Copyright Alliance Statement on Book Publishers’ Infringement Suit Against Internet Archive

June 1, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Copyright Alliance released a statement regarding the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) copyright infringement suit against the Internet Archive (IA) on behalf of numerous U.S. book publishers:

According to CEO Keith Kupferschmid, “Today, AAP filed suit against the Internet Archive on behalf of numerous book publisher members, including Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House. The suit asks the court to enjoin IA’s mass scanning and distribution of literary works that it offers to the public through its ‘Open Library’ and ‘National Emergency Library.’

“For too long, IA has brazenly scanned and distributed published works while refusing to abide by the traditional contours of copyright law. We understand that, to date, IA has illegally reproduced more than 1.3 million scans of books for the purpose of distributing them to the public in direct contravention of the rights of authors and publishers. IA would like the public to believe that the books are rare and older titles used for research, but in reality, they are scanning and distributing recent works, fiction and non-fiction, thrillers and kids’ books — all without the authority of publishers and authors and well beyond the scope of what is permitted by copyright law. These activities — which are done in spite of the fervent objections of publishers and authors throughout the country — demonstrate a complete disregard for the rights of authors and publishers, for traditional libraries that follow long-standing book lending protocols, and for members of Congress who have carefully crafted America’s copyright laws to balance the rights of creators with the interests of traditional libraries.

“Our statement today should not be taken as a condemnation of America’s libraries. We continue to fully support the outstanding work they provide on a daily basis. But IA’s Open Library and National Emergency Library bear little resemblance to a traditional library or to the new age library of the 21st Century.

“IA has chosen to take the law into its own hands in a brazen attempt to unduly expand the scope of existing copyright law. In doing so, its activities represent one of the largest and most notorious instances of book piracy ever witnessed in the U.S. and one that is fully inconsistent with the goals and intent of copyright law. We are confident that the court will agree that IA has overstepped and infringed the rights of (and caused significant harm to) the American publishing industry and countless authors across the country.”


The Copyright Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest and educational organization representing the copyright interests of over 1.8 million individual creators and over 13,000 organizations in the United States, across the spectrum of copyright disciplines. The Copyright Alliance is dedicated to advocating policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright, and to protecting the rights of creators and innovators. For more information, please visit