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Authorship and the Promise of Digital Dissemination

Posted By Madhavi Sunder, Mar 10, 2016

On March 9, the law school hosted the Author’s Alliance for a discussion on “Authorship and the Promise of Digital Dissemination,” sponsored by the School of Law with partners including the Authors Alliance, the UC Davis Humanities Institute, the Institute for the Social Sciences, Center for Science and Innovation Studies, and the Innovating Communication in Scholarship Project. Law school panelists included myself and Professor Mario Biagioli. Other panelists included Authors Alliance founder Pamela Samuelson, who is the Richard M. Sherman '74 Distinguished Professor of Law and Information Management at UC Berkeley, Biology Professor Jonathan Eisen, UC Davis University Librarian MacKenzie Smith, and local science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson.

The informal, broad-ranging discussion touched on the Google Books copyright lawsuits and open access publishing of academic works. Professional science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson said he is resistant to open access publishing. Professor Samuelson said that Authors Alliance primarily focuses on the interests of academic authors, who seek broad dissemination of their work, often over desire for economic control and reward. Authors Alliance seeks to help academic and other authors better understand their rights under copyright law. Among other things, Authors Alliance is working on creating a guide to help authors negotiate publication contracts.