Author Archives: Chris Freeland

About Chris Freeland

Chris Freeland is the Director of Library Services at Internet Archive.

Book Talk: The Secret Life of Data

How data surveillance, digital forensics, and generative AI pose new long-term threats and opportunities—and how we can use them to make better decisions in the face of technological uncertainty.

Book Talk: The Secret Life of Data
April 18 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET ONLINE
Register now!

“I have been waiting a long time for a clearly written book that cuts through the hype and describes how data—big and small, old and new—actually operate in our lives. Neither utopian nor dystopian, The Secret Life of Data just tells it like it is.”   
—Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, The University of Virginia; author of Antisocial Media and The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry)

In The Secret Life of Data, Aram Sinnreich and Jesse Gilbert explore the many unpredictable, and often surprising, ways in which data surveillance, AI, and the constant presence of algorithms impact our culture and society in the age of global networks. The authors build on this basic premise: no matter what form data takes, and what purpose we think it’s being used for, data will always have a secret life. How this data will be used, by other people in other times and places, has profound implications for every aspect of our lives—from our intimate relationships to our professional lives to our political systems.

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ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS

ARAM SINNREICH is an author, professor, and musician. He is Chair of Communication Studies at American University. His books include Mashed Up, The Piracy CrusadeThe Essential Guide to Intellectual Property, and A Second Chance for Yesterday (published as R. A. Sinn).

JESSE GILBERT is an interdisciplinary artist exploring the intersection of visual art, sound, and software design at his firm Dark Matter Media. He was the founding Chair of the Media Technology department at Woodbury University, and he has taught interactive software design at both CalArts and UC San Diego.

DR. LAURA DENARDIS is Professor and Endowed Chair in Technology, Ethics, and Society and Director of the Center for Digital Ethics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.  Her book The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World with No Off Switch (Yale University Press) was recognized as a Financial Times Top Technology Book of 2020. Among her seven books, The Global War for Internet Governance (Yale University Press) is considered a definitive source for understanding cyber governance debates and solutions. Professor DeNardis is an affiliated Fellow of the Yale Information Society Project, where she previously served as Executive Director, and is a life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds engineering degrees and a PhD in Science and Technology Studies, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from Yale Law School.

Book Talk: The Secret Life of Data
April 18 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET ONLINE
Register now!

Book Talk: Wrong Way by Joanne McNeil

Join us for a VIRTUAL book talk with author Joanne McNeil about her latest book, WRONG WAY, which examines the treacherous gaps between the working and middle classes wrought by the age of AI. McNeil will be in conversation with author Sarah Jaffe.

This is the first Internet Archive / Authors Alliance book talk for a work of fiction! Come for a reading, stay for a thoughtful conversation between McNeil & Jaffe about the labor implications of artificial intelligence.

February 29 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
VIRTUAL

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WRONG WAY was named one of the best books of 2023 by the New Yorker and Esquire. It was the Endless Bookshelf Book of the Year and named one of the best tech books by the LA Times.

“Wrong Way is a chilling portrait of economic precarity, and a disturbing reminder of how attempts to optimize life and work leave us all alienated.”
—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire

For years, Teresa has passed from one job to the next, settling into long stretches of time, struggling to build her career in any field or unstick herself from an endless cycle of labor. The dreaded move from one gig to another is starting to feel unbearable. When a recruiter connects her with a contract position at AllOver, it appears to check all her prerequisites for a “good” job. It’s a fintech corporation with progressive hiring policies and a social justice-minded mission statement. Their new service for premium members: a functional fleet of driverless cars. The future of transportation. As her new-hire orientation reveals, the distance between AllOver’s claims and its actions is wide, but the lure of financial stability and a flexible schedule is enough to keep Teresa driving forward.

Joanne McNeil, who often reports on how the human experience intersects with labor and technology brings blazing compassion and criticism to Wrong Way, examining the treacherous gaps between the working and middle classes wrought by the age of AI. Within these divides, McNeil turns the unsaid into the unignorable, and captures the existential perils imposed by a nonstop, full-service gig economy.

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About our speakers

JOANNE MCNEIL was the inaugural winner of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation’s Arts Writing Award for an emerging writer. She has been a resident at Eyebeam, a Logan Nonfiction Program fellow, and an instructor at the School for Poetic Computation.
Joanne is the author of Lurking: How a Person Became a User.

SARAH JAFFE is an author, independent journalist, and a co-host of Dissent magazine’s Belabored podcast.

Book Talk: Wrong Way by Joanne McNeil
February 29 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
VIRTUAL
Register now!

Share Your Wayback Machine Impact Stories!

Have you ever used the Wayback Machine and witnessed the magic of internet time travel? We want to hear your stories of how web archives have made a positive impact on your life! Whether it’s preserving a cherished memory, aiding in research, or sparking a meaningful change – your stories matter!

Fill out our quick questionnaire and let us know how the Wayback Machine has left a mark on your digital journey: https://forms.gle/5DhDqNTLqxY41K3p6 

Your stories could inspire others and highlight the importance of preserving the web’s rich history. Let’s celebrate the incredible moments made possible by the Wayback Machine!

You may be wondering, “Will anyone actually read my submission?” YES! We appreciate your time in sharing your story. Submissions will be reviewed and may be included in upcoming social media posts and news stories. We put out a similar call last year and received hundreds of responses, which we turned into testimonials & blog posts to help people understand how our library is used. 

Lights, Camera, Victory! Public Domain Day 2024 Remix Contest Winners Revealed

After sifting through a sea of talent and creativity, we are thrilled to present the cinematic achievements of three winners and two honorable mentions in our Public Domain Day 2024 Remix Contest. These winning entries not only captivated our imaginations, but also showcased the immense power of remixing, reimagining, and breathing new life into public domain works.

View the winning entries & honorable mentions below. Rick Prelinger, noted film archivist, helped judge the competition and offers why each film was selected for recognition.

Browse all submissions (52!) at the Public Domain Day Remix Contest collection at the Internet Archive.

First Place: “Sick on New Year’s” by Ty Cummings

Found-footage filmmaking is all about taking material that might have almost-sacred status and, well, bringing it back down to earth. We find this film worthy of our first prize because of its irreverent humor and skilled editing, its playful predictions of the future, and because it points to the limitless opportunities that a constantly-refreshed public domain offers makers in all media.

Second Place: “Keaton and Kaufman: The Cameramen” by Max Teeth

This film brings together two characters who will be familiar to people who love films, characters that lived and worked very far away from one another and did deeply different work, but might perhaps have more in common with one another than we might think. We see it as a poetic piece, a loving tribute to some of the people who put the motion in motion pictures.

Third Place: “Just Like a Hollywood Star” by Timothy Johnson

Our 3rd prize winner is a rich montage of sound and picture, focusing on images that model beauty, fitness, posture, proper behavior, and the laws of physics. We like this film’s uninhibited reach and its draw from wildly disparate material, often pretty predictable, to produce an unpredictable result.

Honorable Mention, Historical Perspective: “A Member of the Family” by Lizzy Tolentino

Combining government-produced films, family home movies and an unusual sponsored film by a world-famous company, this filmmaker makes a chilling statement about the gap between the promise of our society and the reality of 20th-century history. The public domain is a record of both proud achievements and disturbing histories, and we feel this film exemplified the potential of the public domain to reveal histories that some might prefer to be kept silent.

Honorable Mention, Quirkiest Film: “Domain” by Cullen J. Sanchez

Sometimes you just have to recognize the unusual. But this unusual film makes a critical point about the public domain — that WE are the public domain, and the public domain is us. Take it away! “It’s us. It’s all of us.”

NEXT WEEK: Celebrate the Public Domain In-Person & Online!

We’ve heard you loud and clear since January 1—you love the public domain! We do, too, so let’s celebrate together…

Next week we have two events to help welcome the new works of art that entered the public domain (in the US) on January 1. We hope you can join us in-person or online:

Wednesday, January 24

Public Domain Day Party in San Francisco! Celebrate 1928
In-Person at the Internet Archive
6pm – 8pm PT
$15 registration – Register now!

Step into a time capsule of creativity as we celebrate the release of new cultural treasures into the public domain. Join us for an unforgettable evening filled with period tunes, classic cocktails, and a cinematic journey into the past. These works, once bound by copyright restrictions, will be released into the wild, opening up new opportunities for artistic expression, adaptation, and innovation.

Thursday, January 25

Weird Tales from the Public Domain: Freeing Culture from Corporate Captivity
Online
10am PT – 11:30am PT
Free – Register now!

The mouse that became Mickey is finally free of his corporate captivity as the copyright term of the 1928 animated Disney film, Steamboat Willie, expired along with that of thousands of other cultural works on the first day of 2024.

Join us for a virtual celebration with an amazing lineup of academics, librarians, musicians, artists and advocates coming together to help illuminate the significance of this new class of works entering the public domain!

Remix Contest – Deadline for submission is January 19

There’s still time to register for our Public Domain Day Remix Contest. We are looking for filmmakers and artists of all levels to create and upload short films of 2–3 minutes to the Internet Archive to help us celebrate Public Domain Day! Read the contest guidelines.

Mickey Mouse & Elon Musk Boost Libraries in Viral Week

Last week, Mickey Mouse and Elon Musk helped raise the visibility of library preservation and the Internet Archive’s mission across social media in an unexpected convergence of the public domain, popular culture and the publishers’ lawsuit against our library.

It started less than an hour into the new year. At 12:36am, we posted a 45 second clip from Steamboat Willie to X (formerly Twitter) with the iconic introduction of Mickey Mouse. By the next morning, the video had reached hundreds of thousands of views; by the end of the day, views had climbed into the millions. To date, the clip (above) has been viewed 10.2 million times.

As a result of that interest, people began looking at our profile and older posts. One key user posted a message of support about our blog post highlighting the amicus briefs filed in support of our appeal in Hachette v. Internet Archive, the lawsuit against our library.

That post, and presumably coupled with the visibility from the viral Mickey Mouse tweet, started a groundswell of support for the Internet Archive, with thousands of users sharing their thoughts on the importance of our mission. 

In that chatter, a meme started forming: “Protect the Internet Archive – pass it on

So many people were sharing this sentiment that “Protect the Internet Archive” started trending.

And then Elon Musk weighed in with “Support the Internet Archive!”:  

With Musk’s enormous following on X, activity across our profile and posts skyrocketed, including our reply, but none more so than the post he shared about our appeal. To date, the post has been viewed more than 20 million times. 

But it didn’t stop there. Because of the overwhelming level of support & visibility, we were getting dozens of messages from supporters asking how they can help our cause. In addition to telling our new followers about our mission, we also invited people to tell the publishers to stop suing libraries and sell us ebooks we can own and preserve.

And they did. Hundreds of users shared a message to the publishers with the hashtag #SellDontSue.

And then, like all viral moments, the attention faded. As of today (January 11, 2024), activity around our feed has returned to normal levels.

So what does it all mean??

While our time in the spotlight was brief, it was definitely meaningful. Now that we’ve had a little perspective and distance, we can point to three main takeaways from our viral week:

Takeaway #1: People love the public domain! Mickey Mouse moving into the public domain is a story decades in the making, so no surprise that there was an increased level of interest this year. However, we’ve noted an upswing in engagement for posts about the public domain every January, and excellent attendance at our public domain celebrations. We love the public domain, too, so we’re going to keep promoting the materials moving out of copyright year after year.

Takeaway #2: More people are armed with facts about the lawsuit against our library, and are voicing their support for library digital lending, digital ownership and preservation.

Takeaway #3: We helped more people understand the opportunities (preservation) & challenges (lawsuits) libraries face in the digital age. New people were introduced to our mission, to the legal challenges that libraries are facing in the digital age, and to understanding what’s possible when libraries are allowed to own and preserve materials for the long term.

So, a big thank you to everyone who shared posts, spoke out in support of the Internet Archive, or otherwise helped bring new visibility to our mission and work last week. We are committed to preserving materials in the public domain, fighting the lawsuits against our library, and continuing our mission of providing “Universal Access to All Knowledge”—onward!

Book Talks Draw More Than 2,000 Attendees in 2023

Internet Archive drew more than 2,000 attendees to its popular book talk series in 2023, held in collaboration with Authors Alliance. The books and authors represented in this year’s series covered topics as varied as digital copyright, the persistence of history and culture through preservation, early personal computing history, and the harms of political control and corporate surveillance. Browse the full collection.

WATCH NOW:

January 12, 2023 – Ben Tarnoff, “Internet for the People

March 9, 2023 – Jason Steinhauer, “History, Disrupted

March 28, 2023 – Peter Baldwin, “Athena Unbound

April 20, 2023 – Jessica Litman, “Digital Copyright

May 9, 2023 – Jessica Silbey, “Against Progress

July 13, 2023 – Laine Nooney, “The Apple II Age

August 24, 2023 – Oya Y. Rieger, “Moving Theory Into Practice

September 20, 2023 – Abby Smith Rumsey, “Memory, Edited

October 19, 2023 – Ian Johnson, “Sparks

October 31, 2023 – Cory Doctorow, “The Internet Con

November 16, 2023 – Howie Singer & Bill Rosenblatt, “Key Changes

December 6, 2023 – David G. Stork, “Pixels & Paintings

Internet Archive Defends Digital Rights for Libraries

Earlier today, we filed our opening appellate brief in Hachette v. Internet Archive, reaffirming our commitment to preserving knowledge for future generations.

Statement from Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive: We submitted our appeal to the court today to protect the core mission of libraries—preservation and access. This is a fight to keep library books available for those seeking truth in the digital age. 

Libraries are not just repositories of books; they are guardians of history and the published record. In this time of wars, election angst, and unstable moments for democracy, this fight gains even more importance.

Why should everyone care about this lawsuit? Because it is about preserving the integrity of our published record, where the great books of our past meet the demands of our digital future. This is not merely an individual struggle; it is a collective endeavor for society and democracy struggling with our digital transition. We need secure access to the historical record. We need every tool that libraries have given us over the centuries to combat the manipulation and misinformation that has now become even easier.

This appeal underscores the role of libraries in supporting universal access to information—a right that transcends geographic location, socioeconomic status, disability, or any other barriers. Our digital lending program is not just about lending responsibly; it’s about strengthening democracy by creating informed global citizens.

The stakes of the lower court decision are high. Publishers coordinated by the AAP (Association of American Publishers), have removed hundreds of thousands of books from controlled digital lending. The publishers have taken more than 500 banned books from our lending library, such as 1984, The Color Purple, and Maus. This is a devastating loss for digital learners everywhere. 

This lawsuit is about more than the Internet Archive; it is about the role of all libraries in our digital age. This lawsuit is an attack on a well-established practice used by hundreds of libraries to provide public access to their collections. The disastrous lower court decision in this case holds implications far beyond our organization, shaping the future of all libraries in the United States and unfortunately, around the world.

If this decision is left to stand, it will take away a library’s ability to lend books from its permanent collections to digital learners.

In the face of challenges to truth, libraries are more vital than ever. 

Let this be a call to action—to protect the core mission of libraries in our digital age.

—Brewster Kahle

Watch full remarks

Statement from Corynne McSherry, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “The publishers are not seeking protection from harm to their existing rights. They are seeking a new right: the right to take advantage of technological developments to control how libraries may lend the books they own.” Watch full remarks.

Statement from Michael Blackwell, public library director, St. Mary’s County Library, Maryland: “The digital revolution has helped libraries reach beyond our doors but also presented enormous challenges. Publisher terms prevent us from offering in digital the robust collections we have in print. Literally millions of titles will never be digitized by the publishers because they have no profit incentive. We cannot even guarantee that digital titles we license today will be available tomorrow. To fulfill their traditional mission—the  preservation and dissemination of knowledge to benefit the public—libraries must be allowed to share online the books they legitimately own, as the Internet Archive is doing. Both literally and figuratively, we cannot afford a future in which giant corporations keep reading locked away behind paywalls, and libraries own nothing.”

Statement from John Chrastka, executive director, EveryLibrary: “The Internet Archive is focused on the same goal as every other library: helping readers access books and resources. The ability to lend is fundamental to the work of libraries, and Controlled Digital Lending is a digital solution for that core role. The outcome of this case will have far-reaching implications for readers across the country. I hope the court affirms the ability of all libraries to lend.”

Statement from Winston Tabb, Library of Congress & Johns Hopkins University Library (retired): “The Internet Archive, under the inspiring leadership of Brewster Kahle, is one of the most innovative libraries in the world today. Its focus on preserving and making content accessible to users in responsible ways is a model for other libraries.”

How to Take Action:

1. Send a message to the publishers

Share on X (formerly Twitter): Post to your followers

Hey @HachetteUS, @HarperCollins, @penguinrandom & @WileyGlobal: Instead of suing libraries like @internetarchive, just sell them ebooks they can own & preserve for the public. #SellDontSue

Facebook & Mastodon:

Hey #Hachette, #HarperCollins, #PenguinRandomHouse & #Wiley: Instead of suing libraries like #InternetArchive, just sell them ebooks they can own & preserve for the public. #SellDontSue

2. Support the Internet Archive 

Support the Internet Archive to continue fighting for libraries.

3. Stay connected

Sign up for the Empowering Libraries newsletter for ongoing updates about the lawsuit and our library.

Statement from Corynne McSherry, Legal Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is proud to join with our co-counsel Morrison and Foerster to represent the Internet Archive in challenging the district court’s ruling in this case.

For centuries, libraries have served their patrons by purchasing books and lending them for free. In the United States, libraries predated the founding of the nation – in fact they contributed to it by improving access to knowledge. Today, libraries serve many purposes, providing Internet access, meeting spaces, and even community pantries. But the heart of their mission remains the same: lending.

What has changed is how that core mission is accomplished. Like copyright law itself, library lending has evolved as new systems and technologies have created new ways to meet patron needs. For the past decade, that evolution has included controlled digital lending—a modern, more efficient version of lending that is used by libraries across the country. Controlled digital lending allows libraries to lend books via the internet subject to strict controls, for a limited time, to one patron at a time.

But four giant publishers claim that this service violates their copyrights and threatens their businesses. They are wrong: Libraries have paid publishers billions of dollars for the books in their print collections. CDL merely helps libraries better serve their patrons, but still lending just one book at a time. It is fundamentally the same as traditional library lending and poses no harm to authors or the publishing industry. In fact, the concrete evidence in this case shows that the Archive’s digital lending does not and will not harm the market for books.

The district court gave short shrift to that evidence, one of many flaws in the ruling. Another was that it concluded that the Internet Archive’s free public library is actually a commercial activity. According to the court, a nonprofit has a commercial purpose if it derives virtually any benefit connected to its a work – including ordinary nonprofit activities like attracting new members, receiving recognition from its community, or having a donate button its website. That definition of “commercial” runs contrary to well-established precedent. What is worse, it would apply to almost every library and public interest organization in the country. It doesn’t make sense.

Our brief explains why the court was wrong, and why controlled digital lending is a lawful fair use. But the core problem is this: The publishers are not seeking protection from harm to their existing rights. They are seeking a new right: the right to take advantage of technological developments to control how libraries may lend the books they own.   

They should not succeed. The Internet Archive and the hundreds of libraries and archives that support it are not pirates or thieves. They are librarians, striving to serve their patrons online just as they have done for centuries in the brick-and-mortar world. We are confident the Second Circuit will see that, and rule according.

Statement from Brewster Kahle: Appeal is ‘a fight to keep library books available for those seeking truth in the digital age.’

On December 15, 2023, Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, spoke at a press event for the filing of Internet Archive’s opening appellate brief in Hachette v. Internet Archive. These are his remarks:

We submitted our appeal to the court today to protect the core mission of libraries—preservation and access. This is a fight to keep library books available for those seeking truth in the digital age. 

Libraries are not just repositories of books; they are guardians of history and the published record. In this time of wars, election angst, and unstable moments for democracy, this fight gains even more importance.

Why should everyone care about this lawsuit? Because it is about preserving the integrity of our published record, where the great books of our past meet the demands of our digital future. This is not merely an individual struggle; it is a collective endeavor for society and democracy struggling with our digital transition. We need secure access to the historical record. We need every tool that libraries have given us over the centuries to combat the manipulation and misinformation that has now become even easier.

This appeal underscores the role of libraries in supporting universal access to information—a right that transcends geographic location, socioeconomic status, disability, or any other barriers. Our digital lending program is not just about lending responsibly; it’s about strengthening democracy by creating informed global citizens.

The stakes of the lower court decision are high. Publishers coordinated by the AAP (Association of American Publishers), have removed hundreds of thousands of books from controlled digital lending. The publishers have taken more than 500 banned books from our lending library, such as 1984, The Color Purple, and Maus. This is a devastating loss for digital learners everywhere. 

This lawsuit is about more than the Internet Archive; it is about the role of all libraries in our digital age. This lawsuit is an attack on a well-established practice used by hundreds of libraries to provide public access to their collections. The disastrous lower court decision in this case holds implications far beyond our organization, shaping the future of all libraries in the United States and unfortunately, around the world.

If this decision is left to stand, it will take away a library’s ability to lend books from its permanent collections to digital learners.

In the face of challenges to truth, libraries are more vital than ever. 

Let this be a call to action—to protect the core mission of libraries in our digital age.

—Brewster Kahle

Updated 12/15/23 to include video.