Internet Archive releases emergency library during coronavirus pandemic, authors not happy

What is a bibliophile to do when their sanctuary, known as a library to most non-book aficionados, is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

It’s the Internet Archive to the rescue. The group has created what it calls a National Emergency Library, removing any waitlist on more than 1.4 million books until June 30, or the end of the national pandemic.

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That means anyone can read any book in the archive, at any time.

The reason the group did it was because school and public libraries are closed and it’s allowing those who want or need to learn to have an outlet.

The archive focuses on books published between the 1920s and the early 2000s, before e-books were created. They also are not a traditional e-book, instead, they are scans of every page of a traditional book, which were then uploaded to an online file.

While the move has been embraced by librarians and students, not everyone is happy that the Internet Archive is allowing multiple checkouts of the same digital file.

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The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers both released statements that slam the release of the books.

The Authors Guild said it is “appalled” by the move.

“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," the Authors Guild said in a statement.

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“We are stunned by the Internet Archive’s aggressive, unlawful, and opportunistic attack on the rights of authors and publishers in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic,” the AAP said in a separate statement.

To see what is available in the National Emergency Library, click here.

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