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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 29 2020, @06:31AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the reading-is-fundamental dept.

Internet Archive offers 1.4 million copyrighted books for free online

One of the casualties of coronavirus-related social distancing measures has been public libraries, which are shut down in many communities around the world. This week, the Internet Archive, an online library best known for running the Internet's Wayback Machine, announced a new initiative to expand access to digital books during the pandemic.

For almost a decade, an Internet Archive program called the Open Library has offered people the ability to "check out" digital scans of physical books held in storage by the Internet Archive. Readers can view a scanned book in a browser or download it to an e-reader. Users can only check out a limited number of books at once and are required to "return" them after a limited period of time.

Until this week, the Open Library only allowed people to "check out" as many copies as the library owned. If you wanted to read a book but all copies were already checked out by other patrons, you had to join a waiting list for that book—just like you would at a physical library.

Of course, such restrictions are artificial when you're distributing digital files. Earlier this week, with libraries closing around the world, the Internet Archive announced a major change: it is temporarily getting rid of these waiting lists.

"The Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation's displaced learners," the Internet Archive wrote in a Tuesday post. "This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later."


Original Submission

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EFF and California Law Firm Durie Tangri Defending Internet Archive from Publisher Lawsuit 23 comments

EFF & Heavyweight Legal Team Will Defend Internet Archive's Digital Library Against Publishers

The EFF has revealed it is teaming up with law firm Durie Tangri to defend the Internet Archive against a lawsuit targeting its Open Library. According to court filings, the impending storm is shaping up to be a battle of the giants, with opposing attorneys having previously defended Google in book scanning cases and won a $1bn verdict for the RIAA against ISP Cox.

In March and faced with the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Internet Archive (IA) launched its National Emergency Library (NEL). Built on its existing Open Library, the NEL provided users with unlimited borrowing of more than a million books, something which the IA hoped would help "displaced learners" restricted by quarantine measures.

After making a lot of noise in opposition to both the Open and Emergency libraries, publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley and Penguin Random House filed a massive copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive.

[...] Last evening the EFF announced that it is joining forces with California-based law firm Durie Tangri to defend the Internet Archive against a lawsuit which they say is a threat to IA's Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program. The CDL program allows people to check out scanned copies of books for which the IA and its partners can produce physically-owned copies. The publishers clearly have a major problem with the system but according to IA and EFF, the service is no different from that offered by other libraries. "EFF is proud to stand with the Archive and protect this important public service," says EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry.

Previously: Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
University Libraries Offer Online "Lending" of Scanned In-Copyright Books
Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site
Internet Archive Ends "Emergency Library" Early to Appease Publishers


Original Submission

Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site 42 comments

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

Several major publishers have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in a New York court targeting the Internet Archive's Open Library. According to the complaint, the project is a massive and willful infringement project that amounts to little more than a regular pirate site.

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.

Complaint (PDF).

See also: Lawsuit over online book lending could bankrupt Internet Archive

Previously: Internet Archive's Open Library Now Supports Full-Text Searches for All 4+ Million Items
Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
University Libraries Offer Online "Lending" of Scanned In-Copyright Books


Original Submission

Authors Fume as Online Library “Lends” Unlimited Free Books 54 comments

Authors fume as online library "lends" unlimited free books:

For almost a decade, the Internet Archive, an online library best known for its Internet Wayback Machine, has let users "borrow" scanned digital copies of books held in its warehouse. Until recently, users could only check out as many copies as the organization had physical copies. But last week, The Internet Archive announced it was eliminating that restriction, allowing an unlimited number of users to check out a book simultaneously. The Internet Archive calls this the National Emergency Library.

Initial media coverage of the service was strongly positive. The New Yorker declared it a "gift to readers everywhere." But as word of the new service spread, it triggered a backlash from authors and publishers.

"As a reminder, there is no author bailout, booksellers bailout, or publisher bailout," author Alexander Chee tweeted on Friday. "The Internet Archive's 'emergency' copyrights grab endangers many already in terrible danger."

"It is a tarted-up piracy site," wrote author James Gleick.

Previously:

Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency


Original Submission

Internet Archive Ends “Emergency Library” Early to Appease Publishers 13 comments

Internet Archive ends "emergency library" early to appease publishers:

The Internet Archive has ended its National Emergency Library programs two weeks earlier than originally scheduled, the organization announced in a Wednesday blog post.

"We moved up our schedule because, last Monday, four commercial publishers chose to sue Internet Archive during a global pandemic," the group wrote. The online library called on publishers to "call off their costly assault."

[...] If the publishers dropped their lawsuit now, they would be tacitly conceding the legality of CDL[1] and potentially endangering the revenues they currently earn from licensing e-books to libraries for digital checkout. Also, the Internet Archive's decision to stop its emergency lending now is unlikely to protect it from liability for lending it has done over the last three months.

A win for the publishers could easily bankrupt the Internet Archive. Copyright law allows statutory damages for willful infringement to go as high as $150,000 per work, and the Internet Archive has scanned 1.4 million works and offered them for online download. So the Internet Archive could easily face damages in the billions of dollars if it loses the lawsuit. That's far beyond the group's ability to pay.

[1] CDL - controlled digital lending - One electronic loan per physical copy in the library.

Previously:
Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency


Original Submission

Internet Archive Files Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Publisher Copyright Infringement Lawsuit 34 comments

Internet Archive Tells Court its Digital Library is Protected Under Fair Use

The Internet Archive has filed its answer and affirmative defenses in response to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a group of publishers. Among other things, IA believes that its work is protected under the doctrine of fair use and the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.

[...] The statement spends time explaining the process of CDL – Controlled Digital Lending – noting that the Internet Archive provides a digital alternative to traditional libraries carrying physical books. As such, it "poses no new harm to authors or the publishing industry."

[...] "The Internet Archive has made careful efforts to ensure its uses are lawful. The Internet Archive's CDL program is sheltered by the fair use doctrine, buttressed by traditional library protections. Specifically, the project serves the public interest in preservation, access and research—all classic fair use purposes," IA's answer reads.

"As for its effect on the market for the works in question, the books have already been bought and paid for by the libraries that own them. The public derives tremendous benefit from the program, and rights holders will gain nothing if the public is deprived of this resource."

Internet Archive's Answer and Affirmative Defenses (PDF).

Previously: Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site
Internet Archive Ends "Emergency Library" Early to Appease Publishers
EFF and California Law Firm Durie Tangri Defending Internet Archive from Publisher Lawsuit


Original Submission

University Libraries Offer Online "Lending" of Scanned In-Copyright Books 13 comments

University libraries offer online "lending" of scanned in-copyright books:

The coronavirus crisis has forced the closure of libraries around the world, depriving the public of access to millions of printed books. Books old enough to be in the public domain may be available for free download online. Many recent books are available to borrow in e-book form. But there are many other books—especially those published in the mid-to-late 20th century—that are hard to access without going to a physical library.

A consortium of university libraries called HathiTrust recently announced a solution to this problem, called the Emergency Temporary Access Service. It allows participating HathiTrust member libraries to offer their patrons digital scans of books that they can "check out" and read online.

HathiTrust has a history of pushing the boundaries of copyright. It was the defendant in a landmark 2014 ruling that established the legality of library book scanning. At the time, HathiTrust was only allowing people with print disabilities to access the full text of scanned books. Now HathiTrust is expanding access to more people—though still with significant limits.

The program is only available to patrons of member libraries like the Cornell library. Libraries can only "lend" as many copies of the book as it has physical copies on its shelves. Loans last for an hour and are automatically renewed if a patron is still viewing a book at the hour's end. If you want to read a book that's currently in use by another patron, you have to wait until they're finished.

These limits distinguish HathiTrust's service from another recently announced "emergency library." Two weeks ago, the Internet Archive announced it was offering the general public the opportunity to check out 1.4 million scanned books. During the pandemic, the Internet Archive isn't limiting the number of people who can "borrow" a book simultaneously.

Previously: Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29 2020, @07:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29 2020, @07:44AM (#976877)

    Waiting lists are a germ, a virus. Heck, most people don't even know what to call them.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by TheReaperD on Sunday March 29 2020, @07:56AM (3 children)

    by TheReaperD (5556) on Sunday March 29 2020, @07:56AM (#976878)

    The copyright cartels could waive the restrictions and allow the books to be distributed freely. Even if the offer was only available and expired after a limited time. They could help a lot of people and it would cost them very little. But, of course, they care more about their precious copyrights than they do about people.

    --
    Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29 2020, @08:23AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29 2020, @08:23AM (#976882)

      Copyright is an anachronism for any passive consumer of content. You can find everything you want for the cost of a few electrons, and downloading it is like a bear shitting in the woods.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29 2020, @01:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29 2020, @01:53PM (#976925)

        > You can find everything you want ...

        Actually, there is a lot of written material that is not available online, including trade secrets that have nothing to do with copyright. All sorts of specialized things have not been digitized. Our company library is full of interesting and potentially useful reports done for engineering customers (still owned by the customer). Last week someone asked me for details on a research project done in the 1950s and I pointed them to the material that had been made public (in a book, no eBook available).

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29 2020, @03:05PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29 2020, @03:05PM (#976944)

      But, of course, they care more about their precious copyrights than they do about people.

      But, of course, they care more about their precious profits than they do about people.

      There FTFU.

      To the copyright mafia's, copyright is a means to an end, that end is profits. What they care about is maintaining profits. Copyright is one way, but if it were unavailable to them, they would try many other ways to maintain profits.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by SomeGuy on Sunday March 29 2020, @08:17AM (3 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Sunday March 29 2020, @08:17AM (#976880)

    Lets see how long this lasts before some publisher slaps with some lawsuit... wait, are lawyers considered an "essential" business that may remain open? :P

    At the rate things are going, I'm honestly wondering if things will ever get back to normal.

    This emergency has allowed so many things to happen, that plays right in to the hands of what certain groups want. Learning is relegated to cheap mind-numbing on-line crap, everyone is now 100% dependent on internet service, publishers always wanted libraries closed, some stores are refusing to take cash, increased security presence, restrictions on where people can go, "non-essential" employees fired (Trump probably jizzed his pants over that one) or teleworking and ready for outsourcing, and TV keeping people mesmerized over this virus while dishing up advertising.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by TheReaperD on Sunday March 29 2020, @09:21AM (1 child)

      by TheReaperD (5556) on Sunday March 29 2020, @09:21AM (#976888)

      Oh yes. For groups that want things that are harmful or contrary to society know: 'Never let a good tragedy go to waste.' The reason they were able to pass the US PATRIOT act so quickly was because law enforcement and intelligence agencies had a wish list ready for the right tragedy that would allow them to pass it unquestioned. We went to war in Iraq the second time because Cheney and company were waiting for the perfect opportunity to settle an old grudge with Saddam Hussein, illegally seize an OPEC oil field, and turn a profit doing it. Did any of them cause 9/11? Outside of the opinions of the unhinged, no, they didn't. They just didn't let the opportunity go to waste. They were prepared for the day the Twin Towers were stuck down, even though they didn't know that's what the event would be. The same thing is happening right now with the Coronavirus pandemic. It'll take a while before we discover it all. One I already know of is the EPA suspending environmental rules [blogspot.com] such as requiring oil companies to monitor and repair oil pipelines that are/may be leaking into water supplies. This request was made by the American Petroleum Institute, of course.

      --
      Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit
      • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Sunday March 29 2020, @01:50PM

        by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 29 2020, @01:50PM (#976924) Journal

        Yeah, I heard about that EPA move.

        How about, abortions being deemed not medically necessary? Abortion clinics are to preserve their medical supplies for Coronavirus victims.

        However, Americans should keep going to work, because the economy depends on it. And, that's face time, not just telecommute.

        But I think the bad bull that is being cleared away will outweigh the curtailment of the good. One thing telecommuting revealed is just how much most companies distrust their workers. They'll cite all sort of other reasons why telecommuting is no good, but in the main, it's their fundamental slave-driving mentality that people are naturally lazy and must be constantly watched and goaded to get work done.

        It's about time this publishing artificial scarcity bull was ended. I've used the Open Library before. "Checked out" a book, copied it by taking screen shots, and "returned" it less than an hour later. It was incredibly silly. Felt like I was in a Monty Python sketch, Ministry of Silly Book Borrowing Rituals.

        I wonder if we can at last say bye-bye to the printed sales receipt. Stupid, BPA coated, archaic "proof" of a sale that's a pain to manage when you have hundreds.... I never used to use the back pockets of my pants, then I realized that was an excellent place to stick a receipt. That is, as long as I don't forget to take them out before throwing the pants in the wash.

    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Sunday March 29 2020, @11:03PM

      by hendrikboom (1125) on Sunday March 29 2020, @11:03PM (#977046) Homepage Journal
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