European Court decides: ‘Lending rights for e-books the same as for paper books’

The Hague – On 10 November, the judges of the European Court decided that there is no difference between lending a paper book and lending an e-book. The European Court of Justice (CJEU) in Luxembourg ruled against the Dutch Public Lending Right Office (Stichting Leenrecht) in the case initiated by the Netherlands Association of Public Libraries (VOB).

The judges followed the conclusion of the Advocate-General of June this year.

Updated copyright

VOB is pleased that by means of this ruling, the European Court is helping the public libraries in the complex field of copyright in the digital domain. As a result, little by little the contours of an updated copyright are emerging. This will enable public libraries to continue to perform in the digital world the social role that libraries have in society. They will be able to continue to offer complete, high-quality, accessible and neutral access to information and literature.

Questions referred for a preliminary ruling

In the proceedings, questions were referred to the Court for a preliminary ruling. The issue revolves around the question of whether public libraries should be able to lend e-books online against payment of the statutory lending rights fee and that publishers are therefore not entitled to prohibit the online lending of e-books.

Consequences

The Netherlands Association of Public Libraries will now sit down with interested parties in the near future to further put into practice the lending of e-books based on this ruling.

You can view the ruling “Association of Public Libraries” case C-174/15.

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You find here our press release “European Court decides: “Lending rights for e-books the same as for paper books“ as a pdf.

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