Friday January 23, 2009

Kent Fitch makes the case for a Digital Lending Right

Kent Fitch - National Library of Australia

When books go digital, you’ll still be able to borrow them from your library, right?

Maybe not. Google, US book publishers and authors have struck a deal where – for library patrons – access is restricted to a single terminal, on-site, with a per-page printing fee and no ability to copy and paste. Remote access and off-line access is unlikely.

Thanks to the Public Lending Right we have free access to (physical) books from libraries.

Kent Fitch proposes a Digital Lending Right that assures us access to a free digital copy of a book while still compensating the rights holder.

His slide deck tells the story – have a look:

View more presentations or upload your own. (tags: libraries dlr)

(And for a detailed discussion of the US deal mentioned above, see Google & the Future of Books by Robert Darnton in the New York Review of Books.)

There were other good talks around copyright at the conference.

Caroline Morgan of Copyright Agency Limited argued strongly for copyright in her talk, saying it was not bad or broken, just misunderstood.

Jessica Coates spoke about the impact of copyright law on preserving digital items that are only available in digital form like the Sydney Olympics website and John Howard’s climate change YouTube address. New clauses go some of the way to dealing with ‘the permission barrier’ but the existence and growth of the creative commons movement is evidence that copyright law needs rethinking in the information age.

Bernard D, Internet Coordinator, at Information Online #io2009

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