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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the writers-gotta-eat dept.

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

 
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:53AM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:53AM (#978262)

    What sort of 'author' would genuinely complain about people having access to books (mostly dated) during a period of unprecedented chaos and disruption in modern society.

    Yeah, I wasn't surprised. Alexander Chee [wikipedia.org] - gay erotic fiction... author.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by zocalo on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:11AM (2 children)

    by zocalo (302) on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:11AM (#978263)
    Yep, assholes one and all. It's a temporary - and easily revokable - measure for the duration of the emergency, and as you note, often on books that are well down the long tail of diminishing revenue, although it'll obviously be a different story if they decide to make it permanent. They're still functioning as a public library as they were doing previously, and since libraries are now closed in many countries in effect they are just returning books that are idling on shelves in closed libraries to circulation. This is exactly the kind of sociopathic mentality that's driving all the price gouging; "Screw society in a time of need, *I* can make some money off this!"

    I'd say screw 'em, let's have a boycott, but looking down the list of authors protesting this move I'm not exactly seeing many names I'd be interested in anyway. YMMV of course, but there's no accounting for taste... ;)
    --
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    • (Score: 5, Informative) by dwilson on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:49PM

      by dwilson (2599) on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:49PM (#978341)

      I'd say screw 'em, let's have a boycott

      A boycott won't hurt them nearly as much as taking steps to make this anomalous unlimited-lending-for-all thing permanent. As an added bonus, doing that means we don't even need to read or be interested in whatever crap they're peddling in order to continue annoying them. It's win/win, really.

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      - D
    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Friday April 03 2020, @01:31AM

      by driverless (4770) on Friday April 03 2020, @01:31AM (#978521)

      My neighbour, a retired nurse, has volunteered to risk her life to go in and help out with the Covid19 work at the local hospital. And then you get entitled wankers like Alexander Chee whining about losing out on a few cents of royalties...

  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:15PM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:15PM (#978285) Journal

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gleick [wikipedia.org]

    High on his own supply.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:15PM (5 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:15PM (#978286) Journal

    What sort of 'author' would genuinely complain about people having access to books

    Welcome to conflict of interest. And hoist the black flag!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:06PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:06PM (#978371)

      You are being sarcastic with that pro-piracy statement yes?

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by khallow on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:11PM (3 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:11PM (#978375) Journal
        Nope. I'd rather have no copyright than the present regime of life plus eternity.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:30PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:30PM (#978424)

          lol

          Capitalist apologist doesn't like copyright terms. Weird bit of hypocrisy you've got there, you must've grown up pirating games and other media.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:34PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:34PM (#978428) Journal

            Weird bit of hypocrisy

            What's hypocritical about my stance? We could choose to privatize the air you breathe, would that somehow be a good idea for a "capitalist apologist"?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04 2020, @02:27PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04 2020, @02:27PM (#979028)

            Copyright does not belong in the domain of capitalism. In fact, by stifling competition, it is actively acting against the ideals of capitalism.

  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:16PM (2 children)

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:16PM (#978350) Journal

    Yeah, why the hell do they deserve to earn a living writing anyway, or make sure they are compensated for people consuming what they have written and had digitized possibly without permission? </sarcasm>

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:40PM (#978356)

      Someone decided to give away their stuff out of the goodness of his heart. Like the government decided to give away $2.2T of our stuff. Don't worry it's an emergency!

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:03PM (#978369)

      The very best classics we have, all got written when copyright term was several times shorter. Now when it got to be a century and change on average, look at what those people are "blessing" us with, and THEN tell us again that they deserve anything but contempt.