Libraries, Piracy and the Grey Area In-Between: Free Digital Media during the COVID-19 Pandemic


Impact of COVID-19 on the digital publishing industry
digital book piracy
piracy during COVID-19 lockdowns
eBook restrictive licensing
Internet Archive
controlled digital lending


This article examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns on the consumption of free digital books, paying particular consideration to the financial advantages and disadvantages for the authors of those books and the libraries supplying them. It investigates trends in the consumption of digital books through both library and piracy sites, sourcing information from librarian reports and the anti-piracy company MUSO, which tracks visits to piracy sites. This research demonstrates that the tense library–publisher relationship is not stable and does not hold up under stress, emphasising the need for an appropriate solution to be developed. It also spotlights the impacts of COVID-19 on authors, some of the most vulnerable members of the publishing community.
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2022 Helen Yesberg


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