Publishers Position Paper

Subject: Publishers Position Paper
Date: pe 21 kesä   1996 - 13:06:11 EEST

Response from Prof Charles Oppenheim to Carol Rishers paper: Libraries,
Copyright and the Electronic Environment, which was sent to me by Anne
It is fairly typical of the genre of publishers' statements.
Unfortunately, some of the statements are doubtful in law. The law
makes no distinction between hard copy and machine readable data, and
therefore anything a library can do with hard copy it can also do
with m/r material. The fact that a user could subsequently then make
multiple copies and distribute them on the Internet is irrelevant -
it is up to publishers to sue that individual if they so wish. There
arguments on browsing was confused. When I think of "browsing", I do
*not* think of Internet browsers, as they refer to, but to reading on
screen the full text of (say) an electronic journal. That is
permitted under copyright law, and long may it continue to do so. If
publishers *really* believe that the things librarians are doing are
"quite different" from photocopying and are infringement, the
solution is perfectly clear. They should sue a library or two for
infringement. Until and unless they do, and until they win such a
case, I will continue to view their remarks as so much bluff and

Why don't they sue? Because they are terrified the Courts will throw
out their case and this will only confirm that libraries *can* do
what publishers are afraid of.

I was intrigued, incidentally, by the concept that making an
electronic copy can result in a copy that is *even better* than the
original. I wonder how that would happen?

Charles Oppenheim

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