As working writers, translators, photographers, and graphic artists; as unions, organizations, and federations representing the creators of works included in published books; as book publishers; and as reproduction rights and public lending rights organizations; we oppose so-called “Controlled Digital Lending” (CDL) as a flagrant violation of copyright and authors’ rights.
The copyright infringement inherent in CDL is not a victimless crime. As the victims of CDL, we want librarians, archivists, and readers to understand how they are harming the authors of the books they love by participating in CDL projects, even if they have the best of intentions.
When writers can’t make a living, they can’t afford to keep writing, and readers lose too.
Well-meaning librarians, archivists, and readers, who don’t intend to deprive authors of their livelihoods, are being misled by false claims from proponents of CDL.
Under CDL, printed books are being scanned and distributed online to readers worldwide by the Internet Archive and U.S. and Canadian libraries.
CDL is not comparable to lending of physical books by libraries. CDL is not “fair use” as defined in U.S. copyright law, and an exception to or limitation of copyright to allow CDL without permission or remuneration would not be permitted by the Berne Convention on Copyright. CDL interferes with many of the normal ways, including new ways largely unnoticed by librarians, that authors are earning money from written and graphic works included in so-called “out of print” books. There is no basis for a good-faith belief that CDL is legal under either U.S. or international law.
We appeal 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.
American Photographic Artists (APA)
American Society for Collective Rights Licensing (ASCRL)
American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP)
Association of American Publishers (AAP)
Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA)
Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR)
Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL)
Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP)
European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations (CEATL)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
European Visual Artists (EVA)
European Writers’ Council (EWC)
Federation of European Publishers (FEP)
Graphic Artists Guild
Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
International Authors Forum (IAF)
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO)
International Publishers Association (IPA)
National Association of Science Writers (NASW)
National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)
National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981, AFL-CIO)
Public Lending Right International
Professional Association of Canadian Literary Agents (PACLA)
Society of Authors
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
Songwriters Guild of America (SGA)
Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA)
The Publishers Association
The Writers Union of Canada
Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ)