January 26, 2022

Journal Preprint: “Piece by Piece Review of Digitize-and-Lend Projects Through the Lens of Copyright and Fair Use”

The following article (preprint) was recently posted on Social Studies Research Network (SSRN).


Piece by Piece Review of Digitize-and-Lend Projects Through the Lens of Copyright and Fair Use


Michelle M. Wu
Georgetown University Law Center


Legal Reference Services Quarterly (2017 Forthcoming)
via SSRN


Digitize-and-lend library projects can benefit societies in multiple ways, from providing information to people in remote areas, to reducing duplication of effort in digitization, to providing access to people with disabilities.

Such projects contemplate not just digitizing library titles for regular patron use, but also allowing the digitized versions to be used for interlibrary loan (ILL), sharing within consortia, and replacing print copies at other libraries. Many of these functions are already supported within the analog world (e.g., ILL), and the digitize-and-lend concept is largely a logical outgrowth of technology, much like the transitioning from manual hand duplication of books to printing presses. The purpose of each function is to facilitate user access to information. Technology can amplify that access, but in doing so, libraries must also be careful not to upset the long established balance in copyright, where authors’ rights sit on the other side of the scale from public benefit.

This article seeks to provide a primer on the various components in a digitize-and-lend project, explore the core copyright issues in each, and explain how these projects maintain the balance of copyright even as libraries take advantage of newer technologies.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.