Sunday, April 14, 2013

Access Copyright lawsuit: are some of us inadvertently suing our employers?

The latest Access Copyright lawsuit against York University and renewed attempt to force every post-secondary and K-12 to pay Access Copyright's tariff is an opportunity to look at their "intellectual property" and approaches in new ways. For example, it just dawned on me that academic authors may be in a position of indirectly suing their employers, through their publishers, represented by Access Copyright and other members of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFFRO) as well as pushing for draconian tracking regimes that threaten our own academic freedom.

For example, one of the members of the IFFRO is the UK's Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA). One of the members of CLA is the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). Members of ALPSP obviously are learned and professional society publishers, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications Division, Cambridge University Press, Elsevier Ltd., Oxford University Press, Sage Publications, and Taylor & Francis, to name a few.

Scholars working at York University publish their work in journals owned by ALPSP members, who then work indirectly through the IFFRO and Access Copyright to sue the employer of their authors, York University. I have a strong hunch that there are some very interesting legal and strategic implications here.

Information about the Access Copyright suit can be found here: