Licence Paralysis – Protect Copyright18 June 2015
Imagine a world where every book on every shelf in every library across the world had different usage terms and conditions. Who is allowed to read the book? May I copy a chapter? In what format? Who decides what I may do with the material – my national legislator or an executive in a multinational company?
This is the reality of the digital world, where access to electronic resources is governed not by national copyright law, but by a licence that sets the terms and conditions (and the price) for use of e-books and e-journals.
In addition, the law governing the licence is not usually the law of the country where the library is located, it is the law most favourable to the publisher granting the licence (often where the publisher is located).
CALL ON GOVERNMENTS WORLDWIDE
The call document, titled ‘Licence Paralysis – Protect Copyright’ sets out the key copyright and licensing issues from a library point of view.
Libraries understand that licences are part of the modern information infrastructure that enables the use and re-use of copyrighted content. Libraries support open content licences that provide open access to scholarly and other materials.
However, when licences take away freedoms granted to libraries in national copyright law, or demand extra payment for these uses, licences undermine copyright law and restrict creativity and innovation.
Reproduced with kind permission of EIFL.
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