The Moral Imperatives of Controlled Digital Lending

Library Futures, in concert with the Georgetown Intellectual Property and Information Policy (iPIP) Clinic, has recently released an excellent, succinct summary of the ethical reasons for public policy-makers to craft legislation that protects the ability of libraries to continue practicing Controlled Digital Lending:

  • CDL Maximizes ECONOMIC Efficiency and Opportunity for Communities
  • CDL Promotes Equitable and Dependable EDUCATION
  • CDL Improves the CIVIL RIGHTS Function of Libraries
  • CDL Democratizes Knowledge by Expanding ACCESS

Libraries have traditionally been not merely purchasers but more importantly stewards of content, content that they own and which they distribute on their own terms in accordance with Fair Use and First Sale law. More and more these days, Libraries are becoming mere consumers, mediators for digital content vendors to extract as much money and data as they can from their patrons. CDL preserves the traditional role of Libraries while allowing us to have alternatives to accepting restrictive, expensive, and exploitative vendor terms and licenses.

Kudos to the Library Futures team for elaborating these moral imperatives as excellent and thoughtful supplements to the legal reasoning in the CDL White Paper.

Libraries have an important role in legislative activism for the sake of the public good. Let’s get to it!