuries.

As a fresh-faced, naïve PhD student, I recall the horror I felt upon learning that my hard work would be at the mercy of a veiled, political peer-review process, that I’d be left with little option but to sign away my rights to publishers, and too often forced to choose between burning a hole in my wallet or forgoing access to a potentially critical paper!”

New tool could standardize the process of sharing research materials – Tech Transfer e-News – Tech Transfer Central

“Developed by the UK OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre and the BioBricks Foundation, OpenMTA honors the rights of researchers and promotes safe, responsible laboratory practices. In addition, the tool is designed to work within the practical realm of tech transfer and to be adaptable to the needs of multiple groups globally.

Goals for OpenMTA include:

  • Free access to the tool, with no royalties or other fees except for appropriate and nominal fees for preparation and distribution;
  • The ability for researchers to modify or repurpose materials available through OpenMTA;
  • Unrestricted selling and sharing of materials, whether it’s part of a collaboration or derivative work;
  • Availability to all kinds of institutions including academic, industrial, federal and community research centers

In its approach to tech transfer, Open MTA is designed to reduce transaction costs, support research collaboration across institutions and even nations, and provide a way for researchers and their labs to be credited for the materials they share.”

Sharing Is Daring | Stanford Social Innovation Review

“The sequence of the human genome, completed in 2001, was supposed to quickly reveal the secrets of health and disease. Instead, it showed that human bodies are more complicated than anyone realized. Disease is usually caused not by one bad gene, but by subtle variations in dozens or hundreds of genes working with and against each other in vast networks.

This discovery delivered a reality check to genome scientist Eric Schadt. Pharmaceutical giant Merck had spent hundreds of millions of dollars…”

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….”

Copyright and the Harvard Open Access Mandate by Eric Priest :: SSRN

Abstract:  Open access proponents argue that scholars are far more likely to make their articles freely available online if they are required to do so by their university or funding institution. Therefore, if the open access movement is to achieve anything close to its goal of seeing all scholarly articles freely available online, mandates will likely play a significant role. In 2008, the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted a policy that purports not only to require scholars to deposit their works in open access repositories, but also to grant the university nonexclusive copyright licenses to archive and publicly distribute all faculty-produced scholarly articles. A number of other American universities have since adopted similar policies. The principal aim of this Article is to analyze the legal effect of these Harvard-style open access “permission” mandates.


By invoking copyright law terminology in permission mandates, schools might intend that they have the legal effect of transferring nonexclusive rights to the school, thereby clarifying and fortifying the school’s rights to reproduce and publicly disseminate faculty works. However, the legal effect of these mandates is uncertain for several reasons. First, it is unsettled whether scholars or their university employers are the authors and initial owners of scholarly articles under U.S. copyright law’s work-made-for-hire rules, which vest authorship and copyright ownership in the employer for works created by employees within the scope of employment. Second, the mandates are broad university policies that purport to grant the university nonexclusive copyright licenses in every scholarly article unless a faculty member affirmatively opts out on a per-article basis. Are the policies specific enough to provide the essential terms of the grant? Furthermore, can the mere adoption of a school policy, without some additional affirmative act by the author, effectuate such a grant without unduly encroaching upon the author’s autonomy interests? Lastly, even if the policies effectuate nonexclusive license grants, will the licenses survive after the author transfers copyright ownership to a journal publisher as per common practice? Section 205(e) of the Copyright Act provides that a prior nonexclusive license evidenced in a writing signed by the right holder prevails over a subsequent conflicting transfer of copyright ownership, so the answer appears to turn on whether permission mandates satisfy the requirements of § 205(e).


This Article argues that permission mandates can create legally enforceable, durable nonexclusive licenses. First, it argues that although there are important justifications, including academic freedom concerns, for recognizing the controversial “teacher exception” to the work for hire rules for scholarly articles, such an exception may be unnecessary because a strong argument also exists that much scholarship is produced outside the scope of employment for work for hire purposes. Second, it argues that permission mandates provide sufficient evidence of the grantor’s intent and the rights granted to create effective nonexclusive licenses. Third, permission mandates satisfy the requirements of § 205(e) and establish the license’s priority over the subsequent transfer of copyright ownership largely because they fulfill the underlying purposes of § 205(e) by providing sufficient evidence and notice of the license to potential copyright transferees (typically academic publishers). In reaching these conclusions, this Article emphasizes that Courts should consider the uniformity costs (social costs resulting from applying uniform rules and granting uniform entitlements across diverse conditions) that arise from applying to scholarly articles copyright rules developed to address proprietary models of information production. Applying the relevant copyright rules in a manner sensitive to the nonmarket nature of scholarly production is the most effective way to reduce these social costs, and reinforces the conclusion that mandate licenses are enforceable.


Lastly, the Article considers whether the opt-out nature of permission mandates offends notions of authorial autonomy in copyright. It compares permission mandates with another high profile opt-out licensing regime: the proposed Google Books settlement agreement, which the court rejected partly because of authorial autonomy concerns. Authorial autonomy is far less of a concern for scholarly articles than for the books at issue in the Google Books case, however, due to the nonmarket nature of scholarly article production coupled with academic community norms. Accordingly, it does not substantially interfere with authors’ autonomy interests to find that the opt-out structure of permission mandates creates valid nonexclusive licenses in universities.

Open Access and Education: the cases of SABER and the Open Educational Resources (OER) – Inventa International

“Multiple studies carried out by international institutions, such as the UN, identified Intellectual Property Rights as partially responsible for the existence of a difference between ‘information-rich’ and ‘information-poor’ due to the exclusion they create. Thus, an approach to the management of Intellectual Property, taking into account human development and fundamental rights, has proved to be essential.

In this context, the Open Access approach to copyright management emerged as the most appropriate model to promote education through access to information and creative content.

Under this model, intellectual works, such as educational and research materials, are made available online free of charge.”

Good practices for university open-access policies

“This is a guide to good practices for college and university open-access (OA) policies. It’s based on the type of rights-retention OA policy first adopted at Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and the University of Kansas. Policies of this kind have since been adopted at a wide variety of institutions in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, for example, at public and private institutions, large and small institutions, affluent and indigent institutions, research universities and liberal arts colleges, and at whole universities, schools within universities, and departments within schools….”

Notes on the Research Works Act – Harvard Open Access Project

“The Research Works Act (HR 3699) would repeal the OA policy at the NIH and block similar policies at other federal agencies.

The main section (Section 2) is brief: “No Federal agency may adopt, implement, maintain, continue, or otherwise engage in any policy, program, or other activity that — (1) causes, permits, or authorizes network dissemination of any private-sector research work without the prior consent of the publisher of such work; or (2) requires that any actual or prospective author, or the employer of such an actual or prospective author, assent to network dissemination of a private-sector research work.” …”

The UK Scholarly Communications Licence – supporting academics with open access | Zenodo

“To address these issues, a group of research organisations in the UK is working to implement a solution that ensures authors can make their work open access, meet funder requirements and always retain the right to reuse their own outputs – but without having to change the publishing process as it currently exists. The initiative is called the UK Scholarly Communications Licence (UK-SCL) and was started by Chris Banks and Torsten Reimer at Imperial College London. At the heart of the UK-SCL is a licence agreement between a research organisation and their staff: authors grant the organisation a non-exclusive licence to make the manuscript of a scholarly article publicly available under a Creative Commons licence that allows non-commercial reuse (CC BY NC). This arrangement pre-dates any contract authors might sign with a publisher, which allows the host organisation to license the rights back to the author after they signed the copyright transfer agreement. This process ensures that academics can retain rights and do not have to negotiate with the publisher. To be legally binding, publishers must be notified – but this is something research institutions working with sector bodies will undertake jointly, so that authors have no additional work….”