Rights, Copyrights and Licenses: the Basics and What They Mean

Ann Okerson


The buoyant days of free Internet culture seem to many have faded into the past. While there are scientists and activists who dream of of free information for all, through initiatives such as the international Public Library of Science movement or the United States' PubMed Central, the reality is that we have moved into a world in which we realize that high quality electronic information carries a cost. Therefore, such electronic information can, will, and must be governed somehow by the rules of economics -- and thus lends itself to analysis in terms of "rights." For it seems that all we hear of these days are the "rights" of all parties to arrangements to supply and maintain electronic scientific and scholarly information.

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