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- Table of Contents -

Introduction to the online version

Chapter 1 – The Commission and Its Recommendations

Chapter 2 – The Establishment, Mandate, and Activities of the Commission

Chapter 3 – Computers and Copyright

Chapter 4 – Machine Reproduction – Photocopying

Chapter 5 – Summary

Appendix A – Summary of the Legislative History of Computer-Related Issues and the Photocopy Issue

Appendix B – Public Law 93-573 and Public Law 95-146

Appendix C – Commissioners

Appendix D – Staff

Appendix E – Lists of Witnesses

Appendix F – Alphabetical Listing of Persons Appearing before the Commission

Appendix G – Transcripts of Commission Meetings

Appendix H – Summaries of Commission-Sponsored Studies

- Economics of Property Rights as Applied to Computer Software and Data Bases

- Legal Protection of Computer Software, An Industrial Survey

- Costs of Owning, Borrowing, and Disposing of Periodical Publications

- An Analysis of Computer and Photocopying Issues from the Point of View of the General Public and the Ultimate Consumer

- Survey of Publisher Practices and Current Attitudes on Authorized Journal Article Copying and Licensing

- Library Photocopying in the United States, with Implications for the Development of a Royalty Payment Mechanism

Appendix I – Bibliography

Appendix J – Selected Provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 and Copyright Office Regulations

Full table of contents

PDF version of the report

Picture of commissioners and staff

Final Report of the National Commission on New Technology Uses of Copyrighted Works

Appendix H – Summaries of Commission-Sponsored Studies

REPORT TITLE: Survey of Publisher Practices and Current Attitudes on Authorized Journal Article Copying and Licensing

CONTRACTOR: Research Center for Library and Information Science, Graduate Library School, Indiana University at Bloomington

AU'THORS: Bernard M. Fry, Herbert S. White, and Elizabeth L Johnson

NTIS ORDER NO.: PB 271 003


In 1975, the Indiana Graduate Library School completed a large-scale study, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), on the acquisition of materials by libraries and the economic status of scholarly, scientific, and technical journals, which depend heavily on libraries as a market. The study involved the analysis of questionnaires filled out by libraries and journal publishers. The libraries surveyed showed a marked shift in their materials budgets from books to periodicals in the period 1969-73. Fry and White have delivered a follow-up survey of libraries to NSF, which shows a con­tinuance in 1974-76 of the earlier trend.1  As for publishers, subscription levels showed a generally upward trend, but not all publishers were in sound financial condition. While com­mercial publishers had adequate returns, society publishers had small but positive margins, and many university presses were operating at in-creasing deficits. It was this part of the original Indiana University study on which the survey by CONTU builds.

The Survey

The survey had a two-fold purpose. First, it aimed to discover the extent to which publishers of U.S. scholarly, scientific, and technical journals currently provide copies of back articles or issues, or else make provision for authorized reproduction, either directly or by means of an agent. Second, the survey attempted to gauge the willingness of publishers to participate in some sort of national clearinghouse mechanism for the authorizing of reproduction and the collection and distribution of fees. A subject of particular interest was the amount of payment that publishers would expect to receive for authorization to make copies.

The Indiana University researchers updated the master list of publishers and journals used in the earlier survey. The final list included almost 1,700 publishers of about 2,500 journals.  More than 500 publishers filled out question­naires covering almost 1,000 journals. The over­whelming majority of these publishers are small: 450 of them publish only one journal. Further­more, most of the journals are small: more than one-half have fewer than 3,000 subscriptions. While 90 percent of the responding journals had registered for copyright, only 60 percent of the journals which did not respond had registered. The questionnaires were mailed out in February 1977, and the cutoff date for {Page 131} re­plies was in May 1977. Thus, the new law was not yet in effect, and plans for the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC) were still only in the formulative stage and not widely known. These considerations affect the interpretation of some of the responses.


Journals and Fees

At the time of the survey, more than one-half of the responding journals sold reprints directly and about one-third through an agent; the two dominant agents used are Xerox University Microfilms and Information Unlimited. A typi­cal charge for a reprint of a ten-page article was five dollars. Journals which did not then sell reprints said they hypothetically would be will­ing to settle for a lesser fee. Two-thirds of the journals generated less than 6 reprint orders a week; at the other extreme, 13 percent gen­erated 150 or more each week. About one-half of the journals said they filled orders within five days.

One-half of the copyrighted journals expected no royalty payments from any participation in a national clearinghouse. A majority of the remainder would have accepted a fifty-cent payment, but a small minority held out for five dollars or more. As for microform editions, journals preferred to sell them through an agent rather than directly. In addition, they were largely unwilling to permit unrestricted copying from microforms, either of current or back issues. Willingness to permit copying from paper issues was also low, except for copying of back issues by nonprofit organizations. Most publishers not then supplying reprints or photocopies expressed an unwillingness to do so in the future.

Publishers and Services

The results of the survey may be stated also by characterizing publishers rather than journals. Publishers preferred to license reproduction and supply reprints directly as opposed to delegating those functions to a clearinghouse. A large majority of publishers was willing to accept telephone orders, but few saw merit in other modes of telecommunication. Similarly, publishers preferred payment with each order and disliked open or deposit accounts.

The time at which this survey was conducted needs to be considered in assessing the results. Since the plans for CCC were only in the formu­lation stage and not widely known, the hypo­thetical questions concerning participation in a clearinghouse had an abstract character, and the responses may not necessarily indicate the level of willingness to participate in CCC or other actual body. In addition, it should be remem­bered that the bulk of the respondents publish only one journal and do not have a sophisticated knowledge of the workings of copyright. This helps to account for the lack of expectation of revenues from copying fees and fear of organizational encumbrance from a clearinghouse; it may also explain the unreasonably high fees expected by some. Those high expectations may also be interpreted as restating an unwillingness to participate or as reflecting a desire to main­tain circulation by making copying very expen­sive.

Next section: Library Photocopying in the United States, with Implications for the Development of a Royalty Payment Mechanism

1 See note 208 in the text.