A senseless lawsuit: “The Internet Archive has a heart, and knows how to use it” |

“When I heard about the lawsuit for copyright infringement launched on 1st June 2020 in the US by four major publishers (Hachette, Penguin Random House, Wiley, HarperCollins) against the Internet Archive for its Open Library, I couldn’t believe it. I thought this was a bad dream, that turned into a nightmare with the lawsuit scheduled for trial from 12 November 2021.

I briefly thought we were back in the 1990s, when publishers were fearing digital piracy and copyright infringement while threatening a few pioneers with lawsuits. But we are in 2021….

The Internet Archive has been here for 25 years. It knows about its trailblazing power to promote reading for all and education for all. The movement it has created is unstoppable. Why a lawsuit instead of a partnership?”

European High Court Says Online Platforms Are Not Liable for Copyright Infringement by Users if They Take Appropriate Measures – Pearl Cohen

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has held that operators of online platforms to which users post copyright-protected content are not liable for copyright infringement in such user-posted content if they meet certain conditions. First, they must not contribute to giving access to such content to the public in breach of copyright, beyond merely making those platforms available. Second, they must not play an active role that gives them knowledge of or control over the content posted.

Delhi HC Might Have Killed Intellectual Liberty

“In what may be a landmark case related to copyright law, Delhi HC ordered online article and book repositories Sci-Hub and Libgen to stop uploading material from thousands of journals controlled by Elsevier, Wiley India and American Chemical Society….”

Sci-hub and Alexandra Elbakyan

“Now there is one bright star that rose among the scientific world and scientific community in the  name of Alexandra Elbakyan to fight for the cause of this silent sacrificing community. No  arguments, no requests no email. She simply devised a method to download any scientific papers that  are published free of cost….”

Is the Pirate Queen of Scientific Publishing in Real Trouble This Time?

“The latest lawsuit, filed in India by three academic publishers, including Elsevier, asks the High Court of Delhi to block access to Sci-Hub throughout the country. While the case is pending, the court has instructed Sci-Hub to stop uploading papers to its database. The order is not unusual; what’s surprising is that Elbakyan has complied. She has a history of ignoring legal rulings, and the Indian court has no power over Sci-Hub’s activities in other countries. So why has she chosen, at this moment, to give in?

One reason is that Elbakyan believes she has a shot at winning the case, and her odds might improve if she plays by the rules. “I want the Indian court to finally support free access to science,” she said. If that happened, it would mark a significant victory for Sci-Hub, with reverberations likely beyond India. Victory remains a longshot, but Elbakyan thinks it’s worth the hassle and expense. She didn’t even bother to contest the two lawsuits in the United States….”

Coyle’s InFormation: Digitization Wars, Redux

“From 2004 to 2016 the book world (authors, publishers, libraries, and booksellers) was involved in the complex and legally fraught activities around Google’s book digitization project. Once known as “Google Book Search,” the company claimed that it was digitizing books to be able to provide search services across the print corpus, much as it provides search capabilities over texts and other media that are hosted throughout the Internet. 

Both the US Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers sued Google (both separately and together) for violation of copyright. These suits took a number of turns including proposals for settlements that were arcane in their complexity and that ultimately failed. Finally, in 2016 the legal question was decided: digitizing to create an index is fair use as long as only minor portions of the original text are shown to users in the form of context-specific snippets. 

We now have another question about book digitization: can books be digitized for the purpose of substituting remote lending in the place of the lending of a physical copy? This has been referred to as “Controlled Digital Lending (CDL),” a term developed by the Internet Archive for its online book lending services. The Archive has considerable experience with both digitization and providing online access to materials in various formats, and its Open Library site has been providing digital downloads of out of copyright books for more than a decade. Controlled digital lending applies solely to works that are presumed to be in copyright. …”

How Academic Pirate Alexandra Elbakyan Is Fighting Scientific Misinformation

“In the decade since Alexandra Elbakyan founded Sci-Hub, science’s so-called “pirate queen” has amassed more than 85 million full-text research articles, which she’s made available, for free, to anyone who can track down her custom search engine. …

In the swirling chaos of the pandemic—and a new, or at least newly-acknowledged, era of digital disinformation—Sci-Hub kicked into overdrive. Its number of daily users has grown 20 percent, from 500,000 to 600,000, according to Elbakyan. During lockdown, people accessed articles about COVID-19 10 to 100 times more often than articles about other diseases. …”

Google v. Oracle: Takeaways for Software Preservation, Cultural Heritage, and Fair Use Generally (2021 Reflection) | Software Preservation Network (SPN)

“On April 5, 2021, the Supreme Court issued its opinion on the long-running litigation between Oracle and Google over the reuse of aspects of Oracle’s Java programming framework in Google’s Android mobile operating system. The majority opinion, written by Justice Breyer and joined by five of his fellow justices (Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Kavanaugh, and Gorsuch), sided with Google, saying its use was lawful because it was protected by fair use. Justice Thomas wrote a dissent, joined only by Justice Alito, arguing that Google’s use was infringing. The newest Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, did not participate in the arguments or decision of the case as it predated her joining the Court. More background on the case can be found in my earlier blog post for SPN summarizing the oral arguments.

Justice Breyer’s opinion is already a landmark for the reasons I laid out there: it is the first Supreme Court opinion to address fair use in nearly thirty years—the last one was Campbell v. Acuff-Rose in 1994. And it is the first Supreme Court opinion to address copyright’s protection for software—ever. And now we know that the opinion will be a milestone for another reason: it is a confident, erudite treatment of the issue by a Justice who has been thinking about copyright and software for more than half a century. As a law professor, Stephen Breyer earned tenure at Harvard based on his 1970 article, “The Uneasy Case for Copyright: A Study of Copyright in Books, Photocopies, and Computer Programs.” The opinion is thus a very happy coincidence: a thorny and consequential issue confronted by a subtle and experienced thinker. The results are quite encouraging for software preservation and for cultural heritage institutions and fair users generally….”

A Public Service Role For Digital Libraries: The Unequal Battle Against (Online) Misinformation Through Copyright Law Reform And The Emergency Electronic Access To Library Material by Argyri Panezi :: SSRN

Abstract:  This article analyzes the role of copyright doctrine and case law in preserving the institutional function of libraries—both on- and offline—as trusted and, in principle, neutral hubs equalizing access to credible information and knowledge in societies with structural inequalities. In doing so it examines the ongoing Hachette v. Internet Archive litigation before the US District Court of the Southern District of New York in the context of earlier copyright cases, finding that there is a persistent need for electronic access to library material online.

Libraries have traditionally served an important role as reserved spaces for legally permissible distribution of books outside of markets. Copyright law, however, has the potential to hinder the fuction of libraries and other cultural heritage institutions particularly in equalizing access to knowledge. While there exist some exceptions and limitations that partially alleviate this, their applicability in the digital environment is still contested. Two novel challenges are interfering: first, an unmet and contentious need for emergency access to electronic library material to be granted online, and second, the need to counteract historical biases and misinformation, both of which multiply when spread within a hyper-connected and digitized society. In order to ensure electronic access to credible information and knowledge, policymakers must address these challenges strategically and reassess the needs of subjects and institutions that are currently subject to copyright exceptions.

Hachette v. Internet Archive follows a string of copyright cases that involved challenges to digitization without permission and to providing electronic access to digitized library material. The plaintiffs in Hachette v. Internet Archive, four publishers, brought copyright claims against the Internet Archive for the latter’s operation of a “National Emergency Library” within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The case introduces a new dimension to existing debates around electronic access to library material, particularly around e-lending, raising the question: Can emergencies justify additional exceptions to copyright laws covering electronic access to library material, and if so, under what circumstances?

After analyzing the relevant settled case law and the ongoing litigation against the Internet Archive and then looking back into the history of and rationale for copyright laws, the article advances a normative claim—that copyright should provide better support to libraries and digital libraries in particular (broadly defined) as the institutional safeguards of our literary treasures. Libraries have a public service mandate to preserve, curate, and provide access to a plurality of original and authoritative sources, and thus ultimately aspire not to compete in the marketplace but to become trusted hubs that equalize access to knowledge. In the context of a society currently struggling to fight historical biases and (online) misinformation, providing libraries with the legal support needed to fulfill this mandate will enable them to more effectively safeguard and provide equal access to (at least relatively) credible information and knowledge, including in the digital environment.

Libraries, National Emergencies, and Access to Credible Information: Are we protecting libraries’ multiple roles during emergencies? | Authors Alliance

“On June 1, 2020, four publishing houses, Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Penguin Random House LLC, filed before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York a copyright infringement action against the Internet Archive for the Archive’s operation of what it called a “National Emergency Library” (NEL) after the first US shelter-in-place orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, on March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive had announced the launch of a temporary online NEL to support “emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries were closed due to COVID-19.” In their announcement the Archive called on authors and publishers to support the effort, which would ensure “temporary access to their work in this time of crisis.” It provided an opt-in option for authors who wanted to donate their book(s) to the NEL, and an opt-out option for authors who wanted to remove their book(s) from the NEL….

In my recent article, A Public Service Role for Digital Libraries: The Unequal Battle Against (Online) Misinformation Through Copyright Law Reform and the Emergency Electronic Access to Library Material (forthcoming, 31 Cornell J.L.& Pub. Pol’y_ _ (2021)), I examine the ongoing Hachette v. Internet Archive litigation, placing it in the context of earlier US copyright case law that deals with the digitization or the making available of copyrighted works for educational, research, and other purposes (notably: Authors Guild v. Google, Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, and Cambridge University Press v. Becker). There is also a global debate focusing on similar issues, apparent, for example, in similar cases brought before courts in Europe (Technische Universität Darmstadt v. Eugen Ulmer KG and Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken v. Stichting Leenrech), India (University of Oxford v. Rameshwari Photocopy Service), and Canada (CCH Canadian Ltd v. Law Society of Upper Canada and the recent York University v. Access Copyright)….”

Fans of Sci-Hub are mobilizing to save the pirate science platform

“Thu, 20 May 2021, 9:24 am·2-min read   The Sci-Hub science platform, blocked since December 2020, is receiving support from a number of Reddit users.A group of Reddit users are protesting against the FBI’s attempts to pressure Alexandra Elbakyan, creator of the Sci-Hub website, which publishes scientific studies for free. The community is mobilizing around her vision: to create a digital library of scientific articles accessible for free.Sci-Hub is an illegal site and in theory impossible to access in many regions. Sci-Hub offers free access to scientific articles. To do this, the site bypasses the paid access locks of research publishers. Since its launch on September 5, 2011, more than 85 million articles have been made available for free while the average cost for a single article would be about 30 dollars. Its creator, Alexandra Elbakyan, a native of Kazakhstan, wanted to make scientific knowledge and insights accessible to others like her who could not access them due to cost. Used by many students and researchers, the site was also the target of publishers of these journals, including the publishing company Elsevier, which since 2015 has been attempting via lawsuits in the United States, France and India, to put the site out of business with the claim that the site infringes their copyrights….”

Is Sci-Hub Increasing Visibility of Indian Research Papers? An Analytical Evaluation

Abstract:  Sci-Hub, founded by Alexandra Elbakyan in 2011 in Kazakhstan has, over the years, emerged as a very popular source for researchers to download scientific papers. It is believed that Sci-Hub contains more than 76 million academic articles. However, recently three foreign academic publishers (Elsevier, Wiley and American Chemical Society) have filed a lawsuit against Sci-Hub and LibGen before the Delhi High Court and prayed for complete blocking these websites in India. It is in this context, that this paper attempts to find out how many Indian research papers are available in Sci-Hub and who downloads them. The citation advantage of Indian research papers available on Sci-Hub is analysed, with results confirming that such an advantage do exist. 

The Public Should Have Access to the Surveillance Court’s Opinions

“For decades, a special court—the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or “FISC”—has issued secret legal opinions authorizing the U.S. government to conduct sweeping programs of electronic surveillance. These opinions have had a profound impact on Americans’ rights to privacy, free expression, and free association. But many of them are entirely hidden from public view….”

Now Is Not The Time For Publishers to Go After Online Libraries: Hachette Book Group, Inc. v. Internet Archive – The Temple 10-Q

“Nothing better promotes the progress of science and the arts than access to knowledge, especially during a global pandemic. COVID-19 has highlighted how our society has changed in the past few decades and how much it needs to change in the decades to come. As schools and workplaces, law firms included, went partially or completely remote, connectivity and access to online resources became more important than ever. It is in this environment that several publishers chose to bring litigation against Internet Archive (IA) in Hachette Book Group, Inc. v. Internet Archive. 

Open Library is a non-profit digital library founded by IA that offers online access to more than 1.3 million books that it has digitized into a PDF format. Operating under the Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) model, Open Library lends out only as many books as it has physical hardcopies of. Essentially, the basis of CDL is that a book must be owned to be loaned.  …”