If you ask, you may be told that the shop\’s policy addresses copyright concerns. However, all the shop is doing is selling the product; they\’re not actually telling anyone to make a copy of a book and return it. What do they have to be concerned about?
Obviously, there\’s a business concern here. If all customers bought books, copied them, then returned them, the shop wouldn\’t be making much of a profit on selling books. But there is also a copyright factor which has to do with authorizing copyright infringement. If a person in a position of apparent authority in a situation indicates verbally, or by its actions, that it is permissible to make infringing copies of a work, this person is authorizing infringement, and the person who actually makes the copies is directly infringing.
This \”authority\” does not have to be true authority over the direct infringer. A seller who tells her customers that it is \”all right\” to copy and return books may be found liable for authorizing infringement. A person who provides access to a photocopier to her customers, then turns a willfully blind eye to the infringing activities of her customers, may also be found liable for authorizing infringement.