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Advocates are hosting a rally Saturday in San Francisco in support of the Internet Archive, a California-based nonprofit online library that is fighting in what some are calling a landmark legal case for access to digital books.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the Internet Archive expanded its Open Library program to allow anyone in the country access any given title in its digital archive at the same time, giving students access to books when physical bookstores, libraries and schools were closed.
The print industry’s largest publishers sued the Internet Archive that year, arguing that it violated traditional copyright law by allowing unlimited numbers of people to access e-books at the same time, and by not paying licensing fees for separate digital editions of copyrighted books.
The Internet Archive argued that it has the right to digitize its library because it owned physical copies of the books it distributed.
Last month, a federal judge ruled in favor of the publishers. The decision makes it so libraries don’t have the right to turn print books into e-books and distribute them. Northeastern University Library Dean Dan Cohen wrote in the Atlantic that the decision is a “serious loss” for public libraries and could change their entire scope in the future.
The Internet Archive plans to appeal the decision, and its supporters will rally behind it in San Francisco on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. outside of the Internet Archive’s headquarters at 300 Funston Ave.
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