- The interplay between copyright law and libraries
- In pursuit of principles for a library privilege in the digital networked environment
- Award date
- 16 November 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Institute for Information Law (IViR)
While libraries are nowadays evolving from traditional brick-and-mortar entities to digital infrastructures, contemporary copyright laws mainly seem to adhere to the former perspective. This thesis assesses how the principles for a future library privilege in copyright law should reflect the evolving library concept in the digital networked environment, given the persistent importance of independent, reliable actors such as libraries to counter (societal) issues including ‘fake news’, the ‘digital divide’ and the ‘information overload’.
The interdisciplinary, doctrinal, comparative, and normative research conceptualizes ‘libraries’ from library and information sciences and copyright perspectives. The assessment framework of libraries’ main characteristics (summarized as ‘institutional organization’, ‘purpose’ and ‘functions’) is taken to the legal analyses of US, EU, German and Dutch copyright law. Hence, libraries are assessed through a copyright lens, whereas copyright law is measured against recurring library characteristics on the traditional-evolving spectrum.
The thesis makes a case for a ‘libratory’ copyright law, i.e. a copyright law that strives to flexibly reconcile the interests of rightholders, libraries, users and society at large. Keeping in mind the linguistic, interpretative and conceptual issues and fundamental rights implications, and given the shared goals of libraries and copyright in the organization and dissemination of information, the thesis argues that copyright law should facilitate library functions in this regard at least to some extent. The research results in articulating foundational principles (basic principles, form and character) and substantive principles (content and conditions). The proposed overarching principle is a minimum safeguard-approach. Related principles cover desirability, legal certainty and clarity v. flexibility, a mandatory and non-overridable character, effectiveness, functional equivalence and dynamic interpretation, while the evolving nature of the identified library characteristics should be recognized.
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Chapter 1: Introduction (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Chapter 2: Libraries: Origins, development, mission and functions (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Chapter 3: Copyright: Libraries’ institutional organization, purpose and functions through a copyright lens (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Chapter 4: Normative assessment: Comparing and criticizing the status quo of the library privilege in copyright law on the traditional-evolving spectrum (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Chapter 5: Summary, conclusions and recommendations: The principles for a library privilege in copyright law in the digital networked environment (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Summary (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Nederlandse samenvatting (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Bibliography (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Annex i: Selection of national copyright provisions (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
Annex ii: Charts of the library’s position under the copyright laws of the US, the EU, Germany and The Netherlands (Embargo up to and including 16 November 2020)
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