What is Copyright?
According to the American Library Association (ALA), libraries are "creatures of the balance in copyright law." Below are five of the reasons ALA sees librarians as critical in educating users on Intellectual Property law:
- Libraries are often the only entities that provide access to the vast majority of copyrighted works that lose market vitality long before the expiration of the copyrights, and are often the only entities that preserve public domain materials.
- Librarians do not see debate over intellectual property policy issues in terms of winners and losers.
- Libraries enable users to access copyrighted and public domain works and to exercise their rights under the exceptions and limitations to creators' rights in the law.
- Librarians recognize that most users of copyrighted material are not aware of their dependence on balanced law and policy for access to information and for gaining knowledge.
- The vast majority of copyrighted works in library collections were purchased or were acquired through license agreements. Often libraries pay more for copyrighted works than would an individual.