All the member of the Association of American Publishers – HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House and John Wiley & Sons filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive on June 1st. In the initial days of the coronavirus pandemic, National Emergency Library brought this up in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In March, when lockdown restrictions were enforced and bookstores and libraries were closed, the Internet Archive released approx 1.4 million free digitized books including latest works, fiction, thriller, non-fiction and children’s books, to the public.

Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, says, “Today’s complaint illustrates that Internet Archive is conducting and promoting copyright infringement on a massive scale. In scanning and distributing literary works to which it has no legal or contractual rights, IA deliberately misappropriates the intellectual and financial investments of authors and publishers and brazenly ignores the copyright law that Congress enacted.

“IA operates with profound disrespect for the value chain of copyright, in which authors, publishers, bookstores, platforms, educational institutions and libraries work together for the benefit of society, whether during prosperity or a pandemic. One need only look to the generous responses of these partners to the ongoing COVID-19 health and economic crises to appreciate their creative collaborations and shared commitment to connecting readers of all ages to a wonderful diversity of literature, scholarship, and learning solutions.

“Regrettably, it seems clear that the Internet Archive intends to bludgeon the legal framework that governs copyright investments and transactions in the modern world. As the complaint outlines, by illegally copying and distributing online a stunning number of literary works each day, IA displays an abandon shared only by the world’s most egregious pirate sites.”

The founder and digital librarian of Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle says, “As a library, the Internet Archive acquires books and lends them, as libraries have always done. This supports publishing and authors and readers. Publishers suing libraries for lending books, in this case, protected digitized versions, and while schools and libraries are closed, is not in anyone’s interest.”

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