Response to Cheverie

27 07 2008

This is in response to Raquel’s post.

Cheverie bases her article on the notion that “Information is, simultaneously, both an economic commodity and a societal resource.” She expresses concern that as “digital fences” are raised to protect the copyrights of digital goods, the transactional costs will be raised resulting in limited access, distribution and societal benefit. She also recognizes the incentive copyrights produce for content creators. The article is well-rounded in these points.

However, Cheverie’s prediction that libraries will be undermined by increased digital access is shaky. She provides little evidence beyond speculation. With piracy of copyrighted materials so rampant, people do have more access, but use of that information in business or education requires legal validity. For this reason, copyrights and libraries are still useful. Further, while competition with libraries for accessing information has increased, there’s no evidence that the use of libraries has decreased, or recognition that library systems have adopted their own online databases to compete.

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