Today, the Internet Archive has submitted its appeal in its loss vs the lawsuit filed by major publishers. When the decision was handed down in March, the Internet Archive vowed that it would appeal the case and they have just done so. The company said “we know this won’t be easy, but it’s a necessary fight if we want library collections to survive in the digital age.
Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House initially filed their lawsuit against the Internet Archive in 2020 after it opened a program dubbed the National Emergency Library. They did this during the height of the pandemic, and the company lets people digitally “check out” scanned copies of physical books. Publishers dubbed both systems “wilful digital piracy on an industrial scale.”
The argument that the Internet Archive made at the time, was their initiative fell under fair use. This did not sit well with the Judge, who ruled against them. In an August settlement required it to remove public access to commercially available books that remained under copyright, which they did.
Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive stated “Libraries are under attack like never before. The core values and library functions of preservation and access, equal opportunity, and universal education are being threatened by book bans, budget cuts, onerous licensing schemes, and now by this harmful lawsuit. We are counting on the appellate judges to support libraries and our longstanding and widespread library practices in the digital age. Now is the time to stand up for libraries.”
I don’t think the Internet Archive will win this appeal either, they are continuing to spend millions of dollars to try and fight this. However, it is one of the most open and shut cases I have ever seen. Their National Emergency Library system was wilful piracy, no matter how they try and spin it. They will likely not do any better filing their appeal, then they did with the initial judgment.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.