Three Hundred Years Since the Statute of Anne, from 1709 to Cyberspace
Edited by Lionel Bently, Uma Suthersanen and Paul Torremans
Chapter 12: Introduction to Part II
Uma Suthersanen* INTRODUCTION Me, poor man, my library, Was dukedom large enough . . . Knowing I lov’d my books, he furnish’d me, From my own library, with volumes that I prize above my dukedom.1 Thus does Shakespeare convey both power and control over the deposed Duke of Milan, Prospero, through the ‘library’. The sessions in the ALAI Congress 2009 on digital libraries, collective management, online licensing and the Google book project, depict similar notions of control and power. The zeitgeist of this and the next centuries, however, is that the growing power of the custodians of the ‘library’ (which is widely defined) must be regulated, as must be the power of these custodians to grant access to works, and to remunerate the authors of such works. 2 THE FUNCTION OF DIGITAL LIBRARIES The British Library (BL) is a good example of how the modest sixteenth century library, as private collections of books,2 has expanded to the current role of a library as the custodian of the ‘knowledge network’. BL’s ‘knowledge network’ is accessible, apparently, through blogs, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and audioBoo. As its website announces proudly: ‘It’s not about “Sssh!”. It’s about “What do you need?”’3 This expanded role of the library, from being a physical, private repository of books to being a public purveyor of knowledge raises * Professor Uma Suthersanen, School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London. 1 W. Shakespeare, Act 1/Scene II, The Tempest. 2 See paper by Dame Lynne Brindley, Chapter 13 in this...
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