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IBPA Position Statement on “Controlled Digital Lending” (CDL)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019   (0 Comments)
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(Manhattan Beach, CA - February 13, 2019) – Having joined 36 other book industry associations on an open appeal to readers and librarians from the victims of “Controlled Digital Lending” (CDL), the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) would like to expand on its position related to CDL via this statement.

“Controlled Digital Lending” is a label coined by the Internet Archive and some lawyers and librarians to describe a methodology for copying and digitally distributing books. In 2017, the Internet Archive described it as a process to “digitize and re-publish” books. In September 2018, the Internet Archive and some of its allies released a white paper describing and defending the practice.

After reviewing the Internet Archives’ September 2018 white paper, it is clear to IBPA that CDL infringes upon publishers' and authors' copyrights and deprives them of revenues they would earn if readers were to obtain their works though other, legitimate channels. As discussed in this FAQ, CDL is not authorized by publishers or authors. More important, publishers and authors are paid nothing for the digital copies made and distributed based on CDL theory. On the flip side, legal e-lending through the longstanding practice of purchasing licenses ensures that content creators receive a share of revenue. In these cases, a library can only lend a digital copy out to one person at a time and a reader cannot access their digital copy after the loan period expires.

Based on all above, the Association of American Publishers notes in their "Statement on Flawed Theory of 'Controlled Digital Lending:'"

“Whatever public benefit libraries may claim results from CDL, it would not be sufficient to justify the harm to publishers’ actual and potential markets.”

IBPA agrees. It is detrimental to a publisher’s ability to continually produce professional quality content when, under CDL, copyrighted books are scanned and distributed online to readers worldwide without proper compensation to the content creator(s). As stated in the before-mentioned open appeal, IBPA believes well-meaning librarians, archivists, and readers aren’t aware of this detriment because they are being misled by false claims from proponents of CDL.

In issuing this position statement, IBPA aims to affirm our strongly held belief that the unauthorized scanning and distribution of in-copyright books, in their entirety, under CDL should be stopped immediately as greater dialogue takes place related to creating digital libraries that fully respect the rights of content creators.


Full list of associations signed onto the open appeal to readers and librarians from the victims of “Controlled Digital Lending” (CDL):


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