Springer, Censorship and the Need for Open Access | ARL Policy Notes
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-01-18
"It’s Copyright Week! Today’s topic is “Copyright and Censorship: Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right essential to a functioning democracy. Copyright should encourage more speech, not act a legal cudgel to silence it.”
When a rightsholder uses his or her rights to prevent others from relying on, accessing, or using information, copyright can act as a tool of censorship. One example of where this happened occurred in November 2017 when Springer Nature agreed to exclude Chinese readers and institutions from accessing certain articles in its journals at the request of the Chinese government. Regardless of whether Springer acted in good faith in order to maintain access in China to the rest of its collection, because authors collectively relinquished control over their copyrights there was no effective remedy. We are familiar with the problem of authors assigning rights to corporate entities, which may be more inclined to aggressively enforce their rights under copyright law or demand high fees in order to access or use the work. In the Springer case, because of copyright, authors could not promote access to their work because the publisher acquiesced to a government’s censorship demands...."