Dutch Libraries Go To Court To Make Sure They Can Lend Ebooks
from the why-is-this-even-a-question? dept
As we’ve noted before, many publishers have the crazy attitude that ebooks shouldn’t be lent by libraries, and that it should be made harder for people to access literature in these places if it’s in a digital form. Over in the Netherlands, public libraries have had enough of this, and are taking legal action over the issue, as an article in Future of Copyright reports:
Dutch public libraries are bringing a test case to court. The test case is about the right to lend e-books in public libraries. The public libraries want e-lending to be included in the copyright-exception for public libraries. The association of public libraries therefore take legal action against Stichting Leenrecht, a foundation collecting the lending fees.
The Dutch Copyright Act contains a copyright limitation that allows public libraries to lend physical copies of books. The question was raised whether this exception included also the lending of e-books. If that were the case, it would be a great advantage for public libraries, because they would not have to ask the permission of the copyright holder of the e-book.
The immediate stimulus for the public libraries’ move is a report presented by the Dutch Minister of Education to the Dutch Parliament, which looked into the question of lending rights. Unfortunately, the minister came to the view that the lending exception in Dutch copyright law only applied to physical copies of books. The Dutch libraries hope the courts will rule that it should apply to ebooks too. Since this seems to be the first such case anywhere, its outcome will doubtless be watched closely.