Internet Archive Releases Report on Securing Digital Rights for Libraries

We are excited to announce the release of our report, “Securing Digital Rights for Libraries: Towards an Affirmative Policy Agenda for a Better Internet,” and the culmination of a months-long process consulting with leading experts from libraries, civil society, and academia regarding libraries’ role in shaping the next iteration of the internet. The Internet Archive did this work in collaboration with the Movement for a Better Internet, so as to help model how this community can work together towards building an internet centered on public interest values.

You can download and read the free, openly-licensed report HERE.

The consultation focused on two core questions: How can libraries (1) sustain their traditional societal function and (2) build on their strengths to support a better information ecosystem in the 21st Century? Participants discussed a wide range of challenges, including consolidation in the publishing industry, mis/disinformation, and providing equitable access to information despite these obstacles. The conversation was anchored in libraries’ traditional support of public interest values—i.e. democracy, equity, diversity and inclusion, privacy, freedom of expression, and more.

The key takeaway from this consultation process is simple: The rights that libraries have always enjoyed offline must also be protected online. The report articulates a set of four digital rights for libraries, based on the core library functions of preserving and providing access to information, knowledge, and culture. Specifically, if libraries are to continue ensuring meaningful participation in society for everyone in the digital era, they must have the rights to:

  • Collect digital materials, including those made available only via streaming and other restricted means, through purchase on the open market or any other legal means, no matter the underlying file format;
  • Preserve those materials, and where necessary repair or reformat them, to ensure their long-term existence and availability;
  • Lend digital materials, at least in the same “one person at a time” manner as is traditional with physical materials;
  • Cooperate with other libraries, by sharing or transferring digital collections, so as to provide more equitable access for communities in remote and less well-funded areas.

The report is intended as a guide for meaningful policy discussions among librarians, public interest advocates, and lawmakers. We encourage you to read it and join us next Thursday, December 8th for a webinar discussion about the report with leaders from Internet Archive, Public Knowledge, Creative Commons, and the Association of Research Libraries. Come with your feedback, questions, and ideas for translating the conclusions of the report into actionable policy goals. We also encourage you to check out the Movement for a Better Internet, and join us there as we continue to work with different communities to build an internet that works better for everyone.

The Best Things in Life Are Free: Two Ways to Celebrate Public Domain Day in 2023

The moon belongs to everyone, so says the 1927 hit musical composition, “The Best Things In Life Are Free.” We agree! In January of 2023, a treasure trove of new cultural works will become as free as the moon and the stars, and we at Internet Archive, Creative Commons and many other leaders from the open world plan to throw a party to celebrate!

Next year, works published in 1927 will join the myriad creative building blocks of our shared culture heritage. The public domain will grow richer with books from authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolfe, silent film classics like the controversial The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson and Fritz Lang’s dystopian Metropolis, and snappy musical compositions like You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream.

You can welcome new public domain works and party with us two ways:

Join us for a virtual party on January 19, 2023 at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern time where we will celebrate our theme, The Best Things In Life Are Free, with a host of entertainers, historians, librarians, academics, activists and other leaders from the open world, including additional sponsoring organizations Library Futures, SPARC, Authors Alliance, Public Knowledge, and the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain. REGISTER FOR THE VIRTUAL EVENT HERE!

The Internet Archive will also host an in-person Film Remix Contest Screening Party on January 20, 2023 at 6pm at 300 Funston Ave in San Francisco. We will celebrate 1927 as founding year of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, while watching this year’s Public Domain Day Remix Contest winning entries, eating popcorn and ice cream. Come dressed in your best golden age of Hollywood inspired costume and walk the red carpet with the Internet Archive as we celebrate the entry of “talkies” into the public domain. REGISTER FOR THE IN-PERSON PARTY IN SAN FRANCISCO HERE!

Public Domain Day 2023 Remix Contest: The Internet Archive is Looking For Creative Short Films Made By You!

We are looking for artists of all levels to create and upload a short film of 2–3 minutes to the Internet Archive to help us celebrate Public Domain Day on 20 January 2023!

Public Domain Day is a celebration of all the rich materials that will be newly available to the public free of copyright restrictions. On January 1, 2023, most works published in 1927 will ascend into the Public Domain in the United States. We want artists to use this newly available content to create short films using resources from the Internet Archive’s collections from 1927. 

The uploaded videos will be judged and prizes of up to $1500 awarded!! (Please see details below)

Winners will be announced and shown at the in-person Public Domain Day Celebration at the Internet Archive headquarters in San Francisco on 20 January 2023. All other participating videos will be added to a Public Domain Day Collection on archive.org and featured in a blog entry in January of 2023.

Here are a few examples of some of the materials that will become public domain on January 1, 2023:

Possible themes include, but are not limited to:  

  • The Best Things in Life Are Free
  • Sleuthing the Public Domain
  • What can 1927 teach us about 2023?

Guidelines

  • Make a 2–3 minute movie using at least one work published in 1927 that will become Public Domain on January 1 , 2023. This could be a poem, book, film, musical composition, painting, photograph or any other work that will become Public Domain next year. The more different PD materials you use, the better!
    • Note: If you have a resource from 1927 that is not available on archive.org, you may upload it and then use it in your submission. (Here is how to do that). 
  • Your submission must have a soundtrack. It can be your own voiceover or performance of a public domain musical composition, or you may use public domain or CC0 sound recordings from sources like Openverse and the Free Music Archive.
    • Note: Sound recordings published before 1923 are in the public domain. Sound recordings published later than Jan 1, 1923 are NOT public domain, even if the underlying musical composition is, so watch out for this!
  • Mix and Mash content however you like, but note that ALL of your sources must be from the public domain. They do not all have to be from 1927. Remember, U.S. government works are public domain no matter when they are published. So feel free to use those NASA images! You may include your own original work if you put a CC0 license on it.
  • Add a personal touch, make it yours!
  • Keep the videos light hearted and fun! (It is a celebration after all!)

Submission Deadline

All submissions must be in by Midnight, 16 January 2023 (PST)

How to Submit

Prizes

  • 1st prize: $1500
  • 2nd prize: $1000
  • 3rd prize: $500

*All prizes sponsored by the Kahle/Austin Foundation

Judges

Judges will be looking for videos that are fun, interesting and use public domain materials, especially those from 1927. They will be shown at the in-person Public Domain Day party and should highlight the value of having cultural materials that can be reused, remixed, and re-contextualized for a new day. Winners’ pieces will be purchased with the prize money, and viewable  on the Internet Archive under a Creative Commons license.

  • Amir Saber Esfahani (Director of Special Arts Projects, Internet Archive)
  • Rick Prelinger (Board Member, Internet Archive, Founder, Prelinger Archives)
  • Yuanxiao Xu (Deputy Counsel, Creative Commons)

Previous Winners:

What is the Democracy’s Library?

Illustration created with MidJourney

Democracies require an educated citizenry to flourish– and because of this, Democratic governments, at all levels, spend billions of dollars publishing reports, manuals, books, videos so that all can read and learn. That is the good news.  The bad news is that in our digital age, much of this is not accessible.   Democracy’s Library aims to change this.   

The aim of the Internet Archive Democracy’s Library is to collect, preserve and make freely available all the published works of all the democracies– the federal, provincial, and municipal government publications– so that we can efficiently learn from each other to solve our biggest challenges in parallel and in concert.

Democracy’s Library is the foundational information of free people.

We call this “Democracy’s Library” because Democracy is an open system that trusts its citizens to learn, grow and have independent agency. Democratic governments publish openly because they want important information spread widely.  There are no paywalls to the works of government, or there shouldn’t be. 

We need access to all the River reports so we can help understand and manage our declining clean water.   Access to Agricultural research to help farm more sustainably.  To Materials research to build better products and devices. To Local hearings on project results so other cities can overcome the same challenges.  To Training materials and text books for many professions.   All free– and in ways you can find them.

Bringing free public access to the public domain is the opportunity of the Internet– an infrastructure that effectively costs nothing to distribute information that has been collected and organized.

Yes, this will cost a small fortune– but it is within our grasp– to collect and organize billions of documents and datasets, preserve the materials for the ages and make them available for many purposes.  While scoping projects in the United States and Canada have now begun, we estimate this project will cost at least $100 million dollars. The big money has not been committed yet, and we’re still fundraising. But to get things kicked off, Filecoin Foundation (FF) and Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW), are supporting the project. The Internet Archive has ramped up collecting government websites and datasets as well as digitizing print materials with many library partners.

Thankfully, we do not have the rights and paywall problems that have been strangling the Internet’s best feature: an essentially free information distribution system.   

Democracy’s Library can be a free public library available on your phone and your laptop.  

Democracy’s Library will be the foundation of new services, both non-commercial and commercial, that leverages language understanding, machine learning, automatic translation, speech recognition, and visualizations.

Democracies publish openly– let’s take advantage of this.  Leverage our library system to not just lease commercial publisher’s database products, but build open collections that everyone can use and reuse without limitation.

Lets build direct conduits from governments into Democracy’s Library for long term preservation and access. A public-public partnership that long served us in the paper era, that took a pause in the mainframe era of commercial databases, can flourish again in the Internet era.  

“Public Access to the Public Domain” can be a rallying cry for Democracy’s Library.

Democracy’s Library can be a flowering of information services for free people.

Please join in and help.   Jamie Joyce of the Internet Archive ([email protected]) is leading the effort in the United States, Andrea Mills of the Internet Archive Canada ( [email protected] ) is leading the Canadian effort.  The project is overseen by Brewster Kahle ( [email protected] ).   

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for the #EmpoweringLibraries newsletter.

Have ideas?  Have materials?  Have a use case?  Have resources to bring to bear?   This can only happen if we work together.  

Let’s build Democracy’s Library, together.

JUST ADDED: Three new events to close out 2022

We’ve just finished scheduling three new events through the end of the year that you won’t want to miss! All events are virtual, free and open to the public.

Can’t make one of the sessions? Go ahead and register so that you’ll receive an e-mail with the session recording.

November 30

Join HEATHER JOSEPH, executive director of SPARC, for a chat with DATA CARTELS author SARAH LAMDAN about the companies that control & monopolize our information.

REGISTER NOW: DATA CARTELS

In our digital world, data is power. Information hoarding businesses reign supreme, using intimidation, aggression, and force to maintain influence and control. SARAH LAMDAN brings us into the unregulated underworld of these “data cartels”, demonstrating how the entities mining, commodifying, and selling our data and informational resources perpetuate social inequalities and threaten the democratic sharing of knowledge.

This event is co-sponsored with Authors Alliance.


December 8

What do libraries have to do with building a better internet? How would securing certain digital rights for these traditional public interest institutions help make the internet work better for everyone? 

REGISTER NOW: POLICIES FOR A BETTER INTERNET

Join Public Knowledge President CHRIS LEWIS as he facilitates a conversation on these issues and the emerging Movement for a Better Internet with library and internet policy experts LILA BAILEY (Internet Archive), KATHERINE KLOSEK (Association of Research Libraries) and BRIGITTE VÉZINA (Creative Commons).

They will discuss Internet Archive’s forthcoming report “Securing Digital Rights for Libraries: Towards an Affirmative Policy Agenda for a Better Internet” along with ongoing copyright reform projects from Creative Commons and ARL.

This event is co-sponsored with the Movement for a Better Internet.


December 15

Join copyright scholar PAMELA SAMUELSON for a discussion with historian PETER BALDWIN about THE COPYRIGHT WARS, covering three centuries’ worth of trans-Atlantic copyright battles. 

Today’s copyright wars can seem unprecedented. Sparked by the digital revolution that has made copyright—and its violation—a part of everyday life, fights over intellectual property have pitted creators, Hollywood, and governments against consumers, pirates, Silicon Valley, and open-access advocates. But while the digital generation can be forgiven for thinking the dispute between, for example, the publishing industry and libraries is completely new, the copyright wars in fact stretch back three centuries—and their history is essential to understanding today’s battles. THE COPYRIGHT WARS—the first major trans-Atlantic history of copyright from its origins to today—tells this important story.

This event is co-sponsored with Authors Alliance.

Author Talk: Peter Baldwin, The Copyright Wars

Join copyright scholar PAMELA SAMUELSON for a discussion with historian PETER BALDWIN about THE COPYRIGHT WARS, covering three centuries’ worth of trans-Atlantic copyright battles. 

REGISTER NOW

Today’s copyright wars can seem unprecedented. Sparked by the digital revolution that has made copyright—and its violation—a part of everyday life, fights over intellectual property have pitted creators, Hollywood, and governments against consumers, pirates, Silicon Valley, and open-access advocates. But while the digital generation can be forgiven for thinking the dispute between, for example, the publishing industry and libraries is completely new, the copyright wars in fact stretch back three centuries—and their history is essential to understanding today’s battles. THE COPYRIGHT WARS—the first major trans-Atlantic history of copyright from its origins to today—tells this important story.

THE COPYRIGHT WARS is available to read or download from the Internet Archive, as designated by the author. You can also purchase the book in print from Princeton University Press, or your local bookshop.

This event is co-sponsored with Authors Alliance.

Author Talk: Peter Baldwin, The Copyright Wars
Thursday, December 15 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual event.

Policies for a Better Internet: Securing Digital Rights for Libraries

What do libraries have to do with building a better internet? How would securing certain digital rights for these traditional public interest institutions help make the internet work better for everyone?

REGISTER NOW

Join Public Knowledge President CHRIS LEWIS as he facilitates a conversation on these issues and the emerging Movement for a Better Internet with library and internet policy experts LILA BAILEY (Internet Archive), KATHERINE KLOSEK (Association of Research Libraries) and BRIGITTE VÉZINA (Creative Commons).

They will discuss Internet Archive’s forthcoming report “Securing Digital Rights for Libraries: Towards an Affirmative Policy Agenda for a Better Internet” along with ongoing copyright reform projects from Creative Commons and ARL.

Policies for a Better Internet: Securing Digital Rights for Libraries
Thursday, December 8 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual event

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

CHRIS LEWIS is President and CEO at Public Knowledge. Prior to being elevated to President and CEO, Chris served for as PK’s Vice President from 2012 to 2019 where he led the organization’s day-to-day advocacy and political strategy on Capitol Hill and at government agencies. During that time he also served as a local elected official, serving two terms on the Alexandria City Public School Board. Chris serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Local Self Reliance and represents Public Knowledge on the Board of the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG).

LILA BAILEY is Senior Policy Counsel for the Internet Archive. She leads the team responsible for the legal and policy strategies supporting the non-profit library’s mission to enable Universal Access to All Knowledge. Lila has spent her career as a passionate advocate of democratizing access to information, culture, and educational resources. In 2020, Public Knowledge recognized Lila’s contributions to public interest technology policy as the 17th annual winner of the IP3 award in the category of Intellectual Property. Fortune Magazine named her a “copyright champion” for her work leading the Archive’s fair use defense against four major commercial publishers in the Hachette v. Internet Archive case about digital book lending. Lila holds a JD from Berkeley Law and a BA in Philosophy from Brown University.

KATHERINE KLOSEK is the Director of Information Policy at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).As a member of the ARL Scholarship and Policy team, Katherine formulates Association positions on key information policy debates, and develops and implements advocacy strategies to advance the Association’s legal and public policy agenda in legislative, administrative, and judicial forums. Building strong partnerships with stakeholders in libraries, higher education, scholarship, and civil society, she represents the Association in outreach to policy makers on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch. Serving as the staff lead to ARL’s Advocacy and Public Policy Committee, Katherine helps mobilize ARL’s membership to influence government policy–making in key moments, and in responding and adapting to major legal and policy developments.

BRIGITTE VÉZINA is the Director of Policy, Open Culture, and GLAM at Creative Commons. Brigitte is passionate about all things spanning culture, arts, handicraft, traditions, fashion and, of course, copyright law and policy. She gets a kick out of tackling the fuzzy legal and policy issues that stand in the way of access, use, re-use and remix of culture, information and knowledge.

Tips for requesting articles from Internet Archive on OCLC’s resource sharing network

On November 9, Internet Archive participated in a webinar hosted by OCLC that showed librarians how to request articles from our library using OCLC tools.

The Recording and Slides (PDF download) from the event are now available.

How do I request articles from the Internet Archive?

  1. To learn how, watch the recording—starting at timestamp 12:25 minutes—and view slides 21- 30 (PDF).
    1. Create/update your custom holdings to include IAILL in the group you use for copy requesting.
      1. Learn more about how to set up custom holding groups and custom holding paths.
      2. Send copy requests to the Custom Holdings Path including IAILL using Automated Request Manager.
    2. If you have Tipasa, add IAILL to your group of Proven Senders.
    3. If you have ILLiad, make IAILL an Odyssey Trusted Sender.
    4. If Internet Archive indicates that they own the year/volume you need, you can simply add IAILL to your lender string.
      1. From the Holdings page, filter to the article date you need, select the custom holdings path including IAILL, and click go to populate the lender string.
  2. Have questions about how to set up your custom holdings groups and paths? Please contact OCLC Support.  

Key facts about the Internet Archive

  1. Internet Archive’s OCLC symbol: IAILL
  2. Internet Archive supplies for FREE
  3. Internet Archive is fast—and deliver in an average of 37 minutes
  4. Articles delivered electronically through Article Exchange
  5. All PDFs are provided with full OCR (Optical Character Recognition) 

Questions?

Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications Surpasses 25,000 Items

In the six weeks since announcing that Internet Archive has begun gathering content for the Digital Library of Amateur Radio and Communications (DLARC), the project has quickly grown to more than 25,000 items, including ham radio newsletters, podcasts, videos, books, and catalogs. The project seeks additional contributions of material for the free online library.

You are welcome to explore the content currently in the library and watch the primary collection as it grows at https://archive.org/details/dlarc.

The new material includes historical and modern newsletters from diverse amateur radio groups including the National Radio Club (of Aurora, CO); the Telford & District Amateur Radio Society, based in the United Kingdom; the Malta Amateur Radio League; and the South African Radio League. The Tri-State Amateur Radio Society contributed more than 200 items of historical correspondence, newspaper clippings, ham festival flyers, and newsletters. Other publications include Selvamar Noticias, a multilingual digital ham radio magazine; and Florida Skip, an amateur radio newspaper published from 1957 through 1994.The library also includes the complete run of 73 Magazine — more than 500 issues — which are freely and openly available.  

More than 300 radio related books are available in DLARC via controlled digital lending. These materials may be checked out by anyone with a free Internet Archive account for a period of one hour to two weeks. Radio and communications books donated to Internet Archive are scanned and added to the DLARC lending library.

Amateur radio podcasts and video channels are also among the first batch of material in the DLARC collection. These include Ham Nation, Foundations of Amateur Radio, the ICQ Amateur/Ham Radio Podcast, with many more to come. Providing a mirror and archive for “born digital” content such as video and podcasts is one of the core goals of DLARC.

Additions to DLARC also include presentations recorded at radio communications conferences, including GRCon, the GNU Radio Conference; and the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo. A growing reference library of past radio product catalogs includes catalogs from Ham Radio Outlet and C. Crane.

DLARC is growing to be a massive online library of materials and collections related to amateur radio and early digital communications. It is funded by a significant grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to create a digital library that documents, preserves, and provides open access to the history of this community. 

Anyone with material to contribute to the DLARC library, questions about the project, or interest in similar digital library building projects for other professional communities, please contact:

Kay Savetz, K6KJN
Program Manager, Special Collections
[email protected]
Mastodon: [email protected]

Digital Books wear out faster than Physical Books

Ever try to read a physical book passed down in your family from 100 years ago?  Probably worked well. Ever try reading an ebook you paid for 10 years ago?   Probably a different experience. From the leasing business model of mega publishers to physical device evolution to format obsolescence, digital books are fragile and threatened.

For those of us tending libraries of digitized and born-digital books, we know that they need constant maintenance—reprocessing, reformatting, re-invigorating or they will not be readable or read. Fortunately this is what libraries do (if they are not sued to stop it). Publishers try to introduce new ideas into the public sphere. Libraries acquire these and keep them alive for generations to come.

And, to serve users with print disabilities, we have to keep up with the ever-improving tools they use.

Mega-publishers are saying electronic books do not wear out, but this is not true at all. The Internet Archive processes and reprocesses the books it has digitized as new optical character recognition technologies come around, as new text understanding technologies open new analysis, as formats change from djvu to daisy to epub1 to epub2 to epub3 to pdf-a and on and on. This takes thousands of computer-months and programmer-years to do this work. This is what libraries have signed up for—our long-term custodial roles.

Also, the digital media they reside on changes, too—from Digital Linear Tape to PATA hard drives to SATA hard drives to SSDs. If we do not actively tend our digital books they become unreadable very quickly.

Then there is cataloging and metadata. If we do not keep up with the ever-changing expectations of digital learners, then our books will not be found. This is ongoing and expensive.

Our paper books have lasted hundreds of years on our shelves and are still readable. Without active maintenance, we will be lucky if our digital books last a decade.

Also, how we use books and periodicals, in the decades after they are published, change from how they were originally intended. We are seeing researchers use books and periodicals in machine learning investigations to find trends that were never easy in a one-by-one world, or in the silos of the publisher databases. Preparing these books for this type of analysis is time consuming and now threatened by publisher’s lawsuits.

If we want future access to our digital heritage we need to make some structural changes:  changes to institution and publisher behaviors as well as supportive funding, laws, and enforcement.

The first step is to recognize preservation and access to our digital heritage is a big job and one worth doing.  Then, find ways that institutions– educational, government, non-profit, and philanthropic– could make preservation a part of our daily responsibility.

Long live books.

Illustration: midjourney AI generated.