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At the same time as we have been discovering the Internet’s enormous potential to enhance access to information and revolutionize the ways libraries do business, the Internet’s high profile in popular media has made it the focus of a wide spectrum of fears about the future. This paper focuses on pending proposals to amend copyright law to enhance the control copyright owners wield over the appearance of their works on digital networks. These proposals would stifle libraries’ use of the Internet. Libraries and their supporters must participate in the copyright debate, and think creatively about new models for copyright. The paper is adapted from a speech given to the Library and Information Technology Association at the 1996 Annual Conference of the American Library Association. Digital technology and the Internet have the potential to revolutionize the ways libraries do business, and to open up electronic access to information for millions of people who have not had meaningful access before. You don’t need me to tell you that library groups have been looking at this potential for at least a decade. Libraries of various sorts have been gradually getting hooked up to the Internet and have been gradually exploring the potential of digital technology for reserves, for document delivery, for preservation.


Reproduced with permission.