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  • Hilary Sumner

Internet Archive Being Sued over COVID-19 "Emergency Library"

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

The Internet Archive (IA) is a nonprofit organization that has digitally preserved more than 1.4 million books and historical documents. The organization is best known for the Wayback Machine which comprises nearly 390 billion pages of internet archives. Following the recent pandemic, IA began another project called the Open Library in which it allowed users to borrow digital copies of archived books. These books included not only those in the public domain but works that are still under copyright protection. IA does own physical copies of each book and much like a standard library, the Open Library lent only one digital copy of each book out at a time.

In June of this year, a number of publishers challenged the Open Library claiming that IA was engaging in piracy of these copyrighted works. The suit requests an injunction against further lending of protected material but does not seek to shut down IA as an organization. Even if successful, works within the public domain would still be available. Read full article here: https://www.vox.com/2020/6/23/21293875/internet-archive-website-lawsuit-open-library-wayback-machine-controversy-copyright

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