SFWA’s Legal Affairs Committee has issued an alert informing members that the government of New Zealand has decided to ship more than 400,000 books they are de-listing from their Overseas Published Collections catalogs to the Internet Archive for digitization and inclusion in its Open Library. These are for the most part older books, but many are still in copyright. New Zealand is allowing authors who do not wish their books to be digitized to opt out, but time is running short: the deadline for doing so is December 1.
For a spreadsheet of affected books, instructions on how to opt out, and more information, see the New Zealand Overseas Published Collections page here: https://natlib.govt.nz/about-us/strategy-and-policy/collections-policy/overseas-published-collection-management.
SFWA recommends downloading and searching the spreadsheet rather than relying on the alphabetical listing, which may not show all entries.
This alert is also a reminder that although the Internet Archive is currently being sued by four major publishers, it is still accumulating copyrighted books from various other sources and making them available on their website. Even if an author has already asked to have their books removed, there is no guarantee that they haven’t been added again. The SFWA Legal Affairs Committee issued two previous infringement alerts concerning the Internet Archive’s massive digitization project, which affects many more authors. The first, sent in 2018 about the Open Library is here. The second sent in 2020 about the now-discontinued National Emergency Library is here.
It is still possible for authors to directly contact the Internet Archive to have them remove their books from their website; both of prior alerts include instructions on how to do that. Books that are included in the New Zealand donation are no exception, if an author misses the December 1 deadline.
[Based on a news release.]