Copyright in the Digital Age

Law Librarianship in the Digital Age (Scarecrow Press), Forthcoming

42 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2013

Date Written: May 1, 2013


Today’s law librarian faces an excess of copyright-related questions dealing with every facet of library services: digital archives, virtual reference, inter-library loan, access to law, e-reserves, licensing, etc. Many librarians do not have the formal instruction necessary to answer all of these questions, but many find themselves becoming de facto library copyright experts by reading, writing, collaborating, attending conferences, and working with informed colleagues. In this digital, on-demand environment in which law libraries exist, it is almost a requirement that librarians have a basic understanding of copyright to successfully assist students, faculty, and staff competently.

The goal of this chapter is to provide the fundamental instruction for some of the most popular topics facing law libraries in the digital age. Whether it is scanning chapters for e-reserves or accessing databases online, knowledge of copyright law can help mitigate risk, and enhance our patron’s services. As librarians, we want to provide whatever our patron’s desire. But, we also must balance the law versus the patrons needs. Fortunately, copyright law does not always restrict a patron’s uses. In many cases a solid understanding of copyright can help ease a patron’s fears, or provide legal alternatives to a patron’s request, or help educate the community at large.

Keywords: copyright, law libraries, librarianship,

Suggested Citation

Courtney, Kyle K., Copyright in the Digital Age (May 1, 2013). Law Librarianship in the Digital Age (Scarecrow Press), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Kyle K. Courtney (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Law Library ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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