Digital Copyright Protection: Issues in the Digital Library Environment

S.G. Hombal, K.N. Prasad


Copyright and intellectual property rights (IPR) have been established and extended over hundreds ofyears. Although initially developed to give a publisher control over the right to publish (copy) a work, theywere extended to give rights to authors, painters, photographers, film producers, software writers, and manyothers. ‘Access to information’ is the buzzword of the recent past and today is essential in business, education,and research and has a direct impact on literacy levels, economic growth, and quality of life. Information hubs/houses like archives, libraries and museums, etc. have had a fundamental role to play in the development ofa democratic society by enabling access for all members of the community to a wide range of knowledge,ideas, opinion as well as cultural, and scientific and educational information. Libraries provide access to digitalmaterial through a variety of legal constructs; license agreements, exceptions under national copyright law,legal deposit, and the public domain. Digital rights management (DRM) poses a threat. At worst, it can blockaccess, at best it can inhibit by making access time-consuming and costly to arrange. Today, these institutionsare crippled by a parallel harmonisation of limitations and exceptions thrust upon them by technology (digital)that serve the public interest, glorifying the ‘rights’ and de-meaning ‘fair-use’. An attempt has been made inthis article to introduce the issues concerning the copyright protection in the digital library environment.


Copyright, digital copyright, intellectual property rights, digital rights management, digital library issues

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