|Weekly News Digest
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COVID-19 NEWS: Internet Archive's National Emergency Library Draws Backlash
Colin Dwyer writes the following for NPR:
Last week, when the Internet Archive announced its ‘National Emergency Library,’ expanding access to more than a million digitized works, the group explained the move as a goodwill gesture in the time of coronavirus.
With so many brick-and-mortar libraries forced to close their doors, in other words, the group was opening up its lending program: Now, instead of its usual policy of just one digital copy per reader for a 14-day period, many frustrated readers could borrow copies of the same book during the same time—and could do so through the end of June or the end of the global pandemic, whichever came sooner.
But there’s one major issue that several media outlets, including NPR, failed to mention in covering the decision: Many writers and publishers say the website, even before the creation of this National Emergency Library, has been sharing full digital copies of their books without their permission.
And over the weekend, dozens of prominent authors, from Colson Whitehead and Neil Gaiman to Alexander Chee, made clear that they were upset with the Internet Archive’s model—and doubly so now, with the expansion of lending services and its timing.
An Authors Guild statement from March 27 condemning the Internet Archive is here, and author Chuck Wendig issued a blog post—after being quoted in this NPR article—that features his full statement on the controversy.
For more information, read the NPR article (which includes the Internet Archive’s rebuttal).
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