Widespread copyright breach: Authors’ associations demand that Open Library stops lending scanned books

In an open letter, the AG criticises the ‘faulty legal argument’ of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) used by the Open Library to the justify its mass unauthorised copying, display, and distribution of books. ‘Such unauthorised uses of books take money directly out of authors’ pockets and violate copyright law,’ said the letter.

Authors lose potential income from every unauthorised loan made under the CDL theory,’ said the AG letter, because the digital copy replaces the legitimate sale of ebooks from booksellers and licences loans from libraries. The letter also said that ‘unauthorised copying, distribution, and display of books that CDL purports to amounts to theft of authors’ potential income.’

The SoA has written an open letter to Open Library in support of the AG’s letter, and similarly demanding that Open Library immediately discontinues the practice of lending scanned copies of physical books on its website. ‘Open Library continues to unlawfully scan copies of physical books and make them available for loan as ebooks. They do not ask permission to make these scans, nor do they pay any royalties to authors or publishers. These books are available for loan all over the world,’ stated a post on the SoA website.

A simple search of some Australian authors on the site reveals 37 copies of titles by Bryce Courtenay, 58 copies of Tim Winton books, and 42 copies of Matthew Reilly titles.

A quick search of some New Zealand authors on the site reveals 4 titles by Witi Ihimaera, 3 by Fiona Kidman, 2 by Eleanor Catton and Paul Cleave.

Source: Bookseller and Publisher, Australia –  January 21, 2019

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