Disgusting Publishers sue the Internet Archive

COPYLEFT and the Creative Commons
Copyright, Copyleft, CopyWrong

Just what are we talking about?
The answer is CONTENT.

Q   Do copyrights exist in the ether?

A. Of course they do. A company can own their content, their content has a copyright. 
Thanks to Jonathan A. Weiss Esq

The Internet Archive is a Library. They have an archival purpose for the commonwealth, for the common good.

Artists create. It is automatically copyrighted.  Publishers pay artists for content {which takes the shape of the container} distributes it, sells it, and  gets paid. That’s the deal. A publisher is in it for the money.

10 years, 20 years, 50 years from now, where is the public going to go to hear, see, and read our own online cultural history – the wayback machine of course.  The Internet Online Library  is a non profit, a national online archive of culture just like the Smithsonian is the bricks and mortar museum you visit now.



Publishers Are Taking the Internet to Court
In a lawsuit against the Internet Archive, the largest corporations in publishing want to change what it means to own a book.
By Maria Bustillos
Sep 10 2020

When Covid-19 struck, hundreds of millions of students were suddenly stranded at home without access to teachers or libraries. UNESCO reported that in April, 90 percent of the world’s enrolled students had been adversely affected by the pandemic. In response, the Internet Archive’s Open Library announced the National Emergency Library, a temporary program suspending limits on the number of patrons who could borrow its digital books simultaneously. The Open Library lends at no charge about 4 million digital books, 2.5 million of which are in the public domain, and 1.4 million of which may be under copyright and subject to lending restrictions. (This is roughly equivalent to a medium-sized city library; the New York Public Library, by comparison, holds 21.9 million books and printed materials and 1.78 million e-books, according to 2016 figures from the American Library Association.) But the National Emergency Library wound up creating an emergency of its own—for the future of libraries.

Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive’s founder and digital librarian, wrote in March that the National Emergency Library would ensure “that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials…for the remainder of the US academic calendar.” He acknowledged that authors and publishers would also be harmed by the pandemic, urged those in a position to buy books to do so, and offered authors a form for removing their own books from the program, if they chose.

Announcing a National Emergency Library to Provide Digitized Books to Students and the Public

More than 100 libraries, archives, and other institutions signed on to a statement of support for the program, including MIT, Penn State, Emory University, the Boston Public Library, Middlebury College, Amherst College, George Washington University, the Claremont Colleges Library, and the Greater Western Library Alliance. Writing in The New Yorker, Harvard history professor and author Jill Lepore joined many media observers in praising the National Emergency Library as “a gift to readers everywhere.”

A number of other authors, however, took to Twitter to complain.

“Guys. Not helpful,” tweeted novelist Neil Gaiman.

“They scan books illegally and put them online. It’s not a library,” novelist Colson Whitehead tweeted in March. (I wrote last week to ask Whitehead what laws he thought were being broken, or whether he’d since altered his views on this matter, and he declined to comment.)

On June 1, Whitehead’s publisher, Penguin Random House, together with fellow megapublishers Hachette, HarperCollins, and Wiley, filed a lawsuit against the Internet Archive alleging “mass copyright infringement.” The Internet Archive closed the National Emergency Library on June 16, citing the lawsuit and calling for the publishers to stand down. But the plaintiffs are continuing to press their claims, and are now seeking to close the whole Open Library permanently.

The trial is set for next year in federal court, with initial disclosures for discovery scheduled to take place next week. The publishers’ “prayer for relief” seeks to destroy the Open Library’s existing books, and to soak the Internet Archive for a lot of money; in their response, the Archive is looking to have its opponents’ claims denied in full, its legal costs paid, and “such other and further relief as the Court deems just and equitable.” But what’s really at stake in this lawsuit is the idea of ownership itself—what it means not only for a library but for anyone to own a book.

The Internet Archive is far more than the Open Library; it’s a nonprofit institution that has become a cornerstone of archival activity throughout the world. Brewster Kahle is an Internet pioneer who was writing about the importance of preserving the digital commons in 1996. He built the Wayback Machine, without which an incalculable amount of the early Web would have been lost for good. The Internet Archive has performed pioneering work in developing public search tools for its own vast collections, such as the television news archive, which researchers and journalists like me use on an almost daily basis in order to contextualize and interpret political reporting. These resources are unique and irreplaceable.

The Internet Archive is a tech partner to hundreds of libraries, including the Library of Congress, for whom it develops techniques for the stewardship of digital content. It helps them build their own Web-based collections with tools such as Archive-It, which is currently used by more than 600 organizations including universities, museums, and government agencies, as well as libraries, to create their own searchable public archives. The Internet Archive repairs broken links on Wikipedia—by the million. It has collected thousands of early computer games, and developed online emulators so they can be played on modern computers. It hosts collections of live music performances, 78s and cylinder recordings, radio shows, films and video. I am leaving a lot out about its groundbreaking work in making scholarly materials more accessible, its projects to expand books to the print-disabled—too many undertakings and achievements to count.

For-profit publishers like HarperCollins or Hachette don’t perform the kind of work required to preserve a cultural posterity. Publishers are not archivists. They obey the dictates of the market. They keep books in print based on market considerations, not cultural ones. Archiving is not in the purview or even the interests of big publishers, who indeed have an incentive to encourage the continuing need to buy.

But in a healthy society, the need for authors and artists to be compensated fairly is balanced against the need to preserve a rich and robust public commons for the benefit of the culture as a whole. Publishers are stewards of the right of authors to make a fair living; librarians are stewards of cultural posterity. Brewster Kahle, and the Internet Archive, are librarians, and the Internet Archive is a new kind of library.

I first spoke with Kahle in 2013, when he became one of just a handful of people in the United States permitted to discuss his receipt of a National Security Letter from the NSA. Hundreds of thousands of these letters were sent out, but only the three that had been successfully challenged in court, and thus rescinded, could be discussed in public without risking imprisonment. The NSA had demanded that the Internet Archive divulge personal information about a library patron, and the only way to refuse to comply (without being jailed) was to sue the government, so that’s what Kahle decided to do. The Internet Archive won that lawsuit, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU.

“I’m a librarian!” he told me, back then. “Libraries have had a long history of dealing with authoritarian organizations demanding reader records—just, who’s read what—and this has led to people being rounded up and killed.”


EFF & Heavyweight Legal Team Will Defend Internet Archive’s Digital Library Against Publishers
By Andy Maxwell
Jun 26 2020

The EFF has revealed it is teaming up with law firm Durie Tangri to defend the Internet Archive against a lawsuit targeting its Open Library. According to court filings, the impending storm is shaping up to be a battle of the giants, with opposing attorneys having previously defended Google in book scanning cases and won a $1bn verdict for the RIAA against ISP Cox.

In March and faced with the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Internet Archive (IA) launched its National Emergency Library (NEL)

Built on its existing Open Library, the NEL provided users with unlimited borrowing of more than a million books, something which the IA hoped would help “displaced learners” restricted by quarantine measures.

Publishers Sue Internet Archive

After making a lot of noise in opposition to both the Open and Emergency libraries, publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley and Penguin Random House filed a massive copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive.

Declaring the libraries little more than ‘pirate’ services that have no right to scan books and lend them out, even in a controlled fashion, the publishers bemoaned the direct threat to their businesses and demanded millions of dollars in statutory damages.

Earlier this month the IA announced the early closure of the NEL, with IA founder Brewster Kahle calling for an end to litigation and the start of cooperation. There are no public signs of either. Indeed, the opposing sides are preparing for action.

EFF and Attorneys Team Up to Defend IA

Last evening the EFF announced that it is joining forces with California-based law firm Durie Tangri to defend the Internet Archive against a lawsuit which they say is a threat to IA’s Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program.

The CDL program allows people to check out scanned copies of books for which the IA and its partners can produce physically-owned copies. The publishers clearly have a major problem with the system but according to IA and EFF, the service is no different from that offered by other libraries.

“EFF is proud to stand with the Archive and protect this important public service,” says EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry.

“Controlled digital lending helps get books to teachers, children and the general public at a time when that is more needed and more difficult than ever. It is no threat to any publisher’s bottom line.”

Durie Tangri partner Joe Gratz agrees, noting that there is no issue with the Internet Archive lending books to one patron at a time.

“That’s what libraries have done for centuries, and we’re proud to represent Internet Archive in standing up for the rights of libraries in the digital age,” he adds.

With Gratz on the team, the IA and EFF are clearly taking matters seriously. His profile states that he’s as “comfortable on his feet in court as he is hashing over source code with a group of engineers”, adding that he represented Google in the Google Book Search copyright cases.

Also on the team, according to the lawsuit docket, is Harvard Law School graduate Adi Kamdar, who was an affiliate with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Before that, Kamdar was an EFF activist advocating on issues of privacy, speech, and intellectual property policy.

Publishers Have Brought in the Big Guns Too

The docket reveals some prominent veterans acting for the publishers too.

Matthew Jan Oppenheim, for example, served as lead counsel in the record-breaking $1 billion jury verdict against Cox Communications for the music industry, and the $34 million verdict against Book Dog Books for the publishing industry.

A former partner at the music industry law firm Jenner & Block, Oppenheim previously worked at the RIAA, handling landmark cases against Napster and Grokster.

Meredith Santana represented Miley Cyrus in the “We Can’t Stop’ copyright infringement lawsuit while Linda Steinman represents and counsels content providers on how to protect their work from “challenges ranging from aggregators to ad blockers.”


Internet Archive Calls For End to Publishers’ Lawsuit, Announces Early Closure of Emergency Library
By Andy Maxwell
Jun 12 2020


The Internet Archive says it will close its National Emergency Library two weeks early, in part because it is able to serve users in other ways. At the same time, founder Brewster Kahle is calling for several major publishers to withdraw the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against the Internet Archive earlier this month.

Back in March, just as the coronavirus pandemic began turning the lives of the American public upside down, the Internet Archive (IA) took a decision to launch a new service built on its existing Open Library.

IA’s National Emergency Library (NEL) combined scanned books from three libraries, offering users unlimited borrowing of more than a million books. The aim was for “displaced learners” to keep accumulating knowledge and education while restricted by quarantine measures.

Unrestricted eBook Borrowing Riles Copyright Holders

Under normal circumstances, users have restrictions placed on their lending. However, IA’s decision to suspend “waitlists”, which ordinarily prevent potentially unlimited copies of books being handed out at once, caused outrage among some authors, copyright holders and publishers.

Commenting on the creation of the library in March, the powerful Copyright Alliance described the actions of Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle as “particularly vile“. The Authors Guild declared the library “contrary to federal law” and said that in common with other creators, authors need to make money from sales.

“Acting as a piracy site — of which there already are too many — the Internet Archive tramples on authors’ rights by giving away their books to the world,” the group wrote.

The big question remained, however. Would the major publishers continue to simply criticize the operation or actually do something about it?

Publishers File Massive Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

On June 1, 2020, that question was answered when Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Penguin Random House LLC, filed a massive copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive.

“[The lawsuit] is about IA’s purposeful collection of truckloads of in-copyright books to scan, reproduce, and then distribute digital bootleg versions online,” the publishers’ complaint read.

“IA’s unauthorized copying and distribution of Plaintiffs’ works include titles that the Publishers are currently selling commercially and currently providing to libraries in ebook form, making Defendant’s business a direct substitute for established markets. Free is an insurmountable competitor.”

With claims of direct and secondary copyright infringement worth millions of dollars in statutory damages, the publishers had made their position clear. However, in a new announcement, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle now calls for cooperation and a peaceful end to hostilities.

National Emergency Library Will Close Early

“Today we are announcing the National Emergency Library will close on June 16th, rather than June 30th, returning to traditional controlled digital lending,” Kahle writes.

“We have learned that the vast majority of people use digitized books on the Internet Archive for a very short time. Even with the closure of the NEL, we will be able to serve most patrons through controlled digital lending, in part because of the good work of the non-profit HathiTrust Digital Library.”

Despite these factors, the early closure of the NEL was clearly motivated by the lawsuit filed earlier this month. However, the complaint wasn’t just about the NEL.

Lawsuit Targets Internet Archive’s Underlying Open Library, and More

In their lawsuit, the publishers describe the creation of the NEL as a ‘doubling down’ of Internet Archive’s existing infringing activities carried out as part of its Open Library project. According to them, it “produces mirror-image copies of millions of unaltered in-copyright works for which it has no rights and distributes them in their entirety for reading purposes to the public for free, including voluminous numbers of books that are currently commercially available.”

In short, the closure of the NEL doesn’t appear to particularly undermine the basis of the lawsuit and as Kahle notes, the litigation also has much broader implications.

“The complaint attacks the concept of any library owning and lending digital books, challenging the very idea of what a library is in the digital world,” Kahle says.

“This lawsuit stands in contrast to some academic publishers who initially expressed concerns about the NEL, but ultimately decided to work with us to provide access to people cut off from their physical schools and libraries. We hope that similar cooperation is possible here, and the publishers call off their costly assault.”

Internet Archive Calls for Cooperation and an End to Litigation

With so much at stake, Kahle’s call for peace is a step in the right direction. However, his suggestion for libraries, authors, booksellers, and publishers to move forward on the basis of ‘Controlled Digital Lending” (CDL) looks set to run into difficulties.

The publishers have already dismissed CDL “as an invented theory”, the rules of which “have been concocted from whole cloth and continue to get worse.” IA, on the other hand, characterizes CDL as a legal framework developed by copyright experts, allowing one reader at a time to read a digitized copy of a legally-owned library book, wrapped in DRM to protect publishers.


#Penguin Random House  #Hachette, #HarperCollins and #Wiley are the worst most disgusting publishers in the world.

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