Thanks to David and Pale for this link to James Hynes's post about the Google Open Access to Iowa Masters Thesises.
My name is Jim Hynes, and I'm a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop ('89), as well as a former visiting professor at the Workshop (winter semester, 2005). I'm writing to you because I'm one of the Iowa grads who will be affected by the University's policy of providing open access to creative graduate theses, and I'm not happy about it.
My objection is both a matter of principle and a matter of my own personal, practical interest. As a matter of principle, it strikes me as outrageous that a university should actively violate the copyright of its own students. I understand the principle of free exchange of scholarship that underlies open access, but surely it must be self-evident that creative works fall under a different interpretation. These are works of art, acts of individual expression, and while I'm not a copyright scholar, I do know how hard it has been for creative writers over the centuries to gain control over their own work. For an institution of higher learning—and one that is branding itself as "the writing university," no less—to disregard that history and make its graduates' work freely available is a betrayal of the trust of every writing student who has ever graduated from one of the university's writing programs.