• The Boy Who Couldn't Change the World: An Open Letter to Verso Books and The New Press

    Eileen Joy (see profile) , Chris Piuma, Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
    Cultural Studies, Library & Information Science, Public Humanities
    Open access publishing, Scholarly publishing, Academic libraries, Publishers and publishing
    Item Type:
    Blog Post
    Aaron Swartz, Verso, New Press, Open-access publishing, Academic publishing, Open access, Publishing
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    An Open Letter & petition, with signatures, from punctum books to The New Press and Verso Books (UK), relative to their recent compilations (in print and e-book form) of Aaron Swartz's selective collected writings, "The Boy Who Could Change the World," in which the undersigned ask Verso and The New Press to reverse and repair this unfortunate damage to the culturally significant legacy of Aaron Swartz in the following ways — (a) revise the wording on the colophons of all editions to better represent Aaron’s own (likely) wishes for how he would have wanted his work to be re-used, re-published, and re-disseminated, or to better represent what Aaron’s virtual executor Sean Palmer believes should be the copyright (or copyleft); (b) remove all watermarks from the e-book editions; (c) issue a public apology for Verso’s misleading blog campaign for the “free” download of the book, or at the very least, admit that the blog post announcing the one-day giveaway of the book was in obscenely poor taste; (d) reverse the “takedown” action against Discovery Publisher’s edition of Aaron’s collected blog writings; and (e) produce the full texts of all publishing contracts. Neither Verso nor The New Press responded to the petition, although Sean B. Palmer, the executor of Aaron Swartz’s estate, after securing the approval of Swartz’s circle of family and closest associates, and as a direct result of the gentle urging of staff and friends of both punctum books and Discovery Publishers, appended to Aaron Swartz’s archived writings this notification — “Original articles on this site are CC BY-NC-SA licensed unless otherwise stated.” Palmer has also indicated that he would also be adding “a universal waiver allowing specific charitable commercial use” in the near future, once he works out the wording with legal counsel.
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    Last Updated:
    4 years ago
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