Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, eu, links, research, science



Scientists Realizing That EU Ruling On Copyright & Links Just Made Science Much More Difficult

from the to-promote-the-progress-of-science dept

Last week, we wrote about a terrible copyright ruling from the Court of Justice of the EU, which basically says that any for-profit entity that links to infringing material can be held liable for direct infringement, as the "for-profit" nature of the work is seen as evidence that they knew or should have known the work was infringing. We discussed the problems with this standard in our post, and there's been a lot of commentary on what this will mean for Europe -- with a variety of viewpoints being expressed. One really interesting set of concerns comes from Egon Willighagen, from Maastricht University, noting what a total and complete mess this is going to be for scientists, who rarely consider the copyright status of various data as databases they rely on are built up:
Now, realize that in many European Commission funded projects, with multiple partners, sharing IP is non-trivial, ownership even less (just think about why traditional publishers require you to reassign copyright to them! BTW, never do that!), etc, etc. A lot of funding actually goes to small and medium sized companies, who are really not waiting for more complex law, nor more administrative work.

A second realization is that few scientists understand or want to understand copyright law. The result is hundreds of scholarly databases which do not define who owns the data, nor under what conditions you are allowed to reuse it, or share, or reshare, or modify. Yet scientists do. So, not only do these database often not specify the copyright/license/waiver (CLW) information, the certainly don't really tell you how they populated their database. E.g. how much they copied from other websites, under the assumption that knowledge is free. Sadly, database content is not. Often you don't even need wonder about it, as it is evident or even proudly said they used data from another database. Did they ask permission for that? Can you easily look that up? Because you are now only allowed to link to that database until you figured out if they data, because of the above quoted argument. And believe me, that is not cheap.

Combine that, and you have this recipe for disaster.
A recipe for disaster indeed.

This is, of course, not the first time we've noted the problems of intellectual property in the science world. From various journals locking up research to the rise of patents scaring off researchers from sharing data, intellectual property keeps getting in the way of science, rather than supporting it. And that's extremely unfortunate. I mean, after all, in the US specifically, the Constitution specifically says that copyrights and patents are supposed to be about "promoting the progress of science and the useful arts."

Over and over again, though, we see that the law has been twisted and distorted and extended and expanded in such a way that is designed to protect a very narrow set of interests, at the expense of many others, including the public who would benefit from greater sharing and collaboration and open flow of data among scientific researchers. Having the CJEU make things worse in Europe isn't going to help Europe compete -- and, unfortunately, it does not look like those in Europe looking to update its copyright laws understand any of this yet.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 9:01am

    Abolish Copyright

    Stop the insanity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 9:26am

    If this ruling stands, how long before Elsevier starts charging for standard references to papers it owns?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 14 Sep 2016 @ 9:41am

    Goes to show: it won't be "piracy" (a different [incorrect, but popularly accepted] name for "infringement") that kills innovation - it will be copyright.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 9:46am

    Pedantry time

    I mean, after all, in the US specifically, the Constitution specifically says that copyrights and patents are supposed to be about "promoting the progress of science and the useful arts."


    For those of you who don't regularly parse 18th century English, a modern translation of that line is "promoting the progress of knowledge and applied science."

    Still fits, but not quite in the way it appears at first glance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 14 Sep 2016 @ 10:19am

    So we conclude that piracy is saving science? This sounds way more awesome than "piracy is killing music".

    I still think "home cooking is killing restaurants and it tastes delicious" and that everybody should "download a car" when possible.

    Ahem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Skeeter, 14 Sep 2016 @ 11:08am

    Science and Protectionism

    I've personally often wondered about this, when it comes to the perpetual screaming from 'science' over 'Climate Change'. I mean, we hear it daily, we are beaten with labels from 'denier' to 'ignorant' if we refute it, but ask yourself, have you EVER seen actual data that supports most of the claims made? I don't mean the 'Digest Summary' of what Dr. Genius said, I mean the data he arrived at his statement as a result of? I would hazard to say, if it even exists, that fewer than 1-in-10,000 have actually seen this mythical 'data'.

    As a person with more than one college degree in Engineering, I've tried for years to pin-down ANYONE who can point to a reputable sampling source, and get a copy of their 'green-bar data' (the raw readings themselves). Ever since the owner of the Weather Channel flat-out claimed in the mid-2000's that 'Climate Change is a Farce'. I wanted to see the data, understand the data, chart the data and try to understand why their 'Ice Age' never came, nor did 6-foot sea level rises arrive by 2000. I wanted to fathom how they could be so 'off' about their predictions, but have such wisdom from 'so much collected data' that it took multiple mainframes to crunch it all. The answer I have found, after 10 years of searching, is that either 1.) the data really doesn't exist at all; 2.) the data is so conflicting it is highly interpretational to any who sees it; or 3.) that it just flat-out doesn't support what they are claiming.

    While point number 2 speaks to 'depends on what the data is, where it was collected and who owns it', point number 3 says that upon disclosure, it would refute everything they are trying to push. Both 2 and 3 say that it is privately held, fiercely protected, and thus, might even be considered 'national security' in interest.

    Either way, you can't get to it, you're not going to be allowed to look at it, and you can forget asking. NOW BELIEVE THE PARROTS AND STOP DOUBTING IT. This is what protectionism over information will get you - be a sheep, or get slaughtered in the court of public opinion. It really does have a purpose (data being owned and protected), and it is NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST that this is allowed to happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 12:17pm

      Re: Science and Protectionism

      Mandatort XKCD comic summarizing climate change.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 14 Sep 2016 @ 3:58pm

        Re: Re: Science and Protectionism

        Yeah... no. Considering that 99% of temperature data comes from SATELLITES that didn't exist until a couple decades ago, and that we have NO RECORDS OF ANY KIND from more than a few thousand years ago, I'll take all average global temperature data values older than 20 years with a grain of salt.

        Now those satellite readings do show the earth is getting warmer... just slightly. What that means remains to be seen. And we almost certainly will see as humans don't seem to be in any hurry to do anything about the temps.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          James T, 14 Sep 2016 @ 5:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: Science and Protectionism

          Wow that's a dumb POV.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          MrTroy (profile), 14 Sep 2016 @ 7:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Science and Protectionism

          Yeah... no. Considering that 99% of temperature data comes from SATELLITES that didn't exist until a couple decades ago, and that we have NO RECORDS OF ANY KIND from more than a few thousand years ago, I'll take all average global temperature data values older than 20 years with a grain of salt.

          Yeah... no.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            JoeCool (profile), 15 Sep 2016 @ 12:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Science and Protectionism

            Sorry, but those link prove MY point. A few balloons, a handful of cores, and a few thousand thermometers do NOTHING to show a GLOBAL temperature. That's what the satellites do. It's why they put the satellites up in the first place.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2016 @ 6:22am

      Re: Science and Protectionism

      Of course NOAA has lots of raw data for anyone to download. The data is not hard to find, it's just hard to interpret. That is particularly true for older data. For example one set of data may be from stations which recorded information in the morning, another from stations which recorded in the afternoon. Or from ships that stopped and dropped buckets to bring up water or those who dropped thermometers over the side.

      And thats were the experts in any field come in. Climate science has spent years investigating the various adjustments needed to bring data in line with all the other sources. Papers get published and peer reviewed. Later scientists repeat experiments. Further experiments refine the data. THAT'S HOW SCIENCE WORKS.

      The fact is climate data is always being revised as methods improve. And almost without fail those adjustments make the situation worse not better. Of course when adjustments do improve the situation certain media outlets jump on the stories as proof that every other study is wrong.

      Anyone can repeat these experiments, papers are widely published and available for anyone who really wants to.

      So 1) Isn't true. It's easy to find
      2) That is why it takes years of study and experiment to understand the data
      3) It does support what they are saying to a high degree of certainty. Models change regularly as new science becomes available.

      And this is why the EU ruling is such a problem. It will take the information out of public view making people even more distrusting of how Science works

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 5:58pm

    Copyright, also known as Copywrong or Copyright Monopoly, must die; must be abolished.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 7:46pm

    Scientists make discoveries for the benefit of mankind. Hollywood makes movies for the benefit of themselves.

    Scientists publish findings for individuals to share and build upon. Hollywood publishes movies for individuals to pay for without reusing.

    Scientists do their jobs for the greater good. Hollywood does their jobs for the greater dollar.

    And both are doing the right thing with respect to their fields. Copyright and IP are simply not equipped for a one size fits all approach.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Mayor, 14 Sep 2016 @ 10:08pm

    LINK BLOCKING JUJITSU

    What's required then, is a combination, "ALGORITHMIC RFID, AND ALGORITHMIC GPS" for all "protected works"!... that will automatically activate a "DO NOT LINK ALGORITHM" if a link is attempted! And then... afterupon "professional screams" to challenge such "automated link blocking", the issue of "link blocking" will be finally properly vetted before our courts!
    .
    Like someone versed in jujitsu/ judo would effect!... using the "accumulated momentum" of an opponent who is determined to strike, can be used to unbalance that opponent! Thusly, using the MAXIMUM WEIGHT of such an opposing force as I've described, could topple the "OPPONENT" to linking! In other words, the bigger the opponent, THE HARDER THE LANDING! Let us pursue the issue of "link blocking" IN ITS EXTREME FORM!
    .
    Please!... no emails!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    √Čibhear, 15 Sep 2016 @ 1:50am

    Sharing of scientific data

    From Tim Berners-Lee's summary on the alt.hypertext news group in August 1991 (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/alt.hypertext/eCTkkOoWTAY/bJGhZyooXzkJ):

    "The project started with the philosophy that much academic information should
    be freely available to anyone. It aims to allow information sharing within
    internationally dispersed teams, and the dissemination of information by
    support groups."

    The CJEU has outlawed the founding philosophy of the Web.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2016 @ 11:55am

    Why don't scientists realize that copyright must be abolished?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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