Four publishers sued the Internet Archive and the service terminated the National Library of Emergency program earlier than planned, the agency said in a blog post.
The emergency program began in March, providing free access to 1,4 million books for people who could not reach classrooms or libraries during the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
The Extraordinary Library is part of the Open Libraries initiative, in which the Internet Archive scans library books, allowing digital "check-out" through a waiting list. However, the Emergency Library stopped using the waiting lists and made the scanned books available directly to the public.
The intention was to keep the Emergency Library open until June 30. But on June 1, publishers Hachette, Penguin Random House, Wiley and HarperCollins sued the Internet Archive for copyright infringement. The Authors Guild Reported in March that the Internet Archive "acted as a piracy site" that infringed the authors' rights to their work.
"We stopped our program because last Monday, four publishers chose to sue the Internet Archive during a global pandemic," said Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive.
The Internet Archive does not completely stop the online lending program, but rather returns to the controlled digital lending model with the lists it used before, according to the post in the blog.
It was not known until Sunday whether the closure of the Emergency Library would force publishers to terminate the lawsuit.