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The Erosion of Fair Use Protections for Digital Scholarship

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Fair use proved dependable when academic libraries purchased scholarship in print format, but as books and journals migrate to digital formats, ownership is being supplanted with rental agreements in the form of licenses. These licenses have presented publishers with an opportunity to renegotiate the terms of permissible use, and traditional fair use protections have steadily diminished as a result. In the absence of effective resistance from institutions, licensing language has become more aggressive, reducing permissible uses in ways that are simply unacceptable.

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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