Internet Archive and lawsuit

Services offered by the Internet Archive are discussed along with a lawsuit limiting what they can do.  This discussion is organized by Radio Active Magazine regular Spencer Graves.

The Internet Archive ( offers two primary services:

(1) The Wayback Machine, which contains hundreds of billions of web captures archiving “all” (or at least much) of what was publicly available on the World Wide Web was at different times in the past. Many broken links can be found via

(2) A free, online digital lending library offering free access to collections of digitized materials like websites, software applications, music, audiovisual and print materials. Many book, especially older books out of print, can be checked out for an hour at a time under “controlled digital lending” (CDL).

On 2020-03-24, the Internet Archive created the “National Emergency Library”, greatly expanding its CDL program. On 2020-06-01, Hachette Book Group and other publishers, including Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Wiley, filed a lawsuit against the Internet Archive for the National Emergency Library. This lawsuit is known as “Hachette v. Internet Archive“. The plaintiffs argued that the practice of CDL was illegal and not protected by the doctrine of Fair Use. In response, the Internet Archive closed the National Emergency Library on 2020-06-16.

Oral arguments in the lawsuit were heard 2023-03-20. Roughly 2/3 of this podcast is excerpted from a press conference organized by the Internet Archive the morning before oral arguments in Hachette v. Internet Archive.

Four days after oral arguments, Judge John G. Koeltl issued a ruling granting a summary judgment to the plaintiffs and against the defendant, and asking the parties, preferably together, to submit proposals, preferably a joint proposal, within 14 days “for the appropriate procedure to determine the judgment to be entered in this case.”  Judge Koeltl was appointed to the US federal Court for the Southern District of New York in 1994 by President Clinton.  His record suggests he is NOT an extreme ideologue.

On 2023-04-05, two days before the judge’s 14-day deadline of 2023-04-07, the parties jointly requested and received an extension to 2023-04-14.  The day before that extension expired, the parties requested and received another extension to 2023-04-19, tomorrow.

Anyone with an Internet connection can follow this or any other case in US federal courts via the federal government’s PACER system or via, maintained by the Free Law project.  Documents in US federal courts are in the public domain.  However, if you get them via PACER, you must pay for them.  If one person buys a copy from PACER via, CourtListener retains that copy and offers it for free to anyone else.

To do this for this case, we go to, then click “RECAP Archive”, then search for “Hachette v. Internet Archive”.  On 2023-04-18 this identified “41 Cases — 751 Docket Entries”, the first of which was “Hachette Book Group, Inc. v. Internet, Archive (1:20-cv-04160), District Court, S.D. New York”.  That’s the case we want.  After clicking on that, we see that the first Document Number is “1”, filed 2020-06-01.  The header line for that table of documents has a “Descending” button on the right.  We click that to get the most recent document displayed first.  On 2023-04-18 that was the “Order on Motion for Extension of Time” filed 2023-04-13, mentioned above.

The Internet Archive has said they planned to appeal, but they hadn’t done so by the time this episode was broadcasted.

NOTE:  Dates are displayed in ISO 8601 format.

copyright 2023 Internet Archive and Spencer Graves, apart from quotes from Wikipedia, “Internet Archive” ( and “Hachette v. Internet Archive” (, accessed 2023-04-08), all Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 3.0.

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