The paper aims at explaining the current crisis of copyright law in the digital era. The primary hypothesis of the study is that the core of the problem can be found in the divergence between legal and social norms concerning the access to intellectual and artistic creations. The author discerns two main sources of the conflict between these two bodies of norms. The first is the result of the particular dynamics in the development of technology, copyright law and social norms that are perceived as a global phenomenon. The second is the outcome of specific local particularities that led in some societies to the evolution of social norms which differ considerably from the contemporary intellectual property regime. In both cases, however, the core of the problem lies in the fact that consumer held social norms (developed either on the global or local level) strongly oppose the absolute property rhetoric present in most of the international regulations in copyright law.