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Publishers sue Internet Archive over Open Library ebook lending

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Four major book publishers have filed suit against the Internet Archive for copyright violations relating to the Open Library project, setting the stage for a major legal fight over one of the internet’s longest-running ebook archives.

Launched in 2006, Internet Archive’s Open Library allows users to borrow ebooks scanned from physical copies, according to a theory called “controlled digital lending” (or CDL) that limits how many times a single scan can be borrowed at once. The project expanded in March with the launch of the National Emergency Library, which suspended waitlists in response to the global pandemic, making all scanned books immediately accessible to anyone with an account.

Crucially, the project circumvents the typical...

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