Thursday, July 12, 2012

Libraries are doing it to themselves

Brett Bonfield writes in the Library with the Lead Pipe blog that, by allowing eBook aggregators like OverDrive to license, rather than sell, eBooks, and publishers like HarperCollins to put restrictions on how eBooks are used (and how long they can be used before they expire), libraries are making the same mistakes that they did by turning abstracting and indexing over to companies like Elsevier. He says that libraries are abandoning the First Sale doctrine and fair use. Bonfield writes "We are 'paying for stuff' and we are 'sharing it with our community,' but unlike before, we are not actually buying anything."

Bonfield gives examples of alternate models that give libraries more control over their eBooks. The problem is that all of the models still depend on the cooperation of publishers and eBook platform providers. In addition, at least one of the models he proposes, Sneakernet, is in direct violation of some eBook reseller licensing agreements.
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