Today’s lower court decision in Hachette v. Internet Archive is a blow to all libraries & the communities we serve.— Internet Archive (@internetarchive) March 25, 2023
But it’s not over—we will keep fighting for the traditional right of libraries to own, lend, and preserve books. Learn more & take action👇 https://t.co/qAwI4tbrNX
During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, major book publishers, including Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Wiley, sued the Internet Archive in 2020 over their National Emergency Library. At the heart of the argument was whether or not control digital lending (i.e, CDL) is legal and falls under fair use. CDL is a process in which libraries digitize materials, usually in the form of scanning physical documents and then posting the scan of those documents on a website for others to download. The case at hand is named Hachette v. Internet Archive, and on March 24, 2023 a district court judge ruled against the Internet Archive and affirmed that the National Emergency Library "concept" (i.e, CDL) was not fair use.
The implications of the Internet Archive losing this battle for gaming are massive. For those unaware, the Internet Archive is a massive repository of ROMs and downloads of abandonware or games that have never been re-released after their initial release. In the event that the Internet Archive loses their current court case in higher courts, there likelihood that game publishers will follow the form book publishers have done to the Internet Archive and cite this legal precedent elsewhere is inevitable. I don't know about you, but many of the blogs and write-ups I have published on this very site have resorted to using the Internet Archive because the portion of PC games that are legally or openly available is a small slice of what came out from Windows 3.1x all the way to Windows Vista.
Obviously, The Internet Archive has declared that it will appeal to a higher court while warning, as it did at the start of the case, that at hand was the definition of fair use. Speaking of which, The Internet Archive's legal defense funds is taking donations for those that can spare even a few dollars.