Collision or Coexistence? Copyright Law in the Digital Environment
The digital age is one of interesting contradictions. Even as information has become more readily available in the last twenty years, we have begun to see new legal, technical, economic, and social barriers to that information.1 More strikingly, in an age that places an unprecedented value on information as property, and aggressively advances the economic value of that information,2 libraries are relinquishing their property assets in information and becoming renters of information resources, as they turn toward temporary access to expensive electronic formats as the basis for their services. In addition, even as copyright law grants broad privileges in the form of exemptions to libraries and educational institutions in support of their missions that benefit individuals and society, these privileges are being passed up for digital products with licensing terms that restrict the privileges, and subscription costs that shrink the purchasing power for tangible assets of libraries; the digital products are generally seen as an improvement to society and culture.