18 November 2010


An important article on copyright appears in the Straight today. Written from the perspective of a student at Simon Fraser University, it highlights how copyright law can infringe the rights of creators - researchers, scientists - to share their information with the public. In other words, it can prevent knowledge from getting to all but an elite few.

Excessive copyright law can create monopolies of knowledge and monopolies of culture can isolate us from understanding and from the ability to act as citizens....

As a student ... I can go online and read scientific journal articles about climate change. When I graduate I will lose my library card. I can pay for a new one, but it will not include online journal access. I will have to trek up to the top of Burnaby Mountain to read the public research - and even then, I will not be able to share the articles I find.

I've experienced this problem.

Several times in the recent past, I've had to post to academic listservs asking if anyone has an e-copy of this article or that. Without exception, either the original authors or other academics have responded with a downloadable file for me.

Going to the publishers' websites results in the opposite experience because they hold the copyright.

It's not the creators who are blocking access. They want to share their work.

Read Geof Glass' entire article. It's excellent.

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