Why you can’t borrow a book from the library or rent DVDs or CDs when content is in digital form

From Paid Content:

It’s easy to borrow a book from the library, rent a DVD or sell CDs to a local record store. Why, then, is it so hard to do the same when this content is in digital form? One reason is that laws that govern how we sell our stuff aren’t very compatible with digital content. As awareness of these issues builds, a war is brewing – with retailers and publishers on one side, and libraries, consumers, and startups on the other.

When you purchase a digital music track, e-book, digital movie or other type of downloaded content, you aren’t actually buying it, as you would a printed book or CD. Instead, you’re licensing it, in the same way that you license software. This means that you get rights to that content that the publisher defines in a license agreement, instead of those granted to you by copyright law.

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