A long running battle over copyright has flared up again, and Lila Bailey is at the center of it.
A personable 43-year-old with a masters in fine arts, Bailey is the chief lawyer for the Internet Archive, a non-profit facing a major lawsuit from big publishers over how it lends out e-books.
“This case will determine what libraries will be. We think the future of libraries hangs in the balance here,” says Bailey in a recent interview from her home in San Francisco.
The case involves the Internet Archive’s decision to create a temporary “National Emergency Library” at the height of the pandemic’s first wave—a service that expanded how many e-books clients could borrow simultaneously. The publishing industry sued, saying the non-profit was handing out digital books without permission.
The case is set for trial in 2021 and, if past copyright clashes are any indication, is likely to give rise to nasty invective on both sides—a situation Bailey decries.
“We’d love to be in talks with the publishers. We prefer conversation to litigation,” she says.
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