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DIGITAL LIBRARIES AND COPYRIGHT CHALLENGES IN THE FACE OF A PANDEMIC

By Shrivalli Ghosh

In light of the unique situation that the Covid-19 pandemic has put us in, most of the people across the globe are confined to their homes as much as possible due to quarantine and lockdown restrictions. With no access to physical libraries, classrooms, bookstores, or museums, the implications of digital libraries have become ever so important in this time and has been instrumental in shining a spotlight on the digital access to cultural and educational resources.
This paper examines the responses of the existing framework of copyright laws in such a situation. It explores the implications of existing laws and challenges under the copyright regime with respect to digital libraries and their development. The background of digital libraries has been described, in order to gain an understanding of the evolution of the concept in the contemporary context. Thereafter, copyright provisions have been analysed in the Indian as well as international context, along with certain landmark cases on the topic. The issue of digital preservation of works of authors and its copyright implications, have also been discussed in brief.
It is the need of the hour to step up to the advent of information and communication technology and come up with an effective legal framework for the development of digital libraries to ensure improved access. The multitude of legal contentions around the ‘digital’ access to libraries, particularly in the present moment have thus been explored in this paper.

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