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I am a Professor of Law and the Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University, Washington College of Law and am a founding member of the Creative Commons board.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

There he goes again - Allan Adler on the NIH Policy

Once again, Allan Adler's back with the private market canard. Mr. Adler is vice president for legal and government affairs at the Association of American Publishers, which has organized efforts to quash the Open Access movement. Despite his best efforts, Mr. Adler and his allies failed to persuade Congress that it is good policy to make taxpayers pay twice for research articles that they fund.

Here's the packaged sound bite that he once again unwrapped and delivered to the Washington Post's Rick Weiss: "[T]here are some very serious questions to examine as to whether this is an unwarranted government intrusion into the private-sector publishing industry."

Government intrusion? Hmmm. Let's look at the facts. For this argument to make any sense one would have to ignore copyright law and forget that taxpayers are part of the picture. Mr. Adler has to do this because he's arguing that there's something wrong with a world in which he who pays the piper calls the tune. Because that's all that's going on here.

NIH funds the research and, under the bill language, would require public access to resulting research articles as a condition of funding. Under copyright law, the author starts out with the rights, and the NIH policy deals with the relationship between authors and funders. Mr. Adler's members operate in a market comprised of authors and publishers that depends for its very existence on research funded by other sources. Intrusion indeed.



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