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ATG Newsflash: Internet Archive is Liable for Copyright Infringement, Court Rules

by | Mar 25, 2023 | 0 comments

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Internet Archive is Liable for Copyright Infringement, Court Rules appears on the TorrentFreak website and is by Ernesto Van der Sar.

The Internet Archive’s online book lending library is not protected by the fair use exception to copyright. Major book publishers successfully argued that the Archive’s lending of scanned books amounts to copyright infringement. In a decision published Friday, a New York federal judge found that the Archive’s fair use defenses weighed strongly against the digital book lending operation.

In 2020, publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley and Penguin Random House sued the Internet Archive (IA) for copyright infringement, equating its ‘Open Library’ to a pirate site.

IA’s library is operated by a non-profit organization that scans physical books and then lends the digital copies to patrons in an ebook format.

While ‘digital’ book lending is not uncommon, libraries typically loan out DRM-protected files after acquiring a license from publishers. In this case, IA sent physical books it owned to a scanning facility and made its own copies.

“Fair Use or Mass Copyright Infringement?

These digital copies were subsequently loaned out to patrons, with IA ensuring that only one person at a time could access a single digital copy of a single physical book.

“IA previously sought summary judgment in its favor, arguing that a digital copy of a physical book ‘transforms’ the original work, with lending limits and the absence of profit also supporting a finding of fair use.

In contrast, the publishers described IA’s library as a rogue operation engaging in willful mass copyright infringement. Claiming direct damage to their bottom line, the publishers’ lawsuit aimed to put an end to the “illegal” lending program once and for all.

The publishers went on to request summary judgment and a declaration that this type of copying is a clear case of copyright infringement. ...”

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