The Internet Archive’s Copyright Emergency | Copyright and Technology

“Sometime last year, I was chatting about digital first sale and e-lending with a highly respected copyright lawyer, someone who is deeply knowledgeable about those issues. We were talking about the library community’s longstanding attempts to get a lending right for digital files in law. We noted that those folks have apparently given up on the idea of getting such a right through legislation and are instead talking about the idea of pressing a fair use argument through litigation. This would require a long, expensive battle, potentially all the way to the Supreme Court. I expressed skepticism that anyone would have both the deep pockets and institutional motivation to pursue this strategy. The lawyer replied that there is one person who could and might do it: Brewster Kahle.

Brewster Kahle is, of course, the founder of the Internet Archive, and a pioneer in search engine technology. I am a big fan of the Internet Archive. It is indispensable to me in my work. It is a tribute to the ingenuity of engineers who have figured out how to build something like this on a system that was emphatically not designed to support it; it’s one of a very few technologies that I consider darn close to magic. I donate (modestly) to it every year. So it’s unfortunate that the Archive’s latest move, to loosen copyright law by establishing a “National Emergency Library” during the COVID-19 crisis, appears to be backfiring….”