eBooks can be lent in same way as traditional books, says CJEU

(10 November 2016)  The lending of an electronic book (eBook) can be treated in the same way as that of a traditional book under certain conditions, Europe’s highest court said today.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was ruling on Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken v Stichting Leenrecht, referred by the District Court of The Hague, in the Netherlands.

Currently in the Netherlands, the lending of Books by public libraries doesn’t fall under the public lending regime applicable to traditional books. Libraries make eBooks available to the public via the internet, on the basis of licensing agreements with rights owners, said the court’s press release.

Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken, an association to which every public library in the Netherlands belongs, brought an action against Stichting Leenrecht, a foundation that collects royalties owed to authors and other rights owners.

Vereniging had taken the view that “the regime for traditional books should also apply to digital lending”, so it brought the claim against Stichting, seeking a declaratory judgment to that effect.

According to the release, the action concerned lending under the ‘one copy, one user’ model, where users can download only one copy onto their own computer during the lending period. Once the period has expired, the downloaded copy can no longer be used.

World Intellectual Property Review has the easy to read full story.

The EU press release 123/16 The lending of an electronic book (e-book) may, under certain conditions, be treated in the same way as the lending of a traditional book is here.