6.0676 Gopher and Copyright (2/122)

Wed, 28 Apr 1993 18:02:07 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0676. Wednesday, 28 Apr 1993.

(1) Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1993 17:23:03 -0500 (EST) (55 lines)
From: jod@ccat.sas.upenn.edu (James O'Donnell)
Subject: Gopher and Copyright

(2) Date: Tue, 27 Apr 93 8:38:33 EDT (67 lines)
From: Ann Okerson <ann@cni.org>
Subject: Gophers and Copyright

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1993 17:23:03 -0500 (EST)
From: jod@ccat.sas.upenn.edu (James O'Donnell)
Subject: Gopher and Copyright

(Posted to three lists: further posting permitted, esp. to gopher-manager

As e-editor of Bryn Mawr Classical Review, I have run across a
potentially troubling problem. Many gopher menus show assorted
e-journals, and BMCR is a staple on these lists. I discovered today that
one particular server was supplying our texts in a woefully out of date
and unauthorized version. They probably came from a one-time experiment I
authorized to take some of our files and make them available on WAIS at a
time when WAIS was the newest thing on the block. Since that time, we
have worked out a good arrangement with the e-text center at the
University of Virginia Library to maintain the only authorized current
archive of our files: that way, I only have to make corrections, changes,
etc., in one place.
But the site I found was using old files. I asked veronica to
check out the world of gopher tunnels for me, searching the word MAWR, and
got back five screenfuls of hits. I did not do an exhaustive check, but
the results were dismaying: many of the sites were clearly using old
files, and had apparently downloaded them from somewhere in a batch some
time ago, stuffed them in a local gopher hole, and forgotten about them.
Users of those gophers will think BMCR an odd publication that ceased some
time ago.
This is all around distressing and raises questions of control and
management of e-resources. As I think about it, it seems to me that this
is a place where copyright gives us still a useful way of thinking about
the problem, if not an immediate solution. By no stretch of the
imagination is it "fair use" to take all the existing files of a
publication (which expresses its claim to copyright with each issue, but
that claim is superfluous under the 1976 act; and we do have an ISSN for
the e-version to identify it further) and make them available for
unsupervised copying by others. It seems to me not only common courtesy,
but in fact an outright legal requirement, that if you wish to put files
on your machine for others to consult, you make certain that you have the
permission of the copyright holder to do so. This will ensure that the
copyright holder can express very legitimate concerns: for the
completeness, accuracy, and currency of the data, and for the uses to
which the material will be put.
But in the free and easy world of gopher today, my distinct
impression is that files fly around very casually. Some gophers are
carefully nurtured and managed, others are compost heaps. Individual
users can and should pay attention to how the gopher at their institution
that they rely on is managed and insist on quality control; and those of
us who create material that finds its way into gopher holes should not be
bashful about insisting -- for the benefit of authors, "publishers", and
readers alike -- that good management and respect for legal rights be a
part of the system.

Jim O'Donnell
Department of Classical Studies
University of Pennsylvania
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------85----
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 93 8:38:33 EDT
From: Ann Okerson <ann@cni.org>
Subject: Gophers and Copyright

Mr. O'Donnell's posting seems to address two different issues:

1. How the library or information technology community deals with electronic
publications, particularly "serial" ones (i.e., continuing indefinitely)
such as journals, newsletters, and so on.

He points to a problem that has come to our notice quickly as a result
of new tools such as Gopher. A search through Gopher sites does indeed
show a number of electronic serials that look dead but, in real life,
are living and breathing and kicking. Those who placed the initial
files have not taken care to keep them up to date and in that regard the
titles are no different than journals for which a library has cancelled
a subscription. The journal stays on the shelves but is no longer
current. One might well want a short run of an electronic journal on
one's electronic shelves, but the other problem is that there is no
equivalent of a general bibliographic or descriptive framework that
tells the reader who has found the partial run, that there is more to be
had by looking elsewhere.

2. Rights and ownership. The current climate for most electronic serials
is that they are free and wide sharing is encouraged. In an informal
survey we conducted in January out of ARL, about 3 dozen electronic
serial editors or moderators outlined their copyright or ownership
policies, if any, and identified their greatest wishes and concerns. In
every case there were three of equal weight:

A. That the work be widely shared and reproduced.

B. That the work be used with proper attribution and in its full

C. That any reformatting, transfer of medium, or use for sale,
or any other treatment beyond that, should be done with consultation
and permission of the copyright holder of the e-journal.

In any case, people who place partial files, or any kind of copyrighted
files, without permission, on computer sites, seem (to me) to have
violated both common courtesy and the law.

Possibly Mr. O'Donnell merges two different ideas in his posting. First,
he (and copyright holders in general) should be asked for permissions.
But he then goes on to offer the conditions under which he will grant
those permissions. One seems to be that the files be maintained complete
and up to date, incorporating corrections and revisions if/as they come
along. I'm not sure that he has the right to require this kind of
currency and commitment.

That would be the same as a journal publisher saying the subscriber
cannot subscribe unless she promises never to stop subscribing. Such a
condition looks and feels more like some of the licenses in which
purchasers return all back CDs if they stop the current subscription.

If he does have the authority as copyright holder to set conditions, how
would he enforce them? Any comments?

Ann Okerson/ARL