Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) is an emerging method that allows libraries to loan print books to digital patrons in a “lend like print” fashion. Through CDL, libraries use technical controls to ensure a consistent “owned-to-loaned” ratio, meaning the library circulates the exact number of copies of a specific title it owns, regardless of format, putting controls in place to prevent users from redistributing or copying the digitized version. When CDL is appropriately tailored to reflect print book market conditions and controls are properly implemented, CDL may be permissible under existing copyright law. CDL is not intended to act as a substitute for existing electronic licensing services offered by publishers. Indeed, one significant advantage of CDL is addressing the “Twentieth Century Problem” of older books still under copyright but unlikely ever to be offered digitally by commercial services.
The resources on this site offer libraries an opportunity to:
- better understand the legal framework underpinning CDL,
- communicate their support for CDL, and
- build a community of expertise around the practice of CDL.