Last week, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Calif.) introduced a bill, H.R. 6845 or the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, that would make it a lot harder for federal agencies to require copyright holders to make federally funded research available to the public post-publication. Although the current NIH public-access policy is the bill’s obvious target, it could apply to any federal agency funding any kind of research, scientific or otherwise.
I covered a hearing on the bill last week. It got pretty dramatic. Favorite moment: a copyright expert asking whether we really want “the hairy snout of government” poking around in the publishing biz.
Do we? You be the judge. My Chronicle of Higher Ed coverage here, Library Journal coverage here. Peter Suber has been covering the bill and reactions to it on his Open Access News blog, including one post in which he quotes from my story. It looks like not much more will happen with the bill this fall, but this is one to keep an eye on.