Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Access Copyright Insanity - Possible Solutions?

Access Copyright, Canada's copyright collective, is asking for an absolutely ludicrous tariff increase (about a tenfold increase from about $3.5 to $35 per post-secondary student), at the same time that they are looking for increased restrictions (no linking please!) and paperwork (e.g. having students sign a form saying that they are in fact a student, and using the work for their studies). This is all on top of libraries paying top dollar for the content, by the way.

Some possible solutions that libraries might want to consider:
  • Ask Access Copyright for a complete list of members / works covered. Don't buy any of their stuff. Who doesn't have way too much to read as it is? Besides, this will filter out anyone so out of touch that they think forbidding hyperlinking on the internet makes sense.
  • If you MUST buy their stuff, set up a separate site on your website for this material, appropriately labelled - perhaps with an icon including a hefty lock and chain and/or wording to the effect, USE THIS LOCKED DOWN MATERIAL AT YOUR OWN LEGAL PERIL.
  • Send Access Copyright a bill for about 10 times what they think you should pay them. This actually does make sense for a university library; think of how many faculty and students are creators, particularly of works in the academic library. Why are WE paying THEM at all, anyway?
Another thought: if Access Copyright members have issues with people reading and citing their work, what will this do to the Open Access Citation Impact Advantage? My prediction is that this will increase the difference.

On the plus side, we should all be grateful to Access Copyright for demands that so obviously show the lunacy of lock-down in academia that faculty members are now flocking to solutions such as Open Educational Resources.