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Intellectual Property Rights For Digital Library And Hypertext Publishing Systems: An Analysis of Xanadu

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ABSTRACT : Copyright law is being applied to works in digital form. The special character of digital media will inevitably require some adjustments in the copyright model if digital libraries and hypertext publishing environments are to become as commercially viable as the print industries have been. An intellectual property system works only when it embodies a reasonably accurate model of how people are likely to behave, but it is hard to predict author and reader behavior in an environment that has yet to be built. By far the most ambitious proposal for a digital library and hypertext publishing environment is Ted Nelson’s Xamdu system. This paper reviews the intellectual property scheme in Xanadu and contrasts it with current copyright law. Xanadu’s predictions about reader and author behavior are examined in light of how people currently behave in computer conferencing, electronic mail, and similar existing systems. These analyses identify some respects in which intellectual property systems might have to be changed to make digital libraries and hypertext publishing systems viable. 


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