Re: FOS Newsletter Excerpts

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2001 10:15:46 +0000

Joseph Riolo's preoccupation with declaring texts to be public-domain
is based on an agenda very different from that of this Forum. It has
nothing to do with freeing online access to the refereed research
literature and is indeed inapplicable to it. Interested readers should
go to google to find out what that agenda is all about, but for present
purposes I simply ask that postings to this Forum please remain
on-topic, rather than reverting to hobby-horses that are not related,
or related only very superficially, to the specific focus of this

On Fri, 7 Dec 2001, Joseph Pietro Riolo wrote:

> ps> ...The preprint is not covered by the transfer of copyright of the
> ps> refereed final draft...
> As I mentioned before in this discussion group, this statement is not
> wholly correct. It all depends on how the agreement, contract, or any
> legal document is written. It could cover preprint; it could exclude
> preprint. Moreover, there is no legal basis for your general statement.

Joseph Riolo has not understood this point and I do not think anything
is gained from further repetition, unless there is some new, pertinent
information introduced.

> ps> ...Then authors will be at liberty to put their refereed postprints
> ps> in public archives, free for all.
> Don't be too sure. The copyright will last for 70 years after the death
> of author and the estate of the author may impose the control over the
> access to the author's articles. The estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.
> is a living proof.

This is again a non-sequitur for the topic (and literature) at hand.
Joseph Riolo is grinding another ax, and it has nothing to do with the
subject matter of this Forum.

> ps> In short, I want a legal basis to oppose plagiarists, who would put
> ps> their name on my work, and for-profit aggregators, who would bundle it in a
> ps> package for sale. For more details, see the statement to which I link just
> ps> below my copyright declaration (
> How are you going to enforce it? Your newsletter mentioned LOCKSS which
> stands for "Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe". A bad guy can copy your
> newsletter (or any of your works), make some changes here and there,
> replace your name with his pseudonym, and quietly post the newly altered
> copy to some newsgroups and web servers. By the time you find out the
> violation of your copyright, many copies of the unauthorized derivative
> work are already saved at many places in the Internet.

Detecting and prosecuting plagiarism is always a challenge, but this is
once again a non sequitur, with respect to the matter at hand.

Note that I have not replied to any of these points. Peter Suber has
done so. But as it is not the first time these points have been made,
and not the first time they have been replied to, and not the first time
it has been pointed out that they are missing the mark insofar as the
specific subject matter of this Forum is concerned, I have to add that
further postings about the desirability of putting one's work in the
public domain should be directed to another venue. They are not pertinent
here and merely generate confusion.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sat Dec 08 2001 - 10:17:09 GMT

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