Access to information is the key to socio-economic development in all countries around the world. Without access to information for personal, social, political, business, educational, individuals would not enhance research and knowledge. A library is a collection of resources made available to a defined community. Modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information from many sources and various formats. The libraries play an important role in providing access to knowledge and fostering creative ideas leading to innovative society and culture or safeguard the world’s collective knowledge and heritage for future generations.
There have been remarkable changes during the last decade in the form of resources, services, users’ requirements, mode of access, storage and retrieval of information about the libraries and the information centers all over the world. Digital technologies have transformed libraries, access information, and archives. “A digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital formats and accessible by computers. The digital content may be stored in a desktop locally or accessed remotely via computer networks” (Bhatt and Singh, 2004).
India has become a corporate hotspot in the world for the past two decades. Corporate Research and Development (R&D) centers are mushrooming all over the country. These R&Ds are setting up their digital libraries or knowledge centers to facilitate knowledge resources to the Scientists community. The corporate digital libraries have been distinguished by their collections specifically to the corporate company/organization needs. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and digital technology tools have dramatically changed the way corporate company library function. These corporate digital libraries are of great importance in business, as the level of research, design, process, product development, marketing and quality control demands it. This is of special importance in the field of technologies, where librarians or information specialists keep an eagle eye on competitors and customers, in order to keep pace with trends and examine the needs, demands, and requirements of users.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR):
The term “Intellectual Property Rights” (IPR) has come to be internationally recognized as covering patent, industrial design, trademark, copyright, know-how and confidential information. Intellectual property protection is the key factor for economic growth and advancement in the technology sector. They are good for business, benefit the public at large and act as catalysts for technical progress (Ray, 2004).
Modern society is no longer characterized by labour, land, and capital alone. It is characterized by knowledge and information, which is increasingly playing a critical role in the economic, cultural and socio-political development of any individual in specific as well as a country in general. The value that people place on information is what has resulted in it being fully commodified (Britz, 2004; Carlaw, Oxleyand Walker, 2006). Despite being viewed as a product of human creative endeavor, information is also considered a kind of property: an intellectual property, one that can be owned, exchanged and traded like any other commodity. The commodification of information did not occur spontaneously. In Europe, commodification can be traced from the 15th century, when the first patent was issued in Venice (Prager, 1944). The need for protection of property rights became pronounced during the industrial revolution, partly due to the innovations and developments that were taking place and partially due to prevent unscrupulous people from trying to use the inventions for their own economic gain at the expense of the inventor.
The field of intellectual property continues its rapid growth. Globalization and the rapid proliferation of technology have elevated the importance of intellectual property protection. The intangible nature of intellectual property and the worldwide inconsistency of standard practices create challenges for those wishing to protect their inventions, brands and business methods in the national and international market. The three most common vehicles for protecting intellectual property are patent, trademark, and copyright. The scope of intellectual property is expanding very fast and attempts have been made by eminent persons who create novel ideas to seek protection under the umbrella of Intellectual Property Rights.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection granted under the Copyright Act to the creator/s of original works of authorship such as literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, cinematographic films, sound recordings, computer programs, tables and compilations which may be expressed in words, codes and schemes or in any other understandable form, including a machine-readable medium (The Copyright Act, 1957). The importance of copyright has increased enormously in recent times due to the rapid technological development in the field of digital printing, music, communication, and entertainment. Copyright is “the rights to reproduce, distribute, adapt, display, or perform a work” (Coleman, 2007). More expansively, a ‘copyright’ exists when there is an original work of authorship that is fixed in a tangible medium” (Besek, 2003).
In a changing world, librarians have a responsibility not only to know about the ways in which libraries can use the techniques of the digital tool but also be aware of copyright. In the digital environment, copyright becomes an issue of fundamental significance in the library. The advance of digital technology results in Copyright Act being more easily violated. These become a consideration at every point in the process of selection, acquisition, collection development, circulation, storage and preservation of information. The Copyright Act is intended to set out a balance between the intellectual property interests of authors, owners and publishers. The unique role of libraries is shaped by the Copyright Act through balancing these interests and defining certain limitations and exceptions to the use. These exceptions for libraries are fundamental to the structure of the Copyright Act throughout the world.
Librarians face countless copyright dilemmas every day as the Copyright Act evolves and new interpretations emerge. Library professionals have a central role in this arena and cannot be passive bystanders. Not too long ago, librarians left primary responsibility for compliance with the Copyright Act and fair use or fair doctrine of copyrighted material in circulation, dissemination or interlibrary loan, etc. Those days are gone; in the digital environment, copyright becomes an issue of fundamental significance throughout the library. The open sources on the Internet where everything is free, even though libraries are cautious of the dangers of unauthorized access, new interpretations of the current Copyright Act is perceived inadequacies and its imminent revision are profoundly influencing the library operations and its services (Johnson and Macewan, 1997).
Corporate and Digital Library:
The word “corporate” is related to a large company or group of companies. These companies or organizations are authorized to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law. It is a form of business operation that declares the business as a separate, legal entity guided by a group of people known as the Board of Directors (Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, 2012).
India has become a corporate hotspot in the world for the past two decades. Corporate Research and Development (R&D) centers are mushrooming all over the country. R&D centers in corporate environment consist of investigative activities that a business preferred to conduct with the intention of making a discovery that can either lead to the development of new product, service or existing product or service quality control. These Research and Development centers are setting up their digital libraries or knowledge centers to facilitate knowledge resources to the Scientist community. The challenges and complexities of development and providing corporate library services focus on copyright and related issues. The study points to the fact that, the Copyright Act is not very comprehensive, especially “fair use” or “fair use doctrine” concept. And there is abundant confusion surrounding the interpretations of the Copyright Act, with respect to private sector libraries, corporate libraries or commercial libraries.
In a corporate environment, the management keeps an eye on Return on Investment (ROI). Invaluable investment in information is very essential but expensive as compared to academic or public libraries. One method to preserve expensive information is archived. Archives can take many forms. Digital archives and copyright in the corporate library or the commercial library environment is one of the hottest international debates among the professionals, policymakers and corporate management. The importance of knowledge resource management and dissemination of knowledge-based solutions in different scientific areas, without violating Copyright Act is an important facet of managing corporate libraries. In this matter, corporate libraries should play a pivotal role instead of a peripheral role.
For citing this article use:
- Unnikrishnan, G. (2016). Copyright in corporate digital libraries in India problems and prospects. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10603/134556