back to article How the Internet Archive faces potential destruction at the hands of Big Four publishers

On Monday four of the largest book publishers asked a New York court to grant summary judgment in a copyright lawsuit seeking to shut down the Internet Archive's online library and hold the non-profit organization liable for damages. The lawsuit was filed back June 1, 2020, by the Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers …

  1. Lee D Silver badge

    I'm amazed they're still up.

    Entire MAME sets (downloadable and playable by all), entire series of TV shows, .... there's "archiving" and then there's taking the mick.

    1. Orv Silver badge

      I've had the same thought, just based on the sheer amount of copyrighted software they have available. This sort of lawsuit seemed like it was bound to happen.

    2. Dave K

      And how much of the stuff on there is available to buy? Most of it is essentially abandonware, and that's the point of the archive - preserving old games and software for future generations, along with books, websites and many other things.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        If it was abandonware nobody would be suing. Nobody sues after all. If you go and have a look you will find a vast amount of currently available, in-copyright, works.

        1. Dave K

          But they're not suing. Its publishers who object to IA renting out digital books. Nothing to do with the software on there.

        2. brotherelf

          "Nobody sues after all."

          I beg to differ. was geoblocked from Germany between 2018 and 2021 for copyright infringement of works of Thomas Mann (and others).

          (In the interest of clarity: AIUI they felt they should block their entire catalogue instead of just the works the court had ordered them to. Also, since it was only their organization, the mirrors still remained available for several months.)

      2. Ozan

        I personally found out that a lot of manga scanners upload to internet archive as well. There's so many things that is blatantly copyright violation. However, the case is not about them.

      3. big_D Silver badge

        I think part of what threw the publishers' noses out of joint was during Lockdown, they stopped the 1 person at a time borrowing & made it a free-for-all. If they had kept flying under the radar, they might not be in the pickle they are now.

    3. Plest Silver badge

      Best place on earth for radio recordings.

      I use the Internet Archive to find superb radio shows from the last 60-70 years, generally you find very little from the last 10 years, it's mostly 2005 and backwards. There's thousands of hours of public adio broadcasts that simply cannot find anywhere else, the BBC certainly don't publish older material.

      Last year I wanted to rescue an old Amstrad 1640 ECD PC system, no boot disks. Guess where I found a set of the precious 4 systems disks? That's not including all the old manuals I've found there, the entiure ZX Spectrum manual, BBC model B, even the info for the first ICL system 25 I ever worked on in 1989 and it was a a dinosaur even then.

      Yes, there's way too much copyrighted material on the IA and I appreciate they don't have time to police it all but it would be serious loss if the IA went offline.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Best place on earth for radio recordings.

        I don't want them to go away and I don't think the people expressing surprise want that either. I have donated to them in the past and I benefit from their services. Still, with the level of copyrighted work they're hosting, it doesn't surprise me that they've got people angry at them about it.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Best place on earth for radio recordings.

          "with the level of copyrighted work they're hosting... "

          That's not what this case is about though, is it? They're lending out books, and doing it one at a time in the same way that a library lends out physical books. Anyone who loans out an ebook will by definition not loan out the same physical book and vice versa. The only scenario where more books would be bought than otherwise is if a relatively rare physical book is only available in a few libraries, so a person can only loan one out if their local library has a copy (ie in physical world, a book has to be available in dozens of libraries to be available to a certain set of people, while with the ebook version the IA only need one copy to serve the same set of people). But that cat's already out of the bag, and it seems that the publishers aren't arguing that point either - they're arguing that a library that already has a physical book (ie already bought and licensed for lending) can't scan that and lend it out digitally (which is a bollocks argument)

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Best place on earth for radio recordings.

        Those very Amstrad, Spectrum, BBC, ICL things are copyrighted. Remember: copyright lasts for 50 to 70 years.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Best place on earth for radio recordings.

          Yes, but a lot of it is abandonware - the owner no longer exists, either the author is dead or can't be found, or the company behind the work doesn't exist any more. On top of that some companies open up their old works for free to IA.

          Didn't Microsoft release some of their early source code on IA?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Best place on earth for radio recordings.

          remember copyright shouldn't last that long.

          fuck disney!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More than just that, you can get modern movies and books on there.

      I have little issue with "classics" appearing where any money that will been made, has been made. Arguablly these are now more owned by society (which is why copyright should be limited to ~25 years).

      But recent stuff?

      No. That's a bit much.

      (CreativeCommons etc excepted of course).

    5. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

      There are hundreds, if not thousands of games that are lost to time, no one knows who owns the IP, they're no longer available to purchase via any legitimate means.... I can think of a few dozen tv shows that have never been rebroadcast on tv again in my country, have never had a VHS/DVD/Bluray release... these things will be lost to time and forgotten and those who want to make use of them will be unable too.

      Companies unwilling to make the effort to make them available because it's just not profitable enough... don't get to dictate to me if I am allowed to make use of them if I can find an alternative way to access them.

      Content needs to be saved and preserved, and laws need to reflect that... if the IP owner isn't willing to make use of it... copyright should be lost long before it expires.

  2. Ball boy Silver badge

    I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

    Publishing are having their cake and eating it.

    If I buy a book (paying their publishing fees in the price) and then render my copy unusable (drop it in the sink, have the spine un-glue itself, allowing the pages fall out, etc.), they don't let me buy a replacement at a discount: I have to pay their royalties all over again. Same went for music on vinyl and CD (remember them?): scratch a disk and you have to pay full price to replace it.

    Fix that problem and I might see their side of this argument in a better light.

    1. NATTtrash

      Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

      This "discussion" and subsequent legal actions are nothing new of course.

      And although "general" books and "education" are perhaps not that clearly linked, asking oneself whether publishers locking scientific knowledge (mostly gathered with help of public resources) behind paywalls is OK, might help with the evaluation. And while we are at it, whether somebody "unlocking" that scientific knowledge is a criminal...

      2016 - Free science journal library gains notoriety, lands injunctions

      2016 - EU wants open science publication by 2020

      2017 - US judge orders Sci-Hub be excised from the internet

      2017 - Sci-Hub domains inactive following court order

      2020 - Open access journals are vanishing from the web, Internet Archive stands ready to fill in the gaps

      2020 - City of London Police warn against using ‘open science’ site Sci-Hub

      2021 - Apple sent my data to the FBI, says boss of controversial research paper trove Sci-Hub

      2022 - Z-Library operators arrested, charged with criminal copyright infringement

      Having had to buy reprints of your own work does skew ones opinion quite quickly I'm afraid. But...

      It is a sign of our times that this discussion has become actual again, especially if one knows that, after the opening of public libraries, publishers came with the exact same arguments and actions. I suppose that all that old fashioned and dated moralism is no longer useful in our advanced modern society...

      In the 1830s, at the height of the Chartist movement, there was a general tendency towards reformism in the United Kingdom. The Capitalist economic model had created a significant amount of free time for workers, and the middle classes were concerned that the workers' free time was not being well-spent. This was prompted more by Victorian middle class paternalism rather than by demand from the lower social orders. Campaigners felt that encouraging the lower classes to spend their free time on morally uplifting activities, such as reading, would promote greater social good.

      Then again, modern society of course has all those other high quality sources to educate the masses...

      [1] [2] [3] [4] ...

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

      Seriously? "I dropped my iPhone down the drain and Apple won't give me a free replacement! Wah!"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

        Hardly a comparable item - a significant % of the cost of an iPhone is in the physical hardware, whereas the % of the cost of a book in the actual physical copy is a much lower %; you're paying far higher % for the IP in a book than in an iPhone. Since you've already paid once for the right to use that IP then you can make a strong argument that you shouldn't have to pay again for that % of the costs.


          Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

          Exactly, the argument is that you have already paid for the IP, so all you should be required to do is pay for the cost of the physical book and its shipping/other additives. Instead, enjoy paying $400 for that textbook again, chump.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

          Also, when you buy your new iPhone, all the App Store / iTunes etc stuff that you paid for on the old phone gets reloaded on to your new one for no additional cost.

          1. BrownishMonstr

            Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

            Shit, I've been doing it wrong

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

              It is an option you select in the OBE set-up process. If you don't select it, I usually don't, then anything you purchased is marked as purchased in the App Store, and you can just download it again.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

        Not comparable.

        If the replacement book was charged at the cost of printing, less royalties, marketing etc. that would be fair, because the person already paid for that the first time round. They aren't asking for a free copy, they are asking to pay just the cost of publishing, because the original, where those other costs have been covered, is no longer usable.

        Or, change of media, for example. I have thousands of DVDs, I'd be perfectly willing to hand them in to the Studios and, for a small fee, get the rights to stream them/download in perpetuity instead. The copyright part has already been paid, because I bought the DVDs and the Studios are getting them back to do with what they want, so it is just a transfer of the rights to playback from the physical media to online media - there is a cost involved there of them making the films available and maintaining my account, to let me download "my" films - or a small monthly fee to allow me to stream "my" films.

        (When I look at the streaming services, most of the films I own are not in the streaming bundle - E.g. Amazon Prime, I have most old Cary Grant films on DVD, but I can't stream them on AP, I have to purchase them again.)

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

          "E.g. Amazon Prime, I have most old Cary Grant films on DVD, but I can't stream them on AP, I have to purchase them again"

          I long ago ripped my DVD collection to digital format. recently I got myself a Synology home NAS, it has an App called Plex that can scan all the movie files in the library, download freely available metadata, subtitles etc for each, and present the whole lot through an interface very similair to Netfilx / AP etc. The DVD ripping takes a while but the end product is well worth it

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

            Yes, it would take a long time, I have over 3,000...

          2. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

            I prefer Jellyfin, as there is no subscription cost to use the full features. Not sure if it is available on Synology, I have it on a Debian virtual machine with the actual media files shared via NFS to it from a FreeBSD storage pool.

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

              "I prefer Jellyfin..."

              Thanks I'll check it out. In any case I only use free version of Plex which has all the features I need

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

      A thing that encapsulates the profiteering nicely is that it's often possible to find a new copy of the book cheaper than the eBook (especially when there is a paperback option available).

      I prefer physical copies as at least I own it & a physical copy can cope with a bit of abuse (e.g. if I drop a paperback in the bath I can dry it out & still read it (although it will be in too poor a condition to give to the charity shop afterwards) but if I drop an ereader in the bath then its the expense of a new piece of electronic kit. OK, unlikely I would drop one in the bath but many is teh time I have read a book in a bit of drizzle on a British beach holiday and drizzle does not play nicely with electronics)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

        Most Kobos and Kindles are waterproof nowadays.

        1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

          Keeping with the thread, can you trade in the old kindle for the new one?

    4. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: I don't feel too sorry for the publishers

      > Same went for music on vinyl and CD (remember them?)

      They havnt gone anywhere yet ;)

  3. Mage

    The IA have themselves to blame

    Archiving copies of websites is one thing, but libraries have to buy their books and for digital have a licence for each simultaneous loan.

    Some countries also pay a per loan royalty.

    Why does the IA think it can ignore copyright and simply loan like a library version of a pirate site?

    They also are offering straight downloads of copyright work.


    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: The IA have themselves to blame

      ...but libraries have to buy their books and for digital have a licence for each simultaneous loan.

      Which is what they do. They buy the book and they make sure they only lend one copy at a time. They don't offer straight downloads.


        Re: The IA have themselves to blame

        And if someone were to argue that bypassing the IA's CDL to copy it into an epub or similar makes IA somehow liable, what about someone lending from a physical library and scanning every book they check out? Should the physical library be responsible for that theft?

        Inane argument.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The IA have themselves to blame

        "...but libraries have to buy their books..."

        Which books? In the USA most public libraries or by now, all public libraries replace their technical books with free copies of "For Dummies" from John Wiley publishing. Public libraries have been incentivized to discard older, non-For Dummies books from a given list that shows which For Dummies book is the "equivalent" to the non-For Dummies book that can be discarded/sold. There can even be multiple books listed that can be replaced with 1 For Dummies book so, John Wiley is extinguishing competition with a many-to-one relationship. This looks good to a public library as they can then have more floor space, that is more floor space for the inevitable intake of even more For Dummies books.

    2. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

      Re: The IA have themselves to blame

      "Archiving copies of websites is one thing,"

      Is it, though? Those websites are still copyrighted material, and sucking them up and republishing them is just the same as doing so with a book.

      The site owner gains nothing from the republication, particularly if the site is monetised through ads that don't get included in the archive.

      All that said, the internet archive is incredibly useful. As someone else said, it surfaces hard to find and / or out of print materials that just wouldn't be otherwise available. I, too, have used it for manuals and other things, and it's destruction would be a terrific loss.

      I fully understand that the copyright holders need to make money (don't we all!) and I have some sympathy with them (but not too much). But that needs to be balanced against the benefits it offers. Some kind of compromise is surely in order here - perhaps if the publishers are successful in their demands, destruction of the library could be ordered only on the condition that they make all of their out of print materials available for download free of charge.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But that needs to be balanced against the benefits it offers.

        you're using the word like 'need' same as another magic word - 'should'. But there are no needs and shoulds for business, such as publishers', other than their sole purpose of existence, that is their 'need' for more and more profit.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The IA have themselves to blame

        We should make an internet archive archive in a jurisdiction that doesnt recognise the US court system.... Thattl show em. Remember when they took down and destroyed piratebay? Think its hard to find a mirror?

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The IA have themselves to blame

        "make all of their out of print materials available for download free of charge."

        And that's the nub of the whole argument against the publishers. Potential, there are books out there that got a single print run 20 years ago but are potentially still in copyright for another 120+ years. eg, young author, with many years of life still ahead of them plus another 70 years after their death. So almost certainly no public access to that work for almost the entire lifetime of most people currently on this planet since there will never be another print run and all of the original print run are in private hands, a few in libraries, los, damaged, destroyed or even pulped if not all sold.

        I've even tried to track down a legal source for a book I KNOW was also published as an ebook, but no, "no longer in print". I mean WTF? An ebook "no longer in print"? How is that even possible? If they sell ebooks already, there is only a miniscule cost in maintaining ALL of their ebook catalogue along with the current sellers. Uploading it and creating the catalogue entry is already done. It's only a MB or so of storage to keep it there as long as the server exists.

        I suppose the publisher may no longer hold the rights. But someone does. And if I can't find it to buy it, they clearly have no interest in earning from it.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: The IA have themselves to blame

          The marginal cost of maintaining a purchasable ebook is of the order of 1 cent a year.

          And falling.

          It's not even a rounding error.

          Yes, it costs quite a lot to create an ebook. But assuming you want to sell any ebooks at all, it costs absolutely nothing to keep it available once created.

        2. Lomax

          Re: The IA have themselves to blame

          This reminds me of the "streaming revolution" and all the music that's no longer available - unless you can find a second-hand copy on a physical medium.

    3. MrMerrymaker

      Re: The IA have themselves to blame

      Mage, your take was wrong.

      Will you come back and apologise please

    4. Plest Silver badge

      Re: The IA have themselves to blame

      Have you ever used the IA to look up books? Most of the books can only be booked out for 1 hour at a time, you booked it out and then you have to wait before you can book it out again. Sure there's some PDFs you can just grab but hell of a lot of the books on the IA you have to place a booking, read it online and then after 60 mins you lose access.

  4. Sgt_Oddball

    For those neigh saying..

    What about works that are out of print? Or rare versions with forwards/notes by interested parties?

    Or for literature that is no longer in fashion but culturally relivent, or even heaven forbid has been altered in new editions in some meaningful way because the contents are no longer agreeable?

    What of those from closed publishers? Whilst, yes... I will admit there is a certain amount of overreach, the sheer breadth of archived material is valuable in of itself especially when other archives aren't perfect (such as the service manual for a 20 year old CRT I own. Pdf versions OCD scanned the docs and used a random not available anywhere font for the parts list. IA had an actual scanned copy - no missing text).

    Compromise and nuance should be agreed rather than tearing it all down. Especially things like the way back machine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For those neigh saying..

      The (exceedingly lucrative) copyright privilege granted by the state, has always lacked any balancing responsibilities in return.

      e.g. an obligation to supply. There should be no right for corporate* owners to not bother to reprint, and retain absolute copyright.

      Either you supply it on FRAND terms, or someone else can. (with a statutory royalty rate)

      *there are so called moral rights e.g. an author might want to retract a book from publication. I can't see any reason that this right (were it to exist) should ever transfer from the actual author to any corporate publisher.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: For those neigh saying..

        The length of copyright has been ridiculously extended, primarily because of Disney, but the concept remains sound. If I write a novel and publish 1,000 copies, I am under no obligation to publish more if I choose not to, just because someone wants a copy.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: For those neigh saying..

          "I am under no obligation to publish more if I choose not to, just because someone wants a copy"

          OTOH you should not have a problem if someone else makes a copy for the person who wants one. No skin of your nose etc.

          In fact, my local history group has published a number of books in small print runs. This introduces the problem of what to do when they go out of print. Given the economics and likely sales of a second print run we have decided to put them on line as PDFs. Other historians, schools or whoever can still obtain copies & we don't have to deal with on-demand publication which can't be achieved at our typical prices.

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: OTOH you should not have a problem if someone else makes a copy for the person who wants one.

            Maybe you don't understand the value proposition of a "limited run" but are you sure banning them is a great idea?

            Are you saying Wu-tang's single pressing album should be illegal?

          2. SundogUK Silver badge

            Re: For those neigh saying..

            You are entirely free to do this. But if I write a book, it is my work, and I am entitled to control the use of my work. If I sell to a publisher, then it is their right to control the use, until a period of time specified in law has passed. I happen to think the period as currently set in law is ridiculously long. It should be no longer than the writers lifetime under any circumstances.

        2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          Re: For those neigh saying..

          > I am under no obligation to publish more if I choose not to, just because someone wants a copy

          How the table turned.

          Before the printing press, copyright was designed to prevent just that by making sure that copies could be made by individuals if they so wished. Hence the name, copy right, the right TO copy. After the printing press was something that an individual could own in their homw it focussed on restricting the right to copy instead.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For those neigh saying..

      It would be good to be able to read first editions of certain works, especially those subject to woke edits for the easily offended.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: especially those subject to woke edits for the easily offended.

        Right, so you'll be trying to find a copy of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" where the oompa loompas are pygmy humans, yeah?

        Why is it so many of you fuckers upvote dog whistles? Are you a bit hard of thinking??

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For those neigh saying..

        I call "Twat's Law"

        Similar to godwins, applies to twats bringing "woke" into any conversation.

    3. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: For those neigh saying..

    4. Medical Cynic

      Re: For those neigh saying..

      Nay! - unless equines have learned to speak!

      1. Sgt_Oddball

        Re: For those neigh saying..

        Well... They are braying, snorting and stamping their feet...

        If the (horse) shoe fits...........

        Mines the barbour jacket with the thesaurus in the pocket.

    5. TVU Silver badge

      Re: For those neigh saying..

      "What about works that are out of print? Or rare versions with forwards/notes by interested parties?"

      To some extent, that might be covered if the works concerned are out of copyright in some area of the world. I don't like the legal action that these publishing groups are taking and I hope that Internet Archive can be left alone and to at least be allowed to lend/supply books that are out of copyright, and also where the author is deceased and where books are of print since the publishers aren't going to make money anyway.

    6. jmch Silver badge

      Re: For those neigh saying..

      "or even heaven forbid has been altered in new editions in some meaningful way because the contents are no longer agreeable?"

      It's pretty scandalous how they're changing Roald Dahl that way!!

  5. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge


    -> The publishers, however, want libraries to pay for ebooks in addition

    We want more money, say publishers. It's like the old VHS tape argument which was also a dud.

  6. cyberdemon Silver badge

    IA could be "saved" by AI

    All they have to do, is paste the contents of the copyrighted book into GPT-4 and say "Please remove the copyright on this book", and GPT-4 will produce a paraphrased version of the same book with 95% of the meaning of the original contained, yet none of the exact original sentences.

    It's exactly what MS have already done to all GPL-protected open-source code, so it should work on Wiley and Sons, too.

    The book may have suffered 5% "bit-rot" in the process, but who cares about that, eh?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IA could be "saved" by AI

      An attempt at humour, one supposes?

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge

        Re: IA could be "saved" by AI

        I have a dark and sarcastic sense of humour, hence the Troll icon rather than the Joke icon.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge

    Fahrenheit 451

    How hot does a server burn?

    1. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: Fahrenheit 451

      Can I use thermite?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Publishers are basically parasites at this point. They don't provide the content. They often don't edit to any real extent. They expect authors to make corrections for them. They are dinosaurs that belong to the past.

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      If they were parasites nobody would use them.


        Because there is an alternative to purchasing that textbook for that class you need to take to get your doctorate? Right, it's called "not getting your doctorate."

        1. Paul Kinsler

          Because there is an alternative to purchasing that textbook

          Indeed there is: borrowing it from the university library is usually a workable solution.

          1. FatGerman Silver badge

            Re: Because there is an alternative to purchasing that textbook

            There are 200 people taking the course. The library has 4 copies. What is your definition of "workable"?

            1. Paul Kinsler

              Re: There are 200 people taking the course

              First, note that I was replying to a post which explicitly said "that you need to get your doctorate".

              "200 people" do not take the same phd ("doctorate") course in any university context that I have seen. Do you even know what a doctorate is?

              And even so, there is now this thing called electronic loans, so the availability of hardcopy texts is not the constraint.

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Re: There are 200 people taking the course

                For "PhD", read "degree".

                Electronic loans are limited to single-digit copies too.

                You may wish to read the article.

                1. Paul Kinsler

                  Re: For "PhD", read "degree".

                  By all means complain about publishers all you like; I am not defending them.

                  The author of the post wrote "doctorate" (which means PhD[1]), and they did not write (the generic) "degree", even if that was perhaps what they meant. I was replying to a post saying "doctorate"; and was not making a comment on the article, which I would have done in a new thread. Unfortunately, whilst at university, I studied physics rather than psychics, and so in this case was unable to guess that was *written* was not what was *meant*.

                  As regards "Electronic loans are limited to single-digit copies too" - please do note that I was careful to say "the availability of hardcopy texts is not the constraint".


                  [1] As it happens, there are, in some institutions, the possibility of qualifications such as a "Doctor of Science" or the like, which might also reasonably be considered a "doctorate", but such tend to be quite exotic, and to be even more rarified than even a PhD. Not to mention those which have their own names for what is their equivalent to the PhD.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: For "PhD", read "degree".

                    The author of the post wrote "doctorate" (which means PhD)

                    Not necessarily - it can mean PhD, but it can also mean professional degree i.e. you can study for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, which is not a research degree.

                    1. Paul Kinsler

                      Re: i.e. you can study for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

                      Interesting. I notice that the one at KCL is a postgraduate degree (as it seems most professional doctorates are), and in the KCL case "Trainees spend three days a week on supervised clinical practice placements and two days a week are dedicated to teaching, study and research"; so apparently (there) it does seem to involve some research. On that basis, I'd be surprised if cohort in a given course numbered into the hundreds of students, as is typical of undergraduate courses, but I suppose it is possible.


                        Re: i.e. you can study for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

                        I work in higher ed, and at least at our university I see plenty of students with doctorates from multiple disciplines. My understanding was always that doctorates can be awarded for excelling in specific research fields (PhD) as well as particularly demanding practice-based and professional fields. Our nursing program, for example, offers, a Doctorate for Nursing Practice (DNP). There is little original research and it is mostly based about becoming a damn good nurse. Many go on to become APRNs.

                        Also, in my original post, I did say "class you need to take to get your doctorate". You could be taking a highly specialized course or path of research with few active students/researchers, or you could be padding your prerequirements in a general course. If we'll be pedantic for a moment, if a five year old decides they want to become a doctor, then their compulsory learning could be considered classes they need to take for their doctorate :)

              2. Cheshire Cat

                Re: There are 200 people taking the course

                > And even so, there is now this thing called electronic loans, so the availability of hardcopy texts is not the constraint.

                Because of the publishers desire for $, the electronic loans are still limited to the number of licenses the university purchased in exactly the same way as with hardcopy. So you still can only have a couple of people 'borrowing' the electronic copy at a time, exactly the same as with the physical copies.

                1. localzuk Silver badge

                  Re: There are 200 people taking the course

                  I remember this nonsense. My first year's books cost me an easy £400, back in 2003. Repeat each further year of university.

                  Couldn't use the old editions either, as the content was slightly different. The university library had 6 copies of each of the books. There were 400 people on my course.

                  1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

                    Re: There are 200 people taking the course

                    I remember being surprised as a UK student to discover that in the USA, each year's textbooks would be sold as a batch of new books to the students, that there was no real choice, in that they could not really be bought separately or second hand as there were spaces for the students to write in, and that, lo and behold! the authors were the staff teaching the courses!! It was almost as if the lecturers were milking their students. :-0

                    At York Uni (in the UK), there was a good second hand bookshop on campus where you could get most of the relevant textbooks, albeit a bit dog-eared. Indeed one of my fellow students sold/gave his copy of 'An Introduction to Semigroup theory' by J M Howie, to the bookshop on leaving, did a maths part III at Cambridge, returned to York to do a Ph.D. in semigroups and bought his old copy back. (He is now a maths professor at Herriot Watt Uni.)

                    1. localzuk Silver badge

                      Re: There are 200 people taking the course

                      The textbooks by the lecturers happens in the UK as well. I would say 50% of my books were written by my lecturers, and sold for £60 each - conveniently via the on-campus Waterstones.

          2. Penguin Romance Stone

            Re: Because there is an alternative to purchasing that textbook

            Actually, publishers now typically include online test modules, one code per textbook, fully required for the course. You are underestimating the shamelessness.

        2. Barry Rueger

          Yet ... How is it that a first or second year textbook that easily sells ten times as many copies as a bestselling fiction release is priced at ten times the retail price of any commercial book?

          Students are routinely robbed blind by textbook publishers.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            ...and next years version of the book will have some information removed and other information added that WILL be required in next years course, so don't buy a second hand copy of last years book if you want to pass the course.

      2. teebie

        "If they were parasites nobody would use them"

        That's...not how parasites work?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And they claim they have lost millions in revenue

    ah yes, the same goode olde argument we've seen many times about 'stolen' software, audio, video, etc. Take a number of of people sharing (stealing!) 'our' soft, multiply by our retail price, and voila, here's how much we've lost! BILLIONS!


      Re: And they claim they have lost millions in revenue

      "But IA does not want to pay authors or publishers to realize this grand scheme and they argue it can be excused from paying the customary fees because what they're doing is in the public interest."

      This part here really chuffs my chuds. How can you take the standpoint that it isn't in the public interest? This tells me how morally bankrupt the publishers are.

      1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: And they claim they have lost millions in revenue

        They're not denying it's in the public interest, just stating they don't care about it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And they claim they have lost millions in revenue

      I work for one of those four publishers - I can confirm that we're doing just fine.

      The company also does 503(c)(3) gift matching - I think I'll make a donation to the IA and ask them to match it... (¬‿¬)

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    ive never loaned a book from IA, but use the wayback machine to view old versions of website, and did share some Amiga Format magazine I scanned in myself which unfortunately got taken down when Future publishing decided they didnt like 30 year old long out of print magazines being shared on there.

    So I hope this lawsuit doesn't end up bankrupting them if the judge finds against IA and with the publishers.

    1. Rob

      Ditto, I love the fact that I can reminisce on some old copies of Sinclair User magazine, used lto love the cover artwork when I was a kid. Can't beat the covers that feature the kamikaze bear.

  11. James 51

    Sometimes the IA is literally the only way to access certain books. I've been trying to find ebook versions of the Belgariad and the Malloreon for years but they cannot be bought in the UK (between space to store books and old eyes, ereaders are just better now than normal books). They are available on Amazon US but as soon as it detects you're in the UK (usually when I try to pay as I don't have an address or a bank account or credit card in the countries where they can be bough), it stops you from buying them (Barnes and Noble did this too). The IA was the only place I could access them. The publishers are preventing certain works from being available and they want to collect rent on customers when they are available. IA is just trying to solve a problem the publishers themselves have created. I just hope the US judge sees sense and having the physical copy is enough to protect IA from these attacks.

  12. Long John Silver

    Rearguard action by IP rentiers is fierce but destined to fail

    Widespread use of the Internet coupled with ease and cheapness of storing information digitally has introduced qualitative changes in this 21st century comparable in transformative effect to those when the printing press was introduced. In the course of three decades enormous opportunity has been perceived to do many things more easily, more cheaply, more conveniently, differently, and better. Additionally, access to knowledge and digitally expressed culture has become more equitable now that easy to deploy 'illegal' means supplement official channels.

    Nineteenth century Luddites attempted to stem introduction of textile machinery. Far sighted individuals backed by powerful financial interests swept Luddites away and to betterment for mankind (at least in material sense). Complacent rentiers of so-called "Intellectual Property" (IP) are suffering the same fate as the Luddites, but at the hands of the crowd instead of those of vested financial interests; a feature of the Internet is the ease with which crowds may be assembled.

    Underlying reasoning supporting the introduction of IP 'rights' enforced via copyright law and patent law - each of which arose from the kind of thinking underlying rights applicable to protected trade guilds - was false at the time of their introduction. Falsity arising from the notion that ideas and artefacts derived from them equate to physical assets such as oxen, asses, slaves, and wives, familiar to people at the time when the Hebrew 'Ten Commandments' were formulated. The digital era makes clear the distinction between digitally encoded information and any instance of physical substrate hosting it. For instance, paper printed books are physical items; they possess a degree of scarcity determined by the size of the print run(s) chosen by the publisher; physical books can be stolen in the sense of depriving their owners of their use for selling/reading or as doorstops; even so, it makes no sense to claim the ideas within the book were stolen nor to claim unauthorised printing and distribution as 'theft' of ideas.

    In essence, IP law restricts distribution/use of ideas in the sense of their monetisation. Commercial publishers, these the major beneficiaries from sales and the most strident complainants about copyright infringements, are incidental to the process of dissemination: at one time essential, but nowadays optionally selected middlemen with respect to the Internet. Paper printed books will continue to have a market among people drawn to the aesthetic qualities of physical works and the experience of reading them; their value (for works printed nowadays) is not indivisibly directly determined by the utility (for application or pleasure) they offer. Just as some people willingly pay a premium price for a hand-knitted jumper compared to that for a mass produced item, then so it is for books even nowadays (c.f. hardback with paperback); however, that does not apply to expressions of ideas which have proven more usefully portrayed and distributed in digital format (e.g. film and recorded music).

    With clear separation of 'medium' (e.g. paper for books, and plastic for DVDs) from 'message' (content expressed digitally) it becomes obvious that market-economics cannot apply to distribution in digital form. There is no inherent scarcity of 'product'. Hence, no prospect for 'price discovery'. The only things vendible in the traditional manner are 'added value' goods and services, e.g. print on paper, and well catalogued online depositories of 'content' (e.g. Netflix) making access simpler than casting around widely (e.g. via BitTorrent sites) on the Internet.

    Forget neo-Luddite publishers and concentrate upon how 'content' peddled by them can better be distributed, and this in a manner rewarding people of genuine talent to engage others with their works. Much more easily accommodated within market-capitalism than monopoly rights with artificial scarcity and rental (royalties) on access/use, are markets for skills/talent enabling creation of new 'content': essentially income from commissions/patronage encompassing creative and (e.g. for film) production skills. Apart from associated 'add-on' values from physical goods and services, finished 'content' has zero monetary value. What matters is reputation accrued to convince patrons to fund further projects. Note, patrons do not equate to 'investors' as under present circumstances. Further note, cultural worth does not, except for Neo-liberals, have a monetary metric.

    Knock-on for publishing shall be the collapse of behemoths and their replacement by cottage industries devoted to support services for creative individuals and groups, these operating on a fee basis without any legal title to completed works. Full circle from cottages to conglomerates and back to cottages? A similar argument applies to production of many physical goods using 3D-printing technologies (also encompassing pharmaceuticals). All achieved through determined mass disobedience to currently in-force anachronistic legislation.

    Immense opportunities rest with nations of the "Global South" to disavow rentier economics and thereby cease suffering from the IP scam. Any major nation of the 'South' or 'East', that is, one well beyond attention by US Marines, has the capacity to cause collapse of the entire rotten global IP edifice.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Rearguard action by IP rentiers is fierce but destined to fail

      @Long John Silver

      Luddites were not against new machinery per se - they were against worker exploitation - essentially their skilled labour artisan livelihood was going to be destroyed by low skill factory work (& far less people needed for same output so not necessarily even a chance for the skilled to get a new, badly paid job in the factories) and they would be financially screwed (which was not a good thing 200 years ago as very little in the way of safety nets, workhouses were not a nice option)

      ... Ironically the stocking frames that caused the Luddite rebellion have long since been superseded, and these days they are regarded as niche artisan means of production e.g.

      .. No prizes for guessing I once lived in Nottingham & absorbed a bit of textile knowledge (& have met some of the Hurt family!)

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Rearguard action by IP rentiers is fierce but destined to fail

      You've made this argument before, and there's little chance I can do anything to convince you otherwise, but you can't do complex work on the hope of patronage. I make plenty of stuff which I give for free to anyone who wants it. In fact, I end up paying for that because it's using servers I set up and pay the bills for. That's great when I don't care about profit, and in many cases, I don't. The reason I don't care about profit is that I have a job elsewhere which makes me the money I need to live, so making the stuff I'm giving away can be a hobby. I don't tend to spend a lot of extra resources doing that, though. I've put a donation button on one such site for people to reward me for the work they're generating. Over the five years that's been there, it's been pressed exactly once. I could not live by doing that work, and if I found myself in a situation where I needed to get those expenses elsewhere, those free resources would lose my attention if that's what it took.

      Copyright exists because there are people who value the production of ideas and intangible knowledge enough to pay for it, but they won't if you insist on everything intangible being free. If you destroy copyright, then you'll still get anything that a rich person wants enough to pay for someone to make it, and many things where a relatively rich person has free time and makes it just for the love of making it, but you'll lose anything where the creators created the work and needed money. From investigative journalism to good literature, it has often been created by people who needed payment to continue making it, and in the past they've been able to use copyright to get it. Your plan has side effects that you should stop ignoring.

  13. TRT Silver badge

    I'm asking myself...

    what about geographical distribution? I mean, the libraries purchase the books and depending on where about they are in the world they do so with or without certain licenses and contractual agreements.

    So if the IA allows access to a work more times or to a wider area or for a longer period of time (as governed by physical wear and tear of the material itself) than may have reasonably been expected at the time of grant of the original license, then the publishers may have an argument. Many of the Public Lending Rights countries have a "get out clause" which allows specific individual contracts of sale to exclude these otherwise intrinsic rights.

    BUT in most of the world, there's no need for a public library to obtain such permission. In the UK this is covered by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, particularly section 40A and particularly subsection 2 of section 40A - "Copyright in a work is not infringed by the lending of copies of the work by a library or archive (other than a public library) which is not conducted for profit."

    You might as well come down like a tonne of books on charity shops which, in my experience, are usually lined wall to floor with second hand books, donated to them by good willed individuals (who no doubt want their shelf space back). Or why not the RNIB, which has run a Talking Books service for years? You now don't even have to return the CDs to them when you've finished.

    This is a bit of a popcorn moment, I think.

    1. xyz123 Bronze badge

      Re: I'm asking myself...

      those ancient decrepit publishers have tried to ban braille books/online text to speech services for many years.

      They hate the blind if they aren't paying customers

  14. xyz123 Bronze badge

    I know of at least three of those legacy gateway publishers that have hundreds of books printed they don't own, have never owned (never will) but the authors are dead, and no-one is able to dispute their using someone elses work without permission or payment.

  15. Hull

    Public Good

    We introduced copyright to give authors a means to support themselves instead of being ripped off by anyone willing to create often inferior copies.

    Reasoning: If authors and their licensed printers can support themselves, we have a higher probability of good books being authored, and read in a hopefully unabridged and true edition.

    We allow free transfer of books between sellers and buyers, and lending. Also to improve dissemination of knowledge for the public good.

    Some distribution methods, such as Amazon's Kindle, have put a stop to free transfer and lending. It is often cheaper to buy an ebook, but printing and shipping is also cheaper for the publisher. Are we ready to skew benefits for the publishers?

    Why would it be public good to disallow faster and more accessible lending?

    If publishers really think they need those extra "tens of millions" of dollars, should we not also force them to provide machine-readable access to all their works for the disabled? We grant them their monopolies on the understanding that they will work for the public good ...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Public Good

      Maybe be need to go back to The Statute of Anne. 14 years of copyright protection from date of publication with the option to renew ONCE only for a further 14 years, after which it's in the Public Domain. With suitable amendments for various media that have come into existence since the 1700's :-)

      Also interesting is copyrights on works prior to 1956. particularly radio broadcast which were not copyrightable. Even up to the 1980's, "broadcast by cable" was not copyrightable so radio and TV first broadcast on, for example, the Redifusion cable network were not copyright if exclusive to or first "broadcast" only on that network. Note, IANAL, least of all in Copyright Law, if in doubt consult an actual qualified lawyer :-)

    2. Fred Daggy Silver badge

      Re: Public Good

      I like that reasoning of "supporting artists". It would also support that if after a reasonable period, the work is no longer being published/available, it should revert to the public domain. "Reasonable period" can and will be abused to block access, so fix it, a year for physical media. And excuses such as "sold out" count as being "no longer published". Digital Media, I would suggest a week.

      Further, copyright lapses on death. There isn't an artist to support anymore? Correct? Corporations can be back to the original 14 years.

  16. steviebuk Silver badge

    Just NO!!

    This needs to NOT happen. The Internet Archive is an amazing resource of out of print material (where can we buy all the old Commodore 64 books now for those publisher that are long gone?), software and games that are long gone and can't be purchased anymore. "But they still have their copyright". They may do but where can you buy it from the publisher? Nowhere. If they succeed with this then all libraries are at risk.

    And the web page archive is an amazing feat and resource. Looking back in time and can also help with legal arguments. I'll now bore you with my boring story.

    I parked in one of those car parks with the 3rd party car park managers (Parking Enforcement Agency and Parkshield Collection LTD). I never got a ticket but always fascinated by the shit they put on their signs so took a photo. Got the link to their website. Checked the website out that was in an awful state. No SSL and takes you to the HTTP version despite having a form that would require SSL. Their privacy policy also wasn't up to date. I recorded this, recorded the issues and how the data was being sent over in plain text. It stayed on my YouTube channel for a year and didn't get many views. Then suddenly I got an actual copyright strike on the channel. 3 strikes and you're out. What's this, I don't use anything copyrighted like that. It was the video I created recording me checking their site, nothing in it they can claim copyright on. They had decided to strike it, abusing the system, just to get it instantly removed.

    So I kept trying to do the counter claim but the idiots at YouTube kept rejecting. Got to the point I just left it and waited for the strike to expire, they should of taken me to court but didn't as it was clearly a false claim.

    I went back to their site and still was in the same state. I noticed that I'd originally mentioned their privacy policy. Now they magically had an update saying they'd updated it 4 months BEFORE my video, which they hadn't. I couldn't prove this as I hadn't recorded that page. But I used Internet Archive to go back and sure enough, the policy didn't exist on the site, which was a month after they claimed it was in place. Because of this lack of policy I couldn't e-mail them direct about their site and issues (no doubt they'd have ignored my e-mail anyway).

    Never mind, I made a blog post about it with the Internet Archive evidence and then posted the video on Odysee that doesn't have a stupid copyright system that can be abused.

    I've donated to the Internet Archive before. I don't have money to throw away but its one site I'm very fond of that has a record of lots of Internet history that has long gone and it needs to stay.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Just NO!!

      They may do but where can you buy it from the publisher? Nowhere.

      This. How are they losing money on something they don't allow you to buy?

  17. Tron Silver badge


    Was hoping to find a day of Radio 1 from the 1980s on there, but no joy. DLT's Breakfast Show, Simon Bates with 'OurTune', Gary Davies' Bit in the Middle and Steve Wright in the afternoon. The audio wallpaper of my youth. Sadly, nope. Come on BBC/rights holders, we'd pay for this stuff on CD (and more than you would get from streaming services).

    I only really knew the IA from the Wayback Machine, which is really important. It's something that politicians would love to take down. Nationalists hate folk having access to the historical record. All those promises that they didn't keep and all those lies they told.

    So, with copyright lawyers and politicians on one side, and public benefit on the other, who will win? The lawyers and the politicians of course. The bad guys always win.

    Enjoy it whilst you can, before it all gets erased. Everything good on the net will eventually be erased by lawyers and politicians. Wait and see.

    1. Tron Silver badge

      Re: Darn.

      OK, it's not the 80s, but they do have two sides of a cassette recording of Gary Davies and Steve Wright from 1991. Bless you, qwolf.

      Look for BBC Radio 1 FM (Nov 26 1991) Side A

      [and] ... Side B.

      Oh the joy of stepping out of the hell that is 2023 and going back to happier times. I will continue to search for a recording from the 1980s. I wish I'd made one at the time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Darn.

      Surprised about the Steve Wright comment. He hasn’t uttered an original sentence since he first appeared on Radio 1 in the 1980s right up to his recent demise on Radio 2. Any show from the intervening 40 or so years would cover his entire output.

      1. nobody who matters Bronze badge

        Re: Darn.

        Take it you don't remember him on Radio Luxembourg before he went to the Beeb then ;)

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Darn.

        You don't copy wright!

    3. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Darn.

      > Nationalists hate folk having access to the historical record. All those promises that they didn't keep and all those lies they told.

      Conversley also allows you to fight against the had left idiots who pretend history doenst exist.

  18. Andre

    Similar situation here

    I once had a pile of accumulated old RS and other free CDROMs that were filled with treasures like datasheets for long expired chips and other parts.

    Alas RS saw fit to remove them over time to "save space" so decided to fight back by making my *own* datasheet DVD with literally every last one of them

    spanning decades with an Acrobat reader and search engine built in.

    Ended up making hundreds, but one day got a nasty email about it so stopped.

    Might well update it and re-release with "Datasheet Archive 2.0, Ultimate Blackbeard Edition" out of sheer spite, on SD card or something.

    Also containing an encrypted copy of all my research and unpublished scientific papers so when I choose, everyone has a copy at once.

  19. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

    So-called copyrights holders are vampires.

    Knowledge and education are what make Humanity better. They should be made easier to propagate, even if it goes against the financial interest of the (very) few.

  20. localzuk Silver badge

    Capitalism vs Knowledge

    These sorts of arguments are going to continue to happen as the 2 ideologies clash.

    Until copyright is reformed to better serve society, publishers will hold all the cards. It isn't even authors that engage in these sorts of arguments - they end up being just as under the thumb of the publishers as the rest of us.

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