York University Libraries will celebrate International Open Access Week from Oct. 20 to 26. Open Access Week is a global campaign that promotes open access as an ideal for the dissemination of scholarship and research. On Oct. 24, to reflect this year’s theme “Generation Open,” the libraries will host a movie screening and talk by Carys Craig, renowned copyright scholar and associate dean research and institutional relations at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Professor Craig shares the enthusiasm of the global campaign. “I’m delighted that York University Libraries is celebrating Open Access Week. This is truly one of the most important social movements of the digital age, and one in which universities like ours have a vital role to play.” Open Access Week serves to highlight the successful realization of viable and sustainable business models for open access scholarship, particularly in the science, technology and medicine disciplines, and also provides an opportunity to identify, discuss and address barriers to adoption. The ultimate goal is to ensure that publicly funded research is available to the public, and that all global citizens have equal and barrier-free access to the wealth of the educational commons, regardless of their economic means.
The Internet’s Own Boy is a documentary highlighting the extraordinary life of Aaron Swartz. A key author of the RSS standard at the age of 14, Swartz was also a tireless advocate against censorship, co-founding the Demand Progress organization, which successfully halted SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) legislation from coming into force. In the course of his pursuit of public access to academic research, Swartz was apprehended for a mass downloading attempt of JSTOR holdings. Facing excessive punitive charges from a regime determined to make an example of him, he took his own life.
The screening will be introduced by Prof Craig. “This powerful documentary is not just a tribute to Swartz’s life and legacy, but is also a call to action for all of us.” As author of Copyright, Communication & Culture: Towards a Relational Theory of Copyright Law (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Press, 2011), Craig asks people to broaden their view of copyright beyond its tradition of possessive authorship to allow space for collective communication with the broader community with an eye for the greater public good. In her work, she calls on people to reimagine copyright and to correct the imbalance that Swartz fought to bring to the attention of the public sphere. Her insights will foster a nuanced and deeper appreciation for the causes Swartz so bravely hoped to further, highlighting the tragedy of his loss.