Publishers sue digital library over copyrights
NEW YORK — Four of the country’s biggest publishers have sued a digital library for copyright infringement, alleging that the Internet Archive has illegally offered more than a million scanned works to the public, including Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” and Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.”
“Without any license or any payment to authors or publishers, Internet Archive scans print books, uploads these illegally scanned books to its servers, and distributes verbatim digital copies of the books in whole via public-facing websites,” according to papers filed Monday in federal court in New York. “With just a few clicks, any internetconnected user can download complete digital copies of in-copyright books.”
In March, the Internet Archive announced it had established a “National Emergency Library” in response to the coronavirus outbreak that had shut down most of the country’s schools and libraries. According to the Archive, the emergency library would support “remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation” with free digital materials.
“We hope that authors will support our effort to ensure temporary access to their work in this time of crisis,” according to a statement on the archive’s web site. The emergency library is scheduled to last at least through the end of June.
The archive also provides free access to more than 1 million older, public domain books not bound by copyright law.
The plaintiffs, who include Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins and Wiley, are seeking a permanent injunction against the library and an undetermined amount of money for damages. Court papers refer to page views on the archive site, but not how many books were borrowed.