Copyright Issues for the Electronic Age. This is an ERIC Digest that takes a look at some copyright issues. It is a short read and it makes some good points.
There is a section for questiosn and answers. Many of the questions are focused on libraries. For example one questions is, "May a library scan and store its reserve works into a database to reproduce copies on demand or store them on a network for students to access electronically?? The answer is, "Not in all cases. If approval is obtained, original works by instructors such as syllabi, sample tests, etc. could be scanned and stored. However, course readings could not be stored without permission, licensing, or royalty fees. "
From the site:
Because information is now so freely available, particularly in electronic form, does that mean we are free to use that information in any way we want? Current copyright law was adopted in 1976 and went into effect in 1978. It is difficult to imagine how the authors of the 1976 Copyright Act could have foreseen so many new technologies. However, they did attempt to cover all of the bases by using language which was intended to be somewhat elastic in Section 102 (a) of the law:
"Copyright protection subsists...in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device."