Legal Challenges of Online Digital Libraries

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, Department of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, Payam Noor University, Tehran, Iran



Aim: Digitization is a way to better organize and present information that will make it easier for the general public to access it. Nevertheless, intellectual property rights based on author-centered perspectives pose challenges for libraries; To the extent that today it is a necessity to say that these rights need an intellectual revolution to always ensure a balance between the rights of the owners of works and society.
Traditionally, when a library buys a book from a publisher, according to the "first sale or exhaustion" theory, the purchased copy is no longer subject to copyright control rules. Lending books in libraries is based on exactly the same legal basis. But this basis is not very effective in lending books to e-libraries. So from the point of view of some, At present, copyright law presupposes the or exhaustion of rights only to tangible objects, such as printed books, and vice versa; The status of digital works is ambiguous. The main goal of the present research is to resolve these ambiguities as much as possible by categorizing the sources.
Methodoligy: This research is practical in terms of purpose and qualitative-descriptive in terms of the method of data collection and analysis.
Findings: Books and digital works Digital libraries are divided into three categories in terms of the status of publishing rights and especially the legal status of access to them; First, copyrighted works (sponsored); Second, Orphan Works And finally, Out-Of-Print Works. The solution that strengthens digital libraries is to assign Orphan and Out-Of-Print Works to the public domain. The transformation of these works as part of public ownership does not sever the connection of the work with its creator, and in fact, these works generally have a family and this family (society) will enjoy it and benefit from its benefits.
Conclusion: The existence of a comprehensive regulatory framework supporting online digital libraries and protecting and expanding public knowledge and awareness is a fundamental need and necessity. Today, digital libraries are considered the main means of access to knowledge and awareness, and removing monopolies and enriching digital libraries is very decisive in this field.
It is necessary to review the strict laws of authors' rights in favor of the production of knowledge and information and public culture, as well as the expansion of copyright laws in order to help the production of knowledge, information and culture. Many legal proposals have been submitted to resolve the issue of copyrighted works. These proposals include, Legislative amendment of copyright law, special library exemption and Courts’ intervention to uphold digital exhaustion.


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