Wednesday, June 30, 2010

May a library lend e-book readers?; LibraryLaw Blog, 6/20/10

Peter Hirtle, LibraryLaw Blog; May a library lend e-book readers?:

"A recent post at the Citizen Media Law Project about one’s First Sale rights with e-books got me thinking about libraries. CMLP noted that with e-books, one has no first sale rights because they are usually governed by licenses instead. First sale, however, is fundamental to the business of libraries. It allows us to loan to others copies of printed books we have purchased without violating the copyright owner’s rights to distribute the work. Some libraries have started lending e-book readers to faculty and students, including the Lewis Music Library at MIT and the NCSU Library, which are both loaning iPads. Is this legal?...

I hope, therefore, that libraries that are experimenting with lending e-book readers have thoroughly vetted their program with an attorney. Mostly, I hope they are working with Apple, Amazon, etc. to create new library-friendly licenses. We need licenses that will allow libraries to purchase e-books that can then either be copied directly onto patron-owned devices or copied onto library devices that are then lent to patrons. If e-books become as important as people predict and libraries do not have the legal right to lend those e-books, the traditional role of the library as a free source of reading matter will fade away."

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