In the past few days, a single topic has dominated the discussion in the library blogosphere: this was prompted by a February 24th statement from Overdrive indicating that several publishers were seeking contractual changes for the use of e-books. Library Journal followed up with a report that Harper Collins has changed the conditions of their contracts with e-book distributors so that libraries may only lend an e-book a maximum of 26 times. After that, the license is revoked. American libraries are, of course, outraged. ‘Librarian by Day’ Bobbi Newman put together a list of all blog posts on the subject as of last week. Presumably the list will have grown much longer by now.
That publishers are increasingly unwilling to permit libraries the same conditions for e-books as for print books is becoming glaringly obvious. The same article also mentions that two of the six largest publishing houses (Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) do not allow any circulation of their e-books in libraries. Above and beyond this, the Overdrive statement also reiterated publishers’ concerns that libraries aren’t strict enough in enforcing the geographic and territorial limitations on circulating items and that libraries are building consortiums for the purpose of collectively acquiring media.
Just a reminder: an incident in which a British library card was used to borrow an e-book in another country was impetus for the British publishing association to drastically restrict the loan of e-books, so that they can only be downloaded by patrons who are physically in a library.
In response to Harper Collins, ‘Librarian in Black’ Sarah Houghton-Jan has drafted a much discussed "E-book Users Bill of Rights"
Every eBook user should have the following rights:
• the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
• the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
• the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
• the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks
On March 1st, Library Journal reported on Harper Collins´ reactions to librarians’ protests. Of course Harper Collins wants to have its cake and eat it too: on the one hand, they stand by their position, but on the other hand they don’t want to lose libraries as customers. The reaction is neither here nor there – one thing for sure, developments in this issue will be exciting for some time to come.
Wednesday, 2. March 2011
Tracked: Mar 03, 12:20
Tracked: Mar 03, 12:20
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