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Ariel Katz
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"[T]hose works are explicitly NOT part of the AC repertoire." Really? Can you tell which works are part of AC repertoire? Suppose that University A and University B have the same number of students and both are AC licensees. UA has no separate licenses with publishers but UB does. Does UB pay lower license fees to AC? If UB learns by the end of the year that 70% of the works that were copied had been separately licensed, will AC issue a refund of 70% of the license fees paid? If the next year 90% of the works are separately licensed, will the license fees be adjusted?
Mr. Degen, The Economist article is not directly related to the works that you have authored, but to scientific/techical/medical (STM) literature. But indirectly it also affects you. The majority of the materials that are used in universities probably belong to the latter category (STM), and the top 10 commercial publishers' combined market share is above 60%. Access Copyright collects money for the use of all types on Published Works, the majority of which, again, are STM works. If AC distributes the money to publishers of these works (which it probably should when the publishers has become the assignee of the copyright), then most of the money that AC collects ought to be distributed to these publishers. The result is that on top of the exorbitant license fees that these publishers charge, as the Economist article describes (and is well documented elsewhere), Canadian universities are asked to pay license fees to AC, a significant portion of which is paid to these publisher. To illustrate, UofT pays approx. $3 million annually in license fees to Elsevier alone, and agreed to pay close to additional $2 to AC. Since Elsevier is the largest of the STM publishers, a significant part of the fees payable to AC would probably be distributed to Elsevier and its like. Over the last few decades, as a result of the licensing practices of the STM publishers, universities have been shifting more and more of their acquisition budgets towards STM journals and away from books, monographs and other publications. Therefore, the flawed model of academic publishing hurts not only universities, students, and taxpayers, but also smaller publishers, non academic publishers and authors like you. Access Copyright only makes this problem worse. This is part of how the issues are related. For some reason you assume that you, or Access Copyright, are the voice of Canadian writers. You are not. Most faculty members are writers, and they, and their foreign colleagues, are the ones whom works are mostly used by universities, and for the works of whom universities are asked to pay twice or thrice. Only a small minority of them are members of AC. You are entitled to passionately defend a system that benefits many other entities and individuals but that has consistently failed authors like you, and will likely continue to do that. You are also welcome to continue with ad hominem attacks if you find that helpful. But you should not confuse a criticism of a cartel of publishers and some authors with being an anti-author, or confuse criticism of collective administration of copyright with being anti-copyright. Criticizing this system does not turn one into anti-author or anti-copyright, whatever that means, just as criticizing the Government of Canada does not turn one into anti-Canadian.
The Economist, presumably another "anti-copyright ideologue with the long-term vision of a mole", has an interesting article about some of the problems in the current model of academic publishing--problems that are related to the current disputes.
I agree that whether Autodesk should be able to chase Vernor is part of the discussion; that's why I raised it. It seems to me that discussions about the 1st sale doctrine there is a tendency to move very quickly from identifying situations in which post-sale restrictions may be efficient, to concluding that the doctrine is misguided (or the opposite, supporting the doctrine and therefore concluding that any attempt to impose post-sale restrictions should be unenforcable). I think that taking the doctrine seriously, while enforcing contractual post-sale restrictions where there are compelling reasons to do so is the right approach. I wonder why you see Vernor as the "real agent of opportunism". You wouldn't give this title to Alibris ( or to all used-cars dealers, would you? What makes Vernor special?
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Randy and James, You seem to share the view that CTA behaved opportunistically and that preventing it from behaving this way is the right outcome. But the case was not about CTA. I think CTA wasn't even a named party, neither did it intervened as amicus. The case was about Vernor who purchased the copies from CTA and sold them on eBay, and the court's holding also means that anyone who purchased a copy from Vernor and installs it infringes copyright. It's still an open question whether the 1st sale doctrine renders any contract that prevents resale unenforceable, and this case may be an example of a case where there are good reasons to enforce the contract between Autodesk and CTA despite the 1st sale doctrine. But the distinction between copyright infringement and breach of contract is highly important. It's much more than a lingering legal nicety.
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Daniel, Thanks for your comment and I appreciate your evident concern for Israel and its well-being. We share the same concern despite your characterization of my letter as an anti-Israel screed. If we ever get to talk I’ll be able to share with you in length my experiences in growing up, maturing and living under the threat of rockets, suicide bombs, and the constant threat of war. I don’t need to use CNRL+F to be reminded of them; I know the context all too well. Evidently, you failed to see that I wrote my letter out of profound love for my country and deep concern over its future, and I can only regret that. I think that the tendency to view as friends only those who say Amen and as anti-Israel anyone who questions its government’s policies and actions is disastorous. This approach only leads Israel to further isolate itself, dig its heels, treat any minor incident as an existential threat and eventually limit its ability to identify positive opportunities and deal with the more serious threats it faces. You asked if you were asking the wrong question and I think you were. In my view the question isn’t whether Israel is allowed to inspect incoming ships for terrorist aid? Of course it does. No one seriously criticized Israel when it seized the Karin A in Jan. 2002 or the MV Francop in Nov. 2009. The important question is whether Israel’s recent and similar actions actually increase its long-term security or actually undermine it. Netanyahu warns that Gaza might turn into an Iranian port on the Mediterranean, and that this would be a serious threat to Israel. So ask yourself, has Israel’s ability to mitigate this threat increased or decreased since May 31? Can Israel really minimize this threat without the cooperation of other countries such as Egypt and Turkey? Will the killing of nine Turkish citizens (unsympathetic as they may be) on a ship that carried no weapons that threatened Israel and Israel’s refusal to apologize make cooperation with Turkey easier or more difficult? Does the continued blockade on Gaza undermine Hammas or actually galvanizes support of its regime? Has the effort to undermine Hammas been fruitful? Has it increased or decreased the prospects of peace in the middle east? You may have different answers to these questions than I have, but calling anti-Israel anyone who asks such questions but disagrees with the Israeli government’s answers isn’t very helpful. Nor do I think that the test for whom Israel should listen to is whether they have Israel's best interests at heart. We can safely assume that most countries put their own best interests before those of Israel. But so what? The point isn’t about “show me that you love me”. It’s far more important to identify actual or potential shared interests, and then to leverage them for mutual well being.