POST: Fight for the Future Statement on Libraries’ Digital Rights

Fight for the Future, a group of artists, engineers, activists, and technologists, published a statement about the ongoing lawsuit against the Internet Archive’s digital library. Oral arguments are scheduled for March 20, 2023 in this suit brought by four major publishers.Ā The post quotes Lia Holland (they/she), Campaigns and Communications Director at Fight for the Future:

Weā€™re eagerly awaiting the Internet Archiveā€™s opportunity to have their day in court and speak up for the digital rights and future of all libraries in the US. This suit from major publishers has broad implications for librariesā€™ abilities to circulate digital booksā€”namely, whether or not they are allowed to own and preserve digital books at all.

Currently, major publishers offer no option for libraries to permanently purchase digital books and carry out their traditional role of preservation. It is just as important to preserve digital books as paper books, given especially the rising popularity of digital books and the fact that many local and diverse voices are not published in print. We want a future where libraries are free to preserve digital book files and ensure they remain accessible to the public as well unaltered. Instead, libraries are forced to pay high licensing fees that regard patron privacy as a premium feature, and the third-party vendors like Overdrive that offer such licenses are vulnerable to censorship from book banners. Under this regime, publishers act as malicious gatekeepers, preventing the free flow of information and undermining librariesā€™ ability to serve their patrons.

Read more at the Fight for the Future website. Want to catch up on what this latest lawsuit filed against the Internet Archive could mean for the future of controlled digital lending? Check out the Internet Archive’s blog post about the lawsuit and the opposition briefs that have been submitted to date: “Internet Archive Opposes Publishers in Federal Lawsuit” (September 3, 2022).

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Rebecca Saunders, Emily Cukier, Basia Kapolka, Soni Wadhwa, Mimosa Shah, and Michael Cummings (Editors-at-Large), Hillary Richardson and Rachel Starry (Editors for the week), Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Claudia Berger, Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara, Linsey Ford, and Pamella Lach (dh+lib Review Editors), and John Russell (Editor in Chief).