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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

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  • (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!

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  • (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"