In the context: A two-year lawsuit between a group of book publishers and the Internet Archive flared up this month after both sides filed a New York court for summary judgment. The lawsuit could decide the fate of the Internet Archive and affect how US libraries lend out books.

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The Internet Archive Digital Lending Program litigation enters a new phase as both parties request a summary judgment in a Manhattan court. The Internet Archive claims that buying and scanning books gives it the right to lend them within certain limits, as many libraries do. The plaintiffs argue that such tactics are just a front for piracy.

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The Internet Archive and collaborating libraries use Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) to enable users to check digital versions of books purchased and scanned by the Archive, which is reminiscent of the first sale doctrine.

A group representing Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins Publishers and John Wiley & Sons believes libraries should pay licensing fees for lending e-books. The publishers also note that many documents and other materials are available free of charge from the Internet Archive.

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Via DRM Internet Archive guarantees it only gives out one copy of each book at a time, but in 2020 temporarily relaxed this rule is to help students who were out of school during the Covid lockdown. This sparked the initial lawsuit.

Following requests for summary judgment, some have made statements in support of the Internet Archive. This week EFF as well as Authors Alliance filed briefs with Amicus asking for the CDL to be legal, arguing that the Internet Archive contains much valuable information that is not readily available elsewhere.

In addition to e-books and other documents, the Internet Archive contains the Wayback Machine, a historical backup of websites that are no longer available online, and past versions of websites. Much of Wikipedia’s sources also root from the Internet Archive.