Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Monday June 29 2020, @07:28PM   Printer-friendly
from the when-elephants-fight,-the-grass-gets-trampled dept.

EFF & Heavyweight Legal Team Will Defend Internet Archive's Digital Library Against Publishers

The EFF has revealed it is teaming up with law firm Durie Tangri to defend the Internet Archive against a lawsuit targeting its Open Library. According to court filings, the impending storm is shaping up to be a battle of the giants, with opposing attorneys having previously defended Google in book scanning cases and won a $1bn verdict for the RIAA against ISP Cox.

In March and faced with the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Internet Archive (IA) launched its National Emergency Library (NEL). Built on its existing Open Library, the NEL provided users with unlimited borrowing of more than a million books, something which the IA hoped would help "displaced learners" restricted by quarantine measures.

After making a lot of noise in opposition to both the Open and Emergency libraries, publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley and Penguin Random House filed a massive copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive.

[...] Last evening the EFF announced that it is joining forces with California-based law firm Durie Tangri to defend the Internet Archive against a lawsuit which they say is a threat to IA's Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program. The CDL program allows people to check out scanned copies of books for which the IA and its partners can produce physically-owned copies. The publishers clearly have a major problem with the system but according to IA and EFF, the service is no different from that offered by other libraries. "EFF is proud to stand with the Archive and protect this important public service," says EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry.

Previously: Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
University Libraries Offer Online "Lending" of Scanned In-Copyright Books
Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site
Internet Archive Ends "Emergency Library" Early to Appease Publishers

Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29 2020, @07:41PM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29 2020, @07:41PM (#1014226)

    It's really hard to see how the IA is defensible here. Even the original program seemed legally questionable. Transforming a protected work from one medium to another is making a copy, lending a physical book is not. Unlimited lending doesn't seem to have any real distinction from just giving away a copy.

    So I just assumed that the IA will lose this and I think that will be the right ruling. The more important question is what impact this will have on the overall operation of the IA, which is an incredibly important and valuable resource for the entire internet.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday June 29 2020, @07:59PM

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday June 29 2020, @07:59PM (#1014229) Journal

      It's really hard to see how the IA is defensible here.

      Might be worth skimming the motion to dismiss or other IA-filed documents as they come out. One of them should contain every conceivable argument in favor of the apparent infringement, if the lawyers are doing their jobs right.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29 2020, @09:00PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29 2020, @09:00PM (#1014244)

      It's really hard to see how the IA is defensible here.

      It's not that hard. The public has paid for x-number of books, stored in libraries and loaned out to the public. The government came along and locked away all those books for an unspecified period of time. The locking away wasn't unreasonable, given the pandemic, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, digital loaning could occur: the public could continue to enjoy the use of a resource they had paid for, with the Internet Archive acting as a digital proxy for the content. The Internet Archive made it clear that they were only granting short-term access to the books, loaning the digital content out only while the physical books remained inaccessible.

      Were the publishers at all interested in doing the right thing, they might have provided numbers of books that libraries were known to have purchased so that IA could set limits on the number of each title loaned. Even without true counts, they could have worked with IA to establish reasonable estimates and IA could have used those as loan limits.

      Instead, the publishers went straight to the nuclear option, suing IA for having the gall to grant the public access to resources that they had paid for.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by TheReaperD on Monday June 29 2020, @10:34PM (1 child)

        by TheReaperD (5556) on Monday June 29 2020, @10:34PM (#1014283)

        Trying to force people to pay for the same thing 2, 3 or 4 times is now standard operating procedure by the copyright cartels (aka publishers, in this instance, but applies to the industry as a whole). They decided that you paying once for an item is no longer sufficient. It won't be long until they start demanding a full repeal of the first sale doctrine [USA law backed by many court cases that once you pay for something, it's yours and the publisher no longer has rights to it] instead of just the limitations put on it by the DCMA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] and demand that you start paying per-item subscription fees to all content, including content you already own.

        Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit
        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday June 30 2020, @04:59PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 30 2020, @04:59PM (#1014573) Journal

          demand that you start paying . . . including content you already own.

          Including content that you yourself created. Or that is a nature recording.

          With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
      • (Score: 1) by beernutz on Monday June 29 2020, @10:44PM (3 children)

        by beernutz (4365) on Monday June 29 2020, @10:44PM (#1014286)

        I think the counter-point that will be made has to do with regular libraries still offering online lending even while they were closed. While I wholeheartedly support the IA, and the incredibly important work they do, I really fear they will get stomped on this one. 8(

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Monday June 29 2020, @11:05PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday June 29 2020, @11:05PM (#1014293) Journal

          Even if there is a strong legal basis for what AC says, and I doubt there is, the decision is up to a number of judges of varying quality and opinions.

          On the plus side, if IA isn't dealt a death blow, they might end up weakening copyright instead.

          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
          • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Tuesday June 30 2020, @12:50AM

            by fustakrakich (6150) on Tuesday June 30 2020, @12:50AM (#1014324) Journal

            I hope there are many widely scattered mirrors to make it more robust

            La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday June 29 2020, @11:38PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 29 2020, @11:38PM (#1014306) Journal

          This is a political issue, as much, or more than, it is a legal issue. You can find the right judge to rule in favor of IA, you can find the right judge to rule against IA, at each and every step of the legal process. But, politics? I think IA is counting on support from EFF and others - and I think they are counting on some kind of grass roots thing happening.

          With politics, you may very well lose the legal battle, but win the cultural war in the process.

          It's anybody's guess at this point.

    • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Monday June 29 2020, @10:51PM

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Monday June 29 2020, @10:51PM (#1014288) Journal

      The indefensible is the publisher's preferred business model that is founded upon a scarcity that is wholly artificial. If the pandemic does nothing else good, it will at the least have exposed just how easy it is to forego the scarcity: do nothing. That's far easier than trying to enforce it, which requires all kinds of awkward and just plain odd and exhausting work to monitor, track, count, and process requests for access, as well as the impossible job of enforcement upon the unwilling.

      And the reasons for desiring the scarcity are very bad. If it was possible to force scarcity of knowledge upon people, and totally control their education, it would be possible to found upon that a tyranny so evil that the Dark Ages would look enlightened by comparison.

      You doubt the IA is within the law? It is far likelier that the publishers are overreaching. Again. They've done it so many times now, advanced ridiculously extreme interpretations of copyright, that there is little reason to show their notions respect, as you are apparently doing. They may be old and established, but that doesn't automatically make them venerable. To the contrary, it makes them highly suspect.

      The world has changed. Copying now belongs to the masses. Yet publishers refuse to accept this new reality, instead feeling they're such grievous victims, of piracy (itself a very intentionally pejorative use), and one thing we've seen is that those who imagine themselves as horribly wronged are often the worst bullies, vandals, and criminals, thinking their imagined sufferings somehow justify their own excesses. They're still in the first stages of grief: denial and anger.

      In short, publishers are Kopyright Karens.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Monday June 29 2020, @10:09PM (8 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 29 2020, @10:09PM (#1014276) Journal []

    The original link has moved, or been taken down, or something - []

    So, I'll just c/p my original post:

    Jim Baen sold books, rather than software. But his views are pertinent to any digital distributor. Anyone who bothers to ask slashdot about digital rights has obviously given things some semi-serious thought. Include Jim's ideas in your thinking.

    First few paragraphs of that page follow:

    Baen Books is now making available — for free — a number of its titles in electronic format. We're calling it the Baen Free Library. Anyone who wishes can read these titles online — no conditions, no strings attached. (Later we may ask for an extremely simple, name & email only, registration. ) Or, if you prefer, you can download the books in one of several formats. Again, with no conditions or strings attached. (URLs to sites which offer the readers for these format are also listed. )

    Why are we doing this? Well, for two reasons.

    The first is what you might call a "matter of principle." This all started as a byproduct of an online "virtual brawl" I got into with a number of people, some of them professional SF authors, over the issue of online piracy of copyrighted works and what to do about it.

    There was a school of thought, which seemed to be picking up steam, that the way to handle the problem was with handcuffs and brass knucks. Enforcement! Regulation! New regulations! Tighter regulations! All out for the campaign against piracy! No quarter! Build more prisons! Harsher sentences!

    Alles in ordnung!

    I, ah, disagreed. Rather vociferously and belligerently, in fact. And I can be a vociferous and belligerent fellow. My own opinion, summarized briefly, is as follows:

    1. Online piracy — while it is definitely illegal and immoral — is, as a practical problem, nothing more than (at most) a nuisance. We're talking brats stealing chewing gum, here, not the Barbary Pirates.

    2. Losses any author suffers from piracy are almost certainly offset by the additional publicity which, in practice, any kind of free copies of a book usually engender. Whatever the moral difference, which certainly exists, the practical effect of online piracy is no different from that of any existing method by which readers may obtain books for free or at reduced cost: public libraries, friends borrowing and loaning each other books, used book stores, promotional copies, etc.

    3. Any cure which relies on tighter regulation of the market — especially the kind of extreme measures being advocated by some people — is far worse than the disease. As a widespread phenomenon rather than a nuisance, piracy occurs when artificial restrictions in the market jack up prices beyond what people think are reasonable. The "regulation-enforcement-more regulation" strategy is a bottomless pit which continually recreates (on a larger scale) the problem it supposedly solves. And that commercial effect is often compounded by the more general damage done to social and political freedom.

    In the course of this debate, I mentioned it to my publisher Jim Baen. He more or less virtually snorted and expressed the opinion that if one of his authors — how about you, Eric? — were willing to put up a book for free online that the resulting publicity would more than offset any losses the author might suffer.

    The minute he made the proposal, I realized he was right. After all, Dave Weber's On Basilisk Station has been available for free as a "loss leader" for Baen's for-pay experiment "Webscriptions" for months now. And — hey, whaddaya know? — over that time it's become Baen's most popular backlist title in paper!

    And so I volunteered my first novel, Mother of Demons, to prove the case. And the next day Mother of Demons went up online, offered to the public for free.

    Sure enough, within a day, I received at least half a dozen messages (some posted in public forums, others by private email) from people who told me that, based on hearing about the episode and checking out Mother of Demons, they either had or intended to buy the book. In one or two cases, this was a "gesture of solidarity. "But in most instances, it was because people preferred to read something they liked in a print version and weren't worried about the small cost — once they saw, through sampling it online, that it was a novel they enjoyed. (Mother of Demons is a $5.99 paperback, available in most bookstores. Yes, that a plug. )

    TL/DR : Fuck the publishers!! Bunch of un-American cock suckers!

    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday June 29 2020, @10:27PM (7 children)

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday June 29 2020, @10:27PM (#1014281)

      Thanks for that.

      As an aside, are the Honor Harrington books worth reading?

      I do enjoy space opera (which I assume the series is an example of) and have enjoyed other books written by David Weber.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday June 29 2020, @11:25PM (4 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 29 2020, @11:25PM (#1014299) Journal

        Welllllllll - TBH, I've only read a couple of the Honor stories. They are a bit, uhhhhm, "juvenile" maybe? Simplistic, maybe? I'm not sure what term I'm looking for, but, Honor Harrington is a bit sweet, naive, gullible, for my taste. I like my badasses to be gritty, and credible.

        Best advice? Grab a couple, read them, and if you like them, read them all!! They aren't bad stories at all. Just not to my taste, is all.

        While you browse the Honor Harrington books, you might introduce yourself to David Drake. His badasses seem much more genuine. Stories written by psychotic combat veterans seem to have genuine war heroes. ;^)

        NOTE: Drake no longer writes the same quality of story as his Hammer's Slammers. He seems to have recovered (somewhat) from his phychosis (how do you write that in plural form?) He is no longer capable of writing a story like Redliners. Maybe more accurately, he is unwilling to go back to where he was when he wrote those stories.

        • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday June 29 2020, @11:55PM (2 children)

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday June 29 2020, @11:55PM (#1014310)


          I may have to try one then. Juvenile doesn't worry me too much, (famous last words).

          I have definitely read some of David Drake's stuff, and quite liked it. He wrote one of the 1632 novels I think?

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday June 30 2020, @02:48AM (1 child)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 30 2020, @02:48AM (#1014343) Journal

            I think he's been involved - co-authored one or more of them. Those Baen boys kinda mix it up with each other, collaberating on storylines. The 1632 novels are well worth reading. It works better if you're familiar with the real history, of course, but even if you're not especially, this series of books will expand your horizons some.

            • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday June 30 2020, @08:52PM

              by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday June 30 2020, @08:52PM (#1014696)

              I have read fairly extensively about the 30 Years War, and still have only a vague idea of what happened.

              It sort of went like this I think:

              Protestants finally got strong enough to found their own churches.

              The Pope got angry.

              Every army in Europe went to Germany to fight about it.

              25% of the population died. Nothing was resolved.

              I have read few of the 1632 books and quite enjoyed them but then lost track of the order and my library doesn't seem to have them all anyway.

              Alternate history is such fun. Island in the sea of time is another favourite of mine.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by hendrikboom on Tuesday June 30 2020, @09:27PM

          by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 30 2020, @09:27PM (#1014710) Homepage Journal


      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30 2020, @04:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30 2020, @04:59AM (#1014402)

        Read Horatio Hornblower instead. Honor Harrington is just a dumbed-down Americanized science-fantasy adaptation.

      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday June 30 2020, @03:22PM

        by Freeman (732) on Tuesday June 30 2020, @03:22PM (#1014521) Journal

        This series was pretty interesting. [] If nothing else, the free book was fun.

        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29 2020, @10:10PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29 2020, @10:10PM (#1014277)

    Get a large pool, fill it with boiling sulfuric acid, and throw all the lawyers in.

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by leon_the_cat on Monday June 29 2020, @10:31PM

      by leon_the_cat (10052) on Monday June 29 2020, @10:31PM (#1014282) Journal

      that is torture of sulfuric acid and illegal under the geneva convention.

    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday June 29 2020, @10:36PM

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday June 29 2020, @10:36PM (#1014284)

      JACK CADE. Valiant I am.

      SMITH [aside]. A must needs; for beggary is valiant.

      JACK CADE. I am able to endure much.

      DICK [aside]. No question of that; for I have seen him whipp'd three market-days together.

      JACK CADE. I fear neither sword nor fire.

      SMITH [aside]. He need not fear the sword; for his coat is of proof.

      DICK [aside]. But methinks he should stand in fear of fire, being burnt i' th' hand for stealing of sheep.

      JACK CADE. Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows reformation. There shall be in England seven half-penny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hoop'd pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to grass: and when I am king,– as king I will be,–

      ALL. God save your majesty!

      JACK CADE. I thank you, good people:– there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

      DICK. The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

      Jack CADE. Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment, that parchment, being scribbl'd o'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings; but I say 't is the bee's wax, for I did but seal once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday June 29 2020, @11:31PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 29 2020, @11:31PM (#1014301) Journal

      Why waste energy boiling the acid? It smells bad enough at room temperature, after all.

      Now, phenolic acid needs to be kept hot, or it's no good. It's a major component of bakelite stuff, still found in electrical gear. I was told that if I just stuck my hand in the stuff, I'd be dead before I could walk 20 feet or so, to wash my hands off at the sink. Not sure if that's believable, but I never had the nerve to test it. ;^)