Friday, February 1, 2013

A clarification on the whole Internet Archive links thing

I posted this in a thread on Dragonsfoot, and I think it bears repeating here:

Just to be clear: the Internet Archive is considered a library by the state of California. It is a member of the American Library Association. They have to abide by codes of conduct for both the California Library Association and the national organization.

Libraries do not need a copyright holder's permission to make a work available in the library; that is why CDs, video game discs, and DVDs and Blu-Rays are available for checkout--even with the "licensed exclusively for home use" messages still intact.

I will admit that seeing these collections of RPG magazines brings lots of questions in terms of legitimacy. Yet to some extents, pointing out the existence of these archives on the Internet Archive is akin to pointing out that you can check out a magazine at your local library.

Yet a digital library that allows non-DRM or non-expiring "checkouts" seems a bit . . . legally hazy to say the least.

So, if and when the Internet Archive repositories are deleted, I will remove the links on my blogs, as I do not want to link to pirated material.

But as the Internet Archive is a legitimate, non-profit organization that has a copyright protection policy in place (see last section of this link) to deal with copyright-infringing material, I feel comfortable providing those links at this time.

Also note that the Internet Archive has won and lost cases over material included in their archives, so they do take copyright infringement seriously. It is possible they do not know these materials have been submitted (although it appears they have been available for over a month in a variety of formats, but those might be automatic machine translations). It is also possible they do know and feel comfortable offering these archives. Or maybe they just haven't gotten around to processing these materials yet. At any rate, I have not found any posts in their user forums about the legal standing of these materials. Feel free to inquire there.