Internet Archive was providing access to nearly 1.4 million books freely available on the platform, which could be used by anyone to take a reference or use as study materials. But earlier this month, a few authors of different books filed a lawsuit against Internet Archive stating they were promoting piracy by sharing paid books for free.
Following the lawsuit, The Internet Archive officials have taken down the Emergency Library program with immediate effect. It was announced by the organization via a blog post.
Internet Archive introduced this option for users which lets them access many books that were digitally available. It includes many paid as well as free books on the platform. During this emergency situation, it would have been really helpful for students who could not go to schools or colleges due to coronavirus pandemic.
On June 1st, four publishers – Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette filed a lawsuit against Internet Archive for sharing copyrighted content. It violated their respective copyright guidelines. Following this, the Internet Archive made the decision to shut down the Emergency Library earlier than scheduled. It was originally planned to exist up to the 30th of June, but due to the lawsuit, Internet Archive will takedown the service on the 16th of June. It’s a couple of weeks before the scheduled date.
On the blogpost, Internet Archive shared, “Today we are announcing the National Emergency Library will close on June 16th, rather than June 30th, returning to traditional controlled digital lending. We have learned that the vast majority of people use digitized books on the Internet Archive for a very short time. Even with the closure of the NEL, we will be able to serve most patrons through controlled digital lending, in part because of the good work of the non-profit HathiTrust Digital Library. HathiTrust’s new Emergency Temporary Access Service features a short-term access model that we plan to follow.”
National Emergency Library was a temporary solution from the Internet Archive to make it easy for people to access books even during the COVID-19 global pandemic times.