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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, 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.

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  • (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).