Fenced-off culture, the privatized Internet, and why book publishers lean on a 30-year-old doctrine
The Internet Archive (IA) “is a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies & music, as well as 624 billion archived web pages.” The IA offers users unrestricted access to its expansive ecosystem of knowledge and educational resources from the public domain. Andy Oram, prolific author, editor, publisher, and technical expert on all aspects of computing, undertook an extensive examination of a game changing case, Hachette v. Internet Archive, that may dismantle this unique, invaluable digital library. In this article Oram examines what the publishers are trying to protect and why they have to wield a large and heavy cudgel to protect it. His inquiry leads to a look at how culture has been privatized as it has become digitized—an effect quite opposed to the hopes of most public advocates who maintain the view that the Internet and the World Wide Web should remain focused on public access, not private sector monetization.