All News

Industry & Advocacy News

Update: How to Tell Internet Archive to Remove Your Books

The court’s decision in the Open Library lawsuit made it clear that making full-text copyrighted books available for free without permission is copyright infringement. Here's how any author can demand the Internet Archive take down any titles that are still on its website.

Piece of paper reading NOTICE in large, bold letters in a manila envelope

In March, four major publishers scored a resounding victory in their copyright lawsuit against Internet Archive and its so-called Open Library program. The court decisively ruled that Internet Archive’s practice of scanning books and making them freely available on its website is copyright infringement and does not constitute fair use. While the Authors Guild was not a party to the lawsuit, we supported the publishers throughout the litigation and welcomed the court’s clear rejection of Internet Archive’s “Controlled Digital Lending” theory.

Following the decision, the court directed the parties to propose specific steps that Internet Archive must take to remedy its infringement. The parties agreed, in a proposed consent judgment, that Internet Archive should be subject to a permanent court-ordered injunction barring it from making the publishers’ books available online. We have heard from some authors who are concerned that the injunction is limited to books in which the four publisher plaintiffs hold copyrights and does not cover books whose copyrights are owned by the author or a smaller publisher. Unfortunately, this case was not a class action, and therefore only the actual parties in the case can be bound by the court’s order. We were surprised and disappointed, however, that the court adopted Internet Archive’s proposal to limit the injunction to books that the publishers have made available in electronic form. As we explained, limiting the injunction in this way fails to recognize that the author has the right to decide in what formats they wish to make their books available, and that the market for a print book can be harmed by an unauthorized electronic edition as easily as the market for an ebook can.

But regardless of the scope of the injunction, the court’s decision on the main legal issue remains in place: Making full-text copyrighted books available for free on the open internet without permission is copyright infringement. That is just as true for books owned by self-published authors and micro publishers as it is for the books owned by the publishers in this case.

We therefore expect Internet Archive to comply with demands by authors who hold copyrights in their books (e.g., self-published authors and where rights are reverted) to take down any titles that are still on its website.

How to Send Internet Archive a Demand Letter

If you have a book that remains available for reading on Open Library and wish to have it taken down, we suggest that you send Internet Archive a notice demanding that it remove your books from Open Library—listing out each title. Here are some instructions on how you can do so:

  1. Check and see if copies of your books are available for e-lending and download without authorization.
  2. Send an email to Internet Archive at To be on the safe side, it is best to include all of the information that Internet Archive requires under its copyright policy for DMCA takedown notices (which applies to third party posted content whereas here Internet Archive posted the books themselves) so that Internet Archive can’t complain that it does not have sufficient information to comply. This includes:
    1. An exact description of where the material about which you complain is located within the Internet Archive collections (i.e., the URL);
    2. Your address, telephone number, and email address;
    3. A statement by you that you have a good faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
    4. A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the owner of the copyright interest involved or are authorized to act on behalf of that owner; and
    5. Your electronic or physical signature.

Form Demand Letter

Dear Internet Archive,

I am the author and copyright owner of the book(s) noted below.

It has come to my attention that, without permission from me, you are making my book(s) available to read and/or download on your website, Pursuant to the judgment in Hachette Book Group, et. al. v. Internet Archive, et. al., use of copyrighted books without permission on Open Library under the theory of “Controlled Digital Lending” is copyright infringement.

Please remove my book(s) from Open, Internet Archive, and any other website(s) owned or controlled by you as soon as possible and provide me confirmation.

My book(s) is/are entitled: *[list all books made available for reading on or downloading from either site without permission].*

They are located at the following URLs on your site: *[provide URL for each book].*

My contact information is: *[insert address, telephone number, and email address].*

I attest under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that Internet Archive’s use of the material in the manner complained of is unauthorized by me, or any licensee or agent, or the law; and further that the information in this notification is accurate, and that I am the copyright owner.

Electronic signature: *[provide e-signature or type name]*

If Internet Archive fails to comply with such a notice, please contact the Guild at

Support Our Work

Your gift will help sustain our efforts to support working writers and preserve the literary profession.

Donate Now