Book publishers have sued Internet Archive for copyright infringement. Their two main points of argument are that Internet Archive is not an accredited library and it does not have the rights to distribute digital copies of its books.
Book Publishers vs. Internet Archive copyright Infringement case
The Hachette v. Internet Archive lawsuit was filed on June 1, 2020. In the case, Hachette Book Group, Harpercollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Randomhouse accuse Internet Archive of mass copyright infringement for scanning print books and uploading digital copies to archive.org and openlibrary.org without any license or payment to the original authors or publishers.
The publishers argue that by allowing digital books to be downloaded from archive.org or openlibrary.org by any user on the internet without rights, Internet Archive is engaged industrial-scale digital piracy,
The publishers continue to argue that Internet Archive does not contribute to the research, writing, or publishing of the books yet it casts itself as a hero and continues to benefit financially through a business model that is designed to free-ride on the investment and work of others.
Internet Archive Defense
Internet Archive on the other hand defends itself by relying on the Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) practice and fair use. Internet Archive says that it is okay to scan a copyrighted book, keep the book’s print copy in their library and loan out a digital copy as they will have done with a print copy. They go ahead to argue that they only loan out digital copies that are equal to the number of print copies that they have. For instance, if they have 100 print copies, they will only loan out 100 digital copies. What is referred to as one-to-one ratio book lending.
To the publishers, Internet Archive is a pirate site disguised as a library. To Internet Archive, the Big Publishers are trying to open a new path for censorship and destroy libraries.
Judge John George Koeltl is expected to issue a ruling any day from today. We will update this post when a ruling is made. If Internet Archive loses the case, it will be forced to take down or destroy millions of digital books that are in its online library. However, the battle will not be over as whichever side that loses the case can appeal upto the Supreme Court.
UPDATE on March 25, 2023: The Internet Archive (IA) lost the case. Judge John Koeltl ruled that Internet Archive required authorization from book publishers or copyright holders before lending digital copies. IA has said that it will appeal the judgment.
Before you leave, Subscribe to our Newsletter to be updated via email when Blogging Tools you use to run your blog release new features or make critical changes. For any question about this post, or anything else related to website technologies, we are responding on Reddit or comment below.
Leave a Reply