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Title:Copyright, competition, and reselling of government information: Impact on dissemination
Author(s):Caws-Elwitt, Hilary
Private sector
Public sector
Public domain (Copyright law)
Abstract:By law, works of the United States Government are in the public domain, to protect taxpayers from paying twice for information, and to encourage the widest possible dissemination of that information. The complexities of government distribution in the print era and the slowness of the public sector in entering the electronic age allowed private sector providers to reap great profits from re-disseminating and adding value to government information. These providers now resent and challenge improvements to public sector distribution, which they characterize as unfair competition. This article challenges the argument's validity and explores whether a distinction can be usefully made between end-use and resale of government information. Many opportunities for the private sector remain in areas where the public sector cannot compete. A few ways of protecting low-cost public access and no-cost federal depository library program access are mentioned. As long as the public sector recognizes and fulfills its role to protect the diversity and equality of access, the private sector will be challenged to increase the quality and usefulness of government information and to further expand the practically- untapped markets for such information.
Issue Date:1998
Publisher:Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info:Caws-Elwitt, Hilary. "Copyright, Competition, and Reselling of Government Information: Impact on Dissemination." Katharine Sharp Review, no. 7 (1998).
Series/Report:Katharine Sharp Review ; no. 007, Summer, 1998
Rights Information:Copyright 1998 is held by Hilary Caws-Elwitt
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-20

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