The COVID-19 pandemic has to lead us all into quarantine or physical distancing. It has caused a lockdown leading us to have leisure time. So, most of us turn towards different things to keep us engaged and positive at this time of crisis. Reading a book is one of the best ways to keep oneself occupied and to keep the adventure alive. As it is also said, reading is an adventure for the heart. If you want to have access to reading materials for school or just for your love of reading, the Internet Archive has opened a National Emergency Library.
Internet Archive is an American digital library that helps you gain access to digitized materials, including websites, games, music, movies, and books. By launching the National Emergency Library, it is offering you access to 1.4 million free books. It is said to be available worldwide till the end of June.
Previously, if you wanted to borrow a book and if it was on loan, you would have had to join the waitlist. Now, during this National Emergency Library period there is no need to join the waitlist. Many people might applaud this act of Internet Archive because of it sharing books but it has raised questions. Is this act rather an opportunistic approach to defend its act of piracy? Regardless of their considerate act of providing materials this act also hurts the sentiments of the writers of those books. It is stripping authors from the credit they deserve as though robbing away someone else’s creation. Internet Archive granted itself the permission to put out someone else’s creation which is of an economic and creative significance.
Author Guild, a professional group that provides legal assistance to writers had made a statement regarding this issue. This isn’t the first time they have addressed the Internet Archive’s act. In the past, Author Guild had sent Internet Archive takedown notices on behalf of the writers it represents, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
While, Chris Freeland, Director of Open Libraries at Internet Archive said, “We recognize that authors and publishers are going to be impacted by this global pandemic as well. We encourage all readers who are in a position to buy books to do so, ideally while also supporting your local bookstore. If they don’t have the book you need, then Amazon or Better World Books may have copies in print or digital formats.” He also hopes that the authors will support their efforts at this dire time.