Copyright: All about the Benjamins

In the digital world, its easy to buy into the notion that information wants to be free. The internet has proven to be an incomparable vehicle of dissemination of news and data. However, we must remember that despite the format or delivery model, certain rights are held by content creators. In fact, the war over copyright in the digital age is just beginning, with the opening shots across the bow being delivered by some of the biggest guns. For example here is an interesting news story about the Murdoch families legal battle against the British Library from the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. Give it a read, but keep this question in mind: Why is the Murdoch family so concerned about what libraries are doing? Well, consider that information is now a commodity that can now be delivered globally in the blink of an eye. As a commodity, information represents wealth and power for end users and creators, so we should anticipate more fights over copyright as the lines are blurred by digital innovation. While libraries have always done their part in protecting the rights of copy holders, libraries also work to protect the rights of information consumers (banned book week in the US being one example). The legal arguments in copyright cases are complex, and we don’t expect you as a student to master all the minute details of copyright law, but you should consider how copyright impacts your own ability to benefit from creative works, either your own or others.

P.B.

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