Copyright of software and other digital content


The increasing presence of electronic materials, databases, and networks in society’s institutions raises a number of new questions related to copyrighted and intellectual property in cyberspace environments. Such questions have attracted the attention of legislators in many countries. The ease of transferring massive amounts of data electronically permits easy misuse. It is possible, however, that electronic media and networks may offer solutions to problems associated with copyright in a print-based context, such as those involved in the distribution of scholarly publications. Societal practices may mitigate some of these problems as well. The public perception of fair use, as seen in videotaping and photocopying practices, is already at odds with copyright law, and current fair use provisions are virtually unenforceable except in blatant violations.