EU’s Supreme Court rules that e-books can be lent like their traditional counterpart

In a landmark ruling, Europe’s highest court has declared that much like their traditional counterparts, e-books can be lent as long as they have been lawfully bought.

In a significant ruling, the European Union’s court of Justice has ruled that just like their physical counterparts, e-books can be lent out; a copy of the e-book can be “checked out” by a person at a time. Once the validity of the lending period expires, the person to whom the e-book has been lent to, cannot use the e-book anymore. It can then be lent to another.

Only in 2014, the European Union gave its nod to digitizing of library books with the added rider that they can only be used within the library’s walls and at dedicated terminals.

The point of contention arose when Stichting Leenrecht, a group that works to ensure authors are compensated for their work took up the matter with Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken, a Dutch library association.

Europe’s highest court has today pronounced that, as long as the books were purchased lawfully, it does not have any objection with the traditional approach of lending them digitally.


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