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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Publishers vs Internet Archive

Came across this pre pandemic when I received a letter from my local library about them decreasing the number of digital 'copies' of books available.    Had previously been connected to the Google Books program, that sought to digitize many books.   Still under way, but now far reduced.   There the publishers fought the digitization, even when the books involved were orphaned,  and had no remaining copyright owners.   Had not heard of the case with the Internet Archive,  which we used to track the emergence of web sites.   What does it mean to own a book?  And what does it mean in these times?    The Internet is a great resource, but shouldn't it have access to all publications?
Publishers Are Taking the Internet to Court
In a lawsuit against the Internet Archive, the largest corporations in publishing want to change what it means to own a book.    By Maria Bustillos   in TheNation.

When Covid-19 struck, hundreds of millions of students were suddenly stranded at home without access to teachers or libraries. UNESCO reported that in April, 90 percent of the world’s enrolled students had been adversely affected by the pandemic. In response, the Internet Archive’s Open Library announced the National Emergency Library, a temporary program suspending limits on the number of patrons who could borrow its digital books simultaneously. The Open Library lends at no charge about 4 million digital books, 2.5 million of which are in the public domain, and 1.4 million of which may be under copyright and subject to lending restrictions. (This is roughly equivalent to a medium-sized city library; the New York Public Library, by comparison, holds 21.9 million books and printed materials and 1.78 million e-books, according to 2016 figures from the American Library Association.) But the National Emergency Library wound up creating an emergency of its own—for the future of libraries. ... "     (Much more in the article) 

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