The Pre-Internet Downloading Controversy: The Evolution of Use Rights for Digital Intellectual and Cultural Works

The Information Society 27: 69-91 (2011)

Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1277

38 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2014 Last revised: 20 Sep 2014

See all articles by Kristin R. Eschenfelder

Kristin R. Eschenfelder

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Anuj C. Desai

University of Wisconsin Law School

Greg Downey

University of Wisconsin - Madison - School of Journalism & Mass Communication

Date Written: August 18, 2014

Abstract

This article describes and explains the shift in the database industry's treatment of downloading. Downloading began as an unwanted by-product of new technology and became a product feature. The authors explain this shift in terms of shifts in "use-regimes," or changes to market practices, legal rules, user expectations, and technology-based tools that shape the use of intellectual and cultural property. In the early 1980s, citation database users did not have the right to "download," or save, citations from bibliographic databases, but by the early 1990s, citation database publishers had partnered with bibliographic citation software developers (e.g., ProCite) to make easy downloading of citations a product feature. In this article, the authors tell both the lost story of the pre-Internet downloading controversy and how and why the meaning of downloading changed over a twenty-year period. In doing so, they present a theoretical framework that is useful for analyzing changes in use rights for a variety of types of intellectual and cultural goods. Finally, the authors compare lessons from this historical case study to contemporary use right debates in the intellectual and cultural property literature.

Keywords: downloading, intellectual property, citation databases, bibliographic databases

JEL Classification: K39

Suggested Citation

Eschenfelder, Kristin R. and Desai, Anuj C. and Downey, Greg, The Pre-Internet Downloading Controversy: The Evolution of Use Rights for Digital Intellectual and Cultural Works (August 18, 2014). The Information Society 27: 69-91 (2011); Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1277. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2482371

Kristin R. Eschenfelder

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

Anuj C. Desai (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-263-7605 (Phone)
608-262-5485 (Fax)

Greg Downey

University of Wisconsin - Madison - School of Journalism & Mass Communication ( email )

Madison, WI
United States

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