US Open Library is infringing Australian authors’ copyright

March 4, 2019

The Australian Society of Authors has joined with similar organisations in the UK and America to condemn the Internet Archive’s Open Library project, which aims to digitise and distribute books for free.

A recent examination of the project by the ASA found that the site was hosting scanned copies of in-copyright books by Australian authors such as Helen Garner, Michelle de Kretser, Tim Winton and many more.

In an interview with Claire Nichols from The Book Show on Radio National, ASA CEO Juliet Rogers explained that they had  approached the Open Library to ask them to remove the books from the site.

Ms Rogers says: “They do have a statement on their own website saying that they work to uphold copyright etc, and we asked them to exercise their own copyright policy and remove books by Australian authors, which are protected by copyright.

“They have another legal opinion that they are relying on, but that’s not OK for Australian authors.

“Their response was that they preferred to deal with the actual authors individually, so we’ve taken them at their word and provided authors – whose books are there without permission – with a draft takedown notice to send to them.

“Given how tremendously difficult it is to earn a living from writing, we are deeply concerned about the Open Library project, which undermines legitimate ebooks sales and standard library practices.”

“It’s not that authors are trying to block people having access to their works, but they depend on their income from their intellectual property and this doctrine of everything should be free – well – how are we going to generate wonderful writing if no-one ever gets paid.”

To check if your work has been published on the site without permission, go to the ASA’s website and follow the instructions. The Copyright Agency would be interested to hear from any of our members, particularly educational publishers, about any copyright infringements.

International Publishers Association joins appeal against Controlled Digital Lending (CDL)

A large coalition of rightholders’ organisations and their representatives joined together to raise awareness about the damage caused by ‘controlled digital lending’, a practice involving the scanning of printed books for distribution online via the internet archive and US and Canadian libraries. Read more.

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