Internet Archive and publishers agrees to appeal copyright ruling

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The Internet Archive, a digital library that provides free access to books, movies, music, and other content, has reached an agreement with four major publishers to allow the Archive to appeal a recent copyright ruling.

The Internet Archive’s Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) service provided free access to digital books. During the pandemic, lending rules were relaxed, causing a legal dispute. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl ruled for publishers like Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House. An agreement was reached where the Archive will pay publishers if their appeal fails. The Archive argued CDL was fair use, but Judge Koeltl disagreed, saying free distribution conflicted with ebook licenses.

The publishers sued the Archive in 2020, alleging that the Archive was infringing their copyrights by lending out digital copies of books without permission. A federal judge ruled in favor of the publishers in March, finding that the Archive’s lending program was not protected by fair use.

Under the agreement reached with the publishers, the Archive will pay an undisclosed amount of money if the appeal is unsuccessful. The publishers will also be allowed to expand the scope of the injunction against the Archive to include thousands of additional books.

The Archive says that it is still committed to its mission of providing free access to knowledge, and that it will continue to fight for the right of libraries to lend digital books.

“We believe that the judge made factual and procedural errors, and we are confident that we will be successful on appeal,” said Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive. “In the meantime, we are pleased to have reached an agreement with the publishers that will allow us to continue to provide free access to books to the public.”

The sources for this piece include an article in Techspot.

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