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Member Alert Update: TAA joins coalition opposing ‘Controlled Digital Lending’

TAA has joined nearly 40 national and international organizations in an appeal to librarians and readers to discontinue a practice called “Controlled Digital Lending (CDL)”, an initiative started by the Internet Archive that supports libraries in making unauthorized digital copies of print books to distribute to readers online.

The joint statement, released by the groups on February 13, calls CDL “a flagrant violation of copyright and authors’ rights”, and appeals “for a dialogue among writers, authors, publishers, and librarians on how to enable and create the digital libraries we all want, in ways that fully respect authors’ rights.”

CDL involves the copying and distribution of complete works—even those still under copyright protection and still in print or available through electronic licenses from the copyright holders. Proponents of CDL say the practice is protected by “fair use” under U.S. copyright law, but as the appeal states, “there is no basis for a good-faith belief that CDL is legal under either U.S. or international law.”

As the statement notes, this not a victimless crime. Authors and their publishers often rely on sales and royalties to support their work and to make their living. As CDL diminishes the capability of authors to support themselves financially with their work, it will inevitably impoverish our culture and the diversity of intellectual works that can be created.

TAA and its members fully appreciate and share the desire for academic and educational works to be available as widely as possible, but there must also be a plan for fair and reasonable compensation to the many people—authors, editors, publishers, and many others—whose creative efforts and skills are deployed to make these important works possible.

TAA members are urged to learn more about this practice and to take action to oppose it by writing the Internet Archive (IA) and/or their political representatives with their concerns. Read the full statement and FAQ released by TAA and its partner organizations.

Read “TAA Member Alert on Controlled Digital Lending (CDL)” for more information.