A Call for Change in E-book Lending Policies

Written for Professor Steve Sawyer’s IST618 Information Policy class in Fall 2011.

A Call for Change in E-book Lending Policies

Introduction

As technology progresses and reading trends evolve, consumers are switching from printed books to electronic reading materials, or e-books.  E-books allow readers to carry multiple books—once a cumbersome affair—in a lightweight and compact package.  Just as netbooks and laptops have become increasingly popular as lightweight and compact alternatives to desktop computers, e-books and their readers (including tablets) are showing a rise in popularity.  Currently 12 percent of Americans read e-books or own e-book readers.  At first glance, this may not appear to be a large number; however, the percentage is likely to rise, especially if hardware that is frequently used to read e-books, but is not e-book exclusive (such as the iPad and other tablets), is included in future e-reader statistics.

Amazon and Barnes and Noble boast that sales of e-books have overtaken sales of paperback and hardcover books in their online stores (Purcell, 2011; McMillan, 2011). There are over 31 varieties of e-book readers available for consumers that support various e-book file formats (Comparison of e-book, 2011). According to a recent national survey by Unisphere Research and Information Today Inc., “73% [of surveyed libraries] are seeing increased demand for digital resources,” (McKendrick, 2011). As the popularity and usage of digital resources and e-books continue to rise, it has become more and more important for libraries to expand upon their services by offering e-book lending.  Unfortunately, current policies revolving around past laws, such as the First Sale Doctrine and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), as well as formatting inconsistencies make it difficult for libraries to lend e-books.

Overview of Obstacles

Libraries depend upon the First Sale Doctrine as the basic principle behind their right to lend books. The First Sale Doctrine entitles the owner of a legitimate physical copy of a copyright work to read, lend, give away, sell, or otherwise dispose of the copy in any manner that is not a direct infringement upon the copyright holder’s basic rights. One major obstacle to e-book lending is the lack of understanding of what an e-book purchase actually is throughout the information and publishing industries. Some stakeholders are of the opinion that e-books are different than print books because they are electronic and therefore should be covered by a license agreement. Others are of the viewpoint that an e-book is simply a book in a different format and should be covered by the First Sale Doctrine.

Another difficulty being faced by libraries is the sheer number of file formats in which e-books are available. E-books can be found in over 20 file formats, the four most popular being .epub, .azw, .pdf, and .mobi. Libraries must purchase e-books from third party vendors such as OverDrive and 3M. OverDrive is the largest e-book distributor to libraries in the United States, offering e-books in .epub, .pdf, and .azw. Prior to September 21, 2011, OverDrive did not offer the Amazon .azw format (Burleigh, 2011). With so many formats available and the proprietary nature of one of the most popular e-book readers, it is necessary for one standard format to be set in which e-books can be read regardless of the platform be it e-reader, mobile device, or computer.

This paper will examine the current state of affairs for e-book lending policies regarding libraries. It will also explore the possibilities involved in the adaptation of the First Sale Doctrine to include e-books and the potential impact this would have upon libraries, library patrons, and publishing houses. We will propose the language necessary to make an e-book purchase a sale as defined by US copyright law and within the scope of the First Sale Doctrine. We will also examine the effect of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and file format availability on e-book usage and make suggestions on the standardization of policies for publishers in this regard. This standardization can originate from three sources: agreement within the publishing industry, changes to existing law, or the creation of an independent authority that will regulate standards (Helberger, 2011, p. 73).

Current Publisher Policies

There is a lack of transparency on the part of publishers with regards to their policies for electronic content lending in libraries. Therefore, in order to understand the restrictions placed on library lending of e-books by publishers, it is necessary to research the third party vendors that act as intermediary between publishers and libraries. These vendors include: OverDrive, Amazon, the 3M Cloud Library, and Open Library, which are all explained in detail below.

OverDrive

OverDrive is one of the leading third party e-book vendors to do business with libraries. OverDrive was founded in 1986 providing digital media to customers through CD-ROM and diskette formats. As technology changed, so did OverDrive’s means of media distribution. In 2000, OverDrive launched their Content Reserve marketplace to provide electronic content via the Internet.  This step was followed in 2002 with their download service to libraries. Content available through OverDrive includes music, audiobooks, and e-books. OverDrive now partners with over 1,000 publishers to bring more than 650,000 e-book titles to customers (OverDrive, Inc.). This paper will focus on the portion of OverDrive that does business with public libraries and e-books.

OverDrive has created “Virtual Branches” for over 15,000 libraries around the world (OverDrive, Inc.). This involves integrating the library’s digital content with its physical content through the library’s content management system. Libraries may purchase titles through OverDrive, which then become available in the library’s virtual catalog. Patrons can then check out the content by downloading it to supported devices through the OverDrive Digital Media Console (OverDrive, Inc.). Items that are in the library’s catalog are available for patrons on a single copy, single borrower restriction. In order for more than one patron to borrow a title, the library must purchase the rights to more than one copy.

If one is examining the library digital catalog as a patron, it is possible to view the individual lending restrictions imposed on a single item. For example, in the Onondaga County Public Library catalog (“Onondaga county public,” 2011), there are over 1,500 titles available. At the very bottom of each catalog entry, one will find the copyright and DRM information which states that the borrower is licensed the title for a limited time, at the end of which the borrower is required to remove all copies of the title from their devices (“Important notice about,” 2011). As a result, it seems that for most items in the catalog, library users are only aware of the length of the lending term and the copyright holder’s statutory rights, not the rights that apply to libraries and their restrictions in terms of lending practices.

In order to accommodate more complicated licensing agreements with publishers, such as HarperCollins, OverDrive created a second Content Reserve catalog which is not visible to library patrons. This catalog contains the offerings from publishers who have placed a cap on the number of times an item can be lent. In the case of HarperCollins, a library’s copy will expire after it has been checked out 26 times (Hadro, 2011). After the title has expired, the library is required to purchase another license for 26 more check-outs or abandon the title in digital format. This is completely different from the way that print books are treated.  Print books may be lent any number of times over any number of years without mandatory re-purchasing.  In a world where e-books are becoming more frequently used one can imagine a popular book, say, an e-book copy of a part of the Twilight saga, being checked out 26 times within a matter of months.  This would mean that the hosting library may have to buy said book (or the license for said book) repeatedly simply to serve the needs of their patrons.  Over time this practice may end up endangering libraries as many libraries already frequently face budget constraints even in the present day.  If policy makers wish to preserve libraries and the function that they serve for future generations, changes must be made to licensing agreements.

Amazon

Many consumers are familiar with Amazon.com, the online retailer that sells books (both electronically and in print) as well as other merchandise.  Amazon became a large player in the e-book market when they released their e-book reader, the Kindle, in November of 2007.  Since then, Amazon has released several different versions of the Kindle including the new Kindle Fire (“The Amazon Kindle,” 2011).  What makes Amazon and its Kindle readers interesting and relevant to the policy debate regarding e-books and their lending through libraries is that Amazon’s e-books are formatted especially for the Kindle, and not for other devices.

Amazon e-book files are created as .azw files which are specially designed to be read by the Kindle and Kindle applications downloaded onto non-Kindle devices (Buchanan, 2010).  This matters to the policy debate surrounding e-books because it means that if libraries want to serve patrons with Kindles they will have to have an entire set of e-books that are specifically readable on Kindles, or an entire set of e-books that are in .azw format.   Libraries are already threatened by having to repeatedly pay licensing fees for the privilege to lend an e-book multiple times.  Now, with devices such as the Kindle, libraries may have to buy multiple licenses in multiple formats simply to serve the same patrons who were once all able to use the same print book under the First Sale Doctrine.

A change in policy that calls for a standard e-book format that can be read on all e-book readers could help alleviate this problem as it would allow libraries to spend less money purchasing several copies of the same e-book.  Currently many libraries use OverDrive, discussed earlier in this paper, to give their patrons access to Kindle e-books.  Although the partnership between OverDrive and Amazon allows for a greater number of Kindle formatted e-books to be available to public libraries, this still does not solve the problem that stems from Kindle e-books’ unfriendly formatting and the overabundance of formats in general.

 3M Cloud Library

The 3M Cloud Library e-book lending service, offered by the 3M Library Services division of 3M, is a newcomer to the e-book lending scene, having been announced at the ALA Annual Conference on June 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Cloud Library service is compatible across many desktop and mobile platforms, and can be read by most e-readers, with the Amazon Kindle being a notable exception. What functionally sets the 3M service apart from its competitors such as OverDrive is 3M’s strategy of packaging its e-book lending cloud along with other services to libraries, such as e-lending kiosks, hardware and software packages (including a 3M E-Reader to be used by patrons and staff at the library), and services such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems. With this level of integration, it is possible for all interactions with the digital catalog, such as self-checkout, to be automatically synced and readable via kiosks (conveniently also sold by 3M) or the 3M E-Readers. This integration might be easier for a library to handle than the OverDrive/Amazon situation, which is a bit more of a hazy interaction with OverDrive servers, with more of the process out of the library’s control.

The most aggressive area for 3M has been in the area of signing up publishers for their Cloud Library service. The company claims to have made deals with over 40 publishers, offering a total of over 100,000 titles for patrons (“3M™ cloud library,” 2011). While not an impressive sum compared to market-leaders in the industry like OverDrive, it is still a capable start for such a new market entrant.

It remains to be seen whether 3M’s service will be viewed as simply a ‘me too’ service, or alternatively, a service that can benefit from its strategy of aiming solely at libraries. 3M tries to stress other unique, beneficial aspects of its service to libraries. For example, the 3M Cloud Library website hosts a video which envisions patrons being fed local library announcements via their e-readers, which plays on librarians’ desires to be able to communicate directly to its patrons virtually. Features like these, along with the above-mentioned integration services that serve as a ‘turnkey’ solution (“Library technologies, inc.,” 2011), might appeal to libraries. Furthermore, these are things Amazon would probably not bother to implement, positioning 3M as a potentially worthy competitor in the e-lending market. The service’s success will hinge on the amount of buy-in that libraries afford it, but at this early stage it appears unlikely that 3M’s service could grow so popular that libraries would drop support of OverDrive, because the selection for 3M’s Cloud Library is simply not going to be comparable for a considerable amount of time.

Open Library

Open Library began in 2006 with the goal of creating “one web page for every book ever published” (“Open Library,” 2011).  This is a goal the organization is still trying to achieve and that, realistically, may never come to fruition.  Unfortunately for Open Library and its users, the limitations of e-lending policies and copyright laws make it difficult to create a web page for every book even if Open Library personnel dedicate themselves day and night to the goal.  Currently, Open Library has “twenty million records from a variety of large catalogs as well as single contributions” (“Open Library,” 2011), meaning that a portion of its library comes from an outside source.  The library works in an open environment, meaning that anyone who is a member can contribute as long as they are registered with Open Library and they are not violating copyright law.

In searching for an item in Open Library, a user receives several options: obtain the physical book through lending or purchasing, or read it as an e-book. Because it is a source point for e-books, Open Library does not face the same impediments that other e-dealers may encounter.  The links provided by Open Library direct users to outside sources; in the case of e-books in the public domain, this redirection is either to parent company Internet Archive, or to a copy that can be downloaded with a direct link.  Open Library has protected itself, through either innovation or circumstance, by making itself a source point rather than hosting e-books that are currently in copyright. The question of whether an e-book is protected by the First Sale Doctrine is a non-issue from a business standpoint because the e-books are not purchased via the site.  While Open Library does not have to deal with the publisher aspect of e-book lending, it does reveal the complicated aspect of e-book formats and e-book devices.

Format

Format is a rather large issue that stakeholders often have to deal with because with the various devices on the market there are even more formats that publishers can choose to use. The four most popular e-reader devices and the formats are compatible with them are:

  • Amazon Kindle: Kindle (AZW, TPZ), TXT, MOBI, PRC and PDF natively; HTML and DOC through conversion
  • Apple iPad: EPUB, PDF, HTML, DOC (plus iPad Apps, which could include Kindle and Barnes & Noble readers)
  • Barnes & Noble Nook: EPUB, PDB, PDF
  • Sony Reader: EPUB, PDF, TXT, RTF; DOC through conversion (Buchanan, 2010)

The only format that currently works on all e-reader devices, with the exception of the Sony Libre, is PDF. Though the PDF format is nearly universal it is not without problems. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony do not offer e-books in PDF format, meaning that while the file can be viewed on these platforms, there will be limitations to what the user can do with them.  For example, on the Amazon Kindle the PDF file is treated as a foreign file so the user cannot highlight passages or zoom in properly. The Kindle gives preference to its own format (.azw) which only works on Kindle devices or devices that have a Kindle application.  Unfortunately, most e-readers do not have capabilities to support or attain applications. Tablets and smart phones make use of applications but the Sony e-reader and Nook, for example, cannot.  Therefore, many non-Kindle e-readers cannot read books that are in Kindle, or .azw, format.  Out of all the devices and formats the Kindle versions are the most proprietary.  They do not allow flexibility in use; however, since the Amazon Kindle has been on the market the longest it is still a rather strong contender in e-book market.  This means that there is a significant demand for and use of .azw format despite the fact that it is not compatible with much of the technology that revolves around e-books.

EPUB is another e-book standard created by The International Digital Publishing Forum in order to for the e-book industry to gain some standardization.  It is free and open and “designed for reflowable content, meaning that the text display can be optimized for the particular display device used by the reader of the EPUB-formatted book” (Epub, 2011). So far, EPUB can be read on any e-reader device except the Amazon Kindle.  Although the Kindle will not read EPUB formatted books, users may use a program called Calibre which is free and available through the internet to convert their EPUB files to .mobi files which may be read by the Kindle (Calibre, 2011).  Unfortunately, users may only convert their EPUB books to .mobi if the files themselves are not DRM software protected.

There are currently so many e-book formats that it has even led to some in the publishing industry to refer the collection of formats as “The Tower of E-Babel” (Rothman, 2006). Between the publishers, different formats, platforms, and software it is no wonder that the e-book lending situation has not been resolved. In a sense the scenario here is that there are “too many cooks in the kitchen,” and they are all in different kitchens attempting to serve the same consumers.  The confusion that this causes should spur publishers to consider using a universal format and create their own DRM.  Another suggestion is that publishers could allow libraries to create their own DRM which will be discussed in full later in this paper.

If publishers created a standard format for e-books, then the e-book market could function similarly to the music industry.   The music industry, since it has gone digital, has promoted mp3s as their primary, preferred, or standard format for digital music files.  By focusing on a particular format, industries are able to enhance the DRM of that particular format. If libraries are to move forward with lending e-books, decisions about format and device must be made in order to provide better access to users and make piracy more difficult.  In return, greater access and reduced piracy thus will make publishers, consumers, and libraries more at ease with the shift to e-books.

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

DRM technology is currently the primary method by which e-books are protected from copyright violations. The circumvention of DRM is criminalized under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), along with other actions like distributing software intended to bypass DRM (Seringhaus, 2009, p. 166). This situation has led to some e-book makers implementing highly restrictive DRM solutions, with the DMCA protecting their use. Users of e-books can be frustrated by DRM, so much so that they can be lost as potential customers. An ebrary survey found that the “most significant factor to hinder users in their use of e-book content is digital rights management (DRM), which limits the way content can be used and shared, as 69 percent of respondents rated it significant or very significant” (Ashcroft, 2011, p.401).

The implementation of over-restrictive DRM is a problem not just for consumers, but also for libraries seeking to lend e-books. Almost any policy or agreement between libraries and publishers can ultimately be rendered meaningless, as the DRM can unilaterally block access and compatibility across devices. The problem is exacerbated by the amount of e-book formats and platforms, since each company can make its own proprietary DRM solution for content that will only work on their device. This forces libraries to buy e-readers from multiple companies, and to purchase redundant copies of e-books in order to serve patrons that own different e-reader or tablet devices.

This has led to consumers and producers of digital content alike to conclude that DRM needs to be done away with altogether, the so-called “DRM-free” movement. The CEO of Good Old Games, a digital distribution service and one of the participants in the movement, has said regarding DRM that “we believe that DRM is not fighting [sic] piracy as it only punishes the legitimate customers. Pirates download already cracked games without any sort of DRM” (GOG.com: ‘DRM punishes the legitimate customer, not piracy’, 2011). His statement, while controversial, seems to be supported by the fact that over a decade of DRM implementation in video games has not stemmed piracy.

However, DRM can have legitimate uses, and remains one of the only ways to prevent digital content from becoming accessible to a potentially unlimited number of people. The problem here is that only one stakeholder is able to design and implement DRM for e-books: the e-book supplier. As long as only suppliers are the ones making DRM software, libraries will be handcuffed in their ability to lend e-books. One solution, then, is for an exception to be written into the DMCA (exceptions can be approved every three years) that would explicitly allow libraries to bypass DRM measures for the purpose of implementing their own DRM in order to facilitate e-lending. This policy recommendation would be more palatable if the above-mentioned move to universal e-book formats were to take place. It would also be an easier transition once the First Sale Doctrine was amended.

First Sale Doctrine

The First Sale Doctrine is codified in section 109 of the US Copyright Act. It gives the owner of a particular copy of a copyright work certain rights such as the ability to sell, lend, or dispose of that particular copy without infringing upon the copyright owner’s statutory rights. The First Sale Doctrine first came about in 1908 as a way to make the generally accepted notions of property rights fit into copyright law (Bobs-Merill Co. VS. Straus, 1908; Liu, 2001).

One problem that libraries are having is that many publishers do not view e-books as deserving equal treatment to print books under the First Sale Doctrine. There are three ways publishing houses perceive differences: the first is that a digital book, in theory, has an unlimited shelf life while a physical book would eventually need replacing; the second is that digital content and e-books have piracy issues on a scope that a physical book could never have; the third is that an e-book requires some sort of software to be read and may therefore be interpreted as subject to a license agreement.

Shelf Life

The first issue that an e-book will never wear out as a physical book would, is valid but does not necessarily have the negative impact on sales that some claim it has.  E-books are simply too new a trend to provide enough data. One publishing house, HarperCollins, is pushing this issue more than any other by creating a 26 check-out limit per copy for libraries.  This means that a library can only lend out a book 26 times before they have to purchase a new one.  HarperCollins feels this mimicking the physical shelf life of a book alleviates this issue of lower sales numbers. However, this disregards other issues that impact revenue from e-book sales. An e-book may never wear out but the cost of creating a digital book is fifty cents compared to the $3.25 required on average to create a hardcover book. A library may only purchase one e-book that will exist in their holdings in perpetuity, but “even though the e-book price is generally less than half the price of a hardcover, the publisher still makes a higher profit margin on the e-book” (Leddy, 2010).

HarperCollins’ policy also ignores that when a physical book falls out of use, either through wear or disuse, the library is usually able to resell it, the proceeds of which generally fund collection development and the purchase of new materials. However, when an e-book is no longer in demand it may become irrelevant as there is currently no market for used e-books. This means that libraries are unable to raise additional funds for new purchases by selling used e-books.

Piracy

The issue of internet piracy has been a major thorn in the side of music and film companies since the creation of Napster in 1999 (Ryan, 2002). While the dread of internet piracy is driving some publishers to take a very cautious stance on e-books, “just as the music industry had to create new business models in order to survive the Internet and online music options, the book publishing industry needs to redefine its role in the ecosphere of 21st-century publishing” (Herther, 51).

One publishing house, O’Reilly Media, has embraced e-books with enthusiasm, offering all of their titles DRM free. Tim O’Reilly, of O’Reilly Media, has a unique stance on e-books and digital piracy: “People who don’t pay you generally wouldn’t have paid you anyway. We’re delighted when people who can’t afford our books don’t pay us for them, if they go out and do something useful with that information,” (Bruner, 2011). While one of the arguments against e-book piracy is the loss of royalties to authors, author Paul Carr has the attitude that while authors do not receive royalties from illegal downloads, neither do authors receive royalties for books borrowed from the library and no one protests that (Carr, 2011).

However, not everyone is as open to e-books when faced with the sheer numbers of illegal downloads occurring every day.

At one file-sharing website, users have uploaded 1,830 copies of three books by a popular young adult author. Just one of those copies has had 4,208 downloads. On the same site, 7,130 copies of the late Michael Crichton’s novels have been uploaded, and the first 10 copies have been downloaded 15,174 times. (Dionne, 2011)

DRM is usually touted as a remedy to some types of internet piracy, but there will never be an absolute solution.

Software

E-books require software in order to be read, the use of which is subject to license agreements. Probably the most complex and confusing issue is whether e-book purchases should be defined as licenses protected by the DMCA or as sales subject to the First Sale Doctrine.  This constitutes a major problem for libraries because under the DMCA, licensed software is exempt from the First Sale Doctrine. This could technically mean that lending e-books is illegal without specific terms set out by the publishers in the end user license agreement for the e-book.

A recent court decision involving the application of the First Sale Doctrine on licensed software raises some interesting issues. In the case of Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc. in 2010, a software company attempted to stop the resale of their software under the guise that the reseller did not actually own the software because it was licensed. The courts ruled against Autodesk citing that material transfer of an item occurred so it should be considered a sale in compliance with the First Sale Doctrine. This is one case where the First Sale Doctrine was interpreted in favor of the consumer. The Vernor v. Autodesk decision brings about a question on the effectiveness of the DMCA and possible amendments to the First Sale Doctrine.

Recommendations

One of the First Sale Doctrine’s greatest strengths is that it is interpretive. It allows copyright decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis rather than trying to enforce one master law that explicitly states all exceptions and uses. The First Sale Doctrine is the section of US Copyright Law that gives libraries and used goods stores the legal right to lend and sell copyrighted material.

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 (3), the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord. (US Copyright Law 17 § 109 (a))

There is one element of the First Sale Doctrine that is currently defined in such terms as to be open to interpretation on the applicability of the doctrine to the sale of e-books.

“Copies” are material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term “copies” includes the material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first fixed. (US Copyright Law 17 § 101)

What it is important to note is that the “material object” doesn’t need to be directly perceived, but can be accessed with the aid of a machine or device. This wording is ambiguous enough to allow the interpretation that the purchase of e-books, as impressions on a hard drive are material objects that are read through the medium of a computer or mobile device and are therefore sales. However, there is equal opportunity to apply the viewpoint that an e-book is digital content that is accessed by a computer and therefore should be covered by a license agreement in the same manner as software.

In order to make a solid case for e-book purchases as sales, we recommend changing the wording for the definition of “copy” to include digital objects. Specifically, we recommend the addition of the terms in italics:

“Copies” are digital or material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term “copies” includes the digital or material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first fixed.

By this minor adjustment, e-books and other digital consumer content that currently hold a precarious position in US Copyright law will be designated as a sale and not a license, thereby allowing consumers to apply the same personal property assumptions to digital content as to physical objects.

Conclusions

Through careful consideration of the above vendors and publishers, there is clearly a need for compromise between publishers and libraries on the issue of e-books. Firstly, there should be an agreement between publishers and manufacturers on a universal file format that will be readable on all platforms. The current industry standard is EPUB; however, not all e-book readers support this format. One reason for this is to force consumers to purchase their e-books only from the company that builds their e-book reader. Enforcing the single format standard will serve two ends. It will allow libraries to save money by only purchasing one format per copy instead of being forced to pay for several different formats to meet their patron’s needs. It will also serve to stimulate competition among publishers and e-book vendors to provide e-books to all consumers, not only libraries, at a more reasonable price. Without a standard format, advances in e-book lending policies will not be possible. This could result in disruption in the e-reader hardware business, forcing companies to focus on services and software rather than proprietary hardware.

Secondly, there needs to be a uniform interpretation of the definition of an e-book across all literary industries and professions. Is an e-book the same as a print book in the scope of the First Sale Doctrine, or does a new copyright doctrine need to be enabled to interpret the e-book properly? An agreement needs to be reached between the publishers, libraries, and international copyright policy makers on the application of the First Sale Doctrine to e-books.

In addition to standardizing the format and definition of e-books, there needs to be a standard for DRM and its use in the library. We suggest that the e-books be sent DRM free or allow libraries to “hack” the DRM code. This would allow for layers of protection for the digital content that using a universal DRM code cannot offer.

Recommendations

In order to standardize the e-book industry, an independent panel needs to be convened which will define the e-book in the context of current copyright law or draw up new limitations on statutory copyrights that pertain specifically to e-books. We recommend that;

  • the First Sale Doctrine be extended to cover e-books equally to print books.
  • that publisher focus on a single format.
  • publishers should send content DRM free to libraries with the understanding that the library will create DRM to ensure that proper copyright standards are being met.

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