We are told that we live in the ‘digital revolution’ era and that we can communicate across the globe as we never could before, yet restrictive copyright laws still act as a serious barrier to sharing and learning from each other. Copyright and intellectual property protection impinges, in different ways, on the practices of librarians as individual professionals, on libraries as institutions of various kinds (public, commercial, and academic), on the professional organizations of library workers, and to some extent on ‘librarianship’ as an idealised amalgamation of all of the above.
The CopySouth Research Group (CSRG) has sought to research the inner workings of the global copyright system and its largely negative effects on the global South. The recently published papers presented at the 2010 “3rd CopySouth Workshop: International Conference on Copyright Issues” take up copyright from a political economy perspective and can now be accessed here. Also see the CopySouth Dossier which explores issues including copyright and cultural domination by the North, traditional/indigenous knowledge and copyright, and calculating copyright-related capital flows from the global periphery to the centre.