Internet Archive is more likely to stop expanding e-book offer after complaints from publishers

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Internet Archive is shutting down its National Emergency Library two weeks ahead of schedule because the organization has been sued by four publishers. The foundation temporarily offers e-books without a waiting list because physical libraries in the U.S. are closed.

The National Emergency Library closes June 16 instead of its scheduled June 30, after which Internet Archive reverts to its “controlled digital lending” policy. The reason for the early termination, according to the foundation, lies in the lawsuit that four publishers filed against the Internet Archive on Monday.

Publishers Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Wiley are suing the foundation for claiming that Internet Archive has illegally scanned 1.3 million copyrighted books and is making them available to users who create an account for free. According to the American publishing industry, Internet Archive appears to be one of the largest piracy sites for books in the world. “The indictment shows that Internet Archive is committing and promoting copyright infringement on a large scale,” said the Association of American Publishers. The organization’s practices are said to have little to do with mainstream libraries, the publishers claim, quickly criticizing the arrival of the Emergency Library .

According to Internet Archive, the indictment actually attacks the concept of libraries owning and lending digital books. Many libraries use controlled digital lending , whereby a single reader can temporarily borrow an e-book, after which access is again denied thanks to DRM. Publishers are also using this and the Internet Archive has been doing this since 2011, is the reply. The policy at the National Emergency Library was temporarily extended because libraries in the US are closed.

Educational institutions would be grateful to remove the waiting list to borrow e-books, and academic publishers would support the project , Internet Archive further points out.

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