Pixel Scroll 2/14/22 Our Files Are Protected By Mutual Assured Pixellation

(1) PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE ASKS INTERNET ARCHIVE TO REMOVE MAUS. Chris Freeland, a librarian and Director of the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program, advocates for his work at ZDNet: “Librarian’s lament: Digital books are not fireproof”.

The disturbing trend of school boards and lawmakers banning books from libraries and public schools is accelerating across the country. In response, Jason Perlow made a strong case last week for what he calls a “Freedom Archive,” a digital repository of banned books. Such an archive is the right antidote to book banning because, he contended, “You can’t burn a digital book.” The trouble is, you can.

A few days ago, Penguin Random House, the publisher of Maus, Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, demanded that the Internet Archive remove the book from our lending library. Why? Because, in their words, “consumer interest in ‘Maus’ has soared” as the result of a Tennessee school board’s decision to ban teaching the book. By its own admission, to maximize profits, a Goliath of the publishing industry is forbidding our non-profit library from lending a banned book to our patrons: a real live digital book-burning.

We are the library of last resort, where anyone can get access to books that may be controversial wherever they happen to live — an existing version of Perlow’s proposed “Freedom Archive.” Today, the Internet Archive lends a large selection of other banned books, including Animal FarmWinnie the PoohThe Call of the Wild, and the Junie B. Jones and Goosebumps children’s book series. But all of these books are also in danger of being destroyed.

In the summer of 2020, four of the largest publishers in the U.S. — Penguin Random House among them — sued to force our library to destroy the more than 1.4 million digital books in our collection. In their pending lawsuit, the publishers are using copyright law as a battering ram to assert corporate control over the public good. In this instance, that means destroying freely available books and other materials that people rely on to become productive and discerning participants in the country’s civic, economic, and social life…. 

(2) SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALS WITH A TOUCH OF SFF. Thanks to Cora Buhlert for flagging several of these in a comment yesterday on the “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – Teaser Trailer” post. Besides the ones I’ve embedded below, there’s a “Planet Fitness – What’s Gotten into Lindsay?” spot with a cameo and narration by William Shatner, and astronaut Matthew McConaughey headlining the “’The New Frontier’ Salesforce Super Bowl Ad” (“while the others look to the metaverse and Mars, lets stay here and restore ours…”).

Enter a new dimension of Strange. Watch the official trailer for Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Only in theaters May 6. In Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.

See the all-new Big Game TV Spot for Marvel Studios’ #MoonKnight ?, an Original series streaming March 30, only on Disney+. The story follows Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life. Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.

In a competitive home buying market, Barbie was able to find and finance her dream house with some help from Rocket Homes??, Rocket Mortgage® and Anna Kendrick.

Retiring from Mount Olympus to Palm Springs, Zeus is underwhelmed by all earthly electric things and becomes a shell of his former self. But right when we think all hope is lost, his wife, Hera, introduces him to the all-electric BMW iX and helps mighty Zeus reclaim his spark.

(3) THE SIXTIES CONAN REDISCOVERY. At Galactic Journey, Cora Buhlert continues her overview of the Lancer Conan reprints with Conan the Warrior, which includes two of the best Conan stories “and no L. Sprague de Camp mucking about”: “[February 14, 1967] Three Facets of Conan: Conan the Warrior by Robert E. Howard”.

…Valeria is a marvellous character, a warrior woman who is Conan’s equal in many ways. “Why won’t men let me live a man’s life?” Valeria laments at one point. “That’s obvious,” Conan replies with an appreciative look at Valeria’s body. Robert E. Howard is usually considered a writer of masculine fiction and Conan is clearly a man’s man, but I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and competence of the female characters in these stories. Not every women in these stories is as impressive as Valeria or Yasmina from “The People of the Black Circle”, but they are all characters with personalities and lives of their own and every one of them is given a chance to shine….

(4) IT’S TIME FOR TRIVIA. Clarion West’s third annual speculative fiction trivia night fundraiser welcomes anyone to join this celebration of all things speculative. The event takes place March 20 from 5:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Pacific. Purchase tickets here – most options are $15.

Quizmaster Seanan McGuire will host us on Sunday, March 20th at 5pm PT for a night of science fiction, fantasy, and horror-themed rivalry. We’re also excited to welcome celebrity team captains Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes, A.T. Greenblatt, Greg & Astrid Bear, Cat Rambo, Andy Duncan, Brooks Peck, Julia Rios, and Curtis C. Chen!

Clarion West began running Speculative Fiction Trivia Night as an in-person fundraiser in 2019. It’s been such a hit that we’ve kept it going online for our global community. We enjoy bringing everyone together for this annual event, keeping it easy to run (with lots of volunteer power), and low cost to join! Ticket sales support Clarion West, the time and efforts of our staff, and our wonderful quizmaster Seanan McGuire!

You can join as an individual and be placed on a team, bring your own team, or join a team led by one of our amazing celebrity team captains (these fill quickly)!

Learn more about Trivia Night, our Celebrity Team Captains, and other details here.

(5) HIDDEN GEMS. G.W. Thomas remembers the adventures of Thula, a little known 1970s sword and sorcery heroine by Pat McIntosh, whose stories only appeared in an obscure British fanzine and Lin Carter’s Year’s Best Fantasy collections: “The Adventures of Thula” at Dark Worlds Quarterly.

 The Adventures of Thula was a series of five Sword & Sorcery tales featured in Lin Carter’s The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories 1-5Pat McIntosh, the Scottish author of these tales, was a mystery to me. Her stories appeared first in John Martin’s British fanzine Anduril but nowhere else. She was an obvious favorite of Lin’s, along with other women writers such as Tanith Lee, C. J. Cherryh and Janet Fox. He called McIntosh “…a new British writer bound to go places in the years to come!”…

(6) NOPE TRAILER. “Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’ Trailer Sees a UFO Terrorize Keke Palmer, Daniel Kaluuya and Steven Yeun”. Yahoo!’s preview explains, “One day, a UFO appears in the sky, causing all matter of chaos for those at the ranch and its neighboring town. In one eye-catching scene in the trailer, we see Kaluuya on horseback trying to outrun the UFO; in another, a gooey alien creature stalks its prey.”

(7) IVAN REITMAN (1946-2022). A prolific Hollywood producer and director, Ivan Reitman died February 13 at the age of 75. He worked on many famous non-sf films, but the Ghostbusters movies were his best-known. As a producer or executive producer he had a hand in genre films Heavy Metal (1981), Spacehunters: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989), and the reboots Ghostbusters (2016) and Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021), Space Jam (1996), Evolution (2001), A Babysitters Guide to Monster Hunting (2020), and also two animated TV series Mummies Alive (1997) and Alienators: Evolution Continues (2001), plus a recurring segment of the Atom TV series (2008).

The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman found Ivan Reitman impressive: “I finally met Ivan Reitman three months ago – my Hollywood hero was a truly lovely man”.

As the Guardian’s official 80s movies correspondent, I talked to Reitman multiple times over the years, beginning with a phone interview for the last film he directed, 2014’s Draft Day. When I contacted him again a few weeks later to ask if I could interview him for a book I was working on about 80s movies, he immediately agreed, and talked to me for over an hour, reminiscing about films people had been asking him to reminisce about for over 30 years. He never showed boredom or irritation. If I ever needed a quote, or just had a question, I could email him and he’d reply immediately. Does it really need saying that this kind of behaviour from a genuine Hollywood powerhouse is not exactly typical?

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1964 [Item by Cat Eldridge] James Elwood: master programmer. In charge of Mark 502-741, commonly known as Agnes, the world’s most advanced electronic computer. Machines are made by men for man’s benefit and progress, but when man ceases to control the products of his ingenuity and imagination, he not only risks losing the benefit, but he takes a long and unpredictable step into… The Twilight Zone.”

Fifty-eight years ago this evening, Twilight Zone’s “From Agnes—With Love” episode first aired. The twentieth episode of Season Five, it tells the rather silly story of a meek computer programmer who has Agnes, the world’s most advanced computer, loving him. And what ends she’ll go to make sure no end else wins his hand. 

It was directed by Richard Donner who went to fame by directing The Omen and the 1978 Superman. It was written by Bernard Cutner Schoenfeld who had done mostly crime noir before this including Phantom Lady and The Dark Lady though he did write the screenplay for The Space Children, a film currently holding a fourteen percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. You can see it here.

The cast of this series was: Wally Cox as James Elwood, Sue Randall as Millie, Raymond Bailey as Supervisor,  Ralph Taeger as Walter Holmes, Don Keefer as Fred Danziger, Byron Kane as Assistant  and Nan Peterson as A Secretary. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 14, 1925 J. T. McIntosh. Scottish writer at his best according to Clute in his early work such as World Out of Mind and One in Three Hundred. He’s deeply stocked at the usual suspects at very reasonable rates, indeed most as Meredith Moments. (Died 2008.)
  • Born February 14, 1942 Andrew Robinson, 80. Elim Garak on Deep Space Nine. He wrote a novel based on his character, A Stitch in Time, and a novella, “The Calling,” which can be found in Prophecy and Change, a DS9 anthology edited by Marco Palmieri. Other genre credits include Larry Cotton in Hellraiser, appearing in The Puppet Masters as Hawthorne and playing John F. Kennedy on the The New Twilight Zone.
  • Born February 14, 1948 Teller, 74. Performed on Babylon 5 in the episode scripted by Neil Gaiman titled “Day of The Dead” as part of Penn & Teller who portrayed comedians Rebo and Zooty. It’s one of my favorite episodes of the series. Harlan Ellison provided his voice there. Now available on HBO Max. 
  • Born February 14, 1952 Gwyneth Jones, 70. Interesting person that she is, let’s start with her thoughts on chestnuts she did when she was Winter Queen at Green Man. Just because I can. Now regarding her fiction, I’d strongly recommend her Bold As Love series of a Britain that went to pieces as it now certainly is, and her twenty-year-old Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction and Reality polemic is still worth reading. 
  • Born February 14, 1952 Paula M. Block, 70. Star Trek author and editor; but primarily known for working in Paramount Pictures’ consumer licensing division and then with CBS Consumer Products. Remember that novel I noted by Andrew Robinson? Yeah, that’s her bailiwick. She’s also written with her husband Terry J. Erdmann, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion and Star Trek: Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier. It looks like she did some Trek fanfic as well including “The Girl Who Controlled Gene Kelly’s Feet”.
  • Born February 14, 1963 Enrico Colantoni, 59. Any excuse to mention Galaxy Quest I’ll gladly take. He played a delightful Mathesar on that film, and that was his first genre role, lucky bastard. Up next for him was A.I. Artificial Intelligence as The Murderer followed by appearing in the most excellent animated Justice League Dark as the voice of Felix Faust where his fate was very, very bad. He had an amazing role on Person of Interest as Charlie Burton / Carl Elias. Not genre, but his acting as Sgt. Gregory Parker on Flashpointa Canadian police drama television series is worth noting as it that excellent series. 
  • Born February 14, 1964 Zach Galligan, 58. You’ll no doubt recognize him best as Billy Peltzer in Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch. He did some really forgettable films after that including Waxwork II: Lost in TimeWarlock: The Armageddon and Cyborg 3: The Recycler even if the star of the latter was Malcolm McDowell. He did show on Voyager on as Ensign David Gentry in the “In the Flesh” episode. 
  • Born February 14, 1970 Simon Pegg, 52. Best known for playing Montgomery Scott in the sort of ongoing Star Trek franchise. His first foray into the genre was Shaun of the Dead which he co-wrote and had an acting role in. Late genre roles include Land of the Dead where he’s a Photo Booth Zombie, Diary of the Dead where he has a cameo as a Newsreader, and he portrays Benji Dunn in the ongoing Mission: Impossible franchise.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro has a cringeworthy joke for the holiday.  [Link worked earlier; right now it appears none of Comics Kingdom’s comics will load for some reason.]

(11) TUBERS IN SPACE. Nerdist gives us fair warning when “Mr. Potato Head Joins STAR WARS with The Yamdalorian Toy”. (See it at Hasbro.com.)

…Bring some space saga to your kid’s toy chest with Hasbro’s newest Star Wars plaything. This intergalactic version of Mr. Potato Head is ready to carry Grogu, in this case known as the Tot, everywhere he goes. Even in his stomach. The Yamdalorian features a 5-and-a-half inch body and comes with 14 parts to make him into the greatest bounty spud in the universe. That includes a Mandalorian helmet, armor, and cape. As well a base with feet, eyes, two arms, two ears, nose, and mustache. And his adopted son can also fit inside his pouch…

(12) FUN FACT. [Item by Sam Long.] I was looking up the word “god” in the Online Etymological Dictionary, and found that it could be derived from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) word ghu-to, to pour a libation (as of bheer).  Apparently fandom–or at least the fannish “h”–dates back five thousand years or more.

“Bloomin’ idol o’ egoboo,

Wot they call the ghreat ghod Ghu!

(Plucky lot she cared for idols when I gave her some corflu.”

          –On the Road to Fandalay

(13) IMPRISONED ALIENS. Some aliens may never be able to leave their world due to things like high gravity or self-generated orbital debris. Isaac Arthur considers “The Fermi Paradox: Imprisoned Planets”.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. As one commenter calls it, “The all-Boston crossover you never expected, but deserved.” “Your Cousin From Boston (Dynamics)”.

While working security at the Boston Dynamics robotics lab, Your Cousin From Boston gives a robot a Sam Adams. At least he brought a Wicked IPA Party Pack to share!

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Cora Buhlert, Bill, Sam Long, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kevin Harkness.]

56 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/14/22 Our Files Are Protected By Mutual Assured Pixellation

  1. Andrew Robinson, though not SF related, was also the villain in the original Dirty Harry movie. He’s also the brother of actor Chris Robinson, who starred in the snake horror film Stanley and was for many years Dr. Rick Webber on General Hospital where he was the adoptive father of the famous Laura Webber (played by Genie Francis, real life wife of TNG’s Johnathan Frakes. See, I tied it back into SF!).

  2. I’m hurting.

    There will be a Boskone 59 Souvenir Book, and you can thank/blame me. PDF. Again, thank/blame me.

    I have books to read, and a dog reminding me that her bedtime treat is due soon.

  3. (10) — Link worked earlier; right now it appears none of Comics Kingdom’s comics will load for some reason. I have added a warning.

  4. mark: I remember being inducted to the Beaker People Libation Front by Brian Burley, too!

  5. 10) I tried hitting up comicskingdom.com and then searching for Bizarro. No joy. Then Zits. Same.

  6. 1) I’ve never seen quite so shameless a defense of the “right” to pirate in-print, fully copyrighted works, many by living authors, by calling copyright enforcement “bookburning.”

  7. 10) — Link worked earlier; right now it appears none of Comics Kingdom’s comics will load for some reason. I have added a warning.

    Comics Kingdom has been having problems off and on the last few days. I haven’t been able to pull up any of today’s strips.

  8. 1) I can sort of understand the others, even Goosebumps, but why exactly are those very harmless and wholesome looking Junie B. Jones books banned?

    9) Simon Pegg is also one of only two people (the other is Deep Roy) to have made the geek hattrick, because he appeared in Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who.

  9. 4) Trivia time: As someone with an undefeated record in Mark and Priscilla Olson’s “Trivia for Chocolate” games at Worldcons this century, I find this interests me. Thanks for the heads up.

    Incidentally, LearnedLeague had another genre-related One-Day Special quiz: this one about Narnia. Filers may find the question that played second-hardest, strangely easy….

  10. Today, the Internet Archive lends a large selection of other banned books, including Animal Farm, Winnie the Pooh, The Call of the Wild, and the Junie B. Jones and Goosebumps children’s book series.

    Animal Farm and the Call of Three Wild are safely out of copyright though. Even Winnie the Pooh is under the cockeyed American system, though not in most of the world.

  11. 9) Simon Pegg. While Shaun of Dead might be his first fully genre offering, the sitcom Spaced is very genre adjacent. Also IMDb days he was in an episode of the revived Randell & Hopkirk (Deceased) from 2000, which I do not remember at all.

  12. Meredith Moment: Elizabeth Hand’s Curious Toys is currently $2.99. Which, just looking at the description, I guess I’m not sure if it’s actually genre or not, but it should be nicely spooky regardless.

  13. @Michael J. Lowrey: The Internet Archive is doing ‘controlled digital lending’ where the number of digital copies that are out at any one time is no more than the number of actual physical books that are in storage. I’ve used their service before, and you have to use a special reader with all sorts of DRM. It’s hard for me to see from a moral standpoint how this counts as ‘piracy’.

    There are so many other ways to pirate things (in general, and Maus in particular) that I’d think the primary reason people would go through the IA is if they were trying to avoid doing wrong.

  14. @Jake–

    The Internet Archive is doing ‘controlled digital lending’ where the number of digital copies that are out at any one time is no more than the number of actual physical books that are in storage. I’ve used their service before, and you have to use a special reader with all sorts of DRM. It’s hard for me to see from a moral standpoint how this counts as ‘piracy’.

    What’s the “special reader” you have to use, Jake?

  15. Jake says The Internet Archive is doing ‘controlled digital lending’ where the number of digital copies that are out at any one time is no more than the number of actual physical books that are in storage. I’ve used their service before, and you have to use a special reader with all sorts of DRM. It’s hard for me to see from a moral standpoint how this counts as ‘piracy’.

    You do realise that they don’t have permission to make copies of those physical publications any more than you or do? There is no moral justification here as it’s still stealing.

    I just purchased a personally signed copy of Bone Dance. I also have an DRM free epub of it. That doesn’t mean I can create the Infinite Library and loan out as many copies of it as I want to. It’s still piracy. It’s still stealing from Emma.

  16. @Cat Eldridge

    You do realise that they don’t have permission to make copies of those physical publications any more than you or do?

    The Copyright act says that libraries do, in fact, have permission to make copies far beyond what you or I have, as outlined in Sect 108 and elsewhere.

  17. Bill: Are there Federal regulations about how that law should be applied? Any supporting rules or directives by the agency covering that field? It would be interesting to see. I could tell you what the framework is for Title 26, however, it always seems like each area is its own stovepipe, and only some of the administrative design overlaps.

  18. @Jake–So Adobe Digital Editions, nothing new or strange, and while it has DRM, I suspect it’s not any harder to break than any other DRM. There’s a reason Tor and Baen, sf publishers with really different views on most things, don’t use DRM and make a point of it.

    You can use Adobe on any tablet or phone; you just have to download the right version for your device.

    In–currently–only lending the same number of digital editions as they have print copies, they’re at least nodding the direction of Controlled Digital Lending. There’s two problems, though.

    One is that after their “National Emergency Library” stunt, neither authors nor publishers trust them. They flagrantly broke the law, stealing money from authors and publishers, and patted themselves on the back for it. They only stopped when it became clear how many people were angry with them, not admiring and grateful, and that publishers, and the authors with the money to do so, really were coming after them in court.

    The other problem is that they’re only nodding in the direction of compliance. CDL is intended for situations where an item is rare, fragile, or hard to replace. Genuinely hard, not just inconvenient. It’s not intended for books that you can easily buy as many as you want and have the money for, at normal market prices.

    And that latter is what the Internet Archive is doing, and why the publishers haven’t dropped the lawsuit that started in 2020. The Internet Archive’s ongoing behavior shows they’re no more trustworthy now than they were in 2020.

  19. @Mike Glyer

    Bill: Are there Federal regulations about how that law should be applied? Any supporting rules or directives by the agency covering that field?

    I have a good friend who runs a private library, much of which is rare books (including incunabula), but also includes contemporary matter which is much more available. He digitizes almost everything in the collection, and if you are physically onsite, you can view the pdfs of the documents rather than handling them in white gloves. If you are off site, you can view a much smaller subset over the internet. He’s spent thousands of dollars on legal counsel to make minimize the likelihood of getting sued.

    From talking to him, and from my own reading, the answer to your question (I think) is no. Much of this is uncharted territory. One rule of thumb in copyright law is, “everything is dependent on the specific facts of the case”. Fair Use is an example — there is no way to know if any given claim of Fair Use is legal until a court rules on it.

    Other institutions besides the IA, even if they felt they were completely within the law as described in Sect 108, have been reluctant to do much digitizing and making books available because they know that publishers, the Authors Guild, etc. will probably sue them anyway, and for many small-budget libraries, the process is the punishment. They can’t afford to endure a suit, even if they win. The amazing thing about the IA situation is that Karhle is going to the mat with this, and is willing to let this go to court rather than settling on terms that may not be as generous as the law would eventually allow. OTOH, he may get shut down completely. Who knows?

  20. @NickPheas: Animal Farm should still be in copyright in the U.S. Generally speaking, works from that era are allowed total copyright terms of up to 95 years in the U.S. (It’s different for later works.) Winnie-the-Pooh, published in 1926, just went into the public domain in the U.S. last month, so Animal Farm, published in 1945, has about 19 years to go.

  21. @Lis:

    I suspect it’s not any harder to break than any other DRM.

    Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but here’s the thing: under most circumstances, if a dishonest person is going to pirate a text, they’re not going to sign up through the IA, check out the book (possibly after going through the waiting list), and do whatever fancy DRM cracking they need to do.

    Instead, they’ll go to any one of dozens of sites, type in a query, and download something from the first page of results.

    @Cat:

    You do realise that they don’t have permission to make copies of those physical publications any more than you or do? There is no moral justification here as it’s still stealing.

    I actually don’t realize that. I have the right to record video off of television and music off the radio regardless of whether those broadcasting or performing want me to.

  22. Jake says I actually don’t realize that. I have the right to record video off of television and music off the radio regardless of whether those broadcasting or performing want me to.

    Sure, you are generally allowed to record TV programs as this is known as time shifting. The Supreme Court holds that time shifting is legal and protected under the fair use doctrine. Just don’t distribute it to others in any mass way as this a legally grey area to say the least.

  23. rochrist says If your’e intending to hand those copies around, then no, you don’t.

    Indeed. Occasionally I get permission to legally distribute something to y’all, be the War for The Oaks trailer or the Cats Laughing recordings. If you do download them, please do not make copies and give them to your friends. Ask them to contact me so I can keep track of who’s getting them.

  24. The internet Archive is relying on a fair use defense, but as far as I know there’s no fair use case law addressing what they’re specifically doing (and there’s no specific exemption for it in section 108 or other sections of copyright law either). Controlled Digital Lending has been used by others in more limited contexts (for instance, one library consortium we’re in offered access to our university community to digital copies of works we owned in our library’s collections while they were temporarily unavailable due to COVID closures.) The Internet Archive’s lending is broader and more sweeping than that, and it remains to be seen whether the judge will uphold it, restrict it, or shut it down entirely. (If the latter, that might also put a damper on more limited digital lending going on elsewhere.)

    I do remain concerned about it, in part because I think having digital ownership that includes the right to preserve and to lend in at least some contexts is a good thing for society, just as it has been for print works, but I’m far from sure that this case is going to establish that, and it could well chill digital use that’s been less controversial. I don’t, for instance, think that digital lending of the type that the Internet Archive is doing is exactly like print lending, as the rhetoric sometimes implies. (There is nothing legally stopping the Internet Archive from lending out to anyone they wish the print copies of Maus they hold. They don’t want to do that, as far as I can tell, because the dynamics of their “digital loans” are quite different– and that’s what publishers know as well.)

  25. “It’s easier to do illegal things elsewhere” is not, as far as I know, a case for whether or not a different thing is legal or illegal. The Internet Archive arguably thumbing its nose at the current, living authors whose copyright they flout doesn’t become better or more legal because other piracy sites are worse. Nor do laws meant to protect orphaned and extremely rare works relate to easily accessible in print books by living people or their heirs.

    Similar to how the fact that I think some of the digital lending rules and fees publishers have thrown at libraries are absurd and painful, but ALSO think that doesn’t excuse the Internet Archive not abiding by the same rules.

    I can think copyright as it stands is too long AND think the Internet Archive’s treatment of in copyright in print works is damaging.

  26. Michael J Lowrey nailed it. Everyone who is defending the actions of the IA and this absurd claim of “book burning” is either disingenuous, ignorant, or stupid. There is no fourth option.

  27. @Miles Carter: then I must be ignorant, because I can’t see any valid way I can criticize the Archive’s behavior in this case! (Though I do not hesitate to criticize their behavior in other cases, including but not limited to the appalling “National Emergency Library” stunt.)

    As long as they’re not loaning out more copies than they paid for, I genuinely fail to see a problem. Medium-shifting is not illegal and libraries have been doing that since before digital, with microfiche copies of magazines and the like. Loaning out the copy rather than the original may be getting into legally unprecedented territory, but I fail to see any moral problems with the basic concept, as long as they only loan out one or the other, and don’t make extra copies.

    So enlighten me: what, exactly am I missing in my oh-so-great ignorance? Because honestly, I think a loss by the IA on this case would be a disaster and a loss for all of us!

  28. Whoops, forgot to tick the box, which is more-than-usually embarrassing when I’ve just asked a question. 🙂

  29. Xtifr, no Library makes a microfiche copy of a journal. They purchase those from companies that specifically prepare these products. And they are not cheap — I remember a librarian at the University I was attending decades ago lamenting that replacing even one damaged or lost one was a major expense.

    Same holds true for microfilm of course.

  30. @P J Evans–getting them on fiche or microfilm doesn’t make them cheaper; it just makes them take up less space. And microfilm isn’t really loanable, though microfiche potentially is. If your user population are the kind who have fiche readers at home. But really? They’re going to get copies of the specific articles they want. And for a few years, it was my job to make sure the copyright fees got paid for the copies our users needed that weren’t from journals we owned.

  31. Thanks for the title credit! Cataract surgery tomorrow. Hoping it will make reading easier.

  32. Kevin Harkness: Take care — hope your surgery goes well. My sister-in-law had that surgery on one eye a week ago.

  33. Good luck with the cataract surgery. I had surgery on both eyes in June 2020, and since then I see better than I have in 40 years. 20/10 vision in one eye, 20/15 in the other. The biggest surprise was how much brighter colors became (apparently, a cataracted lens has a yellow tinge that mutes colors).

    One the first eye, they gave me a healthy dose of valium to calm me, then anesthetic in the eye, then a laser did the actual cutting, etc. On the second eye (a week later) I talked them into minimizing the valium so I could pay better attention to the laser — it was a really interesting show, and I didn’t want to miss any of it.

  34. @xtifr A physical copy has a limited life. After a while it is no longer fit to be loaned and new copy has to be purchased. Similarly, properly authorised digital copies may only be loaned a limited number of times, the number set by the publisher to approximate the average life of a physical book. What IA are doing is bypassing this limitation so that they do not have to purchase more copies.

  35. @Stewart Hall: that’s an argument against format-shifting to digital media in general. But format-shifting is still legal. Millions of people, including me, rip their CDs so they can play music on their computer or their phone. The resulting files have exactly the same “problem”, but it’s still not illegal to do so. So why should the IA, which probably only has a handful of copies of any given work, be a big issue, while millions of people, who between them have millions of copies of various works, aren’t? I think the priorities are a bit weird there!

    Furthermore, I genuinely don’t trust publishers to come up with realistic numbers for wear-and-tear. They were, until fairly recently, still deducting “breakage” charges from musicians’ royalties (based on the breakage rate for the shellac disks that were used before vinyl came along!) for digital distribution! Digital files don’t break!

    In any case, if that’s the publishers’ real issue, then maybe they should address that instead of trumped-up side issues. Librarians are generally sympathetic to the woes of publishers, since they depend on publishers. And the IA is run by librarians, even if they’re somewhat radical and idealistic ones.

  36. @xfiltr I think that if you were loaning out your format-shifted copies to all and sundry it would be a problem. The limit the IA is bypassing is for library copies. Format shifting is legal for personal consumption but that’s not what the IA is doing, is it?

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