As expected, the Internet Archive this week has submitted its appeal in Hatchette v. Internet Archive, the closely-watched copyright case involving the scanning and digital lending of library books, Publishers Weekly reported.
In a brief notice filed with the court, IA lawyers are seeking review by the Second Circuit court of appeals in New York of the “August 11, 2023 Judgement and Permanent Injunction; the March 24, 2023 Opinion and Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgement and Denying Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgement; and from any and all orders, rulings, findings and/or conclusions adverse to Defendant Internet Archive.”
According to Publishers Weekly, the notice of appeal comes right at the 30-day deadline – a month to the day after judge John G. Koeltl approved and entered a negotiated consent judgement in the case which declared the IA’s scanning and lending program to be copyright infringement, as well as a permanent injunction that, among its provisions, bars the IA from lending unauthorized scans of the plaintiffs’ in-copyright, commercially available books that are available in digital editions.
The copyright infringement lawsuit was first filed on June 1, 2020, in the Southern District of New York by Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Wiley, and organized by the Association of American Publishers.
The Internet Archive posted on its blog: “Internet Archive Files Appeal in Publishers’ Lawsuit Against Libraries”. From the blog (posted on September 11, 2023):
“Today, the Internet Archive has submitted its appeal in Hatchette v. Internet Archive. As we stated when the decision was handed down in March, we believe the lower court made errors in facts and law, so we are fighting on in the face of great challenges. We know this won’t be easy, but it’s a necessary fight if we want library collections to survive the digital age.”
Statement from Brewster Kahle, Founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive:
“Libraries are under attack like never before. The core values and library functions of preservation and access, equal opportunity, and universal education are being threatened by book bans, budget cuts, onerous licensing schemes, and now by this harmful lawsuit. We are counting on the appellate judges to support libraries and our longstanding widespread library practices in the digital age. Now is the time to stand up for libraries.”
The Verge reported that the appeal from the IA follows a settlement that saw the Archive limit access to some of its scanned books as well as a second suit filed by music publishers over the Archive’s digitization of vintage records.
According to The Verge, the March ruling found that the internet Archive’s scanning and lending of books didn’t fall under the protections of fair use law, and an August settlement required it to remove public access to commercially available books that remained under copyright.
In addition to affecting the Archive, the ruling cast doubt on a legal theory called “controlled digital lending” that would allow other libraries to offer access to digitized books they physically own – rather than relying on frequently expensive and limited lending systems like OverDrive.
In my opinion, it sounds like the publishers are out to get the Internet Archive. This makes me sad. There are currently plenty of people who suddenly favor book bans – even from physical libraries. I don’t like the direction this is going in.