Could the Internet Archive go out like Napster?

“Since the suit was filed, many of the authors who’d protested the archive have deleted their tweets or released statements explaining they’ve changed their minds. Wendig, who initially appeared to be leading the charge, has since stated several times that he is not involved with the case. And on July 14, the Authors Alliance, an organization that helps authors to reach more readers, filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit on behalf of the Internet Archive.

One thing hasn’t changed: fears that the vagaries of this case could cripple the archive and, subsequently, the myriad services it offers the 1.5 million people who visit it every day. In addition to lending books digitally, the Internet Archive hosts the Wayback Machine, a tool that has chronicled internet history since 1996; the concern is that if legal costs drain the archive of its funds, all of its services could be affected. Users of the site and digital archivists have compared the potential loss of the archive’s services to the burning of the Library of Alexandria. Yet book companies also view the stakes here as existential for their business model; the International Publishers Association stated that this case is of “global significance” to its members….”

Book publishers, Internet Archive spar over fate of digital-book lending lawsuit | Reuters

By Blake Brittain

(Reuters) – The Internet Archive and a coalition of major book publishers submitted dueling arguments Friday to persuade a Manhattan federal court that they deserve an immediate win in their potential landmark copyright dispute over digital lending.

The parties squared off in opposing court papers over the legality of the Archive’s “controlled digital lending” of digitally scanned print books, which the Archive equates to traditional library lending but the publishers call a front for mass infringement.



Internet Archive Opposes Publishers in Federal Lawsuit – Internet Archive Blogs

“On Friday, September 2, we filed a brief in opposition to the four publishers that sued Internet Archive in June 2020: Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House. This is the second of three briefs from us that will help the Court decide the case….

Our opposition brief responds to the arguments raised in the publisher’s motion for summary judgment. There, some of the world’s largest and most-profitable publishers complained that sometimes “Americans who read an ebook use free library copies, rather than purchasing a commercial ebook.” They believe that copyright law gives them the right to control how libraries lend the books they own, and demand that libraries implement the restrictive terms and conditions that publishers prefer.


Our opposition brief explains that “[p]ublishers do not have a right to limit libraries only to inefficient lending methods, in hopes that those inefficiencies will lead frustrated library patrons to buy their own copies.” The record in this case shows that publishers have suffered no economic harm as a result of our controlled digital lending–indeed, publishers have earned record profits in recent years. “[D]igital lending of physical books costs rightsholders no more or less than, for example, lending books via a bookmobile or interlibrary loan. In each case, the books the library lends are bought and paid for, ensuring that rightsholders receive all of the financial benefits to which they are entitled.” …”

FFDW Works with Prelinger Archives to Make Rare Historic Films More Accessible Using the Decentralized Web | by Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web | Aug, 2022 | Medium

“Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW) is proud to announce its collaboration with Prelinger Archives, a San Francisco-based historical film archive, to make rare and one-of-a-kind films accessible to the general public. The Prelinger Archives will use the award from FFDW to digitize a vast collection of archival 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm film footage held by both Prelinger Archives and Internet Archive and make these materials broadly accessible to the public through both Internet Archive and the decentralized web….”

UC Berkeley Library and Internet Archive co-directing project to help text data mining researchers navigate cross-border legal and ethical issues – UC Berkeley Library Update

“We are excited to announce that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded nearly $50,000 to UC Berkeley Library and Internet Archive to study legal and ethical issues in cross-border text data mining. The funding was made possible through NEH’s Digital Humanities Advancement Grant program. …”

A major publishing lawsuit would cement surveillance into the future o

“Amid the inflection point of library digitization, publishing corporations want to reduce and redefine the role that libraries play in our society. Their suit seeks to halt loans of legally purchased and scanned books, cementing a future of extortionate and opaque licensing agreements and Netflix-like platforms to replace library cards with credit cards. If successful, they will erode the public’s last great venue to access information free from corporate or government surveillance. This dire threat to the privacy and safety of readers has gone largely unnoticed….”

Publishers are suing the Internet Archive over digital book lending – The Washington Post

“At the start of the pandemic, teachers and librarians pleaded with a prominent nonprofit to make it easier for kids at home to check out books from its digital library. The organization, called the Internet Archive, agreed. While it traditionally loaned out its more than a million digital books one at a time to the public and through partnerships with libraries, it dropped that limit in what it described as a “National Emergency Library.” Roughly two months later, major book publishers including HarperCollins sued the Internet Archive for copyright infringement — saying its digital library initiative “grossly exceed” what libraries are allowed to do. A few months later, it reinstated lending limits, court documents show. The fight, which the publishers and the Internet Archive asked a federal court to end earlier this month, has triggered a larger ideological debate about the application of copyright law when it comes to digital copies of books, pitting publishers and authors against librarians. At stake is the future of how libraries are allowed to buy and lend out digital books to the public, which advocates say is core to a functioning democracy as technology takes over….”

Publishers vs the Internet Archive: why the world’s biggest online library is in court over digital book lending

“Earlier this month, the Internet Archive asked a US court to end a lawsuit filed against it by four large book publishers.

The Internet Archive is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1996 that lends digital copies of books, music, movies and other digitised content to the public. It aims to support people with print disabilities, preserve digital content for future generations and democratise access to knowledge.

The publishers say the Internet Archive’s digital lending practices amount to wilful copyright infringement. Authors have also complained the site hosts pirated content.

The Internet Archive says it is behaving like an ordinary library, as it only loans digital copies of physical books it owns. Its supporters at the Electronic Frontiers Foundation say the publishers simply want “to control how libraries may lend the books they own”. …”

Clinic Works w/ Amici Kenneth Crews and Kevin Smith to Support Internet Archive’s Controlled Digital Lending Efforts |

“Last week, the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in support of Internet Archive (“IA”) a non-profit digital library working to provide access to cultural artifacts of all kinds. The Clinic filed the brief on behalf of amici curiae Kenneth D. Crews and Kevin L. Smith, library and information scholars and historians with significant expertise on libraries and archives. The brief supports IA in a case filed against them by book publishers, alleging that IA’s controlled digital lending (“CDL”) program infringes their copyrights….”

A debrief on Internet Archive’s clash with book publishers | Popular Science

“Last week, the ongoing case entered a new chapter as the nonprofit organization filed a motion for summary judgment, asking a federal judge to put a stop to the lawsuit, arguing that their Controlled Digital Lending program “is a lawful fair use that preserves traditional library lending in the digital world” since “each book loaned via CDL has already been bought and paid for.” On Friday, Creative Commons issued a statement supporting Internet Archive’s motion. 

The public libraries in your local neighborhood usually partner with platforms like Overdrive, Libby, Hoopla, and Cloud Library to provide digital copies of books that they can loan out. But these library ebooks are part of a surprisingly complex and lucrative financial structure (Daniel A. Gross’ piece in The New Yorker deep dives into the business behind library ebooks). Additionally, users must login to these services with an existing library card number. 

Internet Archive works a little differently. Anyone can create a free account and start browsing materials like books, movies, software, music, websites and more. …”


Internet Archive Founder: “We are defending the rights of libraries to serve our patrons where they are, online” – Internet Archive Blogs

“The Internet Archive is a non-profit library. And we do what libraries have always done.

What libraries do is we buy, preserve and lend books to one reader at a time. Why do we do it?  Libraries are a pillar of our democracy. We are a great equalizer, providing access to information for all. We also have an age-old role as custodians of culture, preserving knowledge for future generations. 

This is what the Internet Archive is doing along-side hundreds of other libraries.  We have been lending scanned digital copies of print books for more than 10 years, and it has helped millions of digital learners.  

With this lawsuit, the publishers are saying that in digital form, we cannot buy books, we cannot preserve books, and we cannot lend books….”

Hachette v. Internet Archive | Electronic Frontier Foundation

“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), with co-counsel Durie Tangri, is defending  the Internet Archive against a lawsuit that threatens its Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program.

The Internet Archive is a nonprofit digital library, preserving and providing access to cultural artifacts of all kinds in electronic form. CDL allows people to check out digital copies of books for two weeks or less, and only permits patrons to check out as many copies as the Archive and its partner libraries physically own. That means that if the Archive and its partner libraries have only one copy of a book, then only one patron can borrow it at a time, just like any other library. Through CDL, the Internet Archive is helping to foster research and learning by helping its patrons access books and by keeping books in circulation when their publishers have lost interest in them.

Four publishers sued the Archive, alleging that CDL violates their copyrights. In their complaint, Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House claim CDL has cost their companies millions of dollars and is a threat to their businesses.

They are wrong….”

Internet Archive Seeks Summary Judgment in Federal Lawsuit Filed By Publishing Companies – Internet Archive Blogs

“The Internet Archive has asked a federal judge to rule in our favor and end a radical lawsuit, filed by four major publishing companies, that aims to criminalize library lending.

The motion for summary judgment, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Durie Tangri LLP, explains that our Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program is a lawful fair use that preserves traditional library lending in the digital world. 

The brief explains how the Internet Archive is advancing the purposes of copyright law by furthering public access to knowledge and facilitating the creation of new creative and scholarly works. The Internet Archive’s digital lending hasn’t cost the publishers one penny in revenues; in fact, concrete evidence shows that the Archive’s digital lending does not and will not harm the market for books….”

CC Supports Internet Archive’s Efforts to Ensure Public Access to Books

Book graphic extraction 1” by rejon is marked with CC0 1.0.

Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a motion for summary judgment calling to reject the lawsuit against the Internet Archive (IA) brought by four big publishers that threatens IA’s controlled digital lending (CDL) program. Creative Commons fully supports this motion. Here’s why. 

The Internet Archive is an American non-profit library preserving and giving access to millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more, with the mission to provide “universal access to all knowledge.”

As we mention in our Open Culture Policy Paper, with CDL, libraries can lend one copy of digitized material from their collection to one borrower at a time, for two weeks or less, just like they would a physical book. Unlike eLending, CDL is about digitized works, not born-digital material. CDL maximizes a library’s ability to loan works, thereby making the entire lending system more efficient and equitable. 

At CC, we believe libraries — and cultural heritage institutions in general — should be empowered to serve as a meaningful access point for publicly funded collections. Free and open access to knowledge stimulates creativity, is essential for research and learning, and constitutes a bedrock principle of free and democratic societies. 

Copyright must encourage CDL and ensure that legal mechanisms are in place to allow this fair practice. As clearly articulated by EFF: “CDL helps ensure that the public can make full use of the books that libraries have bought and paid for. This activity is fundamentally the same as traditional library lending, and poses no new harm to authors or the publishing industry.” 

Books, in all their forms, are a public good. Libraries, whether brick-and-mortar or digital, pursue a public-interest mission. Guided by our strong belief in better sharing, CC will continue to support the IA’s crucial efforts to ensure the public can access knowledge and culture on a global level.

The post CC Supports Internet Archive’s Efforts to Ensure Public Access to Books appeared first on Creative Commons.

If they could, publishers would abolish libraries; here’s what they are doing instead – Walled Culture

“It is often said that if public libraries did not exist, modern publishers would never allow them to be set up, on the grounds that “clearly” every book loaned out was a sale lost. Fortunately, at the time that public libraries were created in various countries, publishers took a more enlightened view. Unfortunately, today’s publishers have realised that the transition from hard copy books to ebooks is an opportunity to try again, as Kyle K. Courtney, Copyright Advisor at Harvard Library, explains in an opinion piece for The Hill….”