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.