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Medical News & Perspectives
June 1, 2011

The National Library of Medicine

JAMA. 2011;305(21):2158-2161. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.703

In 1968, the publisher Williams & Wilkins sued the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for copyright infringement over the NLM's practice of sending other libraries single copies of journal articles at the request of researchers—a case reaching the US Supreme Court. In a split decision, the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's decision that NLM's photocopying gave researchers necessary access to medical knowledge and did not violate copyright laws. No one then could envision how computer networks would change the way the world would access biomedical information.

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