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July 27, 2011


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Mary Dudziak

I think we need the scholarly equivalent of a local food movement. Why, exactly, should I pay SSRN $10 PLUS SHIPPING for something I can do on my printer at home? Or if I want bound, I can do it at the office. Greener and cheaper. And if they want $10/each for the privilege of printing out and shipping my papers, how much of that do I get?


At South Texas, we have a group subscription to SSRN, which gets us the abstracting journals, plus free downloads of the pdf files. I think the purchase hard copy option is aimed at non-subscribers.

As for authors getting a share, we don't get paid when the law reviews, or Hein, sell reprints. Nor do we get a share of the money Lexis and West pay the law reviews based on downloads.

You can always that your cue from Nancy Reagan, and "just say 'no.'"

Eric Muller

Isn't SSRN offering bound volumes rather like your cellphone company offering you morse code services?

Gary Rosin

LOL. Bad as my former cell carrier's service was, often I could only identify the presence or absence of a signal. CW (Morse code over radio) would have allowed communication when text--much less voice--would not! That, I think, is the point. Some people don't have a download option, or would rather read paper. Bound paper is easier to read, especially if printed front & back. Takes all kinds to fill a freeway; some older members of my extended family have "boat-anchor" cell phones that they turn on only when **they** have emergencies!

James Grimmelmann

The SSRN terms of use may conflict with the author agreements used by some law reviews. I did a problem with my IP class in the fall when SSRN announced that this program was coming. I gave them the SSRN terms of use and an actual law review agreement, and asked them to determine where things stood. We concluded that if the law review agreement was executed first, SSRN might be liable for copyright infringement, and that the author, in turn, could be required to indemnify SSRN.

Not that this is likely to happen, but still, it was eye-opening.

Gary Rosin

Thanks. How about if one or more verions of the paper was/were posted to SSRN before it submitted to a law review?

James Grimmelmann

If the paper is posted to SSRN first and the author then executes a copyright assignment to a law review, the author might be in breach of the representations in the assignment, but SSRN isn't likely to able sue the law review for infringement, since it has only a nonexclusive license.

Things are different if the law review takes only a nonexclusive license; things are also possibly different if the article is revised substantially between the initial posting and the final posted version.

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