PRISM makes me crazy and Dave Munger Makes my Day

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.

More like this

The blogosphere is abuzz with reports about a new initiative by commercial scholarly publishers to discredit the open access movement. Prism describes itself as an organization to "protect the quality of scientific research", which it hopes to do by opposing policies "that threaten to introduce…
When technological or social changes start altering the business landscape in a particular industry, people involved in that business tend to respond in three general ways. The visionaries immediately see where their world is going, jump to the front edge of it and make sure that the change is as…
Even though I've been frightfully busy this week, I've been following the news about the launch of PRISM (Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine). I first saw it discussed in this post by Peter Suber, after which numerous ScienceBloggers piled on. If you have some time (and…
It's always a good day when I can blog about profit hungry companies trying to protect their profit margins or about some group using sleazy tactics to try to get special interest legislation passed or blocked. Today is a very good day - I get to do both at the same time. That's right, folks, the…

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

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.)

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.)