[open-bibliography] BibSoup/BibServer collaboration model?
pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Fri Feb 3 15:05:24 GMT 2012
On Fri, Feb 3, 2012 at 2:15 PM, Jim Pitman <pitman at stat.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> Mark, bravo for this post!
> > So the question is, should we contest such claims, or are they
> reasonable claims to make?
> In the Principles of Open Bibliography we declared that a Bibliographic
Entry was not copyrightable. In making this assertion we have the explicit
or implicit agreement of many bodies (for example I obtained a public
statement from the STM publishers). While these opinions do not have the
force of law (and law depends on the domain), they have not been challenged
during the last year.
So it is reasonable to work on the basis that a single bibliographic entry
is not protectable by copyright. [Note that in some domains collections of
factual data (including bibliographic entries) may be protectable by
That is why we in POB strongly urge that bibliographic data be placed in
the public domain.
Because bibliographic data is factual there is often no latitude in its
content. The title of a book is a fact, not an opinion. The publisher is a
fact. The number of pages is a fact.
The Mendeley condition appears to be an implicit contract. That if you use
Mendeley you are required to attach Mendeley's trademark to the
bibliographic data that you extract. We contend that the data is
necessarily in the public domain whereas the entry with the Mendeley
trademark is no longer in the public domain. The removal of data from the
public domain is often called Copyfraud (
Let us assume that a very large number of people used Mendeley's service
and so the normal expression of a bibliographic entry because in a Mendeley
wrapper. This could lead to (a) people being unaware that bibliographic
data should be PD and (b) the possible accusation that someone publishing
bibliographic data without the Mendeley trademark could be accused of
having misappropriated it from a Mendeley source. Both of these work
against the intention of Open Bibliography and its Principles.
Unfortunately it is difficult to stamp a digital object as being in the
public domain because (a) there is no easy mechanism and (b) it is legal to
take the object and create a derivative work that is legally protectable.
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
CB2 1EW, UK
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