The Internet Archive Loses First Case In Federal Court. Promises To Appeal

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ZombiePie

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#1  Edited By ZombiePie  Staff

During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, major book publishers, including Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Wiley, sued the Internet Archive in 2020 over their National Emergency Library. At the heart of the argument was whether or not control digital lending (i.e, CDL) is legal and falls under fair use. CDL is a process in which libraries digitize materials, usually in the form of scanning physical documents and then posting the scan of those documents on a website for others to download. The case at hand is named Hachette v. Internet Archive, and on March 24, 2023 a district court judge ruled against the Internet Archive and affirmed that the National Emergency Library "concept" (i.e, CDL) was not fair use.

The implications of the Internet Archive losing this battle for gaming are massive. For those unaware, the Internet Archive is a massive repository of ROMs and downloads of abandonware or games that have never been re-released after their initial release. In the event that the Internet Archive loses their current court case in higher courts, there likelihood that game publishers will follow the form book publishers have done to the Internet Archive and cite this legal precedent elsewhere is inevitable. I don't know about you, but many of the blogs and write-ups I have published on this very site have resorted to using the Internet Archive because the portion of PC games that are legally or openly available is a small slice of what came out from Windows 3.1x all the way to Windows Vista.

Obviously, The Internet Archive has declared that it will appeal to a higher court while warning, as it did at the start of the case, that at hand was the definition of fair use. Speaking of which, The Internet Archive's legal defense funds is taking donations for those that can spare even a few dollars.

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styx971

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thats shitty, i hope they win their appeal , things need preservation and while its weird to navigate their site its something hard to imagine not being super useful in the long run when companies stop caring about things of the past.

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lego_my_eggo

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Is there any more info on what the judge had a problem with? It sounds like what the Archive was doing before i can get and support. One physical book turned into one digital copy that only one person at a time could loan out for two weeks for free. But that emergency library thing (which at the time i can get) very much just sounds like copying one book and loaning out multiple copies for free. People who put in effort to write that book obviously should get some form of compensation. If there book is popular enough that 100+ people want a copy in a timely manner, they would have to buy a copy, or the library should buy more copies to help cut down on the wait time. Obviously giving that creator some form of compensation in either case. Same basic rules as a library now, but in a slightly different form because technology has changed.

Either way though, copyright law needs a major update. Potentially keeping copyrighted work locked up for the life of the author plus 70 years after death is way to long. Patents last 20 years, giving a person potentially enough time to make money off there work, but short enough that it wont hold back innovation. Something like Lord of the Rings could stay copyrighted for longer because its main use is entertainment, but an educational book should probably only last 20 years for similar reasons. There are a lot of out of print books that no one is ever going to make money off of anymore, and no one is going to do the legal legwork to find who owns the rights and turn it into a legitimate digital copy. That stuff is just going to end up lost to time. So letting people make a copy for both preservation and letting people continue to read it or even find it seems only logical.

Maybe Google will get in Internet Archives corner and help change some of these rules for the better. They seemed to have a nice plan that could work for all parties involved when it came to them trying to digitize the worlds books. And it sounds like they where close to getting it over the line.

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pudking

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The Internet Archive also hosts a large amount of Giant Bomb premium content. I’m not complaining but don’t understand how that works from a legal perspective.

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AV_Gamer

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That's funny. I just discovered that website a couple of days ago. I hope they bounce back. They seems to keep a lot of stuff other internet websites cancel for whatever reasons.