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Sorting through Layers of Copyright

John Mark Ockerbloom writes about the discrepancies between organizational policies toward copyright and database policies:

The AAA [American Anthropological Association] relies on JSTOR for providing its older issues online. JSTOR has the American Anthropologist back-run going to the very first issues in 1888, but it won’t actually give me access to the articles in the public domain issues unless I use my institution’s subscription. (And even then, JSTOR’s standard terms and conditions, which institutions normally agree to when they subscribe, prohibit downloading and redistributing full issues, whether or not they’re copyrighted.) It would be nice if JSTOR’s policies were liberalized for their public domain content, but at least AAA has acknowledged that their articles can be reproduced once obtained by legitimate means.

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