Public Knowledge Responds to Lawsuit Against Internet Archive: Policymakers, Publishers, and Libraries Should Make Print Books More Accessible During the Pandemic | Public Knowledge : Public Knowledge

“Today, a number of major publishers filed suit against the Internet Archive, arguing that making electronic copies of print books available to library patrons is unlawful.

The following statement can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Legal Director at Public Knowledge:

“It is disappointing to see publishing companies take this approach. Controlled Digital Lending is plainly fair use under copyright law. The National Emergency Library, which expands on CDL, is justified under the circumstances of the pandemic, when so many print books paid for by the public are inaccessible.

“At a time when so many people are relying on the internet and electronic resources for work, education, and research, a more collaborative approach between libraries, archives, and publishing companies would be welcome.

“We call on policymakers to support legislation clarifying the right of libraries to make print books available to patrons electronically, and to serve their constituencies during times of emergency.” …”

Lawsuit over online book lending could bankrupt Internet Archive | Ars Technica

“Four of the nation’s leading book publishers have sued the Internet Archive, the online library best known for maintaining the Internet Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive makes scanned copies of books—both public domain and under copyright—available to the public on a site called the Open Library.

“Despite the Open Library moniker, IA’s actions grossly exceed legitimate library services, do violence to the Copyright Act, and constitute willful digital piracy on an industrial scale,” write publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House in their complaint. The lawsuit was filed in New York federal court on Monday.

For almost a decade, the Open Library has offered users the ability to “borrow” scans of in-copyright books via the Internet. Until recently, the service was based on a concept called “controlled digital lending” that mimicked the constraints of a conventional library. The library would only “lend” as many digital copies of a book as it had physical copies in its warehouse. If all copies of a book were “checked out” by other patrons, you’d have to join a waiting list.

In March, as the coronavirus pandemic was gaining steam, the Internet Archive announced it was dispensing with this waiting-list system. Under a program it called the National Emergency Library, IA began allowing an unlimited number of people to check out the same book at the same time—even if IA only owned one physical copy.

Before this change, publishers largely looked the other way as IA and a few other libraries experimented with the digital lending concept. Some publishers’ groups condemned the practice, but no one filed a lawsuit over it. Perhaps the publishers feared setting an adverse precedent if the courts ruled that CDL was legal….”

PA backs AAP as publishers file lawsuit against Internet Archive | The Bookseller

“The Publishers Association has expressed its support as member companies of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet Archive (IA), a self-described American digital library offering “universal access to all knowledge”.

The PA said that, although the Internet Archive purports to be a library, “it is not and behind that guise it is facilitating the distribution of millions of pirated books without paying a penny to the authors and publishers who produce them”.

The lawsuit against Internet Archive, for systematic mass scanning and distribution of literary works, was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Among the plaintiffs are Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons and Penguin Random House. …”

Authors Alliance Statement on Publisher Lawsuit Against Internet Archive | Authors Alliance

“Yesterday, a group of commercial publishers filed suit against the Internet Archive, arguing that making electronic copies of books available through Open Library and the National Emergency Library constitutes copyright infringement. The lawsuit takes aim at the Controlled Digital Lending (“CDL”) model and the Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library.

This suit conflates two distinct approaches to lending works, each with different copyright implications. Regardless of how one feels about—and the legality of—the National Emergency Library (a temporary response to the urgent pandemic crisis), Authors Alliance fully supports Controlled Digital Lending and believes the attempt to challenge it in the courts is without merit.

Under the CDL digitize-and-lend model, libraries make digital copies of scanned books from their collections available to patrons (the hard copy is not available for lending while the digital copy is checked out, and vice versa). A library can only circulate the same number of copies that it owned before digitization. Like physical books, the scanned copies are loaned to one person at a time and are subject to limited check-out periods. The Internet Archive relies on CDL to make many of its scanned books available through the Open Library.

The National Emergency Library expands on the CDL model by eliminating waitlists for books through at least June 30, 2020. The Internet Archive launched the National Emergency Library in March after libraries across the country closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving their physical collections inaccessible to patrons. Unlike books made available through CDL, books available through the National Emergency Library are not subject to the “owned-to-loaned” ratio….”

A Second Call to Solidarity with the National Emergency Library: Time for a Boycott – Cal schol.com

“The suit brought by the American Association of Publishers in SDNY against the Internet Archive shows a level of dishonesty and callousness that is wholly out of step with copyright law, the special place and protections of libraries under that law, and the plight of library users during our current pandemic. Why?

The Internet Archive is a public library, registered under the State of California. It is also a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit. Their whole organization literally has no commercial interest.

We may quibble with aspects of the rollout of the NEL, but no neutral, objective, or reasonable person would fairly conclude that the Internet Archive hasn’t acted wholly for the common good, the greater good of society, and the US constitutional good of the advancement of scientific progress….”

Publishers File Suit Against Internet Archive for Systematic Mass Scanning and Distribution of Literary Works – AAP

“Today, member companies of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet Archive (“IA”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit asks the Court to enjoin IA’s mass scanning, public display, and distribution of entire literary works, which it offers to the public at large through global-facing businesses coined “Open Library” and “National Emergency Library,” accessible at both openlibrary.org and archive.org. IA has brazenly reproduced some 1.3 million bootleg scans of print books, including recent works, commercial fiction and non-fiction, thrillers, and children’s books. 

The plaintiffs—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons and Penguin Random House—publish many of the world’s preeminent authors, including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Newbery Medal, Man Booker Prize, Caldecott Medal and Nobel Prize.

Despite the self-serving library branding of its operations, IA’s conduct bears little resemblance to the trusted role that thousands of American libraries play within their communities and as participants in the lawful copyright marketplace. IA scans books from cover to cover, posts complete digital files to its website, and solicits users to access them for free by signing up for Internet Archive Accounts. The sheer scale of IA’s infringement described in the complaint—and its stated objective to enlarge its illegal trove with abandon—appear to make it one of the largest known book pirate sites in the world. IA publicly reports millions of dollars in revenue each year, including financial schemes that support its infringement design….”

Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site * TorrentFreak

“Back in March, the Internet Archive responded to the coronavirus pandemic by offering a new service to help “displaced learners”.

Combining scanned books from three libraries, the Archive offered unlimited borrowing of more than a million books, so that people could continue to learn while in quarantine.

While the move was welcomed by those in favor of open access to education, publishers and pro-copyright groups slammed the decision, with some describing it as an attempt to bend copyright law and others declaring the project as mass-scale piracy.

Today, major publishers Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Penguin Random House LLC went to war with the project by filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive and five ‘Doe’ defendants in a New York court….”

Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site * TorrentFreak

“Back in March, the Internet Archive responded to the coronavirus pandemic by offering a new service to help “displaced learners”.

Combining scanned books from three libraries, the Archive offered unlimited borrowing of more than a million books, so that people could continue to learn while in quarantine.

While the move was welcomed by those in favor of open access to education, publishers and pro-copyright groups slammed the decision, with some describing it as an attempt to bend copyright law and others declaring the project as mass-scale piracy.

Today, major publishers Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Penguin Random House LLC went to war with the project by filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive and five ‘Doe’ defendants in a New York court….”