Internet Archive forced to remove over 500,000 books from its Open Library

The Internet Archive's Open Library project suffers a major blow as a US court rules in favor of publishers claiming copyright infringement.

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The Internet Archive is an invaluable resource, a digital library for the planet that gives people free access to digitized books, magazines, software, music, and even websites (thanks to the Wayback Machine). It preserves humanity's collected works for current and future generations.

Internet Archive forced to remove over 500,000 books from its Open Library 1

However, thanks to a recent US court decision that ruled in favor of major publishers in a copyright infringement lawsuit, over 500,000 of half a million books are being removed from the Internet Archive's Open Library project. The organization is appealing the decision, but the books cover the works of publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Wiley - the big boys.

So, many known books are unavailable in the Open Library. The good news is that the verdict doesn't affect the Internet Archive's accessibility program, so the affected books are still available for those with print disabilities.

The lawsuit and outcome, well, book ban also includes the works of several lesser-known publishers that are part of the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Even though it might sound like the Internet Archive was giving books away for free, it employed a Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) system, widely used by libraries to load print books to people who might not be able to visit a library in person for books it purchases.

Many, including the creators of the Internet Archive's Open Library project, view having digital copies of books available online to borrow as the future of the traditional library.

"We understand that this is a devastating loss for our patrons, and we are fighting back through the courts to restore access to these books," the Internet Archive wrote in a statement. "Fortunately, other countries and international library organizations are moving to support Controlled Digital Lending. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we fight this long battle."

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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