Legal Challenges For Online Digital Libraries
IDP, Revista de Internet, Derecho y Política, Iss.19, 2014, 18-34
17 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2019
Date Written: October 01, 2014
Libraries have traditionally played a central role in collecting and organizing material and giving wide access to culture and knowledge. Does the existing copyright framework provide enough space for online digital libraries to claim an equivalent central role in the online space? This article explores the legal challenges for online digital libraries’ collection building. The materials that comprise the content of a library fall broadly under three categories with respect to their copyright status: copyrighted works, works with ambivalent copyright status (such as orphan and out-of-print works) and public domain works. In the paper, I try to answer a number of legal questions related to these three categories of works, inter alia licensing and e-lending as well as digital exhaustion, and also defend the value of creating and sustaining robust digital libraries online. The paper will conclude on how the theory of the commons can improve the existing legal framework and strengthen the libraries’ position in order to sustain valuable knowledge commons supporting the ever-growing network ecosystem. Thus, I emphasize the value of maintaining a growing public domain that can be organized and digitally accessible online.
Keywords: digitization, EU digital policy, digital libraries, licensing and e-lending, digital exhaustion, orphan works, public domain, knowledge commons
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