CNI REPORT: Copyright and the Economics of Networked InformationCopyright 1994 CAUSE. From _CAUSE/EFFECT_ Volume 17, Number 1, Spring1994. Permission to copy or disseminate all or part of this material isgranted provided that the copies are not made or distributed forcommercial advantage, the CAUSE copyright and its date appear, andnotice is given that copying is by permission of CAUSE, the associationfor managing and using information resources in higher education. Todisseminate otherwise, or to republish, requires written permission. Forfurther information, contact Julia Rudy at CAUSE, 4840 Pearl EastCircle, Suite 302E, Boulder, CO 80301 USA; 303-939-0308;e-mail: jrudy@CAUSE.colorado.eduCOPYRIGHT AND THE ECOMOMICS OF NETWORKED INFORMATIONby Richard P. WestFrom a technology point of view it is quite simple. Place a copy of,say, a scholarly journal on a file server, place the file server on theInternet, advertise its address, and every Internet surfer can beinformed. Conceptually, one electronic version (with perhaps a few morecopies for security and backup) can now do what previously could only beaccomplished by making thousands of printed copies and physicallydistributing them to subscribers, libraries, and bookstores. Today'stechnology allows the display of full print pages as clearly as aprinted page you would hold in your hand. The combination oftelecommunications networking technology and inexpensive mass storagewith excellent display monitors is the reason for these capabilities.A few copies of a journal article in a networked environment serve manymore thousands of people than the traditional several thousand printedcopies would reach. The promise of networked information to remove thebarriers of time and space has been fulfilled. Technologically speaking,we have won the battle of making information universally accessible toall. Yet, by succeeding with our technological capabilities, we have nowraised issues in several extremely important areas: the labyrinth oflegal property rights; the complexity and frustration of gettingpermission to digitize materials; the economics of networkedinformation; and the incentives and economic risks inherent in anymarketplace in a capitalist society.Our ability to understand and resolve these issues will determine oursuccess in exploiting our networked information technologies. TheCoalition for Networked Information has several initiatives under way inthis very important, but at times maddeningly complex, area. READI(Rights for Electronic Access to and Delivery of Information) has been aproject of CNI for two years, identifying the consistent themes that anycontractual arrangement between an information provider and aninformation consumer properly should consider in a networkedenvironment. Other CNI initiatives include the exploration of theeconomics of networked information through the Task Force on Scientificand Technical Scholarly Information, sponsored by the Association ofAmerican Universities (AAU), and the solicitation of a grant from theCouncil on Library Resources (CLR) to further explore the changingeconomic environment for creating, distributing, organizing, and usingnetworked information. The presence of CNI helped focus these questionswith both providers and consumers recognizing that CNI provides a forumfor exploring these issues.