Safeguarding ‘The Precious’: Counsel on Law Journal Publication Agreements in Digital Times
Michael N. Widener
Arizona Summit Law School; Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint PC; University of Phoenix
September 8, 2010
XXVIII John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law, Vol. 217, Winter 2010
This paper is unique in summarizing the state of U.S. law journal publication agreements and advising authors how to protect their property while affording the journal sufficient rights in the author’s work to obtain needed revenue from proprietary publishers and aggregators. The text contains common-sense approaches to understanding basic copyright law pertaining to writings, the movement toward open access to scholarship, and their respective impacts on legal scholarship licensing practices. This paper serves four purposes. It introduces the new legal scholar to evaluating and revising the publication agreement from a pragmatist’s perspective. It further informs student editors how publication agreements accomplish a journal’s objectives given the current status of copyright law on electronic reproduction of compiled written works. This paper suggests future trends in the “representation” of scholarly writings and how they will be retrieved by and delivered to future consumers, and the likely implications of those trends for future publication agreements between scholars and journals. A form of publication contract, which proposes forward-looking text in view of the noted technology trends in content delivery, is included. Last, this paper proposes advice on how practitioners, law students and legal scholars may strategize about contract drafting and negotiation, using the publication agreement as an illustration.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: law journals, legal scholarship, scholarly publication, authors, journal aggregators, law reviews, content delivery, ssrn, bepress, Westlaw, Lexis Nexis, academic press, academic scholarship
JEL Classification: K11, K12Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 9, 2010 ; Last revised: September 7, 2011
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