Thursday, 1 May 2014

Photocopying and copyright

Librarians are uncomfortably aware of the potential copyright issues posed by photocopiers. A fascinating article in a recent Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. titled "Modern Technology, Leaky Copyrights, And Claims Of Harm: Insights From The Curious History Of Photocopying " (58 page pdf) by NYU Law Professor Diane Leenheer Zimmerman looks at the law of copyright by way of the history of the xerox machine. She says, "The approach taken by this paper in trying to shed light on this topic is somewhat unusual in that it looks not so much to theory as to experience."
From the abstract: "The core problem this article attempts to address is what should count as “economic harm” in determining whether particular kinds of copying are appropriately treated as copyright infringement....What the paper concludes is that adequate copyright protection does not mean virtually airtight control over works by their owners. Considerable room for compromise between the public’s desire for free access, and the owners’ interest in retaining incentives to produce exists."

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