Re: Authors "Victorious" in UnCover Copyright Suit

From: Mike Holderness <>
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2000 16:16:49 +0100

In-Reply-To: <>
Stevan Harnad <> writes,
concerning the UnCover ruling:

> Insofar as books are concerned, nolo contendere.
> But insofar as refereed journal articles are concerned, this lawsuit
> and its "victorious" outcome for researchers represents nothing but
> short-sighted nonsense.
> Journal articles are author GIVE-AWAYS; the average refereed journal
> article (this is a free estimate, but unlikely to be far from the
> truth) has, let's say, 25 readers, and zero citations (apart from
> self-citations), in its entire life-cycle. (Authors for whom UnCover
> raises that number by 1 or 2 are not "abused"!)

Once more, with feeling:

How you perceive this ruling clearly depends on what place you occupy
in the writing economy/ies, and how you use UnCover.

Stevan indeed writes papers as give-aways, having a salary which is
in part influenced by citation.
        I infer from what he writes above that he uses UnCover (&co)
largely to locate papers by others occupying the same niche.

I write articles to make a living, as a freelance.
        I use UnCover (&co) largely to locate articles written by
journalists. From time to time I discover my own work being sold
without any license from me ("stolen" in the vernacular).


What is required is a distributed Authors' Rights Registry database,
delivering access terms set by the author(s) of each "object" and
licenses they have granted.


Stevan finds one of my articles on UnCover and agrees to pay
them $11.05 for a hard copy, of which I get $2.04 net of
handling charges;

I find one of Stevan's papers on UnCover and agree to pay
them $X for a hard copy, Stevan having set the license fee
at $0.00.

Everyone's needs and wishes are then covered, no?

(I strongly suspect that X=11.05 for practical purposes in the
near future. Note that when UnCover made a deal with Publication
Rights Clearinghouse to handle payments for journalistic work
the price of a copy *fell* in Spring 1996 from $11.50 to $11.05.
I haven't checked current prices or page charges for long papers.)

I am aware of some work in the direction of a distributed database
but won't say which, so that any replies will serve partly as an
awareness survey.


Writing this, I pondered *why* I don't use UnCover for refereed
papers. I think the answer is that as a journo working to
deadlines I usually need a paper *now*, not in the morning.

When I want papers I get them from academics' self-archiving
websites. Them as doesn't have websites don't get journalistic
citations, from me at least. If you hear echoes of Stevan's wider
arguments here, you're bang on the mark.

Mike Holderness
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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