Innovation Asset Blog

Copyright questions abound as libraries consider eBook lending

The digital revolution has had innumerable consequences for intellectual property management, but few areas have felt the brunt of things quite so consistently as the publishing industry. With online piracy already a source of concern for eBook authors, they may be surprised to find that the next set of obstacles could be set up by local libraries.

This issue was recently presented at an industry meeting attended by James Daunt, current managing director of British bookstore chain Waterstones. According to Bookseller columnist Lisa Campbell, Daunt voiced concern that eBook lending programs throughout U.K. libraries could be the next threat to author copyright protections - and profits.

Industry colleagues from the Society of Authors would seem to agree.

"The failure to [compensate eBook authors] means that the government and libraries are actually infringing the author's copyright every time they make an eBook loan, and authors would be entitled to sue for the losses caused by that infringement," Society of Authors spokeswoman Nicola Solomon told the Guardian.

According to the news outlet, a long-standing government program that pays print authors a nominal dividend each time their materials are loaned out through U.K. libraries could form the key legal precedent in this discussion. With authors seeing little distinction between print and digital formatting, they are calling for legislators to extend the initiative to provide eBook writers with similar opportunities to monetize their content.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.