Tag Archives: lawsuit

What the Hachette v. Internet Archive Decision Means for Our Library

Our library is still strong, growing, and serving millions of patrons. But the publishers’ attack on basic library practices continues.

Linking references in Wikipedia to the cited page in our library.

Last Friday, the Southern District of New York court issued its final order in Hachette v. Internet Archive, thus bringing the lower court proceedings to a close. We disagree with the court’s decision and intend to appeal. In the meantime, however, we will abide by the court’s injunction. 

The lawsuit only concerns our book lending program. The injunction clarifies that the Publisher Plaintiffs will notify us of their commercially available books, and the Internet Archive will expeditiously remove them from lending. Additionally, Judge Koeltl also signed an order in favor of the Internet Archive, agreeing with our request that the injunction should only cover books available in electronic format, and not the publishers’ full catalog of books in print. Separately, we have come to agreement with the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the trade organization that coordinated the original lawsuit with the four publishers, that the AAP will not support further legal action against the Internet Archive for controlled digital lending if we follow the same takedown procedures for any AAP-member publisher. 

So what is the impact of these final orders on our library? Broadly, this injunction will result in a significant loss of access to valuable knowledge for the public. It means that people who are not part of an elite institution or who do not live near a well-funded public library will lose access to books they cannot read otherwise. It is a sad day for the Internet Archive, our patrons, and for all libraries.

Because this case was limited to our book lending program, the injunction does not significantly impact our other library services.  The Internet Archive may still digitize books for preservation purposes, and may still provide access to our digital collections in a number of ways, including through interlibrary loan and by making accessible formats available to people with qualified print disabilities. We may continue to display “short portions” of books as is consistent with fair use—for example, Wikipedia references (as shown in the image above). The injunction does not affect lending of out-of-print books. And of course, the Internet Archive will still make millions of public domain texts available to the public without restriction.

Regarding the monetary payment, we can say that “AAP’s significant attorney’s fees and costs incurred in the Action since 2020 have been substantially compensated by the Monetary Judgement Payment.” 

Thanks to your continued support, our library is still strong, growing, and serving millions of patrons.

Libraries are going to have to fight to be able to buy, preserve, and lend digital books outside of the confines of temporary licensed access. We deeply appreciate your support as we continue this fight!

Our Fight is Far From Over

Four months after the disappointing decision on summary judgment in Hachette v. Internet Archive, a number of papers were filed today in the district court, and then the judge is expected to make his final judgment. We expect that, at least while the appeal is pending, there will be changes to our lending program, but the full scope of those changes is a question pending with the district court. We will provide an update on those changes once the district court decision is final.

Our fight is far from over—We remain steadfast in our belief that libraries should be able to own, preserve, and lend digital books outside of the confines of temporary licensed access. We believe that the judge made errors of law and fact in the decision, and we will appeal.

Statement from Internet Archive founder, Brewster Kahle:
“Libraries are under attack at unprecedented scale today, from book bans to defunding to overzealous lawsuits like the one brought against our library. These efforts are cutting off the public’s access to truth at a key time in our democracy. We must have strong libraries, which is why we are appealing this decision.”

How to Take Action:

Stand up for libraries
Stand up for the digital rights of all libraries! Join the Battle for Libraries: https://www.battleforlibraries.com/ 

Support the Internet Archive 
Support the Internet Archive to continue fighting for libraries in court!

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

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Unanimously Passes Resolution in Support of Digital Rights For Libraries

San Francisco City Hall from east end of Civic Center Plaza

In a stunning show of support for libraries, late yesterday afternoon the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to support a resolution backing the Internet Archive and the digital rights of all libraries.

Supervisor Connie Chan, whose district includes the Internet Archive, authored the legislation and brought the resolution before the Board. “At a time when we are seeing an increase in censorship and book bans across the country, we must move to preserve free access to information,” said Supervisor Chan. “I am proud to stand with the Internet Archive, our Richmond District neighbor, and digital libraries throughout the United States.”

WATCH Supervisor Chan introduce the resolution:

What’s in the resolution?

The resolution is a powerful statement in support of libraries, beginning:

Resolution recognizing the irreplaceable public value of libraries, including online libraries like the Internet Archive, and the essential rights of all libraries to own, preserve, and lend both digital and print books to the residents of San Francisco and the wider public; supporting the Internet Archive and its public service mission; and urging the California State Legislature and the United States Congress to support digital rights for libraries, including controlled digital lending and the option for libraries to own their digital collections. 

Read the full resolution

Rally on the steps of San Francisco City Hall

Supporters surround Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle and District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan on the steps of City Hall.

Before the vote, supporters rallied outside on the steps of City Hall. Joining Supervisor Chan on the steps were Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive; Cindy Cohn, Electronic Frontier Foundation; Chuck Roslof, Wikimedia Foundation; and author and activist Liz Henry.

“It’s a sad day that we have to be here to talk about the importance of maintaining access to information through libraries,” said Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “We must stand firm in our commitment to providing Universal Access to All Knowledge.”

“The Internet Archive and its goal of universal access to all human knowledge represents the best of Technology.” said Cindy Cohn, Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We must stand up for the privacy of our reading, the digital lending strategies that publishers want to promote violates our privacy and our ability to investigate freely.”

“The work of the Wikimedia Foundation centers around providing access to knowledge for all people, around the world.” said Chuck Roslof, Lead Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation. “In this mission, Wikipedia doesn’t stand alone. Libraries and archives play a critical role as part of our ecosystem of free knowledge, to ensure that all of us have access to reliable, accurate information about the world around us. The Internet Archive is the internet’s library, and it is an invaluable resource to Wikipedia editors and readers…”

Author and disability justice activist Liz Henry spoke about the importance of digital libraries from their experience as a wheelchair user. “Access to digital lending from libraries and the Internet Archive is a critical lifeline for disabled people and seniors.” said Henry, going on to explain how they used the Internet Archive to research a brick that they found under their house during construction. Using materials from the web, as well as digital books from the Internet Archive and San Francisco Public Library, Henry was able to determine that the brick, stamped C H for City Hall, was manufactured in the 1870s, and was part of the original City Hall structure, which burned down in the 1906 earthquake. Henry completed their research while they were having mobility issues and limited to the house, underscoring the importance of digital access to library materials. You can read more about this fascinating discovery on Henry’s blog. 

Many thanks to Supervisor Chan for being a strong advocate for libraries, and for making San Francisco the first municipality to codify the importance of digital libraries and controlled digital lending in a resolution. Many thanks as well to all the supporters who joined us on the steps and who submitted letters in support of the resolution.

Supporters Rally For Library Digital Rights on the Steps of the Internet Archive

More than one hundred supporters gathered on the steps of the Internet Archive last Saturday to rally support for our library in the face of a judgment that threatens the digital future of all libraries. 

Digital rights advocate Lia Holland of Fight for the Future read from the letter signed by Neil Gaiman, Naomi A. Klein, Chuck Wendig, Karen Joy Fowler, Cory Doctorow and more than 1,000 additional authors who are speaking out on behalf of libraries, demanding that publishers and trade associations put the digital rights of librarians, readers, and authors ahead of shareholder profits.

Cindy Cohn, the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who are representing Internet Archive in our lawsuit, underscored the valuable role that libraries play in protecting reader privacy; values that are not shared by the corporations and platforms that have become intertwined around ebooks. “When libraries can’t own ebooks, how private will your reading be?” Cohn asked. “Everyone deserves the right to read without someone looking over their shoulder.”

The Internet Law & Policy Foundry’s Lili Siri Spira spoke from her perspective as a “Gen-Z-Millennial cusper growing up on the Internet” about the importance of access to quality information in the face of book bannings and attacks on libraries. “As a former open-source investigator, I know first-hand how important open and free access to knowledge is in order to address the world’s injustices…As a former misinfo analyst, I know what information is out there to replace these burned books and it’s not good,” she said.

Brewster Kahle, the founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, gave an impassioned plea about why the lawsuit against the Internet Archive is harmful to libraries and the entire publishing ecosystem. “[The lawsuit] doesn’t make any sense for authors, it doesn’t make any sense for readers, it doesn’t make any sense for libraries, and it doesn’t make any sense for publishers. The library system…has always bought lots of books. But now, [the publishers] are saying you cannot buy an ebook. This makes no sense!” 

The rally wrapped with cheers for continued action in support of libraries’ digital rights. As EFF’s Cindy Cohn shouted to roars from the crowd, “On to the court of appeals!”

Don’t Delete Our Books! Rally

For those asking how you can support the Internet Archive, there will be a rally on the steps of the Internet Archive on Saturday, April 8 @ 11am PT.

Learn more & sign up

Reposted from https://actionnetwork.org/events/dont-delete-our-books-rally-in-san-francisco

Rally for the digital future of libraries!

The nonprofit Internet Archive is appealing a judgment that threatens the future of all libraries. Big publishers are suing to cut off libraries’ ownership and control of digital books, opening new paths for censorship and surveillance. If this ruling is allowed to stand, it will result in:

— Increased censorship or even deletion of books, decided only by big publishing shareholders
— Big Tech growing its overreach into library patron’s data, making people unsafe by monitizing intimate personal information on what they read or research
— Even more predatory licensing fees from Big Media monopolies, who are gobbling up public and school library budgets
— Reduced access to books for people from every community
— Losing libraries as preservers of vast swaths of history and culture, because they will never be allowed to own and preserve digital books

More information is available at BattleForLibraries.com. The organizers of that website are holding a rally at the Internet Archive on Funston St in San Francisco on Saturday, April 8, 2023 at 11 am.

All are welcome. Bring signs (we’ll also have some to share!) and join us to stand up for the rights of libraries to own and preserve books—whether they’re digital or print.

Can’t make it to the rally?

You can still participate & show your support for the digital rights of libraries in the following ways:

  •  Make & share a rally sign & tag @internetarchive on social media
    Need a suggestion? Try: 
    Internet Archive is a Library For Everyone!
    eBooks are Books

The Fight Continues

Today’s lower court decision in Hachette v. Internet Archive is a blow to all libraries and the communities we serve. This decision impacts libraries across the US who rely on controlled digital lending to connect their patrons with books online. It hurts authors by saying that unfair licensing models are the only way their books can be read online. And it holds back access to information in the digital age, harming all readers, everywhere.

But it’s not over—we will keep fighting for the traditional right of libraries to own, lend, and preserve books. We will be appealing the judgment and encourage everyone to come together as a community to support libraries against this attack by corporate publishers. 

We will continue our work as a library. This case does not challenge many of the services we provide with digitized books including interlibrary loan, citation linking, access for the print-disabled, text and data mining, purchasing ebooks, and ongoing donation and preservation of books.

Statement from Internet Archive founder, Brewster Kahle:
“Libraries are more than the customer service departments for corporate database products. For democracy to thrive at global scale, libraries must be able to sustain their historic role in society—owning, preserving, and lending books.

This ruling is a blow for libraries, readers, and authors and we plan to appeal it.”

Take Action!

Stand up for libraries ✊
Stand up for the digital rights of all libraries! Join the Battle for Libraries: https://www.battleforlibraries.com/ 

Support the Internet Archive 📚 
Support the Internet Archive to continue fighting for libraries in court!

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

Stand with Internet Archive as we fight for the digital rights of all libraries

We stood up for the digital rights of all libraries today in court! The Southern District of New York heard oral argument in Hachette v. Internet Archive, the lawsuit against our library and the longstanding library practice of controlled digital lending, brought by 4 of the world’s largest publishers.

We fought hard for libraries today, and we’re proud of how well we were able to represent the value of controlled digital lending to the communities we serve. 

Take action!

While we wait for the judge’s decision, here’s how you can show your support:

Join the Battle for Libraries ✊
The internet advocacy group Fight for the Future has launched the Battle for Libraries, an online rally in support of the Internet Archive and digital lending. Visit the action hub to engage with other supporters & share messages with your followers across social media to spread awareness about our fight. Get started now!

Read a book! 📕
Check out a book from Open Library and read it online using the library practice of controlled digital lending.

Stay connected 🔗
Sign up for the Empowering Libraries newsletter for the latest updates about the lawsuit and our library.

Press conference statement: Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive

Brewster Kahle is the founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive. Brewster spoke at the press conference hosted by Internet Archive ahead of oral argument in Hachette v. Internet Archive.

Statement

The Internet is failing us. The Internet Archive has tried, along with hundreds of other libraries, to do something about it. 

A ruling in this case ironically can help all libraries, or it can hurt.  

The Internet Archive is a library I founded 26 years ago. This library has brought hundreds of years of books to the wikipedia generation, and now 4 massive publishers are suing to stop us.

As the world now looks to their screens for answers, what they find is often not good.  People are struggling to figure out what is true and it is getting harder.  

Digital learners need access to a library of books, a library at least as deep as the libraries we older people had the privilege to grow up with.  

The Internet Archive has worked with hundreds of libraries for decades to provide such a library of books.  A library where each of those books can be read by one reader at a time.  This is what libraries have always done. 

We also work with libraries that are under threat.  We work with many libraries that have closed their doors completely– libraries with unique collections: Claremont School of Theology, Marygrove College of Detroit, cooking school of Johnson & Wales Denver, Concordia College of Bronxville NY, Drug Policy Alliance’s library of NYC, the Evangelical Seminary of Pennsylvania. I have looked these librarians in the eye and told them that we are there for them. 

They entrust their books to us, as a peer library, to carry forward their mission. Most of the books are not available from the publishers in digital form, and never will be.  And as we have seen, students, researchers and the print-disabled continue to use these books for quotations and fact checking.    And I think we can all agree we need to be able to do fact checking.

Here’s what’s at stake in this case: hundreds of libraries contributed millions of books to the Internet Archive for preservation in addition to those books we have purchased. Thousands of donors provided the funds to digitize them.   

The publishers are now demanding that those millions of digitized books, not only be made inaccessible, but be destroyed.

This is horrendous.   Let me say it again– the publishers are demanding that millions of digitized books be destroyed.

And if they succeed in destroying our books or even making many of them inaccessible, there will be a chilling effect on the hundreds of other libraries that lend digitized books as we do.

This could be the burning of the Library of Alexandria moment– millions of books from our community’s libraries – gone.   

The dream of the Internet was to democratize access to knowledge, but if the big publishers have their way, excessive corporate control will be the nightmare of the Internet.

That is what is at stake.   Will libraries even own and preserve collections that are digital?  Will libraries serve our patrons with books as we have done for millennia?   

A positive ruling that affirms every library’s right to lend the books they own, would build a better Internet and a better society.

Thank you.

Press conference statement: Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law

Lawrence Lessig is a professor of law at Harvard Law. Lawrence spoke at the press conference hosted by Internet Archive ahead of oral argument in Hachette v. Internet Archive.

Statement

Also available at Lessig for the Internet Archive on Medium.

We should all recognize — and celebrate—the importance of commercial publishing, for authors and creators everywhere. Commercial publishing creates the income that authors depend upon to have the freedom to create great new works. Without commercial publishing, much of the greatest that will be won’t be written.

But we must also recognize that culture needs more than commercial publishing. If the business model of commercial publishing controlled our access to our past, then much of who we were, and much of how we learned to be better, would simply disappear.

Think about the extraordinary platform that is Netflix. For a small price each month, subscribers have access to thousands of movies and television shows, far more than at any point in human history. The revenue subscribers provide in turn lets Netflix invest in new creative work. No one who knew television from the 1970s could believe that the quality of television has not improved dramatically over the last 50 years.

Yet Netflix’ archive is not endless. And each year, the site culls titles from its collection and removes them from its library. Netflix does this for many reasons — for example, the content could be licensed from third parties, and the term of that license has expired, or the site may see that demand for the title is meager, so bearing the costs of carrying it no longer makes sense. Regardless of the reason, the decision is an economic one for Netflix — Netflix makes available only those titles that it continues to make economic sense to make available. Such is the business model of a commercial publisher.

But culture needs a different business model. We need access to our past, not just the part of our past that continues to be commercially viable. We need libraries that assure we can see everything our parents or grandparents saw, so we can understand why they were as they were, and how they got better. Great libraries preserve access to as much as they physically can — not based on which titles continue to earn revenue. The past is just one more competitor for a commercial publisher; but for a library, the past is a gift that is to be nurtured and protected, regardless of its commercial value.

We are at a critical moment in the history of culture. The lawsuit that the Internet Archive faces will determine whether the business model of culture is the commercial model alone, or whether there will continue to be a place for libraries, and therefore, continue to be a practice of assuring as much access to our past as is possible. The particular fight in this lawsuit is important; the general fight is critical: Is the past that we have access to just the past that continues to pay? Or is the past we can have reliable access to the past that libraries strive to make available — not for profit, but for the love of culture and for the truth that that access to all of culture continues to assure.

Press conference statement: Heather Joseph, SPARC

Heather Joseph is the executive director of SPARC. She spoke at the press conference hosted by Internet Archive ahead of oral argument in Hachette v. Internet Archive.

Statement

Access to knowledge is a fundamental human right. 

We depend on being able to freely share knowledge each and every day. It’s foundational to how we navigate the world – from how we learn to how we work, to how we share our culture and understand our collective history.  It’s also the lifeblood of how we advance discovery, and attack the biggest challenges that we face as a society.  From cancer breakthroughs to climate justice, we rely on being able to access, build on and benefit from the knowledge generated by those around us. 

We take for granted that knowledge is just – there, and that ANYONE can get it when and if they need it.  But the reality is that too often, this simply isn’t the case.    Especially in the world of scientific research, knowledge is treated as a commodity, and often carries a price tag that makes it unaffordable to all but the wealthiest individuals and institutions.   

This is never more evident than in times of crises. From the avian flu to the global COVID 19 pandemic, we’ve seen the same pattern play out over and over again. When a health crisis looms, one of the very first thing that happens is that scientists, the public and policymakers have to plead with publishers to lower their paywalls and make sure that those who desperately need access to knowledge can get it.  Whether it’s access to develop treatments and cures, or to make sure students can continue to learn, knowledge shouldn’t be kept locked behind glass that can only be broken in the event of an emergency.  It should be readily available to all. 

Libraries play a critical role in making this happen.  They are designed to empower everyone – regardless of who you are, where you live, or your economic or political status – to access and use knowledge. Whether you walk into a physical library like the New York Public Library, or log into a digital one like the Internet Archive, you don’t need a PhD or a billion-dollar bank account to access the knowledge they hold. 

We depend on libraries to do the crucial things they have done for centuries.  Libraries collect. They preserve.  And libraries lend.  They collect materials to ensure access to the broadest range of ideas and facts.  They preserve these materials for the long haul, because access to knowledge should not be ephemeral. Stable, consistent, long-term access is how we promote continuity and ultimately understand truth.  Lending – one copy of a physical or digital object to one person at time is the bedrock process that libraries use to ensure free, fair and equitable knowledge sharing.   

Libraries like the Internet Archive exist to ensure the universal sharing of knowledge. Sharing knowledge is a fundamental human right. Nothing could be more important to protect than that.