Skip to main content

Project: Access to Knowledge

The Law and Economics of e-lending in Europe

Posted on    by Zihao Li
Project: Access to KnowledgeProject: Competition & Markets

The Law and Economics of e-lending in Europe

By 14 October 2022June 25th, 2024No Comments

The Law and Economics of e-Lending in Europe


Libraries are vital providers of access to information, ideas and works for individual citizens, communities and organisations. As such, intellectual property, and copyright in particular, plays a significant role in shaping the activities of libraries and readers. Digital lending is an increasingly important part of what libraries do. The shift from libraries as primarily analogue institutions, towards a mixed model with a significant digital dimension presents numerous challenges and opportunities for stakeholders.

From a legal point of view, e-Lending depends on a complex web of national laws and contractual licences shaped by diverging interests and market forces. From a technical point of view, a plethora of different models exist in Europe, where the functionalities offered are determined by a system of private ordering. Understanding the emerging picture requires a careful balancing of the interests at stake, the possibilities and functionalities offered by the existing technology, and the sometimes conflicting policy goals to be promoted and prioritised.

In this context, this study of the e-Lending market for Educational and Trade eBooks will make an important contribution to knowledge in the field and evaluate the need for policy interventions from both a Competition and IP law perspective.

The project focuses on understanding how the different markets underpinning e-Lending function, adopting concepts and principles developed both by European and national competition authorities. It then assesses, from a competition law perspective, whether a reasonable and demonstrable cause for concern currently exists. In addition to generating policy-relevant findings, addressing these questions will permit reflections on the wider societal goals that e-Lending, copyright, and competition law are intended to support.


Knowledge Rights 21/ Arcadia– a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin


Kenny Barr

Magali Eben

Martin Kretschmer

Matteo Frigeri