Monday, January 02, 2012

Elsevier wants to shut down the free web. Scholars and librarians - time to shut down Elsevier instead?

Elsevier is one of the companies on gizmodo's list of companies supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act, arguably the worst proposal to date for the internet, allowing a company to shut down whole services based on a single claim of infringement.

Until Elsevier publicly disavows support for SOPA, I recommend that all authors stop contributing to SOPA, and that librarians rank all Elsevier products highly on their cancellation lists. Perhaps university academic freedom committees should direct libraries to cancel all purchases and subscriptions from publishers supporting this move which would in effect be censorship and hence completely inconsistent with academic freedom?

For more on the academic wing of the efforts to STOP SOPA Supporters, see this post.

Following is my letter to the Elsevier contact helpfully provided by gizmodo. Librarians and scholars - please get in touch with the Elsevier rep of your choice. 

dear T. Reller of Elsevier,

The Stop Online Piracy Act is arguably the worst possible proposal for the internet. SOPA is inconsistent with academic freedom. Any company that supports SOPA does not deserve the support of the academic community. Please stop supporting SOPA. I strongly recommend public disavowal of support. Until Elsevier takes this action, I recommend that authors, editors, and reviewers stop contributing to Elsevier, and that librarians rank Elsevier highly on their cancellation lists.

cordially yours,

Heather Morrison
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics
with link to this post

Added Jan. 2 - see also BoingBoing 

Update January 2: have the SOPA supporters even thought this through? Wouldn't this mean that the Elsevier presence in the U.S. could be stopped on the basis of one claim of copyright infringement on the Elsevier website?