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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

“There’s No Success Like Failure”

To a significant extent in legal and professional publishing, as in other areas of publishing and indeed business and real life, commercial and financial failure plays a critical part in charting its paths. Probably, it is its failed projects and ventures which determine its future rather than its overall historical success, where such has been achieved over time. Here, maybe more than in some other fields, just like the inevitable conclusion of all political careers, the expectation of failure is embedded at its very core, though perhaps often needlessly. It is so embedded that in so many scenarios, notably in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Simplest of Models for Open Access to Research Proves Itself: Welcome to Subscribe-to-Open

I’ve got blog-worthy good news. So good, in fact, that I’m persuaded to take a break from my consecutive blogs on amending American copyright for open access (my developing case here). Instead, I devote this blog to a far more here-and-now breakthrough in increasing public access to research.

It arises out of the work of a half-dozen anthropologists (and me), who think that, given their study of people and society, they have a moral duty to share that work with those people and that society. This group, Libraria by name, has worked over the last two years with Berghahn . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

As the Law Is Blind to Research’s Intellectual Property Distinctions

This is the third in a series of blogs based on excerpts from an early and ongoing draft of a book (here for comment) in which I develop a case for amending copyright in the United States so that it is once again serving research and scholarship. The book’s working title is Copyright’s Constitutional Violation: When the Law Fails to “Promote the Progress of Science” (While Promoting Practically Everything Else). What follows is a key piece of the argument for reform. For now that there is an agreement that open access serves science best (as per my last . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Why Do I Prefer Reading Digital Books?

I find that I am out of step with my wife and most friends regarding the choice of format for reading a book. They prefer a print book either hard-cover or paperback. I prefer reading a book on my iPad or my iPhone.

Price. The price of a digital book can be a half to two-thirds of the price of a print book. Many digital books are free, especially those where the copyright has expired. Promotions can result in prices of $1 or $2 per digital book.

Highlighting. This can be done with the touch of a finger . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Rear Window

The 1954 Hitchcock oeuvre, based on Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 short story, “It Had to Be Murder”, can be a marvellous mix of many metaphors and analogies. To some, its underlying theme is voyeurism, which may be the case at least in part, but the idea of the rear window view offers much more. It can apply to innumerable scenarios, including legal and professional publishing.

I have enjoyed and occasionally cited Peter Drucker’s notion of trying to predict the future being akin to driving down a country road at night with no lights, while looking out the rear window, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Open Access Consensus and Copyright Reform

This is the second in a series of blogs on how U.S. copyright law has, with the emergence of open access to research and scholarship in the digital era, slipped into an unconstitutional state because it can no longer be said, in the case of science, “to promote the progress of science and useful arts” (U.S. CONST. art. 1, § 8, cl.8.). Rather, the law is called upon to constrain such progress. These shortcomings apply no less trenchantly to Canada’s Copyright Act, as well as to copyright laws in most other jurisdictions. It is the U.S. Constitution’s particularly pointed wording . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Authors and Editors Working With and Their Expectations From Professional Publishers

Upon writing Practicalities of Securing a Law Book Publishing Agreement, I pondered on an aspect of that actual or potential experience which was addressed therein in only four bullet points, namely the issue of what is expected from publishers. It is the publisher, for the most part, which sets the rules of the game and drives the contractual conditions and process. As this is often a corporate entity negotiating with an individual, who is normally not represented by a publishing agent or a media lawyer, the parties are rarely equal, in terms of power and resources. There is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Special Lectures – Continuing Legal Education Since 1943

A short history of the origin of the Special Lectures compiled primarily from the prefaces of the first three Special Lectures on their 76th anniversary.

The 2019 Special Lectures – One of the great traditions of the Law Society

The Special Lectures for 2019 have been announced. Once again the Law Society of Ontario will use the Special Lectures to help guide the legal profession through a period of momentous change. The first Special Lectures were held to educate the members of the Bar to deal with the massive changes in the law triggered by the needs of the war . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Practicalities of Securing a Law Book Publishing Agreement

I read a Linkedin posting by lawyer and consultant, Simon Haigh, asking “Which book is in you?”, perhaps the correct assumption being that many in and around the legal profession, inter alia, have, deep within them, a desire to commit their experience and expertise to the written word. A reaction from some at this point will be that nobody writes or reads books any more, nor should they. Indeed, published articles have seen one commentator’s headline pronounce that “lawyers should stop doing legal research”, while another’s boasts “Hire me. I won’t work hard for you”; . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

It’s Time to Stop Copyright’s Violation of the U. S. Constitution

The jurisdiction in which it makes the most sense to reform copyright law so that it supports, rather than deters, access to research and scholarship is the United States. After all, the country’s Constitution empowers Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The only other thing the Constitution seeks to “promote” is the country’s “lasting Welfare.”

Yet U.S. copyright law today violates this constitutional imperative. The evidence that copyright law is not promoting the progress of science comes from . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Facilitating Fair Copyright Compensation in Canadian Universities

During the first week of June this year, Canada’s Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology issued its Statutory Review of the Copyright Act Report, after an exhaustive and expensive Canada-wide polling of opinion. The result of a legislated five-year review of copyright, the report’s first recommendation is to strike this review mandate from the legislation. More than one witness pointed to how the conventional legislative reform process is working just fine.

That duly noted, if with a touch of irony, I’d like to focus my attention on a pair of consecutive recommendations, beginning with number 16: That the . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

The Optimum Time to Buy or Sell Law Publishing Businesses

For reasons that I barely remember with clarity, I am the owner of a pitifully small number of shares in two companies that are participants in law, tax and professional publishing. I worry, however, that I, personally but unintentionally, might be doing harm to the law publishing business.

It’s not that in any way the expression of my opinions can hurt them, nor can I do so by my abilities in clever financial wizardry, nor am I able at all to affect their managements or shareholders; it is much more subtle and subliminal than that. Quite simply, my wagers on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing