The Internet and new information technologies present a number of complex issues regarding intellectual property rights. Authors and creators have an interest in protecting unauthorized commercial exploitation of their own works, but also in obtaining access to the works of others. Firms that sell computing equipment and software may seek protection for those works, but also may need the right to reverse engineer or develop products that are interoperable with works owned by others. Citizens benefit from the economic incentives of copyright laws, but also from fair ("innocent") use exemptions in several national copyright systems. The free flow of information is essential for a variety of purposes, including the exercise of free speech and the ability of innovate and create. Education use presents special issues, including those involved in distance learning.
Mechanisms to protect copyrighted works on the Internet should not unduly restrict the ability of educators to share information with students in ways that are equivalent to current practices involving more conventional teaching methods.