SPARC Statement in Support of the Internet Archive and Controlled Digital Lending – SPARC

“The Internet Archive (IA) plays a critical role in democratizing access to the world’s knowledge. As a library, it provides a wide range of services, that include collecting and preserving materials ranging from books to audio recordings to the full content of the World Wide Web, and ensures that the public has barrier free access to this content.  

In June, a group of publishers filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of one of these services, the National Emergency Library (NEL), a temporary program that the IA set up to ensure the public could access books online while most libraries are physically inaccessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Critically, the lawsuit also targets the practice of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the process of scanning a copy of a print book and lending it one digital copy at a time to one reader at a time—mirroring the long-standing library practice of lending physical books. CDL plays an important role in many libraries, and has been particularly critical to many academic and research libraries as they work to support students, faculty, and researchers through this pandemic. 

SPARC supports Controlled Digital Lending and has joined other libraries, library organizations, and individual librarians in signing this Position Statement to voice our support for this important library practice, and we encourage others in the community to consider signing this statement as well….”

EFF and Durie Tangri Join Forces to Defend Internet Archive’s Digital Library

“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is joining forces with the law firm of Durie Tangri to defend the Internet Archive against a lawsuit that threatens their Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program, which helps people all over the world check out digital copies of books owned by the Archive and its partner libraries….”


The Internet Archive website lawsuit isn’t as dire as you may have heard – Vox

“The Internet Archive (also known as IA or, home to the giant vault of internet and public domain history known as the Wayback Machine, is currently facing a crisis — one largely defined by misinformation. A group of publishing companies filed a scathing copyright lawsuit earlier this month over the IA’s controversial attempt to open an “Emergency Library” during the coronavirus pandemic. Ever since, confusion about the scope of the lawsuit and its potential impact on the IA as a whole has stoked fears of a crackdown on the IA’s many projects, including its gargantuan archive of the historical internet.

But much of that fear seems to be exaggerated. And while the lawsuit is a big deal for advocates of an open internet, it’s probably not the existential threat to the IA that you may have heard it is….”

Association of Research Libraries Urges End to Litigation against Internet Archive – Association of Research Libraries

“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….”

The National Emergency Library Controversy Part 3: Farewell and Best Wishes – Data Horde

“Events from this point on are fortunately a lot clearer. The Internet Archive would begin to regularly release statistics and updates on the NEL[1]. Some of the highlights here include the IA reaching out to educational institutions in hopes of seeking a compromise[2] and cooperation between the IA and the National Library of Aruba when the island nation too was hit with the outbreak[3]….”

The National Emergency Library Controversy Part 2: Take Off – Data Horde

“When we last left off, disease had run rampant across the US. A national emergency was declared; schools, workplaces and any and all public buildings were closing down rapidly. The stage was set!

On March 24, in response to the ongoing crisis, the Internet Archive officially launched their National Emergency Library initiative[1] in hopes of supporting displaced learners….”

The National Emergency Library Controversy Part 1: Background – Data Horde

“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….”

A Timeline of The National Emergency Library Controversy – Data Horde

“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….”

Internet Archive kills its free digital library over copyright concerns

“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….”

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.” …”