Effect Measure

I don’t suppose I can sue somebody for negligence resulting in impairment of my mental health. But if I could, I would surely go after the assholes at the PRISM coalition, an alleged grassroots group (such front groups for industry are often called astroturf groups) whose task in life is to lock up tax payer financed research under copyright laws they and their cronies wrote for their own benefit. And THEY ARE MAKING ME CRAZY! So there was at least some therapeutic benefit to the discovery of my SciBling Dave Munger at Cognitive Daily that these hypocrites were violating copyright on their own website:

There are plenty of reasons why PRISM’s logic falls apart (see here for a thorough bashing), but I wanted to point out just one: they’re hypocritical. While their entire web site advocates strict enforcement of copyright laws, the images they’ve used on their front page are a violation of copyright law. (Cognitive Daily)

There follows screenshots of watermarked images from the Getty archives. Dave continues:

Notice how the hairdo of the handsome scientist in the large photo is marred by the “Getty Images” logo? That’s a digital water mark that stock photo suppliers use to keep unscrupulous publishers from “borrowing” their images. A quick search of the Getty Images web site locates the identical photo, with the identical watermark . . .

Clearly PRISM was too cheap, or in too much of a hurry, to bother with copyright (if you look closely at the other two photos, you’ll see watermarks on them as well).

However, they’re happy to make it expensive and inconvenient for taxpayers to access the research they’ve paid for.

Thanks to this expose these guys got Slashdotted and Boingboinged and miraculously the watermarks disappeared and a Getty copyright notice appeared. Regardless, Dave’s point is right on target:

But the point still holds: Dealing with copyright and DRM is expensive and inconvenient, and taxpayers who’ve already paid for research once shouldn’t have to pay again to see the results.

This is exactly the point of NIH policy being fought tooth and nail by the PRISM coalition and their big science publisher and society allies. You can see our views on the general subject of Open Access and IP for tax payer supported research here.

Kudos to ScienceBlog’s Dave Munger and Cognitive Daily. You made my day.

Comments

  1. #1 Dave Munger
    August 30, 2007

    And you made *my* day!

    Glad I could help!

  2. #2 Dorothea Salo
    August 30, 2007

    Just pointing out that there is dissension in the PRISM ranks already. Thank goodness, there are still some principled people in the publishing business!

  3. #3 revere
    August 30, 2007

    Dorothea: Many thanks for that link. Yes, very heartening. Let’s see what happens.

  4. #4 David Sewell
    August 30, 2007

    I’m part of a university press, though not one that’s an AAP-PSP member. The other day I posted a negative reaction to the PRISM website on the main email list used by the North American university press community and can confirm based on offline responses I got that I’m not alone in being upset.

    The fact is that the PRISM lobbying effort was authorized by a majority decision of an executive council consisting of a small subset of all the publishers who are AAP members. Mike Rossner’s request for a disclaimer is reasonable. It should be supplemented by an opt-in list of individuals and organizations who explicitly identify themselves as PRISM Coalition members. (Though I realize that the basic principle of astroturfing is to make it seem like your base is far larger than it actually is.)

  5. I’m part of a university press, though not one that’s an AAP-PSP member. The other day I posted a negative reaction to the PRISM website on the main email list used by the North American university press community and can confirm based on offline responses I got that I’m not alone in being upset.

  6. The fact is that the PRISM lobbying effort was authorized by a majority decision of an executive council consisting of a small subset of all the publishers who are AAP members. Mike Rossner’s request for a disclaimer is reasonable. It should be supplemented by an opt-in list of individuals and organizations who explicitly identify themselves as PRISM Coalition members. (Though I realize that the basic principle of astroturfing is to make it seem like your base is far larger than it actually is.)