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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: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:22PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:22PM (#978382)

    Specifically, look at all those fanfiction sites, and at the original "webnovels" and such. All distributed without compensation.
    I assure you, the percentage of quality works among them is in no way less than among the works sold for money.

    Now note that reading such a free work uses up exactly the same amount of reader's free time as a paid one of same length. Remember that said free time is a very limited resource; one that cannot be increased beyond about 16 hours a day even with unlimited money, and is on average several times less. Remember that totally unlike time, an electronically distributed book is not used up, however many people do read and re-read it however many times. And now consider how, given all that, a mediocre copyright-based income source can compete with free.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:42PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:42PM (#978393)