Issue No. 10 January 28, 2002

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, editor



The new editor of the American Chemical Society’s flagship journal, Journal of the American Chemical Society, is developing such features as the ability for readers to manipulate 3-D images and the inclusion of color movies and animation. These features are not, of course, available in the print versions that have always served as the archival copies and copies of record. So, now that the digital copy of JACS will contain presumably all that the print version contains (n.b., there are often considerable differences in the total contents of print and electronic journals) and more, does it become the copy of record? What does this change mean for libraries? What do you think? Let us know your thoughts on whether libraries like ours should stop subscribing to and keeping print copies of journals that are not as complete as their electronic counterparts. Email your comments to


In our last issue we featured a round up of perspectives on the major cyber-law issues of 2001. "Divining the Future of Law and Technology" by Carl Kaplan gives reports of experts who looked into their crystal balls to divine the major issues of 2002. Among those identified were: efforts to use the Internet to track terrorism and other crimes; possible diminution of privacy rights; efforts to censor apparently dangerous speech on the Internet; the Supreme Court will signal what kind of constitutional restraints it will impose on the new expansions of intellectual property law; continued pressure to pass the database bill; increasingly sophisticated attacks against the constitutionality of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions; the upcoming decision in ACLU v. Ashcroft that challenges the constitutionality of the Children’s Online Protection Act; continuing struggle between free speech and intellectual property in the courts; and "Microsoft and Disney will become the most important allies in defending the core values of the Internet."


Since its inception in 1998, SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, has offered a widening range of information and services aimed at helping the academic library community fight rampant price inflation in scholarly publishing. Now, it will enter a new phase, with the launch of a program to help scholars and nonprofit publishers publish better through the recently launched SPARC Consulting Group. According to SPARC officials, the group will provide business, financial, and strategic consulting services to universities and university presses, not-for-profit learned societies, and other academic and not-for-profit organizations, as well as to SPARC members and partners.

"With the SPARC Consulting Group, SPARC is providing direct access to expert assistance in developing, launching, and operating a new initiative, as well as in retooling existing activities." said Rick Johnson, SPARC enterprise director. "SPARC has been instrumental in the launch of scholarly communication initiatives which improve access to information, facilitate competition, and encourage community control." Johnson said the ultimate goal is to support the development, launch, and operation of scholarly communications projects by helping to make them more competitive, financially self-sufficient, and better equipped to improve the scholarly communication marketplace. Consulting services will be client-specific and fee-based. SPARC's existing services, however, will continue to be available free of charge. For information on the initiative, SPARC, visit (LJ Academic News Wire, Jan 17, 02)


Lawrence Lessig, Stanford technology law professor and author of the newly-published The Future of Ideas, said recently that American copyright laws no longer serve artists, acting instead for the advantage of copyright holders. This control is causing culture and intellectual history to decline and is stifling technological innovation, he concluded. People now need permission to create derivative works of copyrighted material, shifting the power to build culture into the hands of property owners. Lessig believes that digital and internet technologies have the potential to diversify and open up culture, giving artists more control over their creations and breaking the power of monopolistic companies. (EDUCAUSE review, Jan/Feb 2002)


A full-page article by James Surowiecki in the January 21, 2002 issue of The New Yorker, featuring a picture of an old and wizened Mickey Mouse, takes the Walt Disney Company, among others, to task for pulling off "a nifty legal heist." Surowiecki’s referring to the Sonny Bono Act, which extended all copyrights for more than twenty years and kept Mickey out of the public domain. From its beginning, U.S. copyright law recognized that copyright should be temporary, providing enough incentive for people to create and innovate before making it freely accessible. Since 1960, however, copyrights have been extended eleven times to the life of the artist plus seventy years. Surowiecki’s article spotlights Lawrence Lessig (see previous article), who cites the example of the piano roll. When it came along, song-writers were concerned that their music copyrights would be violated. So, Congress rewrote the law in a way that both protected the songwriters and allowed the player piano, a new technology, to flourish. When the Internet came along, the government "forgot about balance and decided that property rights trump all. Maybe we ought to stop coddling the Scrooge McDucks and free Steamboat Willie."


Although the Electronic Frontier Foundation has lost its case in two federal district courts and in a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, it asked the full appellate court in Manhattan to take another look at the closely watched case of 2600, an online magazine that has been prohibited by a statute of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s from electronically publishing or linking to DeCSS, a software program that can be used to gain unauthorized access to the contents of a DVD. The case has important implications for the ability of individuals and organizations to provide links to sites that offer ways to crack encryption software codes and, in a more general sense, to provide links at all. The library community has followed the case closely, arguing that the anti-encryption provision of the Digital

Millennium Copyright Act, on which the case turns, guts fair use and gives copyright holders unprecedented control in the digital age not only to dictate how material is used, but in what format. The case also raises serious First Amendment issues. "The most egregious part of the previous decision prevented linking, the lifeblood of the

Internet," noted Cindy Cohn, EFF Legal Director. "By permitting publication of code in an online magazine, the Second Circuit would recognize that Internet speech is fully protected by the First Amendment." (NYTimes 1/21/02)


Publishers Weekly’s editor-in-chief Nora Rawlinson spoke with eight executives from trade book publishers. They had a lot to say about the book business in general, but concluded with some thoughts about e-publishing. One extolled the benefits of marketing over the Internet while another thinks that the majority of the profits will be in print-on-demand. Although there was general agreement that print-on-demand is where the action will be, there was much less enthusiasm for publishing electronic books, at least in the short-term. Read the entire article at


Young children in Britain have been asked to come up with their ideas of the libraries and librarians of the future. Are you ready for an eight-year-old's view of the robot librarian of tomorrow? Check it out at



We’d like to hear from you. Please send comments and suggests to Paula Kaufman at