On the day that oral arguments will be heard in big publishers’ suit to limit the digital rights of all libraries, fans of the Internet Archive will take a stand.
With oral arguments set to be heard in big publishers’ suit against the Internet Archive, supporters of the Archive are organizing a rally in support of libraries’ rights to own and preserve digital books—including 4 million books that the judge might order the Archive to erase.
On Monday, March 20, activists will be spreading the word about this suit, and its implications for libraries more broadly. Using the tools at BattleForLibraries.com, they will be signing a pledge to fight for libraries’ digital rights, sharing why the Internet Archive is important to them, changing their profile pictures, and posting their own photos in front of their favorite libraries with the hashtag #DigitalRightsForLibraries.
Fight for the Future, one of the groups responsible for the largest internet protest in history that halted the Stop Online Piracy Act (another attempt by major media corporations to limit fair use access to knowledge and culture) is organizing the event.
Lia Holland, Campaigns and Communications Director at Fight for the Future, said: “This lawsuit is an incredibly important bellwether in the existential war over libraries’ digital rights. Major media corporations like NewsCorp and big tech companies like Amazon and Overdrive are running out of others to blame for the pitiful state of author and publishing worker compensation. Any rational person can see that libraries continuing to loan and preserve books in the digital age is a core public good, one more essential now than ever amid calls for censorship and Big Tech’s eagerness to expand their creepy surveillance of our digital lives into what we read at the library.”
Already, dozens of stories and messages of support for the Archive have been collected:
Musician and activist Peter Gabriel said: “The idea of universal access to all knowledge is an amazing dream and the fact that there is now some people that have been crazy enough for 25 years to try to collect it all and put it together so anyone can access it freely at any time…this is so powerful and so important.”
Author, PEN/Hemingway award winner, and first trans woman nominee for the Women’s Book Award Torrey Peters said: “I flat-out owe my career as a trans author to the unimpeded circulation of digital books: the first trans books that inspired me were digital, my own first books were published digitally. Book stores didn’t carry our books at first. Therefore, any readers that have felt their own emotions changed by my published work–no matter in what medium–ultimately also owe that change to digital books. Everybody benefits when digital books are accessible.”
Aidan, a farmer in Ireland, said: “I don’t have much money to spare for books, so your website and others like it are my lifeline to the world of self-education. I feel very grateful. Long live the democratization of knowledge.”
Simay K., a researcher in Turkey said: “Living in a developing country with so many political and economic turmoils, I believe that the Internet Archive provides a huge service and a unique platform for dissolving the injustice and inequality of [access] to knowledge between disadvantaged countries and classes.”
Author Jeffery M. Reynolds said: “Copyright has in the past century been twisted to benefit corporations and other businesses, not creators and their estates, nor libraries who serve a public interest. It is high time to review how we have turned our system away from allowing the spread of knowledge while ensuring artists get duly paid into one where the wealthy extract endless rent from the hard work of others and limit public access to that knowledge.”
Read more at BattleForLibraries.com