Do Springer Really care about Open Access? Or are they indulging in Copytheft?
[Use the link to view responses to the complaint made by blogger Peter Murray-Rust from Matt Cockerill, BMC editor and Bettina Goerner, Springer Science+Business Media as well as the discussion in the comments section.] “I thought that Springer were among the more reputable of the major publishers when it comes to Open Access and authors’/readers’ rights but I am now disillusioned. Two days ago I searched for one of my images published in the Journal of Cheminformatics. I was shocked to discover that it had been copied to Springer’s site, my copyright and co-authors had been removed, and that its licence (CC-BY) had been replaced by a CC-NC one. And, unless I am informed differently, Springer were selling it for commercial use. The issue is slightly complicated because BMC are owned by Springer. But in effect this is a company misappropriating my work... shows serious problems with Open Access in large toll-access publishers. Whether an error or not it is technically copytheft. Pleading error when misappropriating rights and or money is no defence in court. However I think it is more than simple error – I think it is an institutionalized failure to treat Openness properly. Failure leads to Springer charging people when they shouldn’t be charged and without their being able to challenge this – failure should benefit the customer , not Springer. It suggests there is no independent audit in place – which I would have felt was essential for a site which automatically aggregated other people’s content , relicensed and resold it... So I need a considered response from Springer. If Springer can show they have an audit mechanism in place that will go a little way to making amends. I would like answers to the following:  How many objects in Springer Images have been mislabelled?  Has there been any audit of the site?  How much money has Springer taken for mislabelled material? It’s easy to say it’s a bug. It’s also easy to set the site up (whether deliberately or not) so everyone pays for everything and it relies on someone like me to point out the problem. That’s unacceptable. If I misappropriated Springer material they would be on me like a shot...”