The Internet Archive Ends its National Emergency Library Program


INTRO: After following a lawsuit of four commercial publishers, to the Internet Archive, so it has decided to close its temporary National Emergency Library for about two weeks ahead of its initial plans. The program was initially set to end on the 30th of June, will now end on June 16 which is (tomorrow).

For the ones who are unaware of this, the Internet Archive had opened or we can say started a National Emergency Library this March to help people gain and extract knowledge, especially considering the layoffs and to support all the teachers who won’t be able to access physical libraries for reference purpose due to lockdown. But now the program will be put on end a bit early than its decided date that is June 16 tomorrow, this happened as four commercial publishers filed a case to sue Internet Archive.

“We moved up our closing schedule because, last Monday, four of the commercial publishers chose to sue Internet Archive during a global pandemic,” wrote Internet Archive’s Brewster Kahle in a blog post.

The organization will now move back to its Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) model. In the CDL model, only a single person can lend a copy of a book. The organization also adds other interested readers to a waiting list. The readers should wait until the first person returns the book back to the library. In other words, CDL is a digital version of how public libraries in the physical world work. The National Emergency Library temporarily suspended the waiting list, which led publishers to file the lawsuit.

Kahle also mentions that the lawsuit is not limited to Internet Archive’s temporary National Emergency Library. According to the blog post, it directly “attacks the concept of any library owning and lending digital books online for reference, it is challenging the very great idea of what a library is in the digital world.” 

Now that the Internet Archive is about to close its Emergency Library, it will now be interesting to see if the publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House) drop their lawsuit or not. So now lets wait for the further updates on this.


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