In 2006, Internet archives launched the “open library” service based on the theory of “controlled digital leasing”, which allows users to cancel one copy of a physical scanned e-book at a time. Affected by the outbreak of covid-19 caused by the new coronavirus, it expanded its service scope through the “national emergency library” project in March this year. However, the four major book publishers have made a deal with it, and recently launched a tort lawsuit.
it is understood that the national emergency library project allows visitors with accounts to have instant access to scanned copies of all books. More importantly, the project bypasses the typical licensing restrictions used by traditional libraries.
because open library’s e-books are actually derived from scanning physical copies rather than purchasing them in digital form, the project will never sign a license agreement with the publisher.
the plaintiff pointed out that it did not have a license, nor did it make any payment to the author or publisher. The Internet Archive scanned printed books and uploaded the illegal copies to the server. The digital copies are then distributed through a public facing website.
in other words, with just a few clicks, any user connected to the Internet can download a full digital copy of the copyright book from the defendant. Obviously, this kind of behavior has touched the bottom line that copyright owners can tolerate for a long time.
in April, the writers’ Association once published an open letter that aroused similar concerns, in which it angrily criticized that the Internet archives should not use such a pretext to illegally scan and distribute books.
the plaintiffs accused “stealing without asking,” but Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, said they were disappointed by the lawsuit. In an interview with the verge, he said: “888]
the Internet library is no different from the ordinary library, providing corresponding support for both authors and readers. When schools and public libraries are closed to visitors, it is not in anyone’s interest for publishers to sue the opening of libraries. We hope that this problem can be solved as soon as possible.