Posted at LIBLICENSE
Among German university presses
http://blog.bibliothek.kit.edu/ag_univerlage we have an ongoing
discussion whether it is economically wise to publish scholarly books
under a CC-license permitting commercial use (cc-by-sa, cc-by-nd and
cc-by). There are reasonable arguments pro and contra.
The presses doing it already as a default mode (f.e. KIT Publishig,
Goettingen University Press) are convinced that the integrity of the
content and the book as such is maintained best through other modes
than a restrictive open access license. After thorough analysis we
decided to trust in:
a) scientific standards (as a scientist working with material from
peers, one either indicates “own translation” or seeks permission from
author; one doesn’t distort texts from peers as that is a scholarly
b) in continental European copyright that enables authors/creators to
prohibit garbling or distortion of the creation (a miserable Kindle
edition f.e. could be interpreted as an wrongful distortion; as a
rights-owner I’d make vendors aware that it needs to be corrected or
c) in the strength of our brands (trademark law gives us exclusive
rights to sell products under our name)
and d) in the field we’re playing on. Scientific books from university
presses usually serve the purpose of P2P communication. This ain’t the field of generating hit-and-run profits as the entire field operates against a backdrop of reputation and long-standing relations, among authors, editors and their presses, among presses, vendors and libraries.
So far we didn’t need to persecute any infringements, hence we will
continue with the chosen licensing policy.
In our perspective the advantages of libre licenses outweigh the
potential risks. Although there is no robust evidence yet we are
convinced that books in their printed and online form benefit from
widest dissemination. And dissemination of scientific books shouldn’t
come to a full stop once it reaches the realm of the “commercial”.
Although several authors think so, “commercial use” isn’t necessarily
a profit-maximising enterprise. Any given player in the internet
relying on generating revenues exercises commercial use. We don’t want to exclude databases, contexts, connections, whether existing or yet unknown, solely because they involve financial flows with a commercial nature.
Leitung Elektronisches Publizieren ǀ Head of Electronic Publishing
Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen
State and University Library Goettingen