Category Archives: News

Internet Archive Joins Library Groups at the Supreme Court

On February 23, 2023, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Gonzalez v. Google. The case is, in a narrow sense, about whether certain algorithmic recommendations of a very large online platform can give rise to civil liability. But the Court’s ruling could fundamentally “reshape the internet”, redefining the circumstances in which a wide variety of websites and online services–including libraries–could be liable for the actions of their users. Internet Archive was proud to join the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a “friend of the Court” brief urging robust Section 230 protections for libraries and others.

As the Association of Research Libraries has previously noted, “libraries are included in” the protections of Section 230, and “[a]ny changes to the liability protections of 230 may endanger the ability of libraries to fulfill their public service missions.” Following from this, our brief highlights a number of important library projects and services “designed to share and build knowledge” which are currently protected by Section 230; these could be threatened by sweeping changes to the law. In fact, providing a space for the maintenance and development of these kinds of projects is exactly what the framers of Section 230 set out to do: it was enacted “to promote the continued development of the Internet” and so that it could continue to provide “a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.”

As the brief explains, substantial changes to Section 230 could frustrate these purposes by making it harder for libraries to use the internet to broaden and deepen the public’s access to knowledge (among other things). And while it is impossible to know exactly how Section 230 might be changed by the Court, and how those changes could impact the behavior of libraries and others who rely on Section 230 today, the brief highlights a number of concerning scenarios that we hope the Court will consider. These kinds of concerns have been raised by many, including Professor Eric Goldman, who has explained how changes to the law occasioned by this case could make it too costly or burdensome for many online services to operate the way they do today; this could result in an internet dominated by “a small number of voices” promoted by the largest corporations and hidden behind paywalls. 

At the Internet Archive, despite the challenges, we continue to believe in the power of the internet to democratize and expand access to knowledge. As EFF said when it filed the brief, “[a]s the internet has grown, its problems have grown, too,” but we can “address those problems without weakening a law” that has provided meaningful protection to everyone, including libraries. As courts and legislatures consider changes to this existing legal structure, we hope they keep in mind the public’s interest, so we can work towards an internet that preserves public interest spaces and is shaped by public interest values

How do you use the Internet Archive in your research?

Tell us about your research & how you use the Internet Archive to further it! We are gathering testimonials about how our library & collections are used in different research projects & settings.

From using our books to check citations to doing large-scale data analysis using our web archives, we want to hear from you!

Share your story now!

The Internet Archive Musiczoom Collection Continues

The start of the pandemic in 2020 had immediate effects on the Internet Archive, especially regarding the San Francisco-located headquarters.

A bustling building full of many dozens of simultaneous projects and conversations became an empty shell. The whole world was grappling with the new situation, and for the Archive, it meant many of the all-hands meetings were moved to strictly online, using Zoom conferencing. We learned fast to be online-first, where we remain currently.

There was one small glimmer of light in this darkness.

It was decided to hire artists to give pre-meeting musical performances at our weekly all-hands. This would add a bit of uplift to the morning gatherings, and allow musicians who had lost access to public performances to make a little income and share their music with a grateful audience of dozens of Internet Archive employees. It was a rousing success, and performances were added to our Friday Lunches as well.

The variety of musicians and performances have been amazing: Instrumentalists, Singers, Dancers, and a breathtaking spectrum of styles and acts have made an appearance on our (virtual) stage.

As was covered in a blog post in 2020, all sorts of great stories and opportunities to learn about these artists have been added to the record. The artists were asked if the Archive could archive their performances, and many have agreed.

The number of music concerts in The Internet Archive Musiczoom Collection has now passed over 200 individual works.

Some performers are clearly adjusting to their new circumstances, while others have created entire “online stages” for their performances. All of them show remarkable talent and resilience in willingness to do this strange “gig”, and we’ve even had repeat performances over the years.

We continue to enjoy the creative spirits that start our all-hands, and if you didn’t know about this growing and enjoyable collection… you do now.

Stop by anytime. And note that many of these performances have links to directly support the artists; please do if you can.

Internet Archive Submits Comments in Copyright Office Study of NFTs

Nouns are NFT avatars generated by the Nouns protocol, all released into the public domain; all Nouns are equally rare because the project enforces “no explicit rules for attribute scarcity.”

Last week, Internet Archive filed comments in response to the United States Copyright Office’s Non-Fungible Token Study. The study was launched by the Copyright Office, in partnership with the Patent and Trademark Office, in response to a letter from Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis. In their letter, the senators described their “interest in the continued development and use of emerging technologies [which] includes considering how best to secure intellectual property rights for emerging technologies and how to assess what impact these technologies might have on intellectual property rights.” They “urge[d]” the Copyright Office to “consult with the private sector” in undertaking the study, “drawing from the technological, creative, and academic sectors.”

While the Senators did not expressly invite the Office to consult with libraries or the public interest community, the Office opened the study to comments from the public at large. This was a welcome development. As digital rights group Public Knowledge has documented, participation by civil society and other public-interest-minded actors in Copyright Office matters can play an important role in ensuring the public interest is taken into account. With that role in mind, we were pleased to submit our comments in response to this latest study.

As mentioned in our comments, Internet Archive has been in active engagement with the Decentralized Web community for many years now, including convening and stewarding the development of DWeb Principles, sponsoring DWeb Camp, and participating in a variety of other projects and events. We recognize that NFTs have sparked debate within the DWeb community. Nevertheless, as policymakers are beginning to look at regulating decentralized technologies, we felt it important to weigh in with our perspective.

In particular, our comments encourage the Copyright Office to consider impacts on libraries—in particular the ways in which NFTs could help libraries develop long term, permanent digital collections. Our comments also encourage the Copyright Office to respect the choice of NFT artists who wish to release their underlying work under open licenses, as these build our common culture. You can read our full submission here.

Our Digital History Is at Risk

This piece was first published by TIME Magazine, in their Ideas section, as Amid Musk’s Chaotic Reign at Twitter, Our Digital History Is at Risk. My thanks to the wonderful team at Time for their editorial and other assistance.

As Twitter has entered the Musk era, many people are leaving the platform or rethinking its role in their lives. Whether they join another platform like Mastodon (as I have) or continue on at Twitter, the instability occasioned by Twitter’s change in ownership has revealed an underlying instability in our digital information ecosystem. 

Many have now seen how, when someone deletes their Twitter account, their profile, their tweets, even their direct messages, disappear. According to the MIT Technology Review, around a million people have left so far, and all of this information has left the platform along with them. The mass exodus from Twitter and the accompanying loss of information, while concerning in its own right, shows something fundamental about the construction of our digital information ecosystem:  Information that was once readily available to you—that even seemed to belong to you—can disappear in a moment. 

Losing access to information of private importance is surely concerning, but the situation is more worrying when we consider the role that digital networks play in our world today. Governments make official pronouncements online. Politicians campaign online. Writers and artists find audiences for their work and a place for their voice. Protest movements find traction and fellow travelers.  And, of course, Twitter was a primary publishing platform of a certain U.S. president

If Twitter were to fail entirely, all of this information could disappear from their site in an instant. This is an important part of our history. Shouldn’t we be trying to preserve it?

I’ve been working on these kinds of questions, and building solutions to some of them, for a long time. That’s part of why, over 25 years ago, I founded the Internet Archive. You may have heard of our “Wayback Machine,” a free service anyone can use to view archived web pages from the mid-1990’s to the present. This archive of the web has been built in collaboration with over a thousand libraries around the world, and it holds hundreds of billions of archived webpages today–including those presidential tweets (and many others). In addition, we’ve been preserving all kinds of important cultural artifacts in digital form: books, television news, government records, early sound and film collections, and much more. 

The scale and scope of the Internet Archive can give it the appearance of something unique, but we are simply doing the work that libraries and archives have always done: Preserving and providing access to knowledge and cultural heritage. For thousands of years, libraries and archives have provided this important public service. I started the Internet Archive because I strongly believed that this work needed to continue in digital form and into the digital age. 

While we have had many successes, it has not been easy. Like the record labels, many book publishers  didn’t know what to make of the internet at first, but now they see new opportunities for financial gain. Platforms, too, tend to put their commercial interests first. Don’t get me wrong: Publishers and platforms continue to play an important role in bringing the work of creators to market, and sometimes assist in the preservation task. But companies close, and change hands, and their commercial interests can cut against preservation and other important public benefits. 

Traditionally, libraries and archives filled this gap. But in the digital world, law and technology make their job increasingly difficult. For example, while a library could always simply buy a physical book on the open market in order to preserve it on their shelves, many publishers and platforms try to stop libraries from preserving information digitally. They may even use technical and legal measures to prevent libraries from doing so. While we strongly believe that fair use law enables libraries to perform traditional functions like preservation and lending in the digital environment, many publishers disagree, going so far as to sue libraries to stop them from doing so. 

We should not accept this state of affairs. Free societies need access to history, unaltered by changing corporate or political interests. This is the role that libraries have played and need to keep playing. This brings us back to Twitter.

In 2010, Twitter had the tremendous foresight of engaging in a partnership with the Library of Congress to preserve old tweets. At the time, the Library of Congress had been tasked by Congress “to establish a national digital information infrastructure and preservation program.” It appeared that government and private industry were working together in search of a solution to the digital preservation problem, and that Twitter was leading the way.  

It was not long before the situation broke down. In 2011, the Library of Congress issued a report noting the need for “legal and regulatory changes that would recognize the broad public interest in long-term access to digital content,” as well as the fact that “most libraries and archives cannot support under current funding” the necessary digital preservation infrastructure.”  But no legal and regulatory changes have been forthcoming, and even before the 2011 report,  Congress pulled tens of millions of dollars out of the preservation program. In these circumstances, it is perhaps unsurprising that, by 2017, the Library of Congress had ceased preserving most old tweets, and the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) is no longer an active program at the Library of Congress. Furthermore, it is not clear whether Twitter’s new ownership will take further steps of its own to address the situation. 

Whatever Musk does, the preservation of our digital cultural heritage should not have to rely on the beneficence of one man. We need to empower libraries by ensuring that they have the same rights with respect to digital materials that they have in the physical world. Whether that means archiving old tweets, lending books digitally, or even something as exciting (to me!) as 21st century interlibrary loan, what’s important is that we have a nationwide strategy for solving the technical and legal hurdles to getting this done. 

Book Talk: History, Disrupted

Join journalist CLAIRE WOODCOCK and author JASON STEINHAUER for a free, virtual discussion about how social media & the web have changed the past.


The Internet has changed the past. Social media, Wikipedia, mobile networks, and the viral and visual nature of the Web have filled the public sphere with historical information and misinformation, changing what we know about our history. This is the first book to chronicle how and why it matters.

Purchase History, Disrupted from Better World Books.

From Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms, history has been widely communicated and fiercely contested across the social Web as battles over the 1619 Project, the Trump presidency, Confederate monuments and history textbooks have exploded into public view. How does history intersect with today’s most pressing debates? How does history contribute to online debates about misinformation, disinformation, journalism, tribalism, activism, democracy, politics and identity?

In the midst of growing political division around the world, this information is critical to an engaged citizenry. As we collectively grapple with the effects of technology and its capacity to destabilize our societies, scholars, educators and the general public should be aware of how the Web and social media shape what we know about ourselves – and crucially, about our past.


JASON STEINHAUER is a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center in the USA. He is the founder and host of History Club on Clubhouse with more than 100,000 followers, and was the Founding Director of the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University, USA, from 2017 – 2020.  A public historian with over twenty years of experience in major cultural and historical institutions in the US, Steinhauer is the Founder of the History Communication Institute and the creator of the field of History Communication, which examines how history gets communicated on the World Wide Web. He has written for CNN, TIME, The Washington Post, Poynter, Inside Higher Ed, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Foreign Policy Research Institute (where he is a Senior Fellow). He has also delivered lectures overseas on behalf of the US Department of State, created a history podcast for the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, and appeared on C-SPAN’s American History TV.

CLAIRE WOODCOCK is an independent journalist based in Colorado. Her work has appeared in Motherboard Vice, NPR, Literary Hub, Aspen Public Radio, Boulder Weekly and many other publications. Her current work focuses on the politics of information in libraries. Woodcock graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of New York at Fredonia in 2015 and is currently an M.A. candidate in the Media & Public Engagement program at CU Boulder. Woodcock is also a Digital Ownership Fellow with NYU Law’s Engelberg Center on Innovation Policy and Law, researching the digital book marketplace.

BOOK TALK: History, Disrupted
March 9 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the free virtual discussion

A Calculated Move: Calculators Now Emulated at Internet Archive

It’s time to add another family of emulated older technology to the Internet Archive.

The vast majority of platforms within what we call The Emularity happens because of the work of MAME Team, which has spent over 25 years adding support for tens of thousands of machines, platforms, and tools to their breathtaking system. The amount of arcade machines and computers they now cover is so huge, a site exists just to keep track of what they don’t emulate… yet.

While we have an excellent family of emulators assisting MAME in making programs work in the browser, the vast majority of the items in our Internet Arcade (and Turbo Edition), Console Living Room, and Handheld History collections mostly have MAME to thank.

And now another can as well: The Calculator Drawer.

The Calculator Drawer
is smaller than these other collections, but they possess a hearty collection of graphing and simple Calculators, emulated in MAME and with an additional layer of presenting the calculator itself, as a clickable graphical object, which you can then do math and graphing on. (You also need to turn many of them on, so look for the “ON” button to get things going.)

If Graphing Calculators were not a part of your childhood or previous life, they may be a bit of a steep climb to get to understand. If you still want to mess around with them, a stash of manuals for most of the models in the collection has been provided.

So, go forth and literally multiply.

However, if you wish to stick around a little bit longer…

The main reason you can do this wonderful “click on an image of a calculator as if it was a real object inside the browser” is because of a feature in MAME called MAME ARTWORK. It is one of a couple solutions to a major problem in emulation, especially of handheld devices, or tools like synthesizers or plastic toys.

The problem is that the actual “emulated” part of many of these machines are a tiny set of LED lights, or a line of LCD numbers, which is where all the circuitry presents its output, while the vast majority of the item is a static piece of metal or plastic with paint, labels and physical heft to the item. Compare, for example, the output of The Little Professor, emulated:

…to what the actual form factor of The Little Professor was:

We can all agree that while one could make the keys for 0-9, OFF, ON and so on “work” on a keyboard input, it would be so much nicer if a representation of the Little Professor calculator was on the screen to type into, pressing keys by a touchscreen or via a mouse (while leaving the keyboard option active).

MAME has two different ways it can render an emulated device that needs “additional” drawing to augment the part of itself that’s reflecting the screen or lights of the device.

One is to have the MAME system itself do a line-drawing of the interface the machine is using. That is, actual vector-based drawing of the buttons, screen and other decorations to help users understand what they’re looking at. To provide a counter-example of The Little Professor, here’s a Chess-Master Diamond system in the plastic realm:

…and here’s what you’ll see when you boot it up in the MAME system:

..definitely pretty sweet, for sure!

And while it’s very nice this option exists, there’s something compelling about a photograph of an original item being shown on-screen along with interactivity, and the best part is how it doesn’t require a deep lore of programming.

It’s called The MAME Artwork System, and while it’s not completely easy to get a hang of, it’s been refined since being introduced in 2006, and it could use help.

There are some amazing efforts that have been done to make these “layout” files for items emulated by MAME, with the best clearinghouse for seeing this work at Mr. Do’s Arcade. By leafing through the collection of artwork made so far, you can see how much better the interface is with a graphical addition. There’s over 1,400 different systems that have gotten the Artwork Treatment, a major success.

But that’s still a tiny percentage of the systems that need to time, focus, and skills of volunteers to make them come alive in this way.

People are often inspired to want to help emulation efforts, since they’re the future of software’s history, but it can be daunting to find a place in, to ramp up to the mass of intricacies and standards of a decades-long project. But perhaps, out there, is someone, maybe even you, who would find it a delight to help acquire excellent photographs of vintage hardware, and collaborate on designing the layout files for them.

This effort will allow us to add more calculators, devices, and hardware out of MAME to be playable at the Internet Archive, and you’ll join the immortal names of the creation of this longstanding project.

Until then… enjoy the Calculators.

BBC Modi Documentary Removal

We have observed some confusion about the Internet Archive’s removal of links to a BBC documentary about Indian PM Narendra Modi (“India: the Modi Question”). Internet Archive can confirm that it has removed links in response to DMCA takedown requests from the BBC.

Archive for Amateur Radio Grows to 51,000 Items

Internet Archive’s Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications is quickly growing to become an important archive of radio’s past and present. The collection has blossomed to well over 51,000 items related to ham radio, shortwave listening, scanners, and related communications. The newest additions include books, journals and magazines, newsletters, and archives of early Internet discussion lists.

More than 3,300 books and magazines are now available via controlled digital lending in the DLARC lending library. These materials, including hundreds of magazine and journal issues including Popular Electronics, RF Design, and General Radio Experimenter, can be borrowed for online or offline reading, one reader at a time, by anyone with a free Internet Archive account. DLARC has also added amateur radio magazines QST from 1912-1961, Radio & Television News from 1919-1959, and Radio magazine from 1920-1947.

Nearly 1,300 episodes of The RAIN Report, an audio program that aired news and interviews relevant to the amateur radio community from 1985-2019, are now available, including hundreds of lost episodes, thanks to the help of the program’s producer, Hap Holly. DLARC has also added the 700-episode library of the National Radio Club DX Audio Service, which reported radio-related news from 1985 through 2015.

The archive of radio-related podcasts now includes QSO Today, Linux in the Ham Shack, RAIN Hamcast, Amateur Logic, and others. 

Radio clubs are utilizing the DLARC archive to provide long-term backup of content and increase their visibility to new audiences. The Milwaukee Radio Amateurs’ Club, one of the oldest ham radio groups, is uploading its entire historical archive, an unparalleled collection of newsletters, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and meeting minutes documenting the group’s history. 

Other group newsletters include British Amateur Television Club’s CQ-TV, the CWops Solid Copy newsletter for Morse code enthusiasts, Boulder Amateur Television Club TV Repeater’s REPEATER, and Scope, the newsletter of the Palomar Amateur Radio Club. The DLARC library has also added newsletters from radio clubs around the world, including the Dutch Amateur Radio Union, the Chester & District Radio Society (England), and the defunct Canadian Amateur Radio Operators’ Association.

DLARC now archives papers and presentation slides from 41 years of TAPR conferences, including the ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference, and the Computer Networking Conference. The collection is accessible like never before, full-text searchable and with detailed metadata. In addition, TAPR’s Packet Status Register newsletter, published since 1982, is also archived.

DLARC has also begun archiving amateur radio email discussion lists, so far making tens of thousands of discussion threads available and searchable — going as far back as the late 1980s — for the first time in decades. The selection includes INFO-HAMS Digest, Boatanchors (a mailing list for fans of vacuum tube radios), Packet-Radio Digest, and Ham-Digital Digest.

DLARC is funded by a significant grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to create a digital library that documents, preserves, and provides open access to the history of this community.

The Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications invites radio clubs and individuals to submit collections of material, whether they are already in digital format or not. Anyone with material to contribute, questions about the project, or interest in creating a digital library for other professional communities, please contact:

Kay Savetz, K6KJN
Program Manager, Special Collections

Still from Gnats Gonzalez short film Echo Echo

Public Domain Day Film Contest Highlights Works of 1927

At Internet Archive we love to see how creative people can get with the material we make available online. As part of this year’s Public Domain Day celebration we asked the greater community to submit short films highlighting anything that was going to be made available in the Public Domain in 2023.

For the contest, vintage images and sounds were woven into creative films of 2-3 minutes. Many of the films were abstract while others educational, they all showcased the possibility when public domain materials are made openly available and accessible for download.

 “The Internet Archive has spent  24 years collecting and archiving content from around the world…now is the time to see what people can do with it,” said Amir Saber Esfahani, director of special arts projects at the Internet Archive. He was an organizer and judge in the January short-film contest along with Yuanxiao Xu, who serves as Counsel at Creative Commons, and Rick Prelinger, who is an archivist and filmmaker, as well as a board member for the Internet Archive.

The judges reviewed 47 entries and chose a winner based on creativity, technique, engagement, and variety of 1925 content (including lists of all sources).

Contest Winners

First Place: Echo Echo by Gnats Gonzales

Second Place: The Public Domain Race by José Domingues and Leonardo Domingues

Third Place: Seeing Cats by Alex T. Jacobs

Honorable Mentions

There were so many amazing films that did not win the contest, so below are a selection of artists that we feel should get honorable mentions for their short films.

View all of the submissions at