03 January 2017

No New Year's Treats for Me!

Last entry for a while (for some value of "while") <TooMuchMedicalInformation> due to impending Stuff tomorrow </TooMuchMedicalInformation>

  • Vanity presses have a long, dishonorable, disgusting tradition, even in academia. Bluntly, "page charges" turn most academic journals into vanity presses. Indeed, most authors for esteemed journals like Cell and Nature and The Lancet can expect never to be compensated by payment to them for their writings (whether one-time fees or royalties), except as an incidental knock-on effect of obtaining tenure or an academic promotion. Instead, they pay to be published — usually into four figures for even a short academic article. The academic divisions of most commercial publishers are the major profit centers for the entire corporation; for example, 2015's results for Pearson indicate a profit margin several times that of any trade division, whether by percentage or actual revenue.

    But this is not the worst aspect of the academic vanity-press deception, and hasn't been for quite some time. Even the NYT has finally come to the party (fashionably late — over twelve years — and a little hungover), although this article still soft-pedals matters.

  • This blawg's only feline friend the IPKat (sorry, kitty, you spent most of yesterday afternoon being an asshole about the groceries on the counter where you're not supposed to be in the first place, so you're not this blawg's friend) notes — for non-US readers — the annual "Public Domain Day" based on Berne Convention copyright duration. The irony that most of Gertrude Stein's most-influential works remain in US copyright, but not international copyright (when that influence is disproportionately apparent among subsets of non-US university students), is perhaps a bit much to ponder at the moment.
  • Without accepting — indeed, largely rejecting — the (less than overwhelming) normative asides, Terry Hart has posted a useful guide to copyright issues and persons likely to pop up in the US during the first few months of 2017. My "largely rejecting" comes from the silent assumption of a two-sided struggle between Big Media and Big Redistributor as the true nexus of copyright conflicts; it's much more Balkanized than that (with the expected consequences of Balkanization).

    The biggest example of which — and just because it's across the Pond doesn't mean it won't affect US copyright issues — is Brexit, and its effect on both EU copyright uniformity and directly upon UK copyright law. Anyone who can't see this one coming isn't looking… and we need not wait for Article 50 to actually get triggered for it to create problems, as different departments within the EU are already Balkanizing on copyright-related issues!