European libraries may digitize books and make them available at electronic reading points without first gaining consent of the copyright holder, the highest European Union court ruled Thursday.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in a case in which the Technical University of Darmstadt digitized a book published by German publishing house Eugen Ulmer in order to make it available at its electronic reading posts, but refused to license the publisher’s electronic textbooks.
Eugen Ulmer sought to prevent the university from digitizing the book and also wanted to prevent users of the library from printing out the book or copying it to a USB stick for use outside the library, the CJEU said in a news release.
Under the EU Copyright Directive, authors have the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the reproduction and communication of their works, the CJEU said. However, the directive also allows for exceptions or limitations to that right, it said.
“This option exists notably for publically accessible libraries which, for the purpose of research or private study, make works from their collections available to users by dedicated terminals,” it added.
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