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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.


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

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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... ;)
    UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by dwilson on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:49PM

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

    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.

    - 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...