SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES

A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY

Issue No. 14

March 18, 2002


Paula Kaufman, University Librarian

Editor

 

BLACKWELL FUTURE STILL UNCERTAIN

Publisher Taylor & Francis has bid 300 million UK pounds for Blackwell Publishing, a family-owned business lately characterized by feuding shareholder factions. Blackwell’s management team, which opposes the sale, refused to comment on the offer. A group of rebel shareholders, led by Toby Blackwell, has been lobbying vigorously for a sale. They are concerned about declining margins and think that Taylor & Francis is better placed to manage the business. Blackwell’s board says that it has asked a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley to analyze this and other offers it says it has received. 75% of the shares are required to achieve a sale. Read more at http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,666434,00.html

RESULTS OF ANOTHER SALE: ELSEVIER AND THOMSON BOTH GAIN

According to a report in Publishers Weekly, both Reed Elsevier and the Thomson Corp. had solid gains in sales and earnings in 2001, helped in part by their acquisitions of various parts of Harcourt, Inc., which they bought last July. Total revenues at Reed rose 21% last year to $6.57 billion, while pretax profit increased 23% to $1.22 billion. Revenues from continuing operations at Thomson increased 18% to $7.17 billion, and operating profits increased 16% to $1.32 billion. Harcourt had the most dramatic impact on Reed’s results, contributing approximately $890 million in revenues from the July 13 acquisition date through the end of 2001. Harcourt added $541 million to Reed’s education operations and $349 million to its science and medical operations. Excluding acquisitions and divestitures, revenues were up 3% and operating profits were up 5%. Sales in the Reed Educational & Professional Publishing division increased 8%, excluding results from Butterworth-Heinemann, which was moved to the science and medical group. In addition to contributions from Harcourt, revenues in the science and medical group were driven by subscriptions to ScienceDirect.

Reed Elsevier Revenues by Segment, 2000-2001 ($ in millions)

SEGMENT

   

2000

 

2001

 

% Change

   

Science & Medical

   

$998

 

$1,474

 

47

   

Legal

   

1,729

 

1,915

 

11

   

Education

   

291

 

834

 

186

   

Business

   

2,408

 

2,342

 

-3

   

TOTAL

   

5,426

 

6,565

 

21

   

Thomson Corp. Revenues ($ in millions)

Legal & Regulatory

2,619

 

2,827

   

8

 

Learning

1,388

 

1,851

   

33

 

Financial

1,201

 

1,590

   

32

 

Scientific & Healthcare

653

 

697

   

7

 

Corporate & other

272

 

242

   

-11

 

Intergroup

(29)

 

(32)

       

TOTAL

6,104

 

7,175

   

18

 

Read more at http://publishersweekly.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA201477&display=breakingNews

BRITISH LIBRARY PLANS DIGITAL FUTURE

In a recently-released consultative document, the British Library has detailed a range of proposals that, if accepted, would see a far greater role for the web and use of digital materials. The Library recognizes the importance of web sites as a source of historical and cultural materials, as well as books that are only published on the net. To enable that such material is not lost forever, the British Library wants to set up collaborative partnerships with other libraries and organizations both in the UK and abroad to archive and catalog them. The issue of greater access is the key to the library’s future, says Lynne Brindley, the Library’s Chief Executive, and the use of the net has transformed what might be possible. But, to implement this strategy, the British Library will have to supplement its funds. Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1388000/1388913.stm

MALCOLM X PAPERS PULLED FROM AUCTION

Readers of the last issue of this Newsletter will remember the controversy over the planned sale of a collection of Malcolm X papers. On March 12, Butterfields, the eBay-owned auction house that was to have handled the sale, announced that it has withdrawn the collection from sale. A representative from Butterfields said that "additional information from third parties" revealed an "irregularity in the process of transfer of title," prompting the archive’s removal from sale until the issue can be resolved. The collection, which has been called the most important collection of personal papers known to exist belonging to slain Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X, was expected to bring as much of $500,000 for 21 lots of never-before-seen unpublished artifacts, including correspondence, speeches, manuscripts, and diaries from Malcolm X’s trip to Africa. Apparently, one of Malcom X’s daughters, Malikah Shabazz, had put the papers in a rented storage locker in Florida; she defaulted on the rent and the papers were later auctioned. Read more at http://libraryjournal.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA201446&display=breakingNews

DIGITAL REFERENCE SERVICES BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bernie Sloan (University of Illinois) has finished a complete revision of his Digital Reference Services Bibliography. This updates his original bibliography, posted in November 2000, and now includes the citations from his supplement to that bibliography, posted in July 2001. This bibliography also includes more than 100 added entries that are not represented in the original or the supplement  

DIGITAL COPYRIGHT TREATY GOES INTO EFFECT

A landmark international copyright treaty, negotiated by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1996, took effect March 6, 2002 amid controversy over whether tougher copyright rules encourage or inhibit intellectual creativity in cyberspace. A companion treaty specifically protecting digital music goes into effect in May. Both treaties outlaw attempts to circumvent encryption and other techniques used to prevent unauthorized copying and to ensure royalty payments. The treaties have been criticized by civil liberties advocates who claim the prohibitions will stymie freedom of speech on the Net, but their views have met little sympathy either in the U.S. or abroad. WIPO Director General Kamil Idris says the treaties will provide a secure platform for creators to further exploit the Internet with confidence. (Financial Times 6 Mar 2002)

http://news.ft.com/news/industries/infotechnology

"While we have reached the key number of 30 countries required for entry into force, I urge all other countries to follow suit and to incorporate the provisions of the

WCT," said WIPO director general Kamil Idris in a statement. "This will create the conditions necessary for the broad-based and legitimate distribution of creative works and recordings on the Internet." Ironically, just as the WCT is set to kick in, the DMCA is now under heavy fire from critics in the United States. On April 1, a California court will hear a motion from attorneys representing ElComSoft, the Russian employer of programmer Dmitry Sklyarov, arrested in the U.S. and accused of circumventing encryption controls in Adobe e-books, arguing that the DMCA is unconstitutional. Last month, Virginia congressman Rick Boucher posted an editorial on the online C-NET saying that the DMCA needs to be rewritten. "In the three years since [the DMCA] was enacted," wrote Boucher, "we have not seen [an increase in] digital content. Instead, we have seen a rash of lawsuits; the imprisonment by U.S. authorities of a Russian computer programmer who had come to the United States to give a technical talk; and, more recently, the release of compact discs into the market that cannot be played in computers or even some CD players." (LJ Academic News Wire 3/5/02)

THINKING OF MAKING YOUR FORTUNE IN WEB PUBLISHING?

The heads of some major commercial media groups concluded at a recent London conference on new media and broadcasting that there is no way to make money from

Web publishing. Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corp., went as far as to declare flatly there is "no viable business model that works" for the Internet. He considers the Web sites run in tandem with his company's newspapers, including The Times and Sun, to be nothing more than ancillary, promotional vehicles. Other speakers agreed, justifying major cuts in online publishing staff and even the

sell-off of complete online divisions. Only Cindy Johanson, senior vice president of interactive and digital content planning for the Public Broadcasting System in the United States, spoke of the Internet as a successful medium. She said that some PBS sites, such as one associated with the long-running Sesame Street children's program, now reach audiences as large as those reached by the broadcasts themselves. (Financial Times 4 Mar 2002)

http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3XNV0EEYC

LAWMAKER SAYS SENATE WON'T ACT ON DIGITAL CONTENT BILL

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has said that Congress will not pass legislation to prevent digital piracy until the entertainment and technology industries come up with solutions that protect content owners without restricting consumers' fair use rights. The movie and music industries have lobbied Congress to pass legislation being drafted by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, that would force consumer electronics and computer makers to implement technology that could prevent people from making copies of digitized content. Leahy's view wasn't unanimous however, as California Senator Dianne Feinstein suggested that legislation might be needed.

http://www.newsbytes.com/news/02/175222.html

WHILE ROSEN CALLS ON SENATE TO HELP STOP DIGITAL PIRACY

And RIAA chief Hilary Rosen has written a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, stating that digital piracy is an "unrelenting threat" to the music industry that may require legislative assistance. According to the RIAA, peer-to-peer systems enable the illegal download of billions of files each month. Rosen is expected to propose solutions

such as improving how devices treat copy protected CDs or downloads. Coverage at

http://www.newsbytes.com/news/02/175220.html

How Are We Doing?

Scholarly Communication Issues welcomes your input. Please let us know what’s missing from our coverage. And let us hear your comments about the issues themselves. Does our current system of scholarly communication need to be changed? If so, how should the academic community go about changing it? Send your comments to Paula Kaufman at ptk@uiuc.edu.