A compilation of PW's coverage of Hachette v. Internet Archive, the closely watched copyright case over the scanning and lending of print library books, with the most recent coverage up top. This list will be updated as needed.
In a Swift Decision, Judge Eviscerates Internet Archive’s Scanning and Lending Program: In an emphatic opinion, federal judge John G. Koeltl found the Internet Archive infringed the copyrights of four plaintiff publishers by scanning and lending their books under a legally contested practice known as controlled digital lending. After three years of contentious legal wrangling, the case wasn’t even close.
Is Controlled Digital Lending on Borrowed Time?: At a long-awaited hearing last week, a federal judge sounded skeptical of the Internet Archive’s program to scan and lend library books.
At Hearing, Judge Appears Skeptical of Internet Archive’s Scanning and Lending Program: Over the course of the 90-minute hearing on March 20, 2023 Judge John G. Koeltl appeared unmoved by the IA's fair use claims and unconvinced that the publishers’ market for library e-books was not impacted by the practice known as "controlled digital lending."
Oral Argument Set in Internet Archive Copyright Case: Some four months after final reply briefs were filed (and after more than two years since the case was filed) Judge John G. Koeltl is ready to hear oral arguments.
Publishers, Internet Archive Ready for Summary Judgment Hearing in Book Scanning Case: In a final round of briefs filed on October 7, attorneys for the publishers say the “undisputed facts and settled law” lead to the “inexorable conclusion” that IA’s scanning and lending of library books is copyright infringement on a massive scale. But attorneys for the Internet Archive insist their program is legal and that “no reasonable jury” could conclude that the IA’s controlled scanning and lending of library books harms the publishers’ market.
Authors, Advocacy Group Pen Open Letter Urging Publishers to Support Libraries: In an open letter organized by advocacy group Fight for the Future, a group of authors demanded that publishers and their trade organizations cease efforts the signatories say are undermining libraries. The Association of American Publishers labeled the campaign "disinformation."
Soapbox: In Defense of Library Lending: Kyle Courtney, chair of advocacy group Library Futures defends controlled digital lending, the practice at issue in Hachette v. Internet Archive.
Supporters, Opponents Weigh in on Internet Archive Copyright Battle: Is the Internet Archive's program to scan and lend copies of print library books under an untested legal theory known as controlled digital lending (CDL) wholesale piracy? Or is it a carefully considered and legal effort to preserve the mission of libraries in a digital world that is moving away from ownership to licensed access? Stakeholders on both sides of the case are weigh in with amicus briefs.
Publishers, Internet Archive Trade Reply Briefs in Book Scanning Case: In a reply filing, four major publishers further detailed their claims that the Internet Archive’s long-running program to scan and lend physical library books is blatant copyright infringement. And in a reply filing of their own, lawyers for the Internet Archive argue that the publishers are improperly conflating the market for licensed e-book access with the IA’s efforts to facilitate traditional library lending.
Soapbox: Standing Up for Copyright: Keith Kupferschmid, CEO of the Copyright Alliance argues that the the Internet Archive's program to scan and lend library books is "theft, plain and simple."
Internet Archive, Publishers to Seek Summary Judgment in Book Scanning Lawsuit: In a June 10 order, Judge John G. Koeltl granted the parties’ request to proceed with summary judgment motions.
Publishers, Internet Archive File Dueling Summary Judgment Motions: The battle lines are drawn: In their motion for summary judgment Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House argue that the Internet Archive's program to scan and lend books is a massive piracy operation "masquerading as a not-for-profit library." The Internet Archive counters that its scanning and lending program does not harm authors and publishers and is a public good protected by fair use.
Judge Hears Discovery Disputes in Internet Archive Book Scanning Suit: At a December 2 pre-motion conference, magistrate judge Ona T. Wang told the parties to continue discussions regarding three ongoing discovery disputes.
Internet Archive Rejects Publishers’ ‘Stonewalling’ Claim in Scanning Lawsuit: The Internet Archive rejected accusations in a November 19 accusing them of seeking to “run out the clock” on discovery.
In New Filing, Publishers Accuse Internet Archive of ‘Stonewalling’ Discovery in Scanning Lawsuit: Lawyers for the plaintiff publishers claim the Internet Archive is withholding documents from discovery.
Publishers, AAP Hit Back in Internet Archive Discovery Dispute: Lawyers for the Association of American Publishers and a group of publisher plaintiffs push back against the Internet Archive's bid to obtain a range of the AAP's internal communications and documents for its defense against copyright infringement charges.
Internet Archive Seeking AAP, Publisher Communications in Book Scanning Lawsuit: Lawyers for the Internet Archive told a federal judge that the plaintiff publishers and the Association of American Publishers are refusing to properly comply with discovery requests.
Discovery Extension Requested in Internet Archive Book Scanning Suit: “There has been extensive progress on discovery,” wrote Elizabeth McNamara, lawyer for four plaintiff publishers. “But looking ahead, it has become clear that more time is required to process the voluminous documentary evidence produced in this case."
Publishers Blast Internet Archive’s ‘Extraordinary’ Demand for Sales Data: Lawyers for four plaintiff publishers this week filed a blistering response to the Internet Archive’s demand for a decade’s worth of the plaintiff publishers’ monthly sales data to use in its defense.
Internet Archive Seeking 10 Years of Publisher Sales Data for Its Fair Use Defense: IA attorneys told the court it is seeking monthly sales data for all books in print by the four plaintiff publishers (Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Wiley) dating back to 2011. But the publishers, IA lawyers told the court, have balked at the sweeping request reportedly countering that the request is well beyond what the case calls for.
Judge Sets Tentative Schedule for Internet Archive Copyright Case: Federal judge John G. Koeltl orders the parties in a copyright infringement case filed by four major publishers against the Internet Archive be ready for trial by November, 2021.
Publishers, Internet Archive Propose Yearlong Discovery Plan for Copyright Case: In a joint filing, attorneys for the Internet Archive and four publishers suing for copyright infringement proposed a discovery plan for the case that would extend for more than a year.
Internet Archive Answers Publishers' Copyright Lawsuit: In their answer to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by four major publishers, the Internet Archive insists that its long-running book scanning and lending program is protected by fair use. "Contrary to the publishers’ accusations, the Internet Archive, and the hundreds of libraries and archives that support it, are not pirates or thieves," the filing states. "They are librarians, striving to serve their patrons online just as they have done for centuries in the brick-and-mortar world. Copyright law does not stand in the way of libraries’ right to lend, and patrons’ right to borrow, the books that libraries own."
Internet Archive to Publishers: Drop ‘Needless’ Copyright Lawsuit and Work with Us: During a 30-minute Zoom press conference on July 22, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle urged the four major publishers suing over the organization’s book scanning efforts to consider settling the dispute in the boardroom rather than the courtroom.
Internet Archive to End 'National Emergency Library' Initiative: Citing a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by publishers, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle announced that the IA’s National Emergency Library initiative will cease operating on June 16, 2020, two weeks earlier than its previously announced June 30 closing date.
Publishers Charge the Internet Archive with Copyright Infringement: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House file suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York charging the Internet Archive with copyright infringement. In its suit, the publishers make clear it is not suing the IA over “the occasional transmission of a title under appropriately limited circumstances, nor about anything permissioned or in the public domain,” but rather over the IA's “purposeful collection of truckloads of in-copyright books to scan, reproduce, and then distribute digital bootleg versions online.”
Before the Lawsuit
UNC Press, Duke Reach Cooperation Agreement with National Emergency Library: The University of North Carolina Press and Duke University Press announce a formal cooperation agreement in support of the Internet Archive's National Emergency Library initiative. “We agree that in this extraordinary moment, an unprecedented level of cooperation is required to address this crisis in order to meet the dire needs of readers—especially students and other readers who are at risk for losing access to their traditional sources of books,” reads the text of the statement.
Internet Archive Responds to Senator’s Concern Over National Emergency Library: In a three-page response IA founder Brewster Kahle responded to the Senator's criticisms. “Your constituents have paid for millions of books they currently cannot access,” Kahle explained, adding that North Carolina’s public libraries house more than 15 million print book volumes in 323 library branches across the state. “Fortunately, we do not need an ‘emergency copyright act’ because the fair use doctrine, codified in the Copyright Act, provides flexibility to libraries and others to adjust to changing circumstances.”
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis Questions the Internet Archive's 'National Emergency Library': In an April 8 letter to Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, questioned the legal basis for the Archive's National Emergency Library initiative. "I am not aware of any measure under copyright law that permits a user of copyrighted works to unilaterally create an emergency copyright act. Indeed, I am deeply concerned that your 'Library' is operating outside the boundaries of the copyright law that Congress has enacted and alone has jurisdiction to amend."
Internet Archive Responds, Says National Emergency Library Is Legal
After a week of intense criticism, the Internet Archive yesterday posted an FAQ in response to concerns raised over its National Emergency Library, claiming the effort has a basis in law, and reiterating that the program was undertaken in response to what IA officials see as a national crisis.
Authors Guild, AAP Outraged by IA's 'National Emergency Library': The outcry from publisher and author groups has been swift and furious after the Internet Archive announced the launch of its National Emergency Library, which has removed access restrictions for some 1.4 million scans of mostly 20th century books in the IA's Open Library initiative, making them available for unlimited borrowing during the Covid-19 Outbreak. “We are stunned by the Internet Archive’s aggressive, unlawful, and opportunistic attack on the rights of authors and publishers in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic," reads a March 27 statement from Association of American Publishers president and CEO Maria Pallante.
Could Library Book Scanning Be Headed Back to Court?: If you thought the controversy over library book scanning ended with the Google case, think again. The National Writers Union is the latest organization to join the outcry over a practice known as “controlled digital lending” (CDL), by which a library (or a nonprofit, like the Internet Archive) scans a print copy of a book they have legally acquired, then makes the scan available to be borrowed in lieu of the print book.
The Business of Making E-books Free: When Amy Brand took the helm at the MIT Press in 2015, she was prepared to budget hundreds of thousands of dollars to begin the difficult process of digitizing thousands of backlist titles. As she planned the digitization program, she put in a call to Brewster Kahle, a former member of the press management board, who she hoped might rejoin the press family. Two years later, the result of their conversation is a partnership to digitize many important books from the press’s backlist and make them available to libraries for free.
Brewster's Millions: ALA Preview 2011: In a Q&A with PW, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle says wants to see millions of library e-books, millions of readers—and millions of dollars for publishers and authors.
Open Library Launches New “Digitize and Lend” E-Book Lending Program: Moving from a system where libraries buy books and curate collections for the public to a system where libraries simply serve as access points when permitted by rightsholders, argues Brewster Kahle, is a major shift in the way libraries work, with significant cultural implications.