What This Article Covers
- How to Steal from the Government
As all medical researchers know, PubMed is a critical source of information. PubMed publishes the results of 29 billion dollars worth of taxpayer supported medical research that go through the National Institutes of Health every year.
OnTheCommons.org has a nice translation of the medical publisher’s Alice and Wonderland legal position.
“OK, the policy doesn’t violate the letter of copyright law, but it violates the spirit, which is that our ability to profit from research we didn’t conduct, write up, or fund should not be put at risk just so that publicly-funded research can be made more useful, by reaching everyone who can make use of it, or just so that taxpayers don’t have to pay twice for access. OK, it’s true that authors are the initial copyright holders in their work, and they are free to transfer all, some, or none of their rights to publishers. But the spirit of copyright law is that they should transfer all of their rights to publishers. We’ve grown to depend on it.”
What this demonstrates is that private companies are working overtime, and will never stop trying to expropriate from the public sphere. They will do this and then actually complain about government being inefficient. The extent to which private companies want to live off of taxpayer expenditures is not merely limited to pharmaceutical companies that seek to patent inventions produced by government-backed research.
How to Steal From the Government
Medical publishers also would like a free ride and propose it as a right. They would like PubMed closed down and the right to publish and own the copyright on work they did not buy and did not perform themselves. The negative effect on research is evidently unimportant to them. There are very good articles on this topic here. It gives you a feel for private companies’ feeling of a birthright to profits on research produced by the government and government supported institutions.