My Library: Copyright and the Role of Institutions in a Peer-to-Peer World

53 Pages Posted: 10 May 2006


Today's technology turns every computer - every hard drive - into a type of library. But the institutions traditionally known as libraries have been given special consideration under copyright law, even as commercial endeavors and filesharing programs have begun to emulate some of their functions. This Article explores how recent technological and legal trends are affecting public and school-affiliated libraries, which have special concerns that are not necessarily captured by an end-consumer-oriented analysis. Despite the promise that technology will empower individuals, we must recognize the crucial structural role of intermediaries that select and distribute copyrighted works. By exploring how traditional libraries are being affected by developments such as filesharing services, the iTunes Music Store, and Google's massive digitization project, this Article examines the implications of legal and technological changes that are mainly not directed at libraries, but are nonetheless vital to their continued existence.

Keywords: copyright, libraries, fair use

Suggested Citation

Tushnet, Rebecca, My Library: Copyright and the Role of Institutions in a Peer-to-Peer World. UCLA Law Review, Vol. 53, 2006, Available at SSRN:

Rebecca Tushnet (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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