Pub­lish­ers sue dig­i­tal li­brary over copy­rights

Orlando Sentinel - - Business - By Hillel Italie

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.

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