Digital librarian, Karen Coyle, has written about controlled digital lending (warning for PDF), where an artificial scarcity is applied to digital artifacts to limit concurrent access similar to the limitations that a finite number of objects exhibit in libraries' physical collections. This concept raises a lot of questions about not just copyright and digital versus physical, but also about reading in general. Some authors and publisher associations have already begun to object to controlled digital lending. However, few set aside misinformation and misdirection to allow for a proper, in-depth discussion of the issues.
We now have another question about book digitization: can books be digitized for the purpose of substituting remote lending in the place of the lending of a physical copy? This has been referred to as "Controlled Digital Lending (CDL)," a term developed by the Internet Archive for its online book lending services. The Archive has considerable experience with both digitization and providing online access to materials in various formats, and its Open Library site has been providing digital downloads of out of copyright books for more than a decade. Controlled digital lending applies solely to works that are presumed to be in copyright.
Controlled digital lending works like this: the Archive obtains and retains a physical copy of a book. The book is digitized and added to the Open Library catalog of works. Users can borrow the book for a limited time (2 weeks) after which the book "returns" to the Open Library. While the book is checked out to a user no other user can borrow that "copy." The digital copy is linked one-to-one with a physical copy, so if more than one copy of the physical book is owned then there is one digital loan available for each physical copy.
The Archive is not alone in experimenting with lending of digitized copies: some libraries have partnered with the Archive's digitization and lending service to provide digital lending for library-owned materials. In the case of the Archive the physical books are not available for lending. Physical libraries that are experimenting with CDL face the added step of making sure that the physical book is removed from circulation while the digitized book is on loan, and reversing that on return of the digital book.
Online access obviously can reach a much wider patron base than your average physical library.
(2020) Education Groups Drop their Lawsuit Against Public.Resource.Org
(2020) Internet Archive Files Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Publisher Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
(2020) Internet Archive Ends "Emergency Library" Early to Appease Publishers
(2020) Project Gutenberg Public Domain Library Blocked in Italy for Copyright Infringement
(2020) Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site
(Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday May 31 2022, @02:38PM (2 children)
Who says you have to pay ahead of time in a publicly funded system? You could just as well assess popularity and then pay public funds based on that. Creators still get paid in much the same after-the-fact way they do now, but you've removed artificial scarcity from the system.
(Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31 2022, @04:21PM (1 child)
I have never heard of a publicly funded system that works that way. The problem with that approach is that it places the risk on the creators should they not succeed just as much as the present free market system would. All the publicly funded mechanisms rely on stable patronage of the artist. Risk is removed for the artist in that manner.
(Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday May 31 2022, @04:33PM
Nor have I, but there's no reason it couldn't be done that way.
As for placing risk on the creators - yes it does, exactly like the free market which they currently participate in.
The difference are in:
Who is (directly) paying them - which is functionally irrelevant.
Whether society is trying to impose an economy based on artificial scarcity, which comes at enormous expense