“The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) urges an end to the lawsuit against the Internet Archive filed early this month by four major publishers in the United States District Court Southern District of New York, especially now that the National Emergency Library (NEL) has closed two weeks earlier than originally planned.
For nearly 25 years, the Internet Archive (IA) has been a force for good by capturing the world’s knowledge and providing barrier-free access for everyone, contributing services to higher education and the public, including the Wayback Machine that archives the World Wide Web, as well as a host of other services preserving software, audio files, special collections, and more. Over the past four weeks, IA’s Open Library has circulated more than 400,000 digital books without any user cost—including out-of-copyright works, university press titles, and recent works of academic interest—using controlled digital lending (CDL). CDL is a practice whereby libraries lend temporary digital copies of print books they own in a one-to-one ratio of “loaned to owned,” and where the print copy is removed from circulation while the digital copy is in use. CDL is a practice rooted in the fair use right of the US Copyright Act and recent judicial interpretations of that right. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many academic and research libraries have relied on CDL (including IA’s Open Library) to ensure academic and research continuity at a time when many physical collections have been inaccessible….”
“In December, SPARC assessed an institutional agreement that a Dutch national academic consortia and Elsevier were in the process of negotiating. At the time, we were responding to leaks in the press, which were largely confirmed by the subsequent release of the terms of a framework agreement between the Dutch consortia and the publisher. Last week, the parties announced the official terms of the agreement.
As a quick recap, we originally noted five concerns:
Danger of linking publishing and data contracts into a “Bigger Deal”
A deal structure inhibiting competition in data analytics services
The implications of the resulting reduced competition on customer leverage
The creation of a monopoly (or quasi-monopoly) on data analytics resulting in the loss of diversity in academic assessment
The risks that the deal’s structure, if replicated, would pose to the overall health of the scholarly publishing ecosystem
While some new details have emerged since SPARC released our initial analysis, none of them materially change our conclusions….”
“Events from this point on are fortunately a lot clearer. The Internet Archive would begin to regularly release statistics and updates on the NEL. Some of the highlights here include the IA reaching out to educational institutions in hopes of seeking a compromise and cooperation between the IA and the National Library of Aruba when the island nation too was hit with the outbreak….”
“The National Emergency Library, a chime of hope or a call for chaos?
Yesterday we published a timeline of events pertaining to the Internet Archive’s infamous National Emergency Library project. Today, and over the course of the next few days, we’ll be going over this sequence of events in further detail, in hopes of constructing a resource for any person or party who is trying to wrap their head around the situation….”
“The National Emergency Library initiative was launched by the Internet Archive a few months ago, as a response to US libraries shutting down due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak. Since then it’s become the subject of much discussion regarding accessibility to information and the question of rights in book digitization and digital lending.
As a retrospective today, and an anecdote for the future, we’ve thrown together a timeline of events so far….”
“The Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library is finished. The non-profit repository for digital preservation, which began offering millions of e-books for free to address the closure of libraries during the pandemic, buckled under a joint lawsuit filed by major publishers including Penguin Random House and HarperCollins. Publishers said lending out books without compensation was “mass copyright infringement.” The digital library will close next week….”
“An example of this, that particularly catched the attention of PAGODE – Europeana China because it relates to a Chinese cultural heritage item, has recently come to the stage: a beautiful image of a Chinese embroidered cloth (a so-called rank-badge) depicting a leopard, in PD from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, was recently used to illustrate the cover page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Journal, titled “Emerging infectious diseases”.
The Journal and CDC were immediately flooded with expressions of outrage and concern of many from the Asian-American community and beyond, at the inappropriate use of a Chinese work of art on the cover and tweet-posting of a journal issue devoted to scholarly articles on COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.
The power of imaging should not be underestimated, as the choice of this image in such a context may suggest an emphasis on animals in China as carriers of the disease, resulting in an unvoluntary but certainly irresponsible example of using a PD digital item. The sensitivity about associating the COVID-19 crisis straightforward with China is clearly understandable, especially in America in this moment of xenophobia concerns and protests; but the explaination of CDC cuts short, by stating this is all a misunderstanding, and simply confirming that the image was chosen just for decorative purposes, being a striking piece of art – as indeed it is. At the moment, no reaction is known from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts as the content holder of the misused digital image.
The entire story is deepened in an interesting article by Hyperallergic magazine….”
“Within a few days of the announcement that libraries, schools and colleges across the nation would be closing due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, we launched the temporary National Emergency Library to provide books to support emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation during the closures….
Today we are announcing the National Emergency Library will close on June 16th, rather than June 30th, returning to traditional controlled digital lending. We have learned that the vast majority of people use digitized books on the Internet Archive for a very short time. Even with the closure of the NEL, we will be able to serve most patrons through controlled digital lending, in part because of the good work of the non-profit HathiTrust Digital Library. HathiTrust’s new Emergency Temporary Access Service features a short-term access model that we plan to follow. …”
“A year ago, the NWU spoke out against the Internet Archive’s ongoing and expanding book scanning and e-book bootlegging practices. We joined dozens of national and international organizations and federations of authors (writers, photographers, illustrators, graphic artists, translators, etc.) and publishers from around the world in a joint Appeal to readers and librarians from the victims of Controlled Digital Lending. And we published a joint FAQ about Controlled Digital Lending, explaining what’s happening, how it harms authors, and why it is (and should remain) illegal.
But the Internet Archive’s book scanning and e-book bootlegging have never been limited to the practices its supporters have described as Controlled Digital Lending, or those it now describes as a National Emergency Library. The Internet Archive’s actual uses and re-distribution of unauthorized copies of images (and audio generated from them) of pages scanned from books are, and have long been, more extensive, less controlled and more damaging to authors’ incomes.
Now that the debate has moved beyond Controlled Digital Lending, we’re providing some additional answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the multiple ways the Internet Archive is distributing images of pages scanned from printed books. These include, but are notlimited to, what the Internet Archive has described as “Controlled Digital Lending”, the “National Emergency Library”, and “One Web Page for Every Page of Every Book”.
We hope that this information will inform the discussion and debate; build awareness among authors about what the Internet Archive has been doing without consulting us; and perhaps help prompt the dialogue we have been pleading for with the Internet Archive, with its defenders, and–most importantly–with readers and librarians….”