Knowledge Integration

Legal aspects of Controlled Digital Lending – a report commissioned by k-int

The concept of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) is an area of great interest and debate amongst academic libraries worldwide at the moment. We commissioned a report to investigate legal aspects to help inform the community.

Initially spurred on by the logistical issues caused by maintaining the lending of returnable items during the pandemic, libraries are keen to explore the flexibilities that lending a digital surrogate, rather then the physical item, might bring.  At the same time, the whole concept causes alarm bells ring amongst publishers and traditional distribution channels.

As leading members of open-source communities, including ReShare and Folio, which could be impacted by the demand for CDL, K-Int has been an integral part of discussions about the technical options for implementing CDL.  Whilst we regard ourselves as experts in the area of software engineering, we are acutely aware that the requirements for a CDL system are largely influenced by the legislative contest within which the system is implemented.  Recognising that we are not experts in copyright law, we commissioned our friends at Naomi Korn Associates (NKA) to produce a short feasibility looking at the potential issues, opportunities and pitfalls.

In order to make the report and its recommendations widely available to interested parties in the community we have asked NKA to make the report freely available on their website.  The report, which can be downloaded from the Naomi Korn Associates website, focusses on the position of CDL within the UK legal framework but also considers similarities and differences within other jurisdictions.  It provides a risk analysis based on copyright status of the work and looks at the requirements for CDL functionality with library platforms from a librarian, software vendor and software host perspective.

We hope that the report will be of benefit to the community and look forward to working with colleagues to implement CDL functionality in future.

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