ALCS urges Members to sign Society of Authors’ open letter to Internet Archive’s Open Library

07 February 2019

Internet Archive’s Open Library is a website that digitises over 250,000 books per year and makes them available to users for free. However, most writers are not even aware that it exists or that their work may have been shared without permission or remuneration.

Open Library operates by unlawfully scanning copies of physical books and making them available to loan as ebooks worldwide. Not only do they make these copies without permission from authors, but they also do not pay royalties to the writers or publishers of said books.

Internet Archive’s Open Library claims that its so-called ‘Controlled Digital Lending’ is lawful under the ‘fair use’ doctrine in the US. Even if this were found to be the case, the fair use exception is not part of UK law, making the Open Library’s activities unlawful in this country.

Earlier this year, the Society of Authors wrote to Internet Archive’s Open Library, demanding it cease making all unlawfully scanned ebooks available in the UK and calling attention to a similar letter written by US writers’ union, the Authors Guild.

We encourage all ALCS Members to sign the Society of Authors’ open letter to Internet Archive’s Open Library to show their support for fair remuneration for all authors.