For months, academic publishers, scientists, libraries, and legislators in Germany have been entangled in a row over a new digital copyright bill. Yesterday (April 9), a compromise was finally reached.

The EU directive on digital copyright should have been implemented into national law by the end of last year, but only a few of the 15 member states have done so to date. The intention is to enable scientists to share information for research and teaching purposes while at the same time protecting the interests of copyright owners.

But in Germany, the digital copyright bill has angered academic publishers. They fear the new law could make the distribution of unauthorized copies easier than ever before, and may thus have "disastrous consequences" for the publishing trade. In particular, they argue that university libraries could use the new law to save money by digitizing copyrighted work and making it freely available...

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