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Copyrights are designed to provide some form of protection against unauthorized use of original informational materials The rapid shift of information production and distribution to electronic form with its corresponding ease of copying naturally makes copyright-dependent industries nervous Much talk in the news and on the net these days is about the future of copyright law a law developed in an age of print and now perhaps too tied to that medium to have ready application to todays information technology The fate of copyright may seem in doubt to some but copyright has a long durable history It has survived countless technological changes over nearly two centuries including the advent of photography the phonograph player pianos motion pictures audiotapes and cassettes and computer programs-and its still going strong From this historical perspective then one might paraphrase Mark Twain by concluding that reports of copyrights death are greatly exaggerated Neither to expect that copyright will survive the new information technologies is not to expect that it will be unchanged nor that those industries publishing music computer software etc that depend on copyright law will remain unchanged To the contrary pressure for change will build on both industry practice and copyright doctrine to sharply intersect in several areas One significant area is that of copyright preemption of state contract law For a combination of reasons we can expect to se considerable emphasis in litigation on the preemption doctrine in the future Copyright owners have a variety of rights under the copyright act including the rights of reproduction and the rights of public distribution performance and display For convenience let the term copying serve as a surrogate for all of these various rights Copyright owners need a certain amount of protection against copying in order to make a profit at a given level and scale of business Protection means an assurance that no more than some amount of copying of their works will take
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