Libraries and lending of electronic works

Subject: Libraries and lending of electronic works
From: Heikki Poroila (
Date: ti 15 huhti  1997 - 10:14:15 EEST

Dear readers of this list!

I would like to ask your opinion about the following idea.

One of the main problems in the future of libraries will be the
vanishing of physical, tangible copies which the library users may
borrow. If a work is available in electronic format only, there is
nothing left to borrow. Public lending right does not mean much, if
there are no documents on library shelves.

What could the libraries do?

Could they claim a right to make a tangible copy of any work which is
published ONLY in electronic format?

Would this kind of action pass the three step test of Bern Convention?

There would be no direct competion with a publishers activity, I think.
Such copies would also be "special cases" and aimed to give the public
better access. But could they "unreasonably prejudice the legitimate
interest of authors"?

Do you find this idea worth of further development?

Best wishes

Heikki Poroila
Music Librarian, Vantaa City Library
Finnish Library Copyright Group, Secretary

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