INTERNET ARCHIVES UPDATE – Update on 21 July 2021

We have updated you previously on the Internet Archive, who scan and distribute books (still under copyright) without permission. This practice has been widely condemned by Author’s organisations globally.

The Internet Archive have now stated that they prefer to work directly with individual authors and invited authors to contact them directly with any complaints. We encourage our members to take the following action:
1. Search the Open Library to check if your work is being made available for unlawful download. 
2. If so, send an email to requesting the removal of your book from the Open Library. Let your publisher know that you are doing this so you don’t double up work.

Here is some text you can adapt: 

Dear Internet Archive

I am the author and copyright owner of  [title and, if possible, additional identifying information such as ISBNs.] 

My exclusive publisher is [insert name of publisher.] 

From a search of your website,, I can see that, without my permission, my book(s) have been copied and are available for borrowing and/or downloading by members of the public, including in Australia.

I have a good faith belief that the use of this material in such a fashion is not authorised by me, or my publisher, or my agent or the law. 

Please remove my book(s) from the Open Library website, the Internet Archive, and any other website(s) owned or controlled by you, as soon as possible. My book(s) can be found at:  [provide URL for each book]

I attest, under penalty of perjury, that the information contained in this notification is accurate. 

I may be contacted by the following methods: [(include all) physical address, telephone number, and email address]. 


[provide e-signature or type full legal name] 

21/7/21 – NZ Publishers are reporting that they have had to issue takedown multiple times, as if books are rescanned and uploaded the Internet Archive reposts them.


The NZSA condemns the practices of the Internet Archive’s Open Library, who scan physical books and then make those scanned copies freely available for users all around the world. This includes books by New Zealand writers and they send free copies into all territories, including New Zealand.

Without seeking permission or paying copyright to the authors, Open Library is operating illegally under the terms of international copyright law under the Berne Convention and subsequent legislation. This practice destroys legitimate e-book sales and hard copy book sales from physical and on-line bookshops. It falls outside the terms and practice of legitimate copyright licencing and falls short of standard library ethics and traditional practice. 

NZSA has just received the results of the CLNZ writers earning report 2018 and the average NZ income is $13,000 for NZ writers.  The Internet Archive’s Open Library’s actions deprive writers of even this meagre return. The books they are freely and illegally distributing include New Zealand works by Man Booker prize-winner Eleanor Catton, Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, Paul Cleave and others.

The NZSA joins the Society of Authors (UK) and the Author’s Guild (US) and the Australian Society of Authors in condemning the activities of the Open Library in copying and distributing authors’ work without permission or payment. We call on the Internet Archive to stop this unlawful practice and to immediately remove infringing material from its site. You can read our open letter to the Internet Archive below. 

Internet Archive
300 Funston Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: 415-561-6767

25 January 2019

To The Head Librarian and Internet Archive Open Library Copyright Officer

Re: Open Library: illegal copying and copyright infringement 

The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa is the primary organisation representing authors in New Zealand. We are a professional membership body,  a non-profit organisation and advocate on behalf of our members.

The NZSA joins the Society of Authors (UK) and the Author’s Guild (US) and the Australian Society of Authors in condemning your current practice that copies and distributes authors’ work without permission or recompense. We endorse the open letters sent to the Internet Archive by the Society of Authors and Authors Guild and ASA. The NZSA calls on the Internet Archive to cease this practice immediately.  It is illegal for you to lend, via the website, unauthorised scanned books by New Zealand authors to users around the world, including in New Zealand.

We note that your Copyright Policy states:

The Internet Archive respects the intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights of others. The Internet Archive may, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, remove certain content or disable access to content that appears to infringe the copyright or other intellectual property rights of others.

Please uphold your policy by immediately removing all books by New Zealand authors from your site which are protected by copyright, and all those titles you have not obtained permission from the copyright owner to scan or loan the book.

New Zealand authors struggle to generate a sustainable income from their work. NZSA has just received the results of the CLNZ writers earning report 2018 and the average NZ income is NZ$13,000 for writers.  While authors want their work to be read throughout the world, they simply want fair reward for their efforts and recognition of their intellectual property rights.
Your infringement includes New Zealand works by Man Booker prize-winner Eleanor Catton, Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, Paul Cleave and others.

The Open Library undermines book sales and legitimate library practice and ethics. The Open Library is actively and deliberately stealing writers’ income, as well as their work, contrary to your own policy.

We understand you use the ‘Position Statement on Controlled Digital Lending’ to justify the action, under the ‘US Fair Use’ regime. This position statement and the US Fair Use Doctrine applies to the US territory has no legal standing in New Zealand. It directly contravenes our copyright law and we argue, along with our UK, US and Australian colleagues, that scanning and offering books for lending without authorisation from or payment to the authors, is not ‘Fair Use’ but is, in fact, copyright infringement and illegal activity.

We look forward to a response to this letter.

Yours sincerely

Jenny Nagle


The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) Te Puni Kaitahu o Aotearoa      CC PANZ, CLNZ, MBEI

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