back to article Multi-day DDoS storm batters Internet Archive

The Internet Archive has been under a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack since Sunday, and is trying to keep services going. While the San Francisco institution has assured users that its collections and web archives are safe — that's the good news — it warns service remains spotty for the online library and its …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright infringement

    “In March 2023, a federal judge rejected the Internet Archive's claim that it has a fair use right to lend digital copies of each printed book that it has purchased.”

    That sounds completely fair to me. Sure, if they were a library lending it out one copy at a time, that’s fair. Lending out multiple copies of a single purchase is piracy, plain and simple.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Copyright infringement

      Hopefully some who know better will be along shortly, but IIRC, they only lend out one digital copy at a time per owned print copy. They don't lend out more copies than they own. There's almost certainly an El Reg article explaining that since I'm pretty sure I read it here.

      1. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

        Re: Copyright infringement

        Yup, they use the same (easily stripped) Adobe DRM as the local library, and Kobo, to enforce this.

      2. HuBo

        Re: Copyright infringement

        The borrowing process is nicely explained here. Similarly to physical libraries: "If you try to borrow a book that is currently on 14 day loan you will be offered a link to be put on a waiting list".

        It takes a sack of doggone stinkin' excreta to DDOS an outfit like this (beneficial to all) IMHO.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Copyright infringement

          I love the Internet Archive, but paid lending rights for copyright material are a thing in most jurisdictions, unfortunately. You may hate this, but it's a fact. Feel free to downvote me if you don't like facts.

          1. Zibob Bronze badge

            Re: Clownshoe Instalment

            The only fact is that your are plainly wrong, a coward and in fact the owner of fantastic large and obvious clown shoes.

            Damn I forgot the "Feel free to downvote me if you don't like facts."

          2. Long John Silver

            Re: Copyright infringement

            Legal jurisdictions, and the associated idea of national sovereignty, are, so far as access to information is concerned, being sidelined.

            Within a jurisdiction, national or composite by international agreement, it remains feasible to obstruct and punish people engaged in selling digitally expressed 'content' nowadays anachronistically under claim of 'ownership'. The former entails blocking conventional routes for payment and increasingly futile efforts at blocking Internet locations.

            Beneficent organisations like the Internet Archive should ensure multiple redundancy of their data by placing copies around the globe. Additionally, some copies should be held within the strongly emergent anonymous distributed networks running in parallel to the commercially orientated WWW. It might behove the Archive to move its frontage elsewhere, e.g. to a Global South nation beginning to flex muscle to assert independence from Western information hegemony.

          3. Long John Silver

            Re: Copyright infringement

            I feel free to download digital 'content' without charge from wherever it is made available.

      3. Long John Silver

        Re: Copyright infringement

        Fortunately, rationed output of 'content' is bypassed once a copy reaches outlets such as LibGen and Anna's Archive.

      4. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Copyright infringement

        It may be worth noting that, while they lend out one copy per paper book now, they haven't always done that. In 2020, when the lawsuit was filed, they had removed that limitation and were lending out unlimited copies. They had a reason they wanted to do that, but they probably should have known that this was almost certainly illegal. Unfortunately, their decision to do that has landed them with a lawsuit that might be used to deny them lending out even the limited copies. I can't know whether they would have had the same attention if they hadn't tried that, but I think it might affect their current legal situation.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Copyright infringement

      The USA physical libraries break copyright rules set elsewhere. They can use any physical book and don't pay any per loan royalty to authors on copyright material, like in UK and Ireland.

      See also USA radio vs elsewhere. Dear USA, there are performance and composer copyrights.

      The IA attitude is completely logical given how the USA works.

      1. wub

        Re: Copyright infringement

        "The USA physical libraries break copyright rules set elsewhere. They can use any physical book and don't pay any per loan royalty to authors on copyright material, like in UK and Ireland."

        Interesting. For thing, why do you believe the author is the owner of the copyright? Copyright is a valuable asset which can be sold and bought. The creator of a work may be the entity that initially registers the copyright for that work (if it is registered at all) but after registration the copyright may change hands any number of times, and the registrar does not get notified. In practice it can be extremely difficult to determine who holds the copyright for a given work now. So, who do you pay?

        In the world of music, there are entities that exist to handle this for you. You pay the middleman, and they make sure the money gets into the right hands (mostly). But I guess there has never been enough money in book publishing to support this sort of middleman.

        This problem of tracing copyright ownership also causes significant problems for people who are attempting to use some or all of the work as the basis of another work - if you can't figure out who owns the copyright, how do you ask them for permission? This is at the heart of the idea that copyright should expire - Much creative work is based on existing creative work, and if copyright is forever, how long can that continue?

        I still love the irony of Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willy" being the benchmark for copyright on Mickey Mouse, since the cartoon is clearly based on Buster Keaton's "Steamboat Bill, Jr." although, who knows? Maybe Disney got permission...

        1. tekHedd

          The world of music...

          "In the world of music, [...] You pay the middleman, and they make sure the money gets into the right hands (SOMETIMES, AS LONG AS YOU AUDIT THEM EVERY YEAR, AND USUALLY NOT THEN EITHER)."

          Fixed that for you.

          I refer you to any interview with Frank Zappa for more information on how the world of music "works." :)

          1. wub

            Re: The world of music...

            Excellent point. I was only mentioning music because in that case there is at least some means of attempting to locate the copyright holder. My apologies for not recalling how poorly that system actually works.

        2. CorwinX Bronze badge

          Re: Copyright infringement

          In the UK, music-wise, there is MCPS/PRS*. Originally seperate but merged during the time I worked at MCPS.

          I was IT, so only had peripheral knowledge of the actual business. But I believe radio stations paid a blanket levy on the music they played, rather than a per-tune fee - distributed to members.

          If music was used, say, as background in a TV drama that was handled differently.

          There was, probably still is, a dept called Repertoire. Serious music geeks who could identify any tune played anywhere. "Oh yeah, that's the second studio recording. Their drummer was off sick that day so they got in a session guy".

          * Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (Records, CDs, MP3, etc) / Performing Rights Society (public performance, incl pub jukeboxes).

  2. t245t Silver badge
  3. Kev99 Silver badge

    Internet Archive is the only place where one find materials, software, and publications that are out of print or no longer available from the original sources. Not every computer out there is running mictosoft windows 11 with 4GHz CPU, AMD's/NVidia's latest gpu, and terabytes of SD storage. I sure there are thousands of researchers out there who rely on the archive to research past events, articles, and topics. The plaintiff's are only concerned with their and wall street's back pockets, not free speech, fair use, or history.

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      If they are making available material that is under copyright, they need to have a legal agreement with the copyright holders, presumably a similar agreement as conventional lending libraries have. If they have this then fair enough. If not, it is piracy and they're going to get sued.

      I am assuming all the down-voters on this simply don't agree with copyright, which is your prerogative, but it doesn't change the law.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've certainly found stuff there which was free to download but could not possibly have been free of copyright or other restrictions. TV shows, recent movies, etc.

      2. KarMann Silver badge

        Please, do tell me more about this 'agreement... conventional lending libraries have.' I'd be fascinated to hear about it, and how it is completely necessary for a library to negotiate with each and every publisher, and how first-sale doctrine doesn't apply here (given that we're probably talking about an American jurisdiction in this case).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Does this help?

          "While digital content has been available in libraries for more than a decade, acquiring that content has become a major roadblock for public institutions, ...Publishers set the terms of library contracts, filling agreements with complicated clauses and terms and definitions that go beyond issues of price and availability."

          1. Blazde Silver badge

            IA scan their own physical books so they have no problem lending them digitally without typical ebook contracts. I don't think a word in that article is relevant.

            There are some other libraries doing this. Aside from the basic argument that it's functionally no different to a physical lending library many also appeal to accessibility arguments. Lending in digital form allows blind and certain physically impaired people to enjoy books.

            1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

              Most printed books explicitly forbid electronic storage in the copyright info on the flyleaf.

              While you can lend a book to a friend, I'm not sure that running a public library is subject to the same rules.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Publishers can put whatever they want in the indicia; that doesn't mean it has the force of law. Publishers don't make laws, much as they might wish otherwise.

          2. KarMann Silver badge

            Previous AC (who may or may not have been you) specified 'conventional lending libraries', which I took to be a reference to dead-tree libraries. Licensed digital works are a whole different kettle of fish, yeah.

  4. DS999 Silver badge

    I hope the Internet Archive

    Has some good offline backups, so ransomware can't touch them. That would be one of the easiest jobs in the world for a backup admin, since no file is ever changed or deleted so barring disaster there will never be a need to restore - just to verify backup integrity.

    All you need to worry about is backing up the new files added each day, and keeping the old backups safe and either migrating or re-backing up once a decade onto newer/denser media.

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: I hope the Internet Archive

      Don't they archive themselves?

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: I hope the Internet Archive

      "That would be one of the easiest jobs in the world for a backup admin, since no file is ever changed or deleted so barring disaster there will never be a need to restore - just to verify backup integrity."

      "Raw Numbers as of December 2021:

      4 data centers, 745 nodes, 28,000 spinning disks

      Wayback Machine: 57 PetaBytes

      Books/Music/Video Collections: 42 PetaBytes

      Unique data: 99 PetaBytes

      Total used storage: 212 PetaBytes"

      The Wayback Machine alone is now at 99Petabytes

      Good look verifying and restoring that little lot.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: I hope the Internet Archive

        But how much data is added each day? That's the only ongoing backup requirement. Assuming you have two tapes onsite for everything else you have a daily script that picks some random stuff, restores it from both tapes, and verifies the checksums.

        212 PB is not all that much these days. LTO-9 tapes are 18 TB not including the built in "2.5x" compression. I'll be charitable and assume they store everything compressed so LTO's data compression is useless. At 18 TB per tape that's a little over 10,000 tapes. I've seen places that have a LOT more tapes than that - online in libraries. I have no idea how many they had in storage.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm ....

    What sort of people would have an interest in blocking or controlling historic information?

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm ....

      People who own the copyright and want to get paid. It will go out of copyright eventually and then the historians can have at it.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm ....

        So you saying the music and book publishers are doing the DDoS? Wouldn't put it past them.

    2. PB90210 Bronze badge

      Re: Hmmm ....

      Big Brother needs to control Truth speak

      The only truth is Big Brother!

      1. tekHedd

        Modern takes on 1984

        1984: Big Brother is Watching You!

        Mom (2024): How comforting! I'm glad for the attention!

        People's attitudes towards surveillance are terrifying.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Leave the World Behind

    An anonymous gang calling itself SN_Blackmeta, which seems to be against US and Israeli interests and writes in English, Russian, and Arabic, has claimed responsibility for the DDoS attacks for reasons unknown.

    In this film, drones dropped propaganda leaflets in Arabic and Korean but it turned out it was an internal enemy all along.

  7. Mike 137 Silver badge


    Copyright is in principle a good, as it protects creative output, but it can go too far now it has become a commodity that can be bought and sold. The copyright notice in a book I've just finished states "no part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form [...] without the permission in writing of the publisher". Strictly (by virtue of 'no part' and 'utilised in any form') that means I'd have to get written permission from the publisher to read it (or even to catalogue it by title and author).

    Interestingly, copyright was invented, not to protect revenue, but to protect the quality of reproductions of original works and the reputation of creators. For example, the composer Handel invoked copyright, having had huge problems with third parties distributing faulty copies of his musical scores. The rise of the almighty buck as a basis for copyright enforcement came later, but has stuck, resulting, among other evils, in publishers sitting on huge repositories of 'protected' works that they have no intention of republishing but won't let anyone else republish. Which is one good reason why the Internet Archive has such value. Long may it survive.

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: OTT?

      Copyright was also supposed to have a finite life, similar to patents, and was supposed to protect the original creator NOT the megacorp that publishes the works.

      We now see artists music catalogues becoming commodities to be bought and sold at great cost.

      It has become so stupid that even a chord progression will get you a copyright strike on Youtoob. I think it was Rick Beato who got a strike for playing chords in a video. We are in the world of the lawyers from the simpsons!

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: OTT?

        Unless you're Led Zepplin, where you can wholesale lift a guitar hook from another band, and the Big Lawyers ensure you don't have to pay a dime. Google "taurus spirit".

    2. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: OTT?

      In a book I have here it says "in any other binding or cover" ie you can't take the pages and recover and sell, nor can you photocopy and sell the copies.

    3. Long John Silver

      Re: OTT?

      “Copyright is in principle a good, as it protects creative output …”

      No, copyright impedes genuinely creative output. Ideas lack the properties necessary for being marketable products. Copyright depends upon shoehorning ideas into a pseudo-market protected by legal monopoly. Properly structured market-economics eschews monopolistic practices.

      The only true commodity is imagination and skill for developing ideas and, when suitable, applying them. These attributes exist in individuals and in groups working to common purpose. People/groups must compete for attention and the prospect of commissions (e.g. via crowdfunding) to enable them to realise their ambitions. Reputation is what they bring to the market in competition with similarly inclined others. To maintain order, it is necessary to recognise entitlement to attribution, and to have legal remedies against people intent upon impersonating successful players in the skill-market, that done to obtain undeserved patronage.

      Barely recognised by profiteers from trading copyright is an ethos running in parallel yet wholly dependent upon free flow of ideas in a context of sharing with strict attribution and encouragement of 'derived' works. The standing of a scholar is linked to his impact upon his peers; impact is best demonstrated when other people take the baton and run forward with it.

      In the days when the only way of disseminating information was by distributing paper copy, publishers made a major contribution to academia. Gradually, within the dogma of copyright, they sought to assert a high degree of financial ownership of that which they propagated. Their restrictive practices now stifle access to knowledge and thereby hinder education and scholarship. The arrival of such as Sci-Hub and LibGen were of an effect like a sorbet served after a stodgy course at a banquet.

      A broader point arises. An enforced attribution culture, one wherein it is creative skills rather than digital end-products which are marketable, should apply across the board of human activity. It would include the highly profitable for some, trashy element of popular culture. That component would be restored to the dynamic of former folk culture, wherein 'derivation' and freedom to explore facilitate participation rather than passive endurance. As with academia, 'derivation' (with due acknowledgement), is the sincerest flattery.

      The availability of money to support cultural endeavours would increase considerably because a huge raft of copyright rentiers and middlemen could be set to useful work digging ditches. No longer would a large proportion of individual and national disposable incomes go into the pockets of parasites whose only encounters with creativity entail its application to accountancy. Moreover, taste and whom to laud, would cease to be dictated by monolithic commercial entities. A return to individuals and cottage industries surviving on their wits. A massive bonus accrues from consigning a swathe of lawyers to manual labour.

      1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

        Re: OTT?

        No, copyright impedes genuinely creative output

        I respectfully disagree there. Copyright supports creative output, copyright as implemented currently with overly long periods of protection impedes creative output.

        If we did away with copyright, then much the same as with patents, there's no protection at all for those doing the creating. You write a song, the next day someone else can record it, get to market first, rake in the profits, and you get nothing. So where's the incentive to create if there's absolutely no protection from someone just ripping you off and leaving you with nothing ?

        Copyright is the protection that (at least in principle) means that if you write a hit song, you get to profit from it for a set period. That is your incentive - you get protection from rip offs for a while.

        The problem is the Mickey Mouse periods - it's long been a joke that every time the original Steamboat Willy was going to go out of copyright, Disney simply lobbied the US government to extend protection and the government obliged - except the last time. Over here in the UK, Copyright exists in a book for the life of the author +70 years. How long protection should be for is probably one of those arguments that will never end - the answer varies from "none at all" at one extreme to "for ever" at the other.

        Another problem, and one which colours people's views on the subject, is that it seems that it's mostly big business that uses copyright to crush the little guy. That may be the headlines that most people see, but there's a lot that goes on that most people never see.

        1. PRR Silver badge

          Re: OTT?

          > in the UK, Copyright exists in a book for the life of the author +70 years.

          UK "no Mickey Mouse" terms.

          Same in Canada. And there is a Canada-centric operation emphasizing Canadiana: As a lot of great literature has Canadian connection it is a good read.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably the best place ( only place! ) on the internet to get copies of BBC radio broadcasts. You get to find radio series from 1950s right up to 2010s from the US and UK, I've found so many good shows and plays. BBC versions of Tenesse Williams and such like, Tony Hancock, Goons, 1930s US radiobroadcasts.

    Some great books you can borrow, I read Alan Sugar's autobiography on loan from the IA. I'd never buy it but being able to borrow it like you would from a library was great. Found tons of 1980s Spectrum and Amstrad programming books, including a full run of INPUT magazine, where I started to learn coding as a kid back in the 1980s!

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      Oh great, now you made me look for the Maplin magazine and I've now found those and the project books so that is the next week shot going through all of their old projects and trying to remember which ones I had made.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "trying to remember which ones I had made."

        You should have copyrighted your memories then they'd be safe for life + 70 years :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Have you tried the BBC website?

      They've just done 'Hancock 100', celebrating 100 years since his birth, and just about every radio show is available (plus recreations of most of the missing ones)

      (plus about half dozen TV shows available for the next month)

      (they can be a bit touchy about stereotypes, so there can be gaps, like the Navy Lark 'Potanyland' episodes... but IA can fill some of those)

      1. wub

        Please correct me if I'm wrong

        Yeah, well try it from a non-UK IP address. Yes, I know there a ways to fool the geofence, but if I want to properly acknowledge the value of intellectual property, I'm not expecting to be granted free access. But there is no mechanism for me to do this, that I know of. In the past I have tried to ask the BBC for a mechanism to pay for access to their archives, but there we never even a response. It looks like there may be something in the works, but I'm not sure I'll live long enough...

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Please correct me if I'm wrong

          The BBC exists solely for the BBC.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "(they can be a bit touchy about stereotypes, so there can be gaps, like the Navy Lark 'Potanyland' episodes... but IA can fill some of those)"

        Good point. The BBC as gatekeeper will (and does) to some extent "re-invent history" because some of what was recorded back then is no longer seen as "correct" nowadays. And despite many years or promises and claims, they do not have all that much of their back catalogue available on iPlayer/Sounds, sometimes for valid reasons, even though most of it is never going to be broadcast ever again and may not even be in copyright anyway (Broadcast radio/TV copyrights, where the exists at all, are very different from other forms of copyright). Also, much of the "BBC content" of recent years, especially since the effective break-up of the BBC, is commissioned or co-produced from/with external sources, creating a nightmare of rights management for the future. One of the more well known instances, albeit from the past when the BBC were more likely to "own" a show, would be the rights to the use of the Daleks being retained by Terry Nation :-)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fourble is your friend for old radio

    A nicly organised site to the Internet Archive to find radio shows from way back.

    It can create links your podcast player can use to get regular daily/weekly/whatever episodes:

  10. Mage Silver badge

    Article conflates three things

    1. The DDOS attack

    2. Wayback machine

    3. Their lending library deliberately loaning material in copyright without a licence, or any payment to publisher/author.

    Item 3 was an inevitable result of the permission given to Google to scan copyright works without copyright holder permission, simply on Alphabet / Google claim they wouldn't share entire work and it would be a public benefit. Only Benefits Google and friends and should be recinded. The USA should not make such unilateral decision on copyright. Nor should it have been extended due to lobbying of Disney and friends.

    Meanwhile less than 1% of published authors make a living wage. Copyright needs reformed, not ignored.

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