Tag Archives: Federal Court of Justice of Germany

European Court of Justice Could Enable Libraries Advancing Against DRM

An interesting lawsuit is currently going on between a German University’s library and a German publisher. The latter wishes to forbid the library digitizing its textbooks and instead force it to buy a licensing agreement for its e-books. The library had been scanning a printed book and provided access to it in PDF format via electronic terminals. Visitors were also allowed to print out the PDFs and even save them to their USB flash drives and take them with them.

The first court to deal with the matter decided that the library is allowed to digitize the books – even if the publisher disapproves of this and offers an alternative licensing agreement – but allowing visitors to take copies with them is not covered by the law. Both parties were appealing against the sentence. The Federal Court of Justice of Germany (BGH), who is now in charge of the lawsuit, has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for an interpretation of the relevant directive and the outcome is totally open again. The ECJ’s decision will probably have an impact on many libraries all across Europe.

Continue reading