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From my point of view I can't see why observe, describe and simplify in visual terms should be treated differently from observe, describe and simplify in textual terms excepting of course that the author is the leader of the process of course.

From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Geoff Thompson
Sent: Monday, 13 March 2017 6:39 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] article: Copyright and the Use of Images as Biodiversity Data

Dear All,
                As you say Marni, this is very worrisome. As an illustrator who has pretty much morphed into a photographer, I would contend that my illustrations contain more creative content than most of my photographs but that both contain plenty.

I just spent a couple of days getting lighting, composition, camera systems and software to work together to produce a high-magnification image but most of my illustrations took at least a week.

I would also like to make the point that scientists don't have the creative skill to produce great illustrations and that's why they hire artists.

I suspect this article may be part of scientist's resentment at the way the big scientific publishing houses are getting them to work for free, peer reviewing scientific papers and then charging exorbitant fees for access to the information, which the publishing houses have really done little to produce.

I will pass this on to the copyright officer at work.

Cheers and thanks,
Geoff

From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Marni Fylling
Sent: Monday, 13 March 2017 5:45 AM
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [SCIART] article: Copyright and the Use of Images as Biodiversity Data


I just came home to this very worrisome thread.



Illustrating a new taxon is creative- it's not like tracing a template. Many scientific illustrators have the investment of years of experience and/or training that go into their work. Every line and mark represents a conscious decision- it is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Even the most rigorously standardized drawings exhibit the individual illustrator's (often recognizable) style.



I also like Kathleen's point about photography- while the quality and knowledge of the equipment are useful, as is a good eye for composition, at its most basic, it's point-and-shoot. And copyrightable, even though three people could stand next to each other and take the same shot. Would they lack "sufficient individuality"?



Where should be weighing in on this important issue? Our livelihoods are at stake.

Thanks everyone.

marni





________________________________
From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> on behalf of Emily S. Damstra <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2017 10:33 AM
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [SCIART] article: Copyright and the Use of Images as Biodiversity Data

Matt, thanks for your thoughtful reply. The place on RIO's website where I found mention of peer review is in the FAQs - in the answer to the 2nd question: http://riojournal.com/about#FAQs
About - RIO Journal<http://riojournal.com/about#FAQs>
riojournal.com
Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) aims to catalyse change in research communication by publishing ideas, proposals and outcomes in a comprehensive way.


However, it's not clear to me if this is the same sort of peer review process one would expect from some of the more well known journals.
I like your point that "Redrawing a specimen or taxon reproduces the original descriptive process and helps verify or correct previous work, but republishing an existing image only reinforces the conclusions (and errors) that came before."
Thanks also for the link to biorxiv. The comments by Rod Page pretty well sum up my thoughts:
---
"It seems to me that there are two deeply problematic aspects to this claim. The first is that taxonomic illustration is not creative. This seems, at best, arguable. I've illustrated new species, and it sure felt like I was doing creative work. Arguably every creative work adheres to conventions of a discipline, how does this by itself make copyright irrelevant?

Secondly, I'm unconvinced that a legal opinion that hasn't been tested in a court is worth much. We can assert whatever interpretation of copyright we want, I doubt that would stop legal action by a person or organisation that felt it could benefit from such action. The real question will be whether treating taxonomic images as outside of copyright would be considered a sufficient threat to someone's business model for them to take action.

I completely support the idea that the images (and all taxonomic-relevant data) should be completely free and open, but simply asserting that it should be doesn't make it so."
---
(Expect that I wouldn't make a generalization that the images should be completely free and open).


Julianne, I like your suggestion that, if the GNSI responds, it would be valuable to involve an intellectual property lawyer.

---
Emily S. Damstra
natural science illustration
Guelph, Ontario
(519) 616-3654
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
emilydamstra.com<http://emilydamstra.com>
@EmilyDamstra

On Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 9:58 PM, Matt Celeskey <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
Hi everyone -

Emily, thanks for sharing this with the list. I too was disturbed by the conclusions asserted by this article.

It is unclear to me whether it was actually published in a peer-reviewed journal--the RIO journal advertises that it publishes work from "every stage of the research cycle", and clicking on the "Reviews" tab of the article page brings up a note stating that the article was submitted to PLoS Biology but was not accepted after peer review. From the acknowledgments it sounds like the authors made changes based on reviews they received but it is unclear whether there was any external editorial approval or oversight from RIO.

It was also posted on biorxiv last fall and the comments there are few but insightful: http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/11/11/087015

One of the authors has a post on his personal blog about the paper and his goals for a wider conversation: http://punkish.org/Copyright-and-the-Use-of-Images-as-Biodiversity-Data

I tend to be sympathetic to many arguments for copyright limits, but Egloff et al. go beyond anything I've ever seen. They propose that copyright simply doesn't apply to a significant subset of scientific illustration, from taxonomic character diagrams to field guide identification plates. The authors reduce scientific illustration to a container for conveying information, and dismiss any notion of creative effort on the part of the illustrator. They even go so far as to say that, because scientific images cannot be copyrighted, attribution is not legally required (although they affirm their personal view that using images without attribution is tantamount to plagiarism).

I think the authors overreach in their interpretation of copyright law, and they also err greatly by conflating the images with the information they convey. Scientific information should be reproducible, sure, but also verifiable. Redrawing a specimen or taxon reproduces the original descriptive process and helps verify or correct previous work, but republishing an existing image only reinforces the conclusions (and errors) that came before. Legal issues aside, this article's take on copyright would be devastating to the field of scientific illustration and detrimental to science as a whole.

I'd also be curious to hear others' thoughts on the article. I'll cast my vote in favor of a GNSI reply-the bibliography shows that some of the authors have published on similar topics before and I suspect that this might be an article that gets referenced in the future.

Thanks again to Emily for providing an opportunity to discuss this on the list -

---

-Matt Celeskey
Dead Animal Design
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>





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