Today, member companies of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a motion for summary judgment in the copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet Archive, first filed on June 1, 2020 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The filings show that IA’s illegal mass scanning, public display, and distribution of literary works are in direct contravention of the Copyright Act and in direct competition with lawfully licensed markets for both library and consumer eBooks. IA offers its unauthorized copies to the public at large through a global-facing enterprise coined “Open Library” and, previously, through a service dubbed the “National Emergency Library.” The defendant’s activities are part of a larger commercial enterprise that not only provides access to books but also adds to its bottom line. Between 2011 and 2020, IA made approximately $30 million from libraries for scanning books in their collections.
The publishers involved in this saga are Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Random House, and Wiley — brought the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their authors after the Internet Archive refused to halt its infringement of tens of thousands of their books. The suit names 127 literary works that include a stunning cross section of fiction, and non- fiction, books by such authors as Toni Morrison, Malcolm Gladwell, and Ann Patchett. The named works are a mere sample of more than 33,000 titles on Internet Archive’s site.
Since the suit was filed IA has dramatically accelerated the pace of its infringing activity, adding many thousands of scans from the publishers who brought the complaint against them, as well as titles belonging to other publishers. Today, IA makes more than 3 million in-copyright eBooks available for public consumption.