In this text, Rice outlines the contractual and technological regulations that have been placed on the access of digital information. His argument is that information is the "common fiber of science, arts, hostory, culture, and even self," and that the press to privatize control over acces to digital information "diminishes the luster of the late-twentieth-and early-twenty-first-century opening of the information society."
Specifically Rice focuses on the implications of the privatization of control over things such cultural knowledge, including folklore, legends, and information on heritage, in cases where this information would not be legally accessible to members of the represented culture. Rice argues that the importance of the information era is the access one has to learn about the things most intimately related to him as a person.
I find this essay useful because, though it targets the wrongfulness of privatized control from a deeply personal level, the underlying question of whether all information should be accessible to everyone is also present, because within the academic arena researchers develop relationships with information that may have no relevance to their cultural backgrounds but remains as personal to them as if it did. This essay also asks its reader to think about the kind of information he would not want to be withheld from him. Though the essay doesn't specifically get at the issue of confusion over copyright and fair use issues within an academic setting, it does provide an awareness of what information may be being withheld from researchers, and forces those researchers to consider the usefulness of this kind of information to there personal projects. This kind of awareness goes hand in hand with the understanding of fair use and copyright that my thesis argues for because it emphasizes the importance of having an active and correct knowledge of fair use and copyright issues that affect university settings, in order to get the most out of ones education.