Internet Archive makes 1.4 million ebooks available for free during the shutdown of the corona virus
Internet Archive launches the National Emergency Library and makes 1.4 million ebooks available to the public to help universities and students who study remotely while disabling the corona virus
- The Internet Archive has launched a new public library with 1.4 million books
- The National Emergency Library is designed to help universities and colleges
- The books are made available through a new interpretation of ‘fair use’
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The internet archive has made access to over 1.4 million ebooks free for people trapped inside during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The books will be available through a new portal called the National Emergency Library, something the internet archive organizers have decided to help universities transition to remote instruction.
While many of the books are still copyrighted, they are made available according to a theory of fair use, which would give teachers access to protected material for educational purposes at a time when there is no other reasonable way to access the material .
More than 1.4 million books will be made available to the public in digital form through the National Emergency Library, a new initiative from the Internet Archive to help people who live in shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We believe this is an extraordinary moment in time that needs help on a scale we can provide,” the Internet Archive explains in a FAQ for the library, reported by Vice.
The books in the new emergency collection are originally from another internet archive project, the Open Library, which functioned as a digital equivalent of a real library.
The Open Library had a wide variety of titles, including textbooks, novels, non-fiction books, and more.
Digital copies of books had to be checked out from the open library, and the number of times a single book could be checked out was limited in the same way that a normal library would be limited by the number of physical copies available.
The National Emergency Library will remove waiting lists and restrictions on the number of digital copies of each work, although users will still need to sign up for a membership account to view books in the collection.
According to University of Washington librarian Theresa Murdock, the program has already been of great help to professors.
“Today I was able to inform ten instructors that the books they needed were available now, while they were not yesterday,” Murdock said in a UW Libraries blog post.
The National Emergency Library allows anyone with an Internet archive account to “check out” one of their books, without limiting the number of copies of a book that can be checked out at any one time
Some authors whose work has been included in the library feel unsure about the comprehensive approach to override copyright protection.
Kim Kavin, author of Tools for Native Americans: A Kid’s Guide to the History & Culture of the First Americans, said she would have granted permission to include her book in the library, but wished the Internet archive had asked first.
“Everyone in the world is going through a rough time and everyone wants to help each other,” she told Vice. “But that doesn’t mean you have to resort to theft.”
Chris Freeland of the internet archive acknowledged that the library is trying a new interpretation of fair use with the National Emergency Library and says they will comply with any author’s request to have their work removed from the library.
The National Emergency remains open to the public through June 30, or the end of the emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, depending on which date comes.