Internet Archive In Jeopardy Following Publisher Lawsuit Against Their Free E-book Program

Internet Archive will end its program of free e-books following a lawsuit from several major publishers, who argued that lending free e-books to readers without compensating the author or publisher was tantamount to “willful mass copyright infringement.”

Internet Archive had begun giving out e-books for free during the COVID-19 pandemic, calling a “National Emergency Library,” as physical library spaces were shuttered due to social distancing measures. The site wrote in a blog post that the program, scheduled to end June 30th, was used as intended, and most people returned the e-books in 14 days.

The lawsuit, filed by Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Penguin Random House LLC, claims the site, in general, is a “piracy” site. Whereas traditional libraries pay publishers licensing fees, Internet Archive was scanning donated or purchased books and giving them to users.

The lawsuit could be financially devastating for Internet Archive. Vice points out that publishers could claim $150,000 in damages on each of the 1.4 million copyrighted works in the library. There are currently discussions on how to archive the massive library of content Internet Archive hosts in case the site is forced to shut down.

On Twitter, users took their ire towards the lawsuit out on young adult author Chuck Wendig, who began crusading against Internet Archive in March, though he was far from the only one. Neil Gaiman and Alan Brennert also wrote they were against the archiving of and the free access given to their works by Internet Archive.

Still, as news of the lawsuit spread, Wendig bore the brunt of Twitter’s anger.

Wendig, for his part, has stated that he is not a part of the lawsuit nor advocated for the destruction of Internet Archive.

Source – Know Your Meme News


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