Today’s Obsession: Penalizing Libraries

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Photo from Flickr member Mr. T in DC

You may have heard that HarperCollins has decided to limit loaning of digital content through public libraries to 26 times before the thing turns into a pumpkin and your library has to buy a new one. This is causing no small degree of annoyance from the ALA, and here’s their official plan to bitch about it.

While I’m glad someone’s contesting the notion of crippled electronic documents because their publishers can’t figure out a decent business model to sell an object that doesn’t suffer from as quick a rate of decay, I’m not too sure how I feel about the ALA’s assertion in this memo that an imposition of limited leases is entirely wrong.

This gets to the heart of what needs to get fixed with digital content: find a way that content producers and publishers can be paid for actual usage of their ideas and products without making everyone feel penalized. This model, which sounds to me like it’s about as silly as Apple’s “digital rental” idea, is just an outright attack on information sharing.

hat tip: @victoriamia over on the twitter.