In response to the guest post by Chandana Anusha on the DU event - Who's afraid of Copyright?, we received what has to be one of the most insightful comments that we ever received on the blog, so much so that it deserves to be published as an independent post on this blog. Unfortunately, the author of the comment has chosen to be anonymous and I've been unable to track him or her down despite my best guesses. In any case, the comment has been posted below.
Why even publish with the publishers if you aren't getting paid to your satisfaction?
The anonymous lawyer
First up- a disclosure:
I come from the IP fraternity and have a very minute number of publications on international journals. I was unhappy that I had to transfer copyrights in those to the international Journal(s).
Now the problem with some of the points in this post:
Prof. Deshpande says:
“We don’t even get huge royalties by writing these books. We put in a lot of efforts and years in for the people to read them,”
My response is - Prof. Deshpande - then WHY in God's name even take royalties from the publishers.
Simple - DO NOT PUBLISH with these international/ national publishing houses - just go ahead and make photocopies of your notes available in your dept.' library and send a free gratis copies to other Colleges. The students network of these colleges will continue to make copies of them for years and study.
That way, you can be happy that knowledge is being spread and students have access to the thoughts/ information that you have worked upon, for many years.
Well - the fact is this - we (includng me, and most Authors) while do NOT work only for the royalty in the academic space, the bigger ego boost is being able to say that I have a book with OUP or similar big names.
No one ever stopped me (or Prof. Deshpande) to put my publications for free on SSRN or similar space - for instance I know that Prof. Basheer has a SSRN page. But we want our names to be associated with international journal/ publishing houses and then this 'almost' hypocrisy!!
I have the same problem with the statement of Prof. Nivedita Menon.
Ms. Menon- please proceed by giving your notes/ book as photocopies in your dept.' library. The students 'pay' you and they will be more than happy to take over and manage the photocopying.
Prof. Basheer, my comment is getting longer, but I sincerely hope that it will be published.
Lets's move on to the next statement:
"All my works are mine and my labour. The more it is read, the more fulfilled I am as a scholar."
Gentlemen/ Ladies, if your works are your labour, can you clarify two things:
a) Did you get a author remuneration for the initial book?
b) If your work's reading fulfills the goal of knowledge, please proceed to SSRN or similar service. DO NOT publish with these publishing houses.
I am writing specifically on Prof. Deshpande since the post clarifies how miniscule the royalty is for him - so for him, most definitely, he is not in the 'game' for royalty amounts. He should light the way by using SSRN or distributing photocopies of his next work.
Prof. Basheer, please do not consider that I am writing for the IP owners. As the blog clarifies, not only Prof. Deshpande, but even the others are not in the 'game' for the royalty amounts ... so why PUBLISH?
The Professors willingly gave away book (and even TV rights, for God's sake) and now talk in another language????
While I myself am not a fan of the current action by the publishers and I have my own reservations, the comments by these professors stuck a nerve in my mind... I published for the 'fame' and so (almost) for sure, did these great academics. Now, to stop and talk the reverse is not very transparent, right?
Prof. Basheer, while I mentioned your SSRN initiative, I also mention the superlative KHAN academy learning initiative. It too, is delivering knowledge, right?
A long time reader.