The Internet Archive has prematurely ended its National Emergency Library program after four commercial publishers filed lawsuits earlier this month,media The Verge reported. The organization opened the National Emergency Library project in March, providing free access to 1.4 million books to people who were unable to access classrooms or libraries during the New Crown virus pandemic.
The National Emergency Library is part of the “Open Library” program, where the Internet Archive scans library books and allows digital “borrowing” through waiting lists. But the National Emergency Library Project removed the waiting list so that the scanned books could be used immediately.
The Internet Archive had planned to keep the National Emergency Library project running until June 30. But on June 1, publishers Hachette, Penguin Random House, Wiley and Harper Collins sued the Internet Archive for copyright infringement. The Authors Guild said in March that the Internet Archive was “a pirated website” that violated authors’ rights to their work.
“The reason we moved the schedule forward is that last Monday, four commercial publishers chose to sue the Internet Archive during the global pandemic,” Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive wrote in a blog post. Instead of ending its online lending program completely, the Internet Archive has switched back to its controlled digital lending model, according to the blog post.
It was not immediately clear Sunday whether ending the National Emergency Library program would force publishers to end the lawsuit.