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!

Publisher Monopoly Long-Game: Make Libraries Renters, Not Owners

Lifting up this excellent article in the Daily Beast by Jennie Rose Halperin, the Executive Director of Library Futures. It highlights the recent forum at Georgetown Law with Senator Ron Wyden and provides a quick litany of the negative impacts of ebook licensing on public education. To quote just one example:

The draconian terms mean, for example, that a single e-copy of The Diary of Anne Frank can cost a school district as much as $27 per student per year—with the lion’s share of the money going to billion-dollar publishing companies.

Library Futures is welcoming consortial and university partners to join in activism around technological and educational initiatives to preserve Library rights. Johns Hopkins has recently joined as a partner. Here’s hoping the Cal State Libraries will consider joining as well!