Controlled Digital Lending (CDL)

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Thursday, May 31, 2018, 1:00-2:30 Room 1900

Adrian Sheppard – University of Alberta

Lila Bailey – Internet Archive

Ariel Katz – University of Toronto

Andrea Mills – Internet Archive

Graeme Slaght – University of Toronto


Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) is a model under which a library would digitize physical books in its collection, including in-copyright works, and lend out the digital version to one user at a time, for a limited time, using appropriate safeguards.  We propose a panel to discuss legal and practical considerations involved in the implementation of CDL by public and post-secondary libraries in Canada.

Many books in post-secondary and public libraries remain underutilized because they only exist in physical form sitting on the shelves. CDL can help make library collections accessible to a broader community.  Its benefits include breathing new life into older and difficult to find books, many of which are out-of-print, as well as making a breadth of information resources and knowledge available to anyone with internet access, regardless of the reader’s physical location, physical ability, or economic status.

However, one of more significant perceived barriers to making physical books available in digital format through CDL is copyright law.

This panel will discuss the prospective legal and practical considerations arising from implementing CDL at libraries in Canada.  This discussion will include the extent to which fair dealing or other exceptions in the Copyright Act can reasonably support the digitization and controlled lending of those digitized versions of in-copyright books, as well as what safeguards and best practices might appropriately be applied to such a model to better manage risk.


Adrian Sheppard – Director, Copyright Office, University of Alberta

Lila Bailey – Policy Counsel, Internet Archive. The Internet Archive has been using CDL in the United State with its Open Library since 2011.

Ariel Katz – Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Andrea Mills – Digitization Program Manager, Internet Archive Canada

Graeme Slaght Copyright Outreach Librarian, University of Toronto


Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia wish to acknowledge the Coast Salish People on whose traditional territories we are privileged to live, work and play.

SFU Harbour Centre Floor Plan