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Donating and inheriting ebooks

Q: Can a patron donate ebooks they've purchased (and no longer wish to own) to the library?

Short answer: "No, because their use is governed by contract rather than copyright law." For all the particulars and a better explanation than I could ever hope to offer, see this "Ask the ALA Librarian" post on donating ebooks.

Thanks to Denise for passing along this article!

Q: Can ebooks and other digital content be inherited?

There again, the short answer is the same as above—a user does not own a copy of the ebook (emusic, evideo) but instead purchased a limited license to use it in its digital form, which is in most cases NOT transferrable. Some companies are looking into providing legal ways to pass along access ("Who inherits your iTunes library?"), but for now the answer is that content will remain tied to the original account and cannot be transferred to a different account ("Where Do e-Books Go When You Do?" ).


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But in the case of inheritance, couldn't I pass along my entire iTunes library without anyone being the wiser? Along with my devices and data in iCloud? It's not like you need a fingerprint or retina recognition to get access to it - yet, anyway. This may not be considered to be "fair use" but I don't think purchasing something and getting nothing lasting for it is "fair" either. As you can see, DRM is a personal pet peeve, at least the way it exists currently.

Yup, you could (and that's what the "Where do ebooks go..." article says, too). If you have the original account info, you'll have access... but you won't be able to transfer them to another account.

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