Remember Andrew Carnegie and Free Public Libraries?

September 17, 2020

DarkCyber spotted “Publishers Are Taking the Internet to Court.” The Nation’s write up states:

On June 1, Whitehead’s publisher, Penguin Random House, together with fellow megapublishers Hachette, HarperCollins, and Wiley, filed a lawsuit against the Internet Archive alleging “mass copyright infringement.” The Internet Archive closed the National Emergency Library on June 16, citing the lawsuit and calling for the publishers to stand down. But the plaintiffs are continuing to press their claims, and are now seeking to close the whole Open Library permanently.

The action is a response to the Internet Archive’s effort to make content available during the pandemic. The Internet Archive, like Google, is not comprehensive. Nevertheless, the idea was a good one even if it created a pathway to obtain some interesting data and possibly content.

On the other hand, the response by publishers is understandable. The notion of digital information has destroyed the gatekeeping role many publishers donned when they decided to convert a manuscript into a marketable product.

What’s up?

DarkCyber believes that the goal of everyone with skin in this information game wants:

  • Lots of content under their control (directly or indirectly)
  • Conversion of the “marketable product” into a subscription service
  • Termination with extreme prejudice any mechanism to make information available without charge.

Does this mean the free public library has a red dot on its forehead? Maybe. Perhaps someone will demand that statues of Andrew Carnegie be destroyed.

Knowledge is power for some except for those without access to lending libraries, broadband access, mobile and desktop computing devices, and time to read and think. Gatekeepers unite.

Stephen E Arnold, September 17, 2020


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