Maybe I’m slow, but it seems to me that the Open Access movement and IP Law bloggers have remained mostly unconnected in public fora. IP lawyers tend to blog on a range of substantive IP issues, and OA proponents, where they discuss the law, tend to focus on copyright. But today Peter Suber of Open Access points to this article by James Boyle, an IP professor and OA proponent, in the Financial Times which seems to bridge some of the gap. These two older articles are also worth reading: one, two. The latter outlines how, in the WIPO process, "[t]he public interest in competition, access, free speech and vigorous technological markets takes a back seat." Interestingly, he also points out how "intellectual property laws are created without any empirical evidence that they are necessary or that they will help rather than hurt" and how IP law "is attracting attention from economists, political scientists and people who simply want to make money."
We all suspect that, for a variety of very compelling reasons, the open access model of publishing is bound to affect legal publishing on a wide scale at some point. Among the reasons, I would place access to the law, often cited as a fundamental requirement of a free society, first. A close second is the way that the public pays twice for primary legal materials: once when they are created, a second time when they are accessed.
Here are some of the materials I have been collecting on this topic, as I begin to contemplate how to broach this topic with others. I wonder if other SLAW-ers have similar collections waiting to be shared, and whether any of us have initiated open access projects.
U.K. Parliamentary Committee Holds Hearings on Scientific Publishing
Research and other articles
Library Access to Scholarship
Open Access Overview
The Impact of Open Access Journals: A Citation Study from Thomson ISI
Open Access to Law in Developing Countries
The Life of the Law Online
"Never Ending, Still Beginning": A Defense of Electronic Law Journals from the Perspective of the E Law Experience
Directory of Open Access Journals