In a 47-page opinion issued on March 24, United States district judge John G. Koeltl (SD-NY) found the Internet Archive infringed the copyrights of four plaintiff publishers by scanning and lending their books under a legally contested practice known as controlled digital lending (CDL).

The ruling came after a March 20 hearing, during which the judge sounded deeply skeptical of the Internet Archive’s case, reports Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer.

“In a devastating decision, Koeltl noted that no case or legal principle supported the IA’s scanning and lending program,” Albanese tells me. “In fact, Koeltl concluded that every authority points the other direction.”

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The closely watched copyright infringement lawsuit was first filed on June 1, 2020, by Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Wiley, and was organized by the Association of American Publishers.

“While the suit specifically involves 127 works from the plaintiff publishers, that’s just a sample of the 33,000 plaintiff publishers’ works said to be included in the Internet Archive’s library, with court filings suggesting the library includes an estimated 3.6 million works potentially under copyright,” Albanese says.


Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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