It’s a week of open letters and manifestos! The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) joined a bevy of other organizations in penning a letter to the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM) asking that they forgo their new set of model licenses for research articles and adopt Creative Commons licenses instead. The argument is that the customized model licenses are Creative Commons-esque, but different enough to create undo confusion and inconsistency with most other open access licenses. Creative Commons has long shone as a beacon of light in the shadowy world of legalese license jargon, providing allowances that are easy to comprehend and simple to apply. As someone who spends quite a bit of time slogging through licenses that seem to have been written by EPICAC’s stepbrother, I will be following this with interest.
If you want to see a list of big-name literati, read the open letter signed by over 900 authors and addressed to—who else?—Amazon. Lately, Amazon has tried to brush aside their Iron Throne image in favor of a snugglier, kinder Amazon whose best interests have always been in the name of authors and consumers. These authors don’t seem to be buying it. The letter argues that Amazon’s practices of boycotting pre-orders and stonewalling delivery of thousands of books published by our old friend Hachette are damaging sales and doing a disservice to their customers. It might be time for a televised (or at least web-ivized) debate. Bezos versus Patterson, anyone?