Editor’s Note: An excellent article by the lawyer, legal technologist, and publisher Kevin O’Keefe. The article highlights one of the salient communications challenges in the legal technology arena today. That challenge being the “pay-for-play” approach many publishers, researchers, and associations employ in the sharing of content across their distribution networks. This challenge transcends publishing and includes panels, research studies, and public recognition where participation is based as much on relationships and revenue as on merit and performance.
Extract from article by Kevin O’Keefe
Law firms, law schools, public relations firms and even the courts use third-party publishing platforms — and, by doing so, most hand over control of their content to third-party publishers.
Most of the publishing platforms the creators of the content pay for while some creators give their content to a third party publisher in exchange for distribution and notoriety.
- Legal scholarship published on third-party solutions with many of those third-party publishers then selling access to such content by subscription.
- Articles and blog posts that creators pay to have distributed by distribution services, some of which index the content in the distributor’s names, versus the creator’s name.
- Articles written for third-party publishers and news sites in exchange for the publicity and notoriety.
- Courts enabling large legal publishers to publish the court’s case law which third-party publishers then sell effective access of such law back to people.
This made sense before digital publishing. How else could one get an article published and distributed without a third-party publisher? How else could courts get the law published?
Digital publishing puts a printing press and distribution systems in the hands of any publisher in the law (not third-party publishers). At some cost of course. But not at the cost of losing ownership or control of their works.
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