Publishing and copyright in mathematics and allied fields

On Publishing
  • Ulf Rehmann's latest table of journal prices.
  • Peter Suber's compilation of open access lists. Of special interest is the list of fourteen "Journal declarations of independence".

  • Rob Kirby's May 27, 1997 letter to the mathematical community.
  • Rob Kirby's Dec. 30 1997 letter to Elsevier.
  • Joan Birman's Aug. 2000 article in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
  • Don Knuth's Oct. 25 2003 letter to the editorial board of the Journal of Algorithms.
  • John Baez's Jan. 8 2006 discussion of journal pricing.
  • Topology board of editors' Aug. 10 2006 letter of resignation.
  • Scott Aaronson's 2006 discussion.
  • Allyn Jackson's May 2007 article in the Notices, discussing the Topology resignations.
  • Links to the K-Theory affair.
    On Copyright
  • Public domain dedication. I use this instead of retaining or granting copyright on my papers.
  • It is case law, in the United States, that copyright can be abandoned. See Micro Star v. Formgen, Section 22, stating
    It is well settled that rights gained under the Copyright Act may be abandoned. But abandonment of a right must be manifested by some overt act indicating an intention to abandon that right. See Hampton v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 279 F.2d 100, 104 (9th Cir.1960).
    Pulling on the string a bit: In Hampton v. Paramount, Section 19 we find
    Rights gained under the Copyright Law, 17 U.S.C.A. 1 et seq., may be abandoned. Abandonment of such rights, however, must be manifested by some overt act indicative of a purpose to surrender the rights and allow the public to copy. National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications, 2 Cir., 191 F.2d 594, 598.
    So we turn to National v. Fawcett and in Section 2, we find
    we do not doubt that the "author or proprietor of any work made the subject of copyright" by the Copyright Law (1) may "abandon" his literary property in the "work" before he has published it, or his copyright in it after he has done so; but he must "abandon" it by some overt act which manifests his purpose to surrender his rights in the "work," and to allow the public to copy it.
    The footnote (1) refers to Section 9, Title 17 U.S. Code, which no longer exists, as Title 17 was rewritten by the Copyright Act of 1976. Neat.
  • You may retrieve your copyright after 35 years (but only before 40 years). This is called a termination of transfer.
  • An article in the New Yorker on innovation in a field less well protected by copyright.
  • An article in the New Yorker (also by James Surowiecki) on the "tragedy of the anticommons."
  • A blog post by Suzanne Vega touching on copyright issues regarding the many remixes of her song "Tom's Diner."
  • Here is a list of copyright transfer forms used by various journals.
    Last touched: Sun Oct 4 20:27:29 BST 2009