Copyright and Public Interest in Term Paper

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The very nature of the copyrighted material is also taken into account when determining 'fair use', and the amount of the copyrighted material being used in relation to the entire original work will also be considered. Another important aspect is the result or effect that the publication of the copied pieces would have on the copyrighted material in relation to the sale of or on the market value of the copyrighted work. 'Fair use' can also be made of a copyrighted material even if it was unpublished until then, if all the above factors were to be adhered to by the user of the copied material. Where libraries and librarians and all the other employees of the library are concerned, it must be remembered that the library or its archives or any of the employees who are acting upon the interests of the library or the archives, will not be penalized if they were to happen to make one copy or one phono-record of one particular book, if the purpose in making such copies was completely non-commercial, both directly as well as indirectly, and also if the library or the archives were to be kept open for the use of the general public.

The same rule applies when either the reproduction or the distribution of the work would pertain to those researchers who are directly or indirectly affiliated to the library in any way. In any case, the copy of the work must in all cases carry a notice stating the copyright of the material that is being used. An important fact to be remembered is that a copyright becomes automatic as soon as the work has been created in some tangible form. However, it is a prerequisite that the application for a copyright has to be submitted and the copyright registered by the author of the work. The reason why such a copyright is strongly recommended is because, in general, the author may desire to have the facts and the various details of the copyright spelt out for the public record. This would also entail him to a certificate of registration of copyright from the Government, and this would in turn protect the author from misuse by the general public, and also make him eligible for the awarding of statutory damages, and also save him from the exorbitant charges of litigation, in case there is any.

In addition, if the work were to be registered for copyright within five years of publication, then it would mean that it would be taken as 'prima facie' evidence in any court of law within the United States of America. In some cases, the author may take the easy way out and send a copy of his own work to himself, and then declare the copyright. This is also known as a 'poor man's copyright', and it has absolutely no standing in a court of law, nor will it considered to be a real registration of a copyright. However, this practice has not stopped completely, and there are authors who adopt this method to secure a 'copyright' for themselves. In the United States of America, when an individual is awarded a copyright for any work of his, he enjoys a copyright in several other parts of the world also, depending on the relationship that his own country enjoys with the other countries. Furthermore, the United States believes in the dictum of 'honor thy neighbor', and therefore, respects the other citizens' copyrights as much as it dose her own citizens'.

In essence, a Copyright Law in any country must endeavor to balance the needs of both the creator of the work that needs to be registered and copyrighted, as well as attempt to balance the needs of the public and their demands for the free and uninterrupted flow of information. In Canada, for example, the Copyright Act of 1997 managed to restore and also to maintain the balance between the various rights of the owners of the copyrights and the rights to the access to the work for the purpose of private research and study, or for teaching purposes. There is however, a limitation to the access to the copyrighted material, and this is because of the requirements of the various researchers who would need the work for their own reference. This inevitably means that there must be an exception to the copyright law wherein new intellectual property is created by the introduction of exceptions and exemptions to the existing library and copyright laws.

In today's world where Information Technology is the password to growth and development, there is a growing need for some sort of control and copyrighting. For example, the twin technologies of computers and of telecommunications are growing rapidly, and this means that the information that is generated by them would have to be disseminated, assimilated and stored in an appropriate manner. This naturally means that way in which scholars and researchers communicate with each other has also been undergoing dramatic changes, and though the possibility of copyright laws and rights of the owner of the material may be violated at more times than ever before, it is a definite possibility that more laws that pertain to the copyrights of the authors whose material is freely available on the Internet can be passed so that the authors in possession of the original work may be protected appropriately.

However, in the course of such protection, it is very much possible that a genuine user of the knowledge may be denied access to it through no fault of his. Therefore, there is a need for the balance between the rights of the owner, and the protection of his rights, and the granting of access of the knowledge contained within the copyrighted material to a wide number of users in this today's world of information technology. Furthermore, it is a very real possibility that when viewed in the long-term, it is very much a possibility that the economic as well as the cultural growth of the country may be hindered.

The advances made in the sharing and in the distribution of information to an increasingly wider audience and a wider number of users from all over the world has in fact served to alter, dramatically, the way in which students in a classroom are taught. In other words, the traditional system of imparting education is fast disappearing, and in its place, there is a growing phenomenon of wide distance learning and long distance education. One of the most important concerns of any individual associated with the traditional method of education within the four walls of a classroom are always confronted with the copyright laws of the material that they are using. This fear also extends to long distance education, wherein the issue of copyright laws and the resulting litigation and so on is always a threat, even though it is a very real fact that the internet as a medium of education may do far better than face-to-face teaching, maybe because of the very nature of the Internet, what with interactive videos and even face-to-face conferences over a long distance, with the help of web cameras.

How can copyright laws be extended to the materials that would be used in long distance learning over the Internet today? There are many individuals who opine that there is absolutely no copyright protection over the Internet, and this is because of the virtual ease with which information can be copied or replicated and then distributed to a large number of people anywhere in the world. This in fact has led to a new phenomenon, that of copyright owners asking for more and more protection, at times even unreasonable amounts of it. This is an ongoing debate; some copyright scholars offer the opinion that copyrights need not be broadened or increased for digital work. This is because, they state, the owner may only allow certain passages or certain parts of the material to be duplicated, and this may interfere in the coherent meaning of the whole, and would therefore, not serve its innate purpose of imparting knowledge to those who would need it. Yet another disadvantage would be that the readers or the users of the copyrighted material would have to pay extravagant amounts of money to the owner and for no real benefit after all. This would then become a 'right to read' issue, with the user paying not only for the right to copy or to replicate but also for consumption of the copied material.

The actual fact is that every time a computer translates a digital work into a humanly readable format, what happens is that the compute inadvertently creates a copy that can be read by a human being. In the United States of America, even this is taken as a type of copying or duplicating. Therefore an owner is…[continue]

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