Activists rally to save Internet Archive as lawsuit threatens site
Jun 10, 2020
The Internet Archive is a massive endeavor—it's an online library aiming to "provide Universal Access to All Knowledge." It has digitized millions of web pages, movies, photos, recordings, software programs, and books that might otherwise be lost to history.
But it's neither un-censorable nor outside the bounds of copyright law. And now open internet supporters are wondering how to save it before it disappears.
In March, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to the shutdown of public libraries, the Internet Archive created the National Emergency Library and temporarily suspended book waitlists—the kind that make you cool your jets for 12 weeks to download "A Game of Thrones" onto your Kindle—through the end of June. In doing so, it essentially allowed for a single copy of a book to be downloaded an infinite number of times.
Book publishers weren't happy. Last Monday, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Wiley—four publishing behemoths—sued the organization. The lawsuit argues that "IA’s actions grossly exceed legitimate library services, do violence to the Copyright Act, and constitute willful digital piracy on an industrial scale."
If the court finds that Internet Archive "willfully" infringed copyright, the library could be on the hook for up to $150,000 in damages—per each of the 1.4 million titles. (You do the math.)