Shelley Batts, an outstanding science blogger, was recently threatened with a lawsuit by Wiley & Sons if she didn't remove two of "their" charts from a post. These charts had already been published in a press release intended for mass distribution. End of story as far as I'm concerned. They should have thanked her for the free publicity.
Any idiot with a spreadsheet can produce a chart that's just as spiffy as the ones the major publishing houses put together, and data is not subject to copyright restrictions. The spectacle of publishers mantling possessively over scraps of information that is universally available in bulk on the internet is an embarrassment.They're making fools of themselves, and, far worse, they are reminding us that they are the buggy whip manufacturers of the information age. Soon people will start to wonder what they're there for, and if the publishers themselves don't know, how will they communicate their objectives to the general public? Retooling is the answer, not retrenching.