We live in a content-rich world. Digital media intertwines itself into every aspect of modern life, and with so much information competing for our attention, just keeping up can become a full time job. And that pervasiveness has social—and legal—implications. As people and organizations develop novel ways of managing, processing, and analyzing competing sources of digital information, the law has the formidable challenge of fairly and efficiently determining the rights of everyone involved—balancing the needs of consumers with the rights of content owners and creators.

A recurring theme in these cases is the question of how much control content owners should have over how their works are consumed. New technologies allow consumers to use, organize, and manipulate digital content on a massive scale, but these tools are generally separate from the content itself. For example, many people use “dashboards” or “aggregators” to track their areas of interest. These services pull together content from a wide variety of digital sources and put it all in one place—a website or smartphone app—for easy access. That’s very convenient for the consumer, but it may not be what the creator had in mind, especially if the content is repackaged in a way that changes its meaning or function.

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