Thursday, December 09, 2004

Libraries live to fight another day

Much as I worry that libraries will someday forget that information can still be of value when it's in printed form, I still applaud those wonderful librarians (the best people on earth, really!) for constantly pushing the information-for-all envelope further into cyberspace. That's why I'm heartened to read a New York Times Technology Section article about the New York Public Library's expansion into digital downloading of information, including E-Books and even movies. As long as we can have fair and reasonable public access to information on a borrower basis -- in electronic as well as digital form -- I'm happy. But I'm constantly worried by industry attempts to restrict fair use, including a long-term goal to limit access to digital information to a pay-per-view basis (thereby rendering the library's free-loan/fair use model unsustainable). That's why I'm also happy to see that, with the end of Congress's current legislative session, the industry has actually failed to get their way, with the demise of an omnibus intellectual property package (see also the Public Knowledge press release on this issue.


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