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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday June 13 2020, @02:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the never-let-them-see-fear dept.

Internet Archive ends "emergency library" early to appease publishers:

The Internet Archive has ended its National Emergency Library programs two weeks earlier than originally scheduled, the organization announced in a Wednesday blog post.

"We moved up our schedule because, last Monday, four commercial publishers chose to sue Internet Archive during a global pandemic," the group wrote. The online library called on publishers to "call off their costly assault."

[...] If the publishers dropped their lawsuit now, they would be tacitly conceding the legality of CDL[1] and potentially endangering the revenues they currently earn from licensing e-books to libraries for digital checkout. Also, the Internet Archive's decision to stop its emergency lending now is unlikely to protect it from liability for lending it has done over the last three months.

A win for the publishers could easily bankrupt the Internet Archive. Copyright law allows statutory damages for willful infringement to go as high as $150,000 per work, and the Internet Archive has scanned 1.4 million works and offered them for online download. So the Internet Archive could easily face damages in the billions of dollars if it loses the lawsuit. That's far beyond the group's ability to pay.

[1] CDL - controlled digital lending - One electronic loan per physical copy in the library.

Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency

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  • (Score: 2) by Flyingmoose on Saturday June 13 2020, @10:38PM (4 children)

    Did Internet Archive actually think this would turn out well? We already know the publishers love to sue...

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 13 2020, @11:14PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 13 2020, @11:14PM (#1007592)

    They wanted to make a 'splash' about what they were doing. They got the attention of everyone.

    They would have been better off just switching it off and not saying anything. Just present 'available for loan' and not say anything. *NO* one would have known any different probably for months. If it came up 'oh have to look into that, that does not sound right'.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 14 2020, @01:45AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 14 2020, @01:45AM (#1007633)

    A huge library of out-of-copyright books and films, accessible to everyone, makes rewriting the history that much more complicated.
    Closing the project down for some contrived reason, could make people suspect something.
    A self-destruction by judge, however, may be sold to the masses as "unintended consequences of a good deed".

    • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Monday June 15 2020, @09:25PM

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Monday June 15 2020, @09:25PM (#1008342) Journal

      I think you misread the story. Internet Archive / libraries are still free to loan e-copies of the books to the limit of licenses/copies that were purchased. Including in-copyright books. (Indeed, if one wants out-of-copyright books the place is Project Gutenberg, not Internet Archive).

      What's being eliminated here was Internet Archive's notion that they could lend as many copies as they wanted to without worrying about licensing because "emergency."

      This sig for rent.