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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


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  • (Score: 2, Disagree) by exaeta on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:54PM (7 children)

    by exaeta (6957) on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:54PM (#978319) Homepage Journal
    Internet archive is going to be sued. And they should lose. I hate to say, but ooksellers are one of the few who still have a reasonable model for copyright.
    --
    The Government is a Bird
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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:58PM (2 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:58PM (#978365) Journal

    If copyright went back to its original reasonable length, then I might agree with you.

    --
    I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:20PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:20PM (#978419)

      See (#978414) for some history.

      The Berne convention on copyright from 1886 (over 100 years ago), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention#Copyright_term [wikipedia.org] set (C) at 50 years after the death of the author--

      Copyright term

      The Berne Convention states that all works except photographic and cinematographic shall be copyrighted for at least 50 years after the author's death, but parties are free to provide longer terms,[9] as the European Union did with the 1993 Directive on harmonising the term of copyright protection. For photography, the Berne Convention sets a minimum term of 25 years from the year the photograph was created, and for cinematography the minimum is 50 years after first showing, or 50 years after creation if it hasn't been shown within 50 years after the creation. Countries under the older revisions of the treaty may choose to provide their own protection terms, and certain types of works (such as phonorecords and motion pictures) may be provided shorter terms.

      If the author is unknown because for example the author was deliberately anonymous or worked under a pseudonym, the Convention provides for a term of 50 years after publication ("after the work has been lawfully made available to the public"). However, if the identity of the author becomes known, the copyright term for known authors (50 years after death) applies.

      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:54PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:54PM (#978459) Journal

        Being old doesn't make it being right. Especially making the length of the copyright dependent on the length of the author's life seems fundamentally wrong.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by ze on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:14PM (3 children)

    by ze (8197) on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:14PM (#978377)

    > [b]ooksellers are one of the few who still have a reasonable model for copyright.

    Got a source for this? Seems everything I've read about publishing industries paints them as rent-seeking, self-appointed gate-keepers who plunder both sides. As far as I'm concerned, these middlemen businesses are one of the big flaws in the traditional copyright model, even before terms got pushed to insanity.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by exaeta on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:09PM (2 children)

      by exaeta (6957) on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:09PM (#978413) Homepage Journal

      Come on, at least you can still BUY books, and lend them. That's how copyright was supposed to work. I could understand if the library "lent" books from "closed down" libraries, but removing the queue altogether? COVID-19 did not suspend copyright law, even if you dom't like it.

      Frankly, I think 20 years would be a good limit. However, that's an unrelated issue about policy.

      Ignoring copyright altogether because it's convenient for teachers? No. Teacher should need to pay for books like everyone else. Academia is too privliged. Internet Archive is violating the law, plain and simple. Teachers COULD have used public domain material. but they chose not to. Now they should face consequences.

      --
      The Government is a Bird
      • (Score: 2) by ze on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:36PM (1 child)

        by ze (8197) on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:36PM (#978445)

        That's not really what I asked, though, is it?

        And that they grudgingly fail to stop you from lending books isn't to their credit. They generally do anything they can to stop you for ebooks, and DRM is still a frequent problem, up through and including your supposed "ownership" of said book being revoked if the publisher or DRM tech provider go under or discontinue their auth servers.
        Though I'll note I was surprised to find there is some legal lending functionality around these days from someone, was it amazon? Dunno, but due credit wherever that exists with a reasonable policy.

        I'm not really familiar with academia's privilege, mostly they just seem like arrogant wanks, but I think if there's one thing society should remove every possible barrier to, it's education. Too bad schooling is invariably a travesty and slander to the concept, though, so, *shrug*

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2020, @08:50AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2020, @08:50AM (#978637)

          your supposed "ownership" of said book being revoked if the publisher or DRM tech provider go under or discontinue their auth servers

          It's worse than that. The books can be updated without your permission, which means you don't even own the static work (which is ironic since copyright is supposed to be something in "fixed form," but being able to alter it doesn't seem very "fixed"). Just as bad, on a few occasions ebook sellers have found they did not have the rights they thought they did to sell a particular ebook, and as a result rescinded the copies that were sent out. Which you couldn't opt out of, so they pretty much opened up your device and took away what they sold whether you liked it or not. They gave a refund, but that's hardly the point.

          There are reasons for piracy, and lunacies such as this are just one of the dozens (hundreds?) of reasons that go far beyond "getting something for nothing." Not that the authors will ever even bother to consider that. From what I've seen, most of them seem to think that they have an inalienable and eternal right to everything ever done to any combination of words they crap onto a page, without exception, and anyone who disagrees are thieves on a grand scale and should spend the rest of their lives in prison. Not a stance that engenders much sympathy from the public (nor should it).