A federal judge has sentenced the Internet Archive in its high-profile case against a group of four US publishers led by Hachette Book Group. By Judge John G. Koeltl said on Friday that the association infringed the group’s copyright by lending digitized copies of their books.
The lawsuit arose from the Internet Archive’s decision to launch the “National Emergency Library” at the start of the pandemic. The program has seen the organization give away more than 1.4 million free ebooks, including copyrighted works, in response to libraries around the world closing due to coronavirus lockdown measures.
Prior to March 2020, the Internet Archive’s Open Library program operated under what is known as a “controlled digital loan” system, meaning there was often a waiting list to borrow a book of his collection. When the pandemic hit, the Internet Archive lifted those restrictions to make it easier for people to read while stuck at home. THE was quick to challenge the effort. And in June 2020, Hachette, along with HarperCollins, Penguin Random House and John Wiley & Sons, , accusing the organization of enabling “massive and willful copyright infringement”. That same month, Internet Archive .
Going into the lawsuit this week, the Internet Archive argued that the initiative was protected by the principle of fair use, which allows the unlicensed use of copyrighted works in certain circumstances. As HathiTrust, an offshoot of the Google Books Search project, successfully used a similar argument in 2014 to of the writers guild. However, Judge Koeltl rejected the Internet Archive’s position, stating “there is nothing transformative” about the lending of unauthorized copies of books. “Although [the Internet Archive] has the right to lend printed books that he has legally acquired, he does not have the right to digitize these books and lend the digital copies in bulk”, he wrote. . . . Maria Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, said the decision “highlighted the importance of authors, publishers and creative markets in a global society”.
On Saturday, the Internet Archive announced that it would appeal the decision. “Libraries are more than customer service for enterprise database products. For democracy to thrive globally, libraries must be able to maintain their historic role in society – owning, preserving and lending books,” the nonprofit wrote in a statement. . “This decision is a blow to libraries, readers and authors and we plan to appeal.”