Internet Archive, the American digital library, opened the National Emergency Library, a digital collection of more than 1.4 million copyrighted e-books on Tuesday. These books are available for free for people all across the world until at least until June 30.
The Internet Archive mentioned that they have taken this step to help deal with the global need to access research materials.
“This library brings together all the books from Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, and much of Trent University’s collections, along with over a million other books donated from other libraries to readers worldwide that are locked out of their libraries,” wrote Internet Archive on their blog.
“This was our dream for the original Internet coming to life: the Library at everyone’s fingertips,” said Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive.
Some people have, however, raised questions about whether this move is a violation of copyright since books available through the National Emergency Library don’t just include academic tomes but best sellers as well.
The Author’s Guild, an industry body that had called the Internet Archive a “violation of copyright” some years ago, wrote in a blog post, “Internet Archive has no rights whatsoever to these books, much less to give them away indiscriminately without consent of the publisher or author. We are shocked that the Internet Archive would use the COVID-19 epidemic as an excuse to push copyright law further out to the edges, and in doing so, harm authors, many of whom are already struggling.”
Besides the copyrighted books in the National Library, Internet Archive also offers free access to 2.5 million downloadable public domain books.
(With Agency Inputs)
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