Internet Archive loses book lending lawsuit

It primarily protects the publisher, not the author. Very few authors make money writing books, because of how skewed things are towards the industry rather than the authors.

Plenty of people have advocated for alternatives to the current copyright regime that puts more power in the hands of the actual creators vs. industry.


Today…that’s largely true, but it hasn’t always been true. There have been parallel tracks of copyright law development in the world, and in many other countries, those used to be more focused on protecting author’s rights. In the US and England, though, you’re absolutely right. It’s always been to protect the publishers. But that’s why I said “authors and/or publishers.”

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We are absolutely talking about the US in this case, though. And I’d argue that over the course of the Cold War, the US indeed pushed for a global copyright regime that mirrors the US/UK model. So, that’s what we’re dealing with in many places around the world - copyright modeled on the US/UK corporate friendly model.

Honestly, I see no reason why we should take the corporate line at their word, given how much they fuck workers over, in whatever field they’re laboring in. We get a warmer, fuzzier feeling from companies that produce culture that we care about, but they are still, more often than not, operating under the precise same set of logic that any other corporation in any other field. Disney has endlessly pushed for expanding the rights of the holders of copyrights while regularly doing all they can to screw over the actual creators and the end consumer. I don’t think publishers are really acting any differently than Disney or say the major labels in pursuing their own control over how books are produced and consumed.


I really hope IA survives. Please download books from there encase they disappear. So many great books online.

Love looking though the old books, that don’t have any copyright on them anymore. What a wonderful resource.


Before the moveable printing press (1440) the church, universities, and crown controlled everything. There definitely was an industry. Scribes would work very fast, doing one page over and over again. A dozen scribes could produce 10,000+ copies of a book a year (a basic book, no fancy hand writing, no colour, or illustrations). Block printing was also around before the printing press, that was another large industry.


Little is easier than stripping the DRM from an ebook and distributing it online, or downloading such a book from a torrent site. You want piracy? 'Cuz this how you get piracy.


Brief tangent by way of the XLNT book The Devil’s Horsemen by James Chambers:

It is taken from the 2nd chapter, called Reconnaissance in Force. It relates Chingis Khan’s great tactician, general, and advisor Subedai’s first European, um adventures, which began in late February 1221.

Subedai’s contact with the Venetians, and the secret treaty into which the two groups entered, eventually led to Marco Polo’s Central Asian adventures & his association with Chingis’ grandson, Kubilai.


Publishers looked at the rents that Elselvier et al were extracting from University libraries for journals and started salivating.


… apparently not necessary in the U.S.


Oh they will. They have deep pockets, good lawyers, and people like Jason Scott in their corner. I wouldn’t put money on anyone going against them. :sweat_smile: They’ve fended off many a suit before. The Archive is not some fragile little hippie thing. They have big guns and know how to use them.

The Archive has one trump card they can always play- move the servers. Fuck you United States, hello Pirate Bay. They’re only vulnerable to these kinds of suits because the servers are currently physically located in the US. They don’t have to be.


in what way? artificially limiting the number of ebook loans only forces people to read in serial, rather than in parallel. it doesn’t prevent people from reading or borrowing, so it doesn’t seem to fundamentally change the interaction

and yet the publishers don’t need direct evidence it has harmed them? that’s some suspect logic right there

the best way to get buzz for a book is to get the most number of people reading it at one time. you’ll get some percent who want to own the book themselves, and that’s where the money comes from

nobody is going to drop 30 bucks on a book by an author they’ve never read and that no one else is reading. publishers shoot themselves in the foot by not having easy access to books


I’ve worked in publishing most of my life: magazines, games, books and educational materials.

Creative works do not create themselves! It takes lots of people working on them - writers, editors, fact checkers, photographers, planners, programmers, project managers, compositors, supply chain managers, printers, IT staff. Even the people who work in the post room and their families need to be fed and housed.

We’re not James Bond villains, cackling in our volcano bases about extortion of your life-blood for our evil desires.


You don’t have the right to give away endless copies of someone else’s work. Period. Don’t even start with me on this topic, because I’m not going to entertain people who wish to act as though they are willfully ignorant. IA knew it was a fucking stupid thing to do, hence their need to invent a justification, which the court has now blown up.

Theft is theft, stop acting like digital works should be treated as different than physical. As an author, I’m tired of watching the publishing industry fuck over creators, and then watch consumers and “disrupters” fuck them over on the other end and act like they’re helping.

nobody is going to drop 30 bucks on a book by an author they’ve never read and that no one else is reading. publishers shoot themselves in the foot by not having easy access to books

You’re not being forced to. There’s endless, endless amounts of low cost and free books for you to enjoy. The justification that “this piece of entertainment is too high, therefore an online website should be allowed to lend it out for free to anyone who wants it” is weak in the face of how much free entertainment exists in the world. Go consume that if you need to read a book and can’t afford the price of admission for the $30 one.

EDIT: and to add a little more here - if folks stop paying the $30 for a book, that’ll stop being the price. If it’s $30, there’s obviously demand at that price. And the cost of publishing ain’t cheap. Having self-pubbed a book, I’ve learned a bit more about how expensive its become. The price of paper alone has spiked significantly since 2020 due to supply chain disruptions and it hasn’t come back down yet. Probably won’t, either. Even self-pubbed authors are selling at $14 or more to make up the cost differences.


This image does not belong to you

It’s in your cache now

Your cache is against the law, and clearing it is covering up your crime, that’s even worse :open_mouth:



Can attest. My father wrote dozens of books and I saw the royalty checks. There weren’t many digits in there. Much like the music industry, it’s very hard for the talent to profit off of their work.


Not to disagree with you, but to add a nice bit of historical context - at least 2 great libraries were formed by grabbing visitors books as they entered the city and copying them. Alexandria and one from the golden age of Islam, and I’m ashamed to forget its name.

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These questions were brought up in the early years of the World Wide Web, and are covered by copyright law now and included as an infringement exception. The act of viewing something and having it drop into your browser cache is not a copyright violation.

Yes, that was copyright law THEN, and the book owners were also compensated (paid) for the privilege of copying their books.

Is that copyright law NOW? Do we need government to grab books off ships and copy them for our libraries, or can libraries obtain them in other ways today?

There are other issues libraries today face when acquiring books, notably the ridiculous price publishers charge for a “license” to lend the book a limited number of times, whether its a digital or physical copy. But IA went the opposite extreme and said “we can lend it infinitely forever as many times as we like,” and that’s just as problematic for everyone involved.

At least for the foreseeable future, the difference in the US is that physical books are SOLD, not LICENSED. Which means that the owner has rights defined by law, and not permissions granted by a contract. The “distribution” right of copyright holders is largely extinguished after the “first sale” to the public.* That was originally the result of a court ruling and so it could disappear just like Roe v. Wade, but it was codified into the law in the 1976 copyright act. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed, but it is a rather more public process that involves Congress rather than the Supreme Court.

  • edited to add: The main exception that I am aware of is is court case holding that a foreign sale does not extinguish the right to distribute in the US, so that importation of textbooks purchased abroad was considered infringing. A terrible ruling, IMHO, but those are fairly common in copyright cases.

Yes, but they weren’t doing that to make money. That was my point. Pre-printing press, there was no money in wholesale copying and distribution of written works.

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Not sure why you were replying to me, but I agree 100%.