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First off today, Elizabeth Harris at The New York Times reports that the Internet Archive is ending its “National Emergency Library”, which offered millions of ebooks online for free distribution.
Announced in March, the National Emergency Library lifted lending restrictions on ebooks the Internet Archive hosts. Previously, they would lend out one digital copy for each physical copy they owned, a process known as controlled digital lending. However, with the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, the archive simply decided to remove those restrictions and allow anyone to access any ebook at any time.
This drew a lawsuit from various publishers on June 1. As a result of that lawsuit, the Internet Archive has announced it is closing the project this week, instead of the planned date of June 30. According to the archive, the pattern of lending means it can be sustained under the old regime, which is what they are going back to. The publishers’ lawsuit, however, challenges both the “National Emergency Library” and the concept of “controlled digital lending” more broadly.
Next up today, Jonathan Easton at Digital TV Europe reports that Europol has shuttered a pirate streaming operation that provided access to unlicensed content to more than two million people.
The action took place on June 3 and involved 15 separate house searches in four different EU countries. It resulted in the seizure of some €4.8 million ($5.4 million) in assets and more than 50 IP addresses. It is estimated that the network turned more than €15 million ($16.9 million) in profit over the course of its 5 years.
All totaled, some 11 people have been arrested and another 16 were interrogated for possible involvement in the network.
Finally today, SportBusiness reports that five men in France have been found guilty of pirating sports-related content and have been sentenced to prison actions.
The trial, which was held in early March determined that the men were guilty of illegally streaming content from various pay-tv providers including beIN, Canal Plus and RMC Sport. All totaled, the sites involved in the operation gained over 7.5 million unique visitors between 2014 and 2017.
The creator of the sites received a 12-month prison sentence with six months suspended. An administrator received a 6-month suspended sentence and others involved received fines. In addition to the criminal case, the pay-tv services have indicated that they are going to take civil action as well.