At its recent General Assembly Meeting, held in Edinburgh on 6 November 2019, IFRRO members passed a Resolution expressing their opposition to Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), a legal theory used to justify the digitalization and unremunerated online distribution of printed works from around the world by the Internet Archive and its library partners. Although CDL is presented as a legitimate practice under the fair use and fair dealing doctrines by its supporters, authors and publishers believe that it undermines copyright protection, violates the economic and moral rights of authors and, ultimately, prevents them from making a living from their creative work.
The resolution follows the Appeal to Readers and Librarians (see here), which articulates the main concerns that CDL brings to professional writers, translators, photographers, and graphic artists. The Appeal was initiated by authors groups in the USA, such as IFRRO’S member NWU, and endorsed by IFRRO and many of its national and international members, such as EVA, EWC, FEP, IAF and IFJ, during 2019.
The Resolution seeks to encourage librarians, archivists, decision makers and readers worldwide to reject CDL and engage in a dialogue with relevant stakeholders on how to appropriately foster the creation of modern digital libraries, while complying with applicable copyright legislation. The resolution as passed by the IFRRO AGM is available here, and will be forwarded to international library representatives’ groups.