In 2020, publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley and Penguin Random House sued the Internet Archive (IA) for copyright infringement, equating its ‘Open Library’ to a pirate site.
IA’s library is a non-profit operation that scans physical books, which can then be lent out to patrons in an ebook format. Patrons can also borrow books that are scanned and digitized in-house, with technical restrictions that prevent copying.
Staying true to the centuries-old library concept, only one patron at a time can rent a digital copy of a physical book for a limited period.
Mass Copyright Infringement or Fair Use?
Not all rightsholders are happy with IA’s scanning and lending activities. The publishers are not against libraries per se, nor do they object to ebook lending, but ‘authorized’ libraries typically obtain an official license or negotiate specific terms. The Internet Archive has no license.
The publishers see IA’s library as a rogue operation that engages in…