Internet Archive: a warning to authors

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.

UPDATE 29 November 2021: The National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ) announced today that it has paused its plans to donate these volumes to the Internet Archive for digitising and sharing online. National Librarian Te Pouhuaki​ Rachel Esson said, ‘We are taking some time to look at all available options that align with our collection plans, while preserving author and publisher interests.’

Many thanks to everyone who has helped put pressure on NLNZ to reconsider its plans, in particular the many authors who have written to the library to ask for their works to be removed from the donation.

We will of course let you know if we hear more.

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The National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ) is moving ahead with plans to donate 600,000 books from its overseas collection to the Internet Archive for digitisation and lending through its Open Library platform.

Photograph © 1STunningART / Adobe Stock

Despite strong opposition, including a letter from SoA President Philip Pullman to senior library and government figures, NLNZ will go ahead with their plans at the beginning of December.

Many of these books are still protected by copyright and among them may be yours.

We know that many of you have already written to NZLZ to prevent your work from being shared. If you haven’t done so, be sure to check the list of affected books and act before the deadline.

We believe that this digitisation is a clear infringement of copyright. In response to the concerns, NZLZ is giving authors who do not wish their books to be digitised and loaned out through Open Library until 1 December 2021, to opt out and withdraw their books.

We strongly suggest that you search the spreadsheet and demand that your books are removed. A response by a large number of authors will underline our opposition to this policy.

Follow the steps below before 1 December to withdraw your works.

1. Search for your works

NLNZ has provided an Excel spreadsheet of all titles it intends to donate. The spreadsheet is available on this page. Click the link labeled List of candidate books for donation to the Internet Archive to check whether yours is in the collection (it is a large Excel file, so we suggest downloading it and then searching for your name by running a Ctrl+F search).

2. Write to NZNL

Send an email to opcmanagement@dia.govt.nz and ask that your book be withdrawn from the list. Your email must include the NZNL’s “unique number” (column “I” on the spreadsheet) of each title you would like withdrawn, and proof that you have rights in the titles (emails from persons or organisations whose names correspond with rightsholders’ names will be sufficient proof of rights).

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