As a new member of the Authors Guild, I have been asked to publish the following statement:
I stand against Open Library’s unauthorized copying and distribution of unauthorized works.
If Open Library’s practices are deemed legal, any library, or even any website that calls itself a library, could scan old print books and distribute the scans as “ebooks.” Internet Archive has already offered its Open Library scans to libraries, so they won’t even need to create scans themselves. Readers will also be deterred from buying licensed ebooks if they can find free copies with a simple Google search online.
There’s no question that Open Library’s unauthorized scanning harms authors. It creates a substitute for licensed library ebooks and consumer ebooks from which authors earn royalties.
Open Library’s practices are not fair use under established law – and they’re not fair to authors because they rob authors of much-needed income.
Open Library does not “lend” ebooks. It is scanning (copying) and distributing ebooks of print books and infringing on the rights of authors.