Internet Archive Founder: “We are defending the rights of libraries to serve our patrons where they are, online”

On July 8, 2022, Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, spoke at a press conference about the copyright lawsuit brought against the Internet Archive by four commercial publishers. These are his remarks:

The Internet Archive is a non-profit library. And we do what libraries have always done.

What libraries do is we buy, preserve and lend books to one reader at a time. Why do we do it?  Libraries are a pillar of our democracy. We are a great equalizer, providing access to information for all. We also have an age-old role as custodians of culture, preserving knowledge for future generations. 

This is what the Internet Archive is doing along-side hundreds of other libraries.  We have been lending scanned digital copies of print books for more than 10 years, and it has helped millions of digital learners.  

With this lawsuit, the publishers are saying that in digital form, we cannot buy books, we cannot preserve books, and we cannot lend books.

This lawsuit is not just an attack on the Internet Archive—it is an attack on all libraries. The publishers want to criminalize libraries’ owning, lending and preserving books in digital form. 

Should we stop libraries from owning and lending books? No. We need libraries to be independent and strong, now more than ever, in a time of misinformation and challenges to democracy.

That’s why we are defending the rights of libraries to serve our patrons where they are, online.

3 thoughts on “Internet Archive Founder: “We are defending the rights of libraries to serve our patrons where they are, online”

  1. Lynne Kemmer

    Publishers charge for the print copy – – and every digital copy bought, borrowed and read.

  2. lena

    The world is moving towards digitalization day by day. In my opinion, publishers cannot deal with the digital archives of libraries. It’s like I only have to shop at one underwear store, but I don’t have the right to keep my underwear in my closet.

  3. S Makin

    This might be a ride the gravy train stunt to raise more money. I mean everything I read these days exclsinn my s they are someone linked to losing their so called Democracy. When in truth Greek democracy has nothing to do with the term used today. The term used today all over the world is a blanket for racist to Communist to PostModernist to Anarchy evangelist to various sects spread out like yeast in a rotting bread, these units of public outcry and so called public opinion is coerced.

    However, I do believe in supporting the Internet Archive as a reference source just like the Library of Congress.
    And here is the reality. In Alexandria they could just burn libraries and destroy centuries of documents in one instant. In the Library of Congress just now releasing data once hidden to the masses, this makes certain people or groups of people feel less powerful.

    However, bit torrent and other technology all will protect copyright as will block chain systems.
    The real issue is what libraries are not able to do is protect what the users will do with the content once it is borrowed. The lawsuit really at hand will be what happens when entire catalogs are copied and pasted into other libraries that are not non-profits nor can they even be traced back to the Internet Archive.

    This was and is a great topic that since the Chinese and Russian pirates have had their way in the past with Hollywood film industry and the music industry was torn apart by Napster and Apple.

    My seeds of an essay here are only points I wish you could explain more non biased. Because everyone who makes a movie or writes a song has publishing rights for years but the hard copy of the IP always seems to be easily stolen. Now they have new technology that is embedded into the works so that each work is traced from any source and this leans on privacy they say! But that is not true. The right for a company or owner to track YouTube videos is a bullying tactic but it preserves some small publishing owners and the like.

    What I always like about Internet Archive is The fact that we can listen to old 78’s or wire records and much data and content that is extremely rare and yet useful for research and education on subjects that pop culture sites or platforms like TikTok or YouTube just cannot handle.
    They are more interested in popular culture and monetizing from that perspective.

    The Internet Archive seems to be the last oasis of freedom that old libraries with microfiche had been our only option for preserving the history instead of clay jars or caves in the mountains!

    I pray and will support this effort.
    I hope they seek to not ride the gravy train with pop culture tactics of public relations and public awareness by unethical methods , but I also know huge law firms have more resources and could if they pleased wipe this service off the map unless it’s linked to more so called democratic forms.

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