Issue 05/04
February 27, 2004
Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, Editor



The Public Library of Science has summarized its experience as an OA publisher in a white paper, Publishing Open-Access Journals , February 2004. Excerpt: "There are many different paths to producing a journal, either online or in print, with a tremendously wide spectrum of costs that can be generated or avoided during the publishing process. The aggregate cost of shepherding manuscripts through peer review, preparing selected papers for publishing, and finally disseminating articles depends on the particular steps that a publisher deems necessary for a particular journal. Using unpaid academic editors and an opensource online journal management system, eschewing frills in the production process, and publishing online directly in archives with minimal formatting requirements (for example, those that accept articles as simple PDF files), a publisher could potentially produce a peer-reviewed journal spending little or no money....This is the preliminary version of a document that we anticipate will evolve over time. In its present state, this paper concerns predominantly production rather than editorial systems, structures, and costs. However, as PLoS grows as a publisher and launches new journals with different editorial and production systems, and as more open access publishers share their editorial and production costs, we will plan to update this document with additional information as it becomes available." Open Access News 2/25/04



Thomson ISI and NEC's CiteSeer are joining forces to create a new Web Citation Index. Excerpt from today's press release: "The new Web Citation Index(TM) will combine a suite of technologies developed by NEC, including "autonomous citation indexing" tools from NEC's CiteSeer environment, with the capabilities underlying ISI Web of Knowledge(SM). Thomson ISI editors will carefully monitor the quality of this new resource to ensure all indexed material meets the Thomson ISI high-quality standards. During 2004, Thomson ISI and NEC will operate a pilot of the new resource to receive feedback from the scientific and scholarly community. Full access to the index is projected for early 2005." Open Access News 2/25/04



The ascension of Biochemistry to a premier scientific journal was only possible because of the support of the largest and most active scientific society in the world, the American Chemical Society. However, one issue is having a negative impact on Biochemistry in particular and ACS publications in general. While the ACS was an industry leader in developing electronic archives for its journals, it has yet to implement what the majority of scientists agree is in the best interest of science: a free, publicly accessible electronic archives policy. This has been embraced by competing publications of other scientific societies, particularly those in the realm of biology. I know that some potential authors and reviewers refuse to publish in or review for ACS journals because of this policy. This is obviously not good, as it will ultimately erode the impact of ACS journals." Richard N. Armstrong, editor-in-chief Biochemistry 1/6/04



Outsell notes that the multifaceted revolt against big scholarly publishers and more frequent calls for Open Access alternatives have not abated. Three signs of the times:

At many universities, the faculty and library have joined together in recognition that their collective weight can have a huge influence on the future of publishing practices. We're not yet to the point where any specific solutions are gaining critical mass, but we are clearly at a point where awareness of the issue is gathering steam as gaps and dysfunctionality in the current scholarly publications process become more visible.

Source: Outsell's e-briefs, February 13, 2003



It used to be publish or perish. Now it is publish and perish, Christopher Reed, chemistry professor at UC Riverside, writes that it's time for universities collectively to take their cue from smaller-scale insurrections and to just say ‘no' to extortionate journal-subscription costs and pay-for-view access to electronic versions of back issues. That will require boldness among admin istrators and librarians, along with some 'bribing' of faculty members to change their behavior....Researchers don't think too much about that as long as their institutions pay. They like electronic access because of its desktop convenience and superior search capabilities. What's more, they advance their careers with appointments to editorial boards, and that has effectively silenced the scientific leadership from speaking out against the proliferation of overpriced journals, many of them not of the highest quality. The journals market is dysfunctional. Researchers do all the work, give away the product, and express almost no buying preferences. They see journals being paid for out of someone else's budget. “While such restructuring of the scientific-journal culture might seem drastic, our present course is fiscally unsustainable and unconducive to the best and most efficient research." Chronicle of Higher Education 2/20/04 Open Access News 2/16/04



The European Library (TEL) project is a new pan-European service which ultimately will provide Internet access to the combined resources of the national libraries of Europe . Begun in January after 36 months of study, the project hopes to launch TEL by the end of this year. It will offer free searching for both digital and non-digital resources, and will deliver digital objects—some free, some for a fee. There will be limited multilingual features at launch; although the partners are committed to multilingual interfaces with links to translation services, there will be no integrated multilingual search capability. TEL will integrate with Gabriel, the Web service for 43 European national libraries. Aimed at informed citizens worldwide who want a powerful, simple way of finding European cultural resources, TEL's vast virtual collection of material is also expected to attract researchers from around the world. The European Library will be a "collection of collections" and allow for cross-collection searching which would otherwise be impossible. TEL will contribute to new research by making resources from many disciplines widely available, and by enabling new connections through exploitation of a huge virtual library collection. The TEL team will be established this month and start to transfer the project results into an operational service. (Ariadne Jan 2004) (Note: TEL is at ) ShelfLife, No. 143 ( February 12 2004 )



The Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center and Tom Peters of the consulting firm TAP Information Services recently conducted a review of portable playback devices for digital talking books and other types of digital audio content. The conclusions of the Handheld Accessible Libraries (HAL) project were mixed, with reviewers wishing they could blend the best features of the devices, which are used by (among others) individuals who are blind or visually impaired, physically challenged or dyslexic. Reviewers winnowed the field to three finalists: Victor Classic Plus (self-contained speaker and easy to use), Victor Vibe (lightweight and sleek) and Book Port (supports the most files). The learning curve for all three was initially quite steep and long, according to the reviewers, but since most operators would likely use their favored device intensively, they would probably get used to its idiosyncrasies. Still, says the summary, for people who interact on a regular basis with more than one portable device, "a standard scheme for buttons would be advantageous, reducing the cognitive load of needing to remember and reorient oneself to each separate button configuration and tactility, regardless of how ingenious each one happens to be." (Project HAL Final Report 30 Jan 2004)



Six academic publishers have filed a lawsuit against two copy shops in Austin , Tex. , for illegally distributing copyrighted coursepack material online. The two shops, located near the University of Texas , are charged with including copyrighted content in an online coursepack service called "NetPacks." Although the fair use doctrine of copyright law allows for academic use of copyrighted material, businesses that produce course packs for a profit are required to obtain permission from copyright holders and often pay copyright fees as well. The defendants in the case are accused of not obtaining proper permissions and of misleading the public by saying that the fees do not apply. Such lawsuits have been used in the past against producers of printed course packs, but this case is believed to be one of the first that targets the online distribution of copyrighted material. Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 February 2004 (sub. req'd) Edupage, February 13, 2004



On January 23, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) Professional and Scholarly Publishers Division (PSP) released a public letter criticizing the U.S. Treasury Department for applying trade embargoes to scientific publications. The PSP believes the ruling not only violates the First Amendment rights of U.S. publishers, but violates the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which the Treasury Department was supposed to be enforcing. PSP thinks that the Treasury Department ruling and regulations constitute a serious threat to the U.S. publishing community in general and to scholarly and scientific publishers in particular. The threat, it says, is not only to the practical viability of publishing as an important export industry, if other countries perceive that the U.S. is trying to license and limit the submission and processing of manuscripts in ways that are inimical to traditional standards of the scholarly and scientific communities regarding the free dissemination of information, but also to the basic First Amendment right of publishers to be free of go vern ment-imposed prior restraints on publication. Several organizations are currently considering a legal challenge to the regulations, as well as possible discussions with the Executive Branch officials and Members of Congress regarding possible revisions to the regulations or to the statutory authority go vern ing their promulgation. Open Access News 2/14/04



Brandy Karl, a third-year law student at Boston University, demonstrates how the Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act (DCIMA) is essentially an “unconstitutional attempt to copyright uncopyrightable material," shows examples of how databases are and are not protected by copyright law, and argues against its enactment: "A free society does not hoard its facts and ideas—but that is just what DCIMA protects and encourages." Open Access News 2/12/04



On Tuesday, February 17, organizations representing booksellers, librarians, and writers announced the official launch of the "Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP)," a nationwide grassroots effort to restore the safeguards for the privacy of bookstore and library records that were eliminated by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. The centerpiece of CRP, which is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association (ALA), and PEN American Center , is a petition drive that is being conducted in bookstores, libraries, and via the Web at . The goal of the petition drive is to present one million signatures to members of Congress in support of legislation to amend Section 215. Section 215 of the Patriot Act amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to give the FBI vastly expanded authority to search business records, including the records of bookstores and libraries. Under the Act, the FBI may request the records secretly; it is not required to prove that there is "probable cause" to believe the person whose records are being sought has committed a crime; and the bookseller or librarian who receives an order is prohibited from revealing it to anyone except those whose help is needed to produce the records. Over the last year, Washington Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have sponsored a number of bills that seek to amend the Patriot Act. These include the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157) and the Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act (S. 1709). Since early January, many independent booksellers have been gathering signatures on petitions.

Despite the ever-growing backlash toward the Patriot Act, over the past year, the Bush admin istration has made it clear it does not support amending Section 215. In August 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft embarked on a nationwide tour to drum up support for the controversial bill, which culminated in a September speech to restaurateurs where he characterized concern over the privacy of bookstore and library records as "baseless hysteria." More recently, in his State of the Union message on January 20, President George Bush called on Congress to reauthorize the provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire at the end of next year, including Section 215. To demonstrate the unity of the book and library community, the groups also released a statement of support for proposed legislation that amends Section 215. The statement is signed by 40 organizations representing virtually every bookstore, library, and writer in the country as well as 82 individual companies, including Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Borders Group, Inc., Ingram Book Group, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Holtzbrinck Publishers, and Penguin Group USA. Bookselling This Week 2/17/04



Browse the racks at the bookstore of any college or university, and you can come up with some frightening numbers. While increases in the cost of tuition now appear to be an annual ritual, the prices of the books necessary for coursework have risen, as well.

A recent study by two West Coast chapters of the Student Public Interest Research Groups charges publishers with issuing new editions unnecessarily and setting unconscionable prices. The Association of American Publishers, meanwhile, questions the study's methodology and says input from publishers was ignored. There's little doubt, however, that books represent a significant investment for students. Electronic Book Web 2/17/04



The Berkman Center is hosting an online reading group on the History of Intellectual Property in the U.S. The group will loosely mirror a reading group led by Berkman Fellow Professor Lewis Hyde meeting in-person at the Berkman Center . Professor Hyde: "My own interest in this history began with the surprising lack of debate some years ago when copyright term extension was pending. There seemed to be almost no public sense of why it might matter to preserve a lively public domain. One was led to wonder if there weren't historical roots to the public domain's lack of presence in our political and economic discourse. If that is the case, might not an understanding of this history be a useful tool for those of us trying to shape current policy?" The group will generally read what the in-person group is reading the week after they read it. There will be about one reading per month, with 3 weekly rounds of discussion after the reading is posted. Readings will be chosen by the in-person reading group, and posted as the semester progresses. Berkman Center for Internet & Society 2/17/04 Sign up at



Reed Elsevier, the Anglo-Dutch publisher, has passed the £1 billion profit barrier for the first time, although the company warned investors that growth would slow this year after increased pre-tax profits at constant currencies by 10 per cent to £1.01 billion in 2003. After three years of double-digit earnings growth, Crispin Davis, chief executive, said that he was targeting mid to high one-figure earnings growth for this year, followed by a higher rate for 2005. The reason for the expected slowdown in growth is a more than 10 per cent rise in investment to at least £330 million. Over £200 million will go into expanding the group's online presence. The results were better than expected, and Davis said he saw “good opportunities for growth,” and that he had “the people and investment resources to deliver them”. Davis sought to calm fears that academic journal prices could be weakened by “open access” publication whereby scientists pay to publish their papers and then make them freely available. Davis said that open access had only 1 per cent of the market. In the UK the dividend is to rise 7 per cent to 12p. Times Online 2/20/04 Open Access News 2/20/04,,9071-1008443,00.html



Elsevier recently submitted comments on evolutions in scientific, technical, and medical publishing and reflections on possible implication of Open access journals for the UK . It stressed the historically strong roots of the current worldwide system of STM publishing and the substantial investments that STM publishers have made in electronic technologies that are continuing to deliver dramatic productivity improvements for scientific and medical communities around the world. It also noted that Open Access' author-pays models risk penalizing the UK because British researchers produce a disproportionately high number of articles every year. Elsevier detailed what it called other key unresolved issues concerning Open Access:

Elsevier also noted that the recent period of rapid, intense innovation in STM publishing – the context in which Open Access has emerged – is far from over.

(The page numbers in the link refer to the Elsevier document.) SPARC -; 2/24/04



Alexei Koudinov, a founder and editor of the not-for-profit Open Access journal, is arguing that the Elsevier testimony issue of limited "availability of Open Access journals" is flawed. Dr. Koudinov points to another statement in Elsevier evidence that "the British Library have established new and effective systems to make electronic scientific publications available," and to the availability of US based Public Library of Science as an archiving tool that Elsevier testimony missed. In his personal written evidence for UK inquiry Dr. Koudinov reports on major general science magazines and neuroscience journals (such as Nature , Science , and Elsevier's' Cell , Neuron and Brain Research ) and concludes that there is "editorial and publisher corruption" that invalidates the major Elsevier statement that "STM publishers have so far been the most effective in minimizing the risks of scientific fraud and malpractice through their organizational and oversight roles in managing editorial offices, peer review and independent guardianship of the scientific record. (< >Koudinov Evidence Part 1, .PDF, 200K). Dr. Koudinov evidence part 2 is devoted to open access ethics, the summary is available at . SPARC-OAForum Digest #184



Oxford University Press is encouraged by the results of its experimental use of an Open Access business model for Nucleic Acids Research , a journal rated by ISI as one of the top 10 "hottest" of the decade in biology and biochemistry. The first stage of the experiment was to make the annual Database issue OA. The issue appeared last month with "a record number of peer-reviewed papers - 142 in total - with 90% of authors agreeing to pay the £300 author charge." OUP will continue the experiment with the annual Web Server issue, planned for July. Martin Richardson, Managing Director of the OUP Journals Division, said, "We are delighted with the results of our experiment so far. And whilst open access remains a young and economically unproven model for publishing research, as a University Press we are keen to take a leading role in responding to the changing needs of the research community. We entered this experiment in a spirit of careful exploration, eager to collect and analyse as much data as possible before deciding how to progress with OA. We are gaining valuable feedback from the author and subscriber communities, as well as tracking usage and citation data. Our first-hand experience is allowing us to better understand the challenges a publisher might face when transforming a journal from one business model to another....It's still early days, but as long as our experiments continue to receive the support of authors then NAR can continue to move towards an OA business model. The real test will come as we begin to increase the author charges to reflect the true publishing costs; by taking a staged approach we hope to work with authors, their institutions and funding bodies to explore how a transitional period would work." Open Access News 2/18/04



A San Francisco federal judge has ruled that software company 321 Studios' popular DVD-copying products infringe copyright. Judge Susan Illston granted Hollywood studios' request for an injunction against 321 Studios, saying the small software company has seven days to stop distributing its DVD-copying products. 321 Studios said it plans to modify and keep selling its product. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 2/23/04 Order at

Coverage at,1412,62375,00.html,,SB107749701012036242,00.html



321 Studios will continue to sell its DVD copying software with one small

change: users will now need to track down a descrambler on their own after U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled that 321 has one week to stop making, distributing or "otherwise trafficking in any type of DVD circumvention software." The company is encouraging retailers to return unsold copies to 321 Studios. Russell Frackman, a lawyer for the movie studios, says that 321's response isn't consistent with the judge's order: "You can't sell the product with a wink and a nod and then tell your users, 'What you need to do is get the ripper (descrambling) component ... from another source,' The law generally does not permit one to do indirectly what they can't do directly." Corante - Tech News: February 24, 2004,1412,62397,00.html



PALS (The Publisher and Library/Learning Solutions working group) has recently published a report, written by Mark Ware, on Institutional Repositories. The report is freely available from the PALS website at (follow the link for "Pathfinder research on web-based repositories"). PALS is running a conference based on this research in London on 24 June 2004 entitled "Institutional Repositories and Their Impact on Scholarly Publishing". Details of this are also available on the PALS website (follow the link for "PALS Conference 04 etc."). [About PALS: The Publisher and Library/Learning Solutions (PALS) working group is an ongoing collaboration between UK publishers (represented by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers and the Publishers Association) and further and higher education (represented by JISC). The group aims to foster mutual understanding on topics of interest to both parties, and work collaboratively towards the solution of issues arising from electronic publication. For more see

SPARC-OAForum Digest #188



Perhaps building on his ancestral relationship to impressionist painter Henri Matisse, Michael C. Daconta is passionate about the art of Web taxonomy, not just the bits and bytes of its design. Daconta is director of Web and technology services for systems integrator APG McDonal Bradley, Inc. Part of that job puts him in the role of chief architect of the Defense Intelligence Agency's Virtual Knowledge Base, a project to compile a directory of Defense Department data through Extensible Markup Language

ontologies. Co-author of the 2003 book "The Semantic Web," Daconta explains that there is a right way and a wrong way to do a taxonomy—and many current Web designers are going about it the wrong way. The semantic Web, he says, is a web of machine-processable data, unlike the current Web, which is human-readable data. Should the semantic Web become a reality, searches will be more fruitful, and many Internet-based activities that must be user-managed today will be largely automated. "The compelling goals are targetless query and targetless production," he says. "By targetless, I mean that if you want information, you shouldn't have to know where the

information resides…The idea is that Virtual Knowledge Base will know where X is stored." (Government Computer News 9 Feb 2004) ShelfLife, No. 144 (February 19 2004)



Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is pursuing a new quest—he's bankrolling an effort to build a computer loaded with enough science textbook information to pass college-level AP exams in chemistry, biology and physics, and, when queried, impart its wisdom in plain English answers, sort of like an electronic tutor or "Digital Aristotle." Allen's Vulcan

Ventures, known for backing offbeat ideas, is funding three competing research teams to pursue what it's calling "Project Halo." The 30-month effort will focus on "knowledge representation and reasoning" to synthesize information in such a way that the computer can go beyond a yes/no answer to deliver a lucid explanation. The competition represents the second phase of Halo—last year, Vulcan's contract teams loaded a computer with 70 pages of AP chemistry material and tested it with 168 AP exam questions. The computer managed to score a 3 on a scale of 1-5, slightly better than the average student score of 2.8. But at $700,000, the process of inputting the information was expensive, and while the computer was good at answering quantitative questions, it was less sharp when it came to more-qualitative questions, such as: "Why is tap water a better conductor than pure water?" "This is not going to be a sentient computer or have self-awareness or emotion or anything like that," says Vulcan program manager Noah Friedland. "We're going to have a hard enough time with common-sense issues. But this is going to reason about science and be used as a tool for learning."

Meanwhile, University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering professor Ed Lazowska says the work Vulcan is doing is "hugely important… How do you get a computer so it can reason about the content? It's not just regurgitating a line in a textbook or pointing you to a document from Google that may or may not have the answer… This is reasoning about knowledge, and that's a mind-blowing challenge." ( Seattle Times 12 Feb 2004 ) ShelfLife, No. 144 ( February 19 2004 )



The year 2003 was a historic one for the Open Access movement. It saw the debut of Public Library of Science as a publisher, with the much-heralded launch of PLoS Biology, and declarations of support from funding bodies in numerous countries around the world. In the United Kingdom, the charitable Wellcome Trust joined the funding council for universities and the National Health Service in making a commitment to support and promote Open Access for the research it sponsors. Similarly, elsewhere in Europe, the Max-Planck Society led the way and was joined by most major funders of research in Germany, France and beyond in signing the 'Berlin Declaration' on Open Access. The last year also saw increasing numbers of authors voting - in the way that counts, with the submission of their precious research articles - to support Open Access. BioMed Central, the publisher of Journal of Biology, now publishes more than 100 Open Access journals, and to date these have considered more than 8,000 articles and published more than 4,000. But different journals within the BioMed Central stable have different editorial policies and standards. Journal of Biology, which completed its first full year of publication in 2003, was the first fully Open Access journal publishing articles of exceptional interest and importance from the full spectrum of biology; since launch it has received over 250 submissions and has accepted fewer than 5% of them for publication. We are committed to ensuring that Journal of Biology is a prestigious place to publish, and this means exercising a high degree of selectivity in deciding what is published in the journal. Read more at



In May, Future-Drugs will launch Therapy , a new peer-reviewed journal using the Walker-Prosser method of supporting OA. That is, authors will have the option to pay a processing fee and have OA to their articles or to pay no fee and have conventional toll access to their articles. Future-Drugs is a commercial publisher whose seven other journals are entirely toll-access. Hence, this is another example of a commercial publisher experimenting with OA. Open Access News 2/20/04



Iranians struggling to secure free speech at home are facing a fresh set of restrictions from the US government. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has ruled that editing or publishing scientific manuscripts from Iran , Libya , Sudan and Cuba violates the trade embargo on these countries. And U.S. publishers and scientific societies are divided over how to respond. At a meeting in Washington on 9 February, David Mills, the treasury official in charge of implementing the policy, told representatives of 30 publishers that anyone wanting to publish papers from Iran should seek a license from the treasury department. He also suggested that U.S. scientists collaborating with Iranians could be prosecuted. The ruling has split U.S. scientific societies. The journals of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have stopped accepting manuscripts from researchers in embargoed countries. On the other hand, the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science , have so far refused to comply. "We feel that we are protected by freedom of speech," says Marc Brodsky, executive director at the AIP. Nature 2/23/04 Open Access News 2/19/04



Inspired by a report from the National Endowment from the Arts that said just 3% of books published in the United States are translations—compared with up to 50% in Western Europe—Alane Salierno Mason founded "Words Without Borders," an online magazine dedicated to bringing the ideas of foreign writers to the U.S. Fueled by $65,000 in grants from the NEA, the magazine went live in July, presenting in its first issues "literature from the Axis of Evil"—essays, reporting and book excerpts from writers in North Korea, Iraq and Iran. "We tend to think of translation as great literary work," said Esther Allen, chairwoman of the PEN translation committee and translator of the recently published "Dancing With Cuba," a well-received literary memoir by Alma Guillermoprieto about the Communist revolution there. "Other people are writing history, political analysis and mass-market detective novels. Maybe we should read their junk, too. At least there would be more of an interchange." (New York Times 18 Feb 2004 ) ShelfLife, No. 145 ( February 26 2004 )



Students at Manchester University no longer need to thumb through dusty texts when reading classics of English literature. They don't even have to visit the library, for the university has made every book published in English between 1453 and 1800 available online. It means students can log on and read extracts from The Canterbury Tales , Hamlet or the works of Isaac Newton from anywhere in the world using their personal computers. Manchester leads the way in the technology of digitizing old documents and books, leaving the libraries at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and the British Museum behind. In future, students may be able to do degrees at Manchester while living anywhere in the world where they have access to a computer and a modem. It also allows books to be locked away safely. Assistant library director Dr. Diana Leitch said: "This is revolutionising research. Most of these books aren't in the library and a lot of them aren't in the country. Previously, you would have had to travel to the world if you'd wanted to see them and you wouldn't be able to take them away. Even then, the real thing could have been no more than a fading brown page." Manchester University has also joined a number of institutions in the northwest, including Umist, Salford University, Bolton Institute and Manchester Metropolitan University , to spend £500,000 on the biggest collection of e-books in Europe . More than 120,000 books are now available on disk. Manchester Online 2/20/04


AMAZON AND B& SATISFY, SURVEY SAYS had highest customer satisfaction rating—88 out of 100—among retailers, and, with a rating of 86, was close behind, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index . In all, 200 online stores were ranked in the survey of 65,000 customers conducted by the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan Business School in partnership with the American Society for Quality and the CFI Group. "Although customers consider service quality to be exceedingly high, an increasing part of their satisfaction is due to lower pricing," said Claes Fornell of the National Quality Research Center , adding "If Amazon goes any higher, they will get a nose bleed." Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee Results, a Web consultant company that helped analyze the statistics, said, "Amazon's score shows they are remarkably close to delivering customers' ideal. Maintaining strength while evolving the business model is even more impressive." A score of 95 is considered impossible, while rankings over 80 are deemed "industry leaders." Among discount stores, Costco received a score of 80, Target was next with a rating of 77 and Wal-Mart trailed at 75. In 2003, the overall customer satisfaction index rose to 74, a 0.3 percent increase over 2002.



GrepLaw features an interview with Jessica Litman, author of Digital Copyright . Litman discusses the CAN-SPAM Act, Napster and the DMCA. Litman, on the DMCA which she says has turned out even worse than she predicted: "Although the access-control provisions of the DMCA were intended to protect copyright owners from people who gained unauthorized initial access (the metaphorical "burglars" who break into one's house to steal one's books), the provisions have been enforced to prevent licensed users from making unlicensed uses of works. Meanwhile, in the "broadcast flag" campaign, copyright owners have sought to extend their control over when and under what circumstances consumers can see their works." Corante - Tech News: February 25, 2004



Kay Raseroka, president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), says that recent moves to expand copyright limitations on information serve to shrink the ability of libraries to perform their role as a public good. "If libraries cannot afford to provide access to information that is needed and helps people to be alert, aware and develop themselves, then the information society's future is endangered," says Raseroka. Copyright was originally established to benefit authors, but what's happening now is the major beneficiaries of copyright laws are publishers, whose business model is based on keeping works out of the public domain for as long as possible. "We think that this wrong and unfair, because no information is created ab initio. People do not produce material from nothing, they use public good that is provided, for example, in libraries. And surely the moment copyright expires is the time to feed the products and research results back into the public domain. We are willing to wait for a certain period of copyright, a time span that enables authors to recoup their costs and generate profit. But the extension of copyright … is destroying the public good and distorting the original intention of copyright. Maybe it is time to reintegrate the moral rights into copyright or … to ask the question of what is morally right in the area of access to information?" (IFLA World Summit on the Information Society 10-12 Dec 2003) ShelfLife, No. 145 ( February 26 2004 )



The Recording Industry Association of America has filed five separate lawsuits against 531 Internet users that it accuses of illegal file-sharing. The action comes on the heels of four similar suits filed by the RIAA against 532 users last month. All the suits are using the "John Doe" method, which identifies the alleged song-swappers through their numerical Internet addresses. The RIAA is seeking to discover the swappers' names and addresses through court-issued subpoenas. An appeals court in December ruled in favor of Verizon that the RIAA could not force ISPs to divulge the identities of subpoena targets before the lawsuits were filed. Sarah Deutsch, VP and associate general counsel for Verizon, says it has not yet received any subpoenas during this go-round, but is interested to see whether briefs filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and American

Civil Liberties Union protesting RIAA's tactics will affect the case. "We're waiting for the resolution of the due process issues that have been raised by the public interest groups," says Deutsch. Meanwhile, Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks U.S. music sales, says U.S. album sales are up 10.4% this year compared to the same period in 2003. (Reuters/New York Times 17 Feb 2004 ) NewsScan Daily, 18 February 2004



It's probably not the first time that record company exec utives have been likened to Al Capone, but this time a judge might have to agree or disagree. A New Jersey woman, one of the hundreds of people accused of copyright infringement by the Recording Industry Association of America, has countersued the big record labels, charging them with extortion and violations of the federal antiracketeering act. This is one of just a handful of countersuits. Even critics of the RIAA view it as a long-shot but one worth trying, and a sign that lawyers are working on arguments against the RIAA. Through her attorneys, Michele Scimeca contends that by suing file-swappers for copyright infringement, and then offering to settle instead of pursuing a case where liability could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the RIAA is violating the same laws that are more typically applied to gangsters and organized crime. Scimeca is one of a growing number of people fighting the record industry's copyright infringement campaign against file-swappers, although few have used such creative legal strategies.

According to the RIAA, which filed its latest round of lawsuits against 531 as-yet-anonymous individuals on Tuesday, it has settled with 381 people, including some who had not yet actually had suits filed against them yet. A total of nearly 1,500 people have been sued so far. Few if any of the cases appear to have progressed far, however. The first RIAA lawsuits against individuals were filed more than five months ago, although the majority of people targeted have been part of the "John Doe" campaigns against anonymous individuals this year. News 2/18/04



A leading Internet advocacy group Wednesday proposed legalizing online file-sharing through a voluntary music license that would compensate artists—and decriminalize the actions of millions of music fans. The Electronic Frontier Foundation called on the music industry to form a new collection agency to issue file-sharing licenses for a monthly fee. The group said a fee of as little as $5 a person would net an estimated $3 billion annually for the music industry, which currently earns no revenue from the billions of songs exchanged through unlicensed services such as Kazaa. And it would entitle the estimated 60 million Americans who use file-trading services to continue swapping songs without fear of lawsuits. The proposal, unveiled at the Future of Music Coalition's law summit in San Francisco , met with a tepid response from the recording industry, which has spent the past three years fighting file-sharing in the courts. Industry observers predicted the EFF plan has little chance of success without the support of the major music labels. 2/26/04



Public libraries have helped narrow the digital divide by providing free access to computers and the Internet, according to a report released Feb. 25 at the Public Library Association 10th National Conference, which ends Saturday. More than 95 percent of the nation's public libraries now offer Internet access to the public, with 14 million people using them regularly to get online, said the report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Families earning less than $15,000 a year are two to three times more likely to rely on libraries than those earning more than $75,000. Since 1997, the foundation has spent $250 million to provide libraries with computer hardware, software, training and technical support. As a priority for library users, computers for public use tied for third place with homework help centers, according to a 2003 poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. The No. 1 priority was reading programs for children. 2/26/04


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