• chevron_right

      Internet Archive’s legal woes mount as record labels sue for $400M / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 15 August, 2023 - 18:21

    Internet Archive’s legal woes mount as record labels sue for $400M

    Enlarge (credit: Kinga Krzeminska | Moment )

    Major record labels are suing the Internet Archive, accusing the nonprofit of "massive" and "blatant" copyright infringement "of works by some of the greatest artists of the Twentieth Century."

    The lawsuit was filed Friday in a US district court in New York by UMG Recordings, Capitol Records, Concord Bicycle Assets, CMGI, Sony Music Entertainment, and Arista Music. It targets the Internet Archive's "Great 78 Project," which was launched in 2006.

    For the Great 78 Project, the Internet Archive partners with recording engineer George Blood— who is also a defendant in the lawsuit—to digitize sound recordings on 78 revolutions-per-minute (RPM) records. These early sound recordings are typically of poor quality and were made between 1898 and the late 1950s by using very brittle materials. The goal of the Great 78 Project was to preserve these early recordings so they would not be lost as records break and could continue to be studied as originally recorded.

    Read 27 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      The Internet is not forever after all: CNET deletes old articles to game Google / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 10 August, 2023 - 16:49 · 1 minute

    The Internet is not forever after all: CNET deletes old articles to game Google

    Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

    CNET, one of the great-granddaddies of tech news on the web, has been having a rough year. First, its AI-written articles sparked drama, then layoffs rocked the publication. And now, Gizmodo reports that the 28-year-old site has been deleting thousands of its old articles in a quest to achieve better rankings in Google searches.

    The deletion process began with small batches of articles and dramatically increased in the second half of July, leading to the removal of thousands of articles in recent weeks. Although CNET confirmed the culling of stories to Gizmodo, the exact number of deleted articles has not been disclosed.

    "Removing content from our site is not a decision we take lightly. Our teams analyze many data points to determine whether there are pages on CNET that are not currently serving a meaningful audience. This is an industry-wide best practice for large sites like ours that are primarily driven by SEO traffic. In an ideal world, we would leave all of our content on our site in perpetuity. Unfortunately, we are penalized by the modern Internet for leaving all previously published content live on our site," Taylor Canada, CNET’s senior director of marketing and communications, told Gizmodo.

    Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Book publishers with surging profits struggle to prove Internet Archive hurt sales / ArsTechnica · Monday, 20 March, 2023 - 21:08 · 1 minute

    Book publishers with surging profits struggle to prove Internet Archive hurt sales

    Enlarge (credit: feellife | iStock / Getty Images Plus )

    Today, the Internet Archive (IA) defended its practice of digitizing books and lending those e-books for free to users of its Open Library . In 2020, four of the wealthiest book publishers sued IA, alleging this kind of digital lending was actually “willful digital piracy” causing them “massive harm.” But IA’s lawyer, Joseph Gratz, argued that the Open Library’s digitization of physical books is fair use, and publishers have yet to show they’ve been harmed by IA’s digital lending.

    “There’s no evidence that the publishers have lost a dime,” Gratz said during oral arguments at a New York district court.

    It’s up to a federal judge, John Koeltl, to decide if IA’s digital lending constitutes copyright infringement. During oral arguments, Koeltl’s tough questioning of both Gratz and the plaintiff’s attorney, Elizabeth McNamara, suggested that resolving this matter is a less straightforward task than either side has so far indicated. Koeltl pointed out that because publishers have a right to control the reproduction of their books, the “heart of the case,” was figuring out whether IA’s book scanning violates copyrights by reproducing an already licensed physical book and lending it without paying more licensing fees to publishers.

    Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • To chevron_right

      Internet Archive Calls For End to Publishers’ Lawsuit, Announces Early Closure of Emergency Library

      Andy Maxwell · / TorrentFreak · Friday, 12 June, 2020 - 10:57 · 4 minutes

    Back in March, just as the coronavirus pandemic began turning the lives of the American public upside down, the Internet Archive (IA) took a decision to launch a new service built on its existing Open Library .

    IA’s National Emergency Library (NEL) combined scanned books from three libraries, offering users unlimited borrowing of more than a million books. The aim was for “displaced learners” to keep accumulating knowledge and education while restricted by quarantine measures.

    Unrestricted eBook Borrowing Riles Copyright Holders

    Under normal circumstances, users have restrictions placed on their lending. However, IA’s decision to suspend “waitlists”, which ordinarily prevent potentially unlimited copies of books being handed out at once, caused outrage among some authors, copyright holders and publishers.

    Commenting on the creation of the library in March, the powerful Copyright Alliance described the actions of Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle as “ particularly vile “. The Authors Guild declared the library “contrary to federal law” and said that in common with other creators, authors need to make money from sales.

    “Acting as a piracy site — of which there already are too many — the Internet Archive tramples on authors’ rights by giving away their books to the world,” the group wrote.

    The big question remained, however. Would the major publishers continue to simply criticize the operation or actually do something about it?

    Publishers File Massive Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

    On June 1, 2020, that question was answered when Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Penguin Random House LLC, filed a massive copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive.

    “[The lawsuit] is about IA’s purposeful collection of truckloads of in-copyright books to scan, reproduce, and then distribute digital bootleg versions online,” the publishers’ complaint read.

    “IA’s unauthorized copying and distribution of Plaintiffs’ works include titles that the Publishers are currently selling commercially and currently providing to libraries in ebook form, making Defendant’s business a direct substitute for established markets. Free is an insurmountable competitor.”

    With claims of direct and secondary copyright infringement worth millions of dollars in statutory damages, the publishers had made their position clear. However, in a new announcement, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle now calls for cooperation and a peaceful end to hostilities.

    National Emergency Library Will Close Early

    “Today we are announcing the National Emergency Library will close on June 16th, rather than June 30th, returning to traditional controlled digital lending,” Kahle writes.

    “We have learned that the vast majority of people use digitized books on the Internet Archive for a very short time. Even with the closure of the NEL, we will be able to serve most patrons through controlled digital lending, in part because of the good work of the non-profit HathiTrust Digital Library .”

    Despite these factors, the early closure of the NEL was clearly motivated by the lawsuit filed earlier this month. However, the complaint wasn’t just about the NEL.

    Lawsuit Targets Internet Archive’s Underlying Open Library, and More

    In their lawsuit, the publishers describe the creation of the NEL as a ‘doubling down’ of Internet Archive’s existing infringing activities carried out as part of its Open Library project. According to them, it “produces mirror-image copies of millions of unaltered in-copyright works for which it has no rights and distributes them in their entirety for reading purposes to the public for free, including voluminous numbers of books that are currently commercially available.”

    In short, the closure of the NEL doesn’t appear to particularly undermine the basis of the lawsuit and as Kahle notes, the litigation also has much broader implications.

    “The complaint attacks the concept of any library owning and lending digital books, challenging the very idea of what a library is in the digital world,” Kahle says .

    “This lawsuit stands in contrast to some academic publishers who initially expressed concerns about the NEL, but ultimately decided to work with us to provide access to people cut off from their physical schools and libraries. We hope that similar cooperation is possible here, and the publishers call off their costly assault.”

    Internet Archive Calls for Cooperation and an End to Litigation

    With so much at stake, Kahle’s call for peace is a step in the right direction. However, his suggestion for libraries, authors, booksellers, and publishers to move forward on the basis of ‘Controlled Digital Lending” (CDL) looks set to run into difficulties.

    The publishers have already dismissed CDL “as an invented theory”, the rules of which “have been concocted from whole cloth and continue to get worse.” IA, on the other hand, characterizes CDL as a legal framework developed by copyright experts, allowing one reader at a time to read a digitized copy of a legally-owned library book, wrapped in DRM to protect publishers.

    In contrast, the publishers argue that there is no provision in copyright law that offers a “colorable defense to the systematic copying and distribution of digital book files simply because the actor collects corresponding physical copies.” At least on paper, the parties couldn’t be any further apart.

    What happens next is far from clear. The stakes are high on both sides so perhaps Kahle’s offer to enter discussions could be the route to a negotiated business plan, rather than all-out defeat for one party or another.

    “We are now all Internet-bound and flooded with misinformation and disinformation—to fight these we all need access to books more than ever. To get there we need collaboration between libraries, authors, booksellers, and publishers,” he writes.

    “Let’s build a digital system that works.”

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

    • chevron_right

      Internet Archive ends “emergency library” early to appease publishers

      Timothy B. Lee · / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 June, 2020 - 16:36

    Internet Archive ends “emergency library” early to appease publishers

    Enlarge (credit: Johner Images / Getty)

    The Internet Archive has ended its National Emergency Library programs two weeks earlier than originally scheduled, the organization announced in a Wednesday blog post .

    "We moved up our schedule because, last Monday, four commercial publishers chose to sue Internet Archive during a global pandemic," the group wrote. The online library called on publishers to "call off their costly assault."

    But that doesn't seem very likely. The Internet Archive isn't ending its online book lending program altogether. Instead, the group is returning to a "controlled digital lending" (CDL) model that it had followed for almost a decade prior to March. Under that model, the group allows only one patron to digitally "check out" a book for each physical copy the library has in stock. If more people want to read a book than are physically available, patrons are added to a waiting list until someone checks the book back in.

    Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments