What’s so iAWFUL?

Bills are requiring professional journals to give away their published content if there was any involvement by state employees or any amount of state government funding.  This unfortunately diminishes the employment prospects of in-state professors and threatens in-state businesses that receive any state assistance.

(CA AB 609), (IL SB 1900), (ND HB 1448), (White House)

These proposals set a precedent for state control over creative productions where any government employees played even a minor role.  These bills’ principles could logically extend to assert state copyright over other content coming out of the state’s colleges and universities. For example:

▪ Essays, blogs, and comments written by students employed as teaching assistants

▪ A violin professor’s sheet music or audio recordings

▪ Videos where faculty assisted in production or editing

▪ Photographs taken by work-study students

▪ Original artwork created with guidance from college instructors

▪ Software developed by students where professors assisted with debugging

For the states that pass these bills, they create two first-mover disadvantages.

First, in-state professors and researchers will be disadvantaged relative to their peers at universities across the country.

Second, the bills would deny in-state professors the opportunity for high-profile publications in paid journals, decreasing their chances for exposure and career advancement.

Finally, the bills make it harder for in-state universities to attract and retain professors and researchers keen to publish their work in paid journals.


North Dakota thought better of this bill and did not pass it.



California AB 609

Illinois SB 1900

North Dakota HB 1448


Patch – “Nestande Bill on Public Access Clears Hurdle”


The iAWFUL reflects the editorial views of the Executive Director of NetChoice and does not necessarily reflect the views of all NetChoice members.

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