San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is joining forces with the law firm of Durie Tangri to defend the Internet Archive against a lawsuit that threatens their Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program, which helps people all over the world check out digital copies of books owned by the Archive and its partner libraries.
“Libraries protect, preserve, and make the world’s information accessible to everyone,” said Internet Archive Founder and Digital Librarian Brewster Kahle. “The publishers are suing to shut down a library and remove books from our digital shelves. This will have a chilling effect on a longstanding and widespread library practice of lending digitized books.”
The non-profit Internet Archive is a digital library, preserving and providing access to cultural artifacts of all kinds in electronic form. CDL allows people to check out digital copies of books for two weeks or less, and only permits patrons to check out as many copies as the Archive and its partner libraries physically own. That means that if the Archive and its partner libraries have only one copy of a book, then only one patron can borrow it at a time, just like any other library.
Four publishers sued the Archive earlier this month, alleging that CDL violates their copyrights. In their complaint, Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House claim CDL has cost their companies millions of dollars and is a threat to their businesses.
“EFF is proud to stand with the Archive and protect this important public service,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “Controlled digital lending helps get books to teachers, children and the general public at a time when that is more needed and more difficult than ever. It is no threat to any publisher’s bottom line.”
“Internet Archive is lending library books to one patron at a time,” said Durie Tangri partner Joe Gratz. “That’s what libraries have done for centuries, and we’re proud to represent Internet Archive in standing up for the rights of libraries in the digital age.”