Internet Archive Loses in Court. Judge Rules They Can’t Scan and Lend eBooks – Slashdot
The Verge reports:
A federal judge has ruled against the Internet Archive in Hachette v. Internet Archive, a lawsuit brought against it by four book publishers, deciding that the website does not have the right to scan books and lend them out like a library. Judge John G. Koeltl decided that the Internet Archive had done nothing more than create “derivative works,” and so would have needed authorization from the books’ copyright holders — the publishers — before lending them out through its National Emergency Library program.
The Internet Archive says it will appeal.
The decision was “a blow to all libraries and the communities we serve,” argued Chris Freeland, the director of Open Libraries at the Internet Archive. In a blog post he argued the decision “impacts libraries across the U.S. who rely on controlled digital lending to connect their patrons with books online.
It hurts authors by saying that unfair licensing models are the only way their books can be read online. And it holds back access to information in the digital age, harming all readers, everywhere.
The Verge adds that the judge rejected “fair use” arguments which had previously protected a 2014 digital book preservation project by Google Books and HathiTrust:
Koetl wrote that any “alleged benefits” from the Internet Archive’s library “cannot outweigh the market harm to the publishers,” declaring that “there is nothing transformative about [Internet Archive’s] copying and unauthorized lending,” and that copying these books doesn’t provide “criticism, commentary, or information about them.” He notes that the Google Books use was found “transformative” because it created a searchable database instead of simply publishing copies of books on the internet.
Koetl also dismissed arguments that the Internet Archive might theoretically have helped publishers sell more copies of their books, saying there was no direct evidence, and that it was “irrelevant” that the Internet Archive had purchased its own copies of the books before making copies for its online audience. According to data obtained during the trial, the Internet Archive currently hosts around 70,000 e-book “borrows” a day.