Re: FOS Newsletter Excerpts

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 17:10:17 +0000

      Excerpts from the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      November 9, 2001

Turning the tables

In earlier issues, we've worried about the commercial exploitation of FOS
(see FOSN for 7/17/01 and 8/7/01). If you put content online for free for
readers, then it's also free for commercial publishers or any other
for-profit vendor who wants to take up your content, repackage it, perhaps
with add-ons, and sell it.

Now commercial providers are worried about the inverse problem. If they
put up content supported by advertising or subscription fees, then (as long
as it isn't hidden behind passwords) it will be copied and made available
free of charge by Google's cache system (FOSN for 10/12/01) or the Wayback
Machine's internet archive (FOSN for 10/26/01).

Commercial providers are worrying...
(Scroll down to the fifth story.)

There's an interesting symmetry here. Free content can be repackaged and
sold by commercial publishers. Priced content can be repackaged and given
away by FOS providers.

Here are two differences that break the symmetry. First, when free content
has been repackaged for purchase, and when priced content has been
repackaged for free distribution, then most users will prefer the free
versions of both kinds of content. Or at least it would take significant
add-ons to persuade users to buy content they could get for free. This is
the asymmetry that will help FOS in the long run. If we can convert lead
to gold and gold to lead, most people will prefer gold.

Second, Google and the Wayback Machine let commercial providers tag their
sites so that they are not cached or archived. Hence, commercial providers
can stop free distribution at their own initiative, but there is no
comparable step that FOS providers can take to stop commercial
exploitation. They can copyright their content and refuse permission to
reprint it for profit. But this requires monitoring, negotiation,
confrontation, and lawsuits, not just a metatag.

Copyright helps each side symmetrically block the other. Clearly FOS
providers can use copyright to stop commercial exploitation. For the other
direction, see Katharine Mieszkowski's November 2 article for _Salon_, in
which she speculates on the copyright and other legal troubles that might
arise for the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Online newspapers that
charge for access to back issues will soon find that the Wayback Machine
gives free online access to all. "The testy members of the National
Writers Union [vindicated by the Supreme Court in _Tasini_] may also view
the archive as an unauthorized and uncompensated republishing of their
work. There's also the tricky question of what happens if a settlement in
a lawsuit requires that libelous material be removed from a Web site, yet
the original lives on in the archive?"


New on the net

* The source code for the Digital Document Discourse Environment (D3E) is
now available for downloading. D3E is an open source program which creates
a threaded discussion attached to any web page. It's easy to set up and
use and a natural for integrating discussion with any online article or
book or for experimenting with new forms of interactive peer review. "Full
D3E" uses a toolkit to insert navigation links and discussion hooks into
the target document. "Ubiquitous D3E" (which is new) uses unmodified files
in their natural habitat on the web. D3E discussions support multiple
threads, moderators, discussion subscription, searching, email delivery,
HTML within posts, look and feel control, usage statistics, and other
standard features of major discussion forums. D3E is a collaboration of
the Knowledge Media Institute of the UK's Open University and the Center
for LifeLong Learning & Design of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Digital Document Discourse Environment (project overview, downloadable source)

Ubiquitous D3E (start a D3E discussion of an existing web page)

Example: D3E discussion of the FOS home page

Example: how the Journal of Interactive Media in Education uses D3E for
interactive peer review

For a similar free service, see Document Review from QuickTopic.

* The Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library (EEVL) was originally launched
in 1996 as a free online archive of engineering reports, articles, and
data. This week it was relaunched with a wider scope that includes
mathematics and computing. The new name is the Internet Guide to
Engineering, Mathematics, and Computing, though it still goes by its old
acronym, EEVL. It has one of the most flexible search engines I've seen in
a content portal. You can search the entire archive or limit your search
to any of its many topical sub-sections. You can limit searches by
discipline, by resource type, or by national origin. You can search the
full-texts of the archived articles, or limit the search to authors,
titles, URLs, or descriptions. EEVL is the joint product of a handful of
British universities with funds from JISC.

* The National Library of New Zealand has put online over 300,000 pages
from a score of 19th century NZ newspapers. Users may browse the
collection in English or in Maori.

* The proceedings of the August workshop in Atlanta, "Managing Digital
Video Content" are now online. For most of the talks, the site includes
the speaker's PowerPoint presentation and a RealVideo clip of the talk.

* The proceedings of the October JISC seminar, Digital Curation: Digital
Archives, Libraries, and E-Science, are now online. These consist of a
couple of RTF documents and many PowerPoint presentations.

* has put online Eric Lease Morgan's comparative review of
eight open source search engines, and links to 20 others.


Share your thoughts

* The National Academies' Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in the
Knowledge-Based Economy would like your comments on the papers from several
past conferences that it has posted to its web site.

* The American Library Association would like your nominations for the 2002
Library of the Future Award. The nomination deadline is December 1.

* The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) would like your
nominations for its 2002 National Award for Library Service. It will
accept nominations until February 15.

* The IMLS would also like your comments on the following two reports, both
just put online.

Report of the IMLS Digital Library Forum on the National Science Digital
Library Program

A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections

* The Trans European Telecommunications Networks is calling for proposals
in many areas, including "Access to Europe's Cultural Heritage".

* Gerry Mckiernan would welcome any news about "current or planned efforts
for organizing or providing enhanced access to Internet or Web resources"
for his "News from the Field" column for the _Journal of Internet
Cataloging_ (JIC). Send news items to <gerrymck [at]>.


In other publications

* In the November 6 _Chronicle of Higher Education_, Jeffrey Young
interviews Corynne McSherry, author of _Academic Work: Battling for
Control of Intellectual Property_ (Harvard UP, 2001). McSherry sees a deep
conflict between copyright law, which is about the exchange of commodities,
and academic life, which is about the exchange of gifts. Her book won
Harvard's 2001 Thomas J. Wilson prize for the best first book accepted this

Jeffrey Young, Law Student Warns That Professors' Quest for Rights to
Lectures Could Backfire

Corynne McSherry, _Academic Work_
(This is the full-text of the book. Does anyone have details on when
Harvard provides free online full-text of its books and when it doesn't?)

* Lawrence Lessig has just published _The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the
Commons in a Connected World_ (Random House, October 30, 2001), a critique
of the direction of copyright law with specific recommendations on how
legislatures can protect the future of ideas.

Lessig, _The Future of Ideas_ (at Amazon)

Review by Marc Rotenberg (director of the Electronic Privacy Information

* Rory Litwin, maintainer of the Library Juice weblog, has written a
manifesto that attempts to capture what he calls the Library
Spirit. Libraries' "combination of economic communitarianism and
social/intellectual libertarianism creates the ideal support system for a
democratic society, because the library provides everyone with access to
ideas and provides access to every idea."

Rory Litwin, The Ideology of Librarianship: A Libertarian Socialism of

Library Juice

* The text-e online seminar (see FOSN for 10/19/01) has moved on to the
discussion of an essay by Roberto Casati. Free registration allows you to
participate in the conversation.

Roberto Casati's essay, What the Internet Tells Us About the Real Nature of
the Book

Stevan Harnad's comments on Casati's essay


Following up


If you plan to attend one of the following conferences, please share your
observations with us through our discussion forum.

* Conference on the Public Domain
Duke Law School, November 9-11

* Setting Standards and Making it Real (on Digital Reference Services)
Orlando, November 12-13

* The Future of Intellectual Property in the Information Age
Washington, D.C., November 14

* Digitising Maps and Atlases: Experiences and Techniques
Florence, November 15

* First Annual Meeting of the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium
Pisa, November 16-17

* British Library and BioMed Central Open Access Forum
London, November 19

* NINCH Town Meeting: Copyright and Fair use: Creating Policy
Eugene, November 19

* ARL Workshop for Publishers: Licensing Electronic Resources to
Libraries: Understanding Your Market
Philadelphia, November 19

* Electronic Journals within Art & Design: Flash in the Pan or Here to Stay?
Northampton, November 21

* A Day in the Life of a Journal Publisher
Bradford, England, November 22

* Eighth Call for Proposals of the European IST Programme
London, November 27

* European Forum on Harmful and Illegal Cyber Content
Strasbourg, November 28

* Canadian Digital Library Symposium
Toronto, November 28-29

* Fall 2001 CNI Task Force Meeting
San Antonio, November 29-30

* eGovernment [in Europe]: From Policy to Practice
Brussels, November 29-30

* Digital Media Revolution in the Americas
Pasadena, November 29 - December 1

* Fourth SCHEMAS Workshop: Sharing [metadata] schemas
The Hague, November 30

* 2001 IST Exhibition and Awards
Düsseldorf, December 3

* School for Scanning: Creating, Managing, and Preserving Digital Assets
Delray Beach, Florida, December 3-5

* Online Information 2001
London, December 4-6

* Second Meeting of the Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability
Standards (CETIS) Educational Content Special Interest Group (EC SIG)
Luton, December 7

* The Electronic Library: Strategic, Policy and Management Issues
Loughborough, December 9-14

* 4th International Conference of Asian Digital Libraries
Bangalore, December 10-12

* Academic Institutions Transforming Scholarly Communications (SPARC/ARL
Forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting)
New Orleans, January 18-23


The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter is supported by a grant from the
Open Society Institute.


This is the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (ISSN 1535-7848).

Please feel free to forward any issue of the newsletter to interested
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Guide to the FOS Movement

Peter Suber

Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber
Received on Mon Nov 12 2001 - 17:11:23 GMT

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