For immediate release: December 15, 2023


The nonprofit Internet Archive, known for projects including the WayBack Machine, Great 78’s Audio Research Library, and their vast archives of books and articles available for loan throughout the world, is filing their appeal of a lower court judgment in Hachette v. Internet Archive today. 

This is the first of two lawsuits the same law firm has brought against the archive on behalf of the world’s largest media companies. The second lawsuit was filed on the same day that Hachette v. Internet Archive concluded in the lower court.

The Internet Archive’s statement is available here, alongside their appeal filing: 

The following statement can be attributed to Lia Holland (they/she), Campaigns and Communications Director at national digital human rights organization Fight for the Future.

“The Internet Archive is engaged in an existential battle for a safe and inclusive literary future. With digital books becoming ever more popular, this nonprofit library is standing up against the forces of Big Tech and Big Publishing to preserve libraries’ long-held traditional role of offering surveillance-free reading experiences, and ensuring that books are preserved against censorship and erasure.

28 human rights organizations recently called for a congressional investigation into the exact dynamics that the Internet Archive stands against. This broad, intersectional coalition recognizes the consequences of the Archive losing: a future where spyware is baked into ebooks and audiobooks by default, and where a book might be erased forever at the whim of moralizing shareholders. 

We cannot trust the judiciary alone to protect the rights of activists, journalists, abortion patients, diverse authors, disabled readers, and other marginalized groups. Amid the Internet Archive’s appeal efforts, we need federal action to protect readers and authors alike. The lower barrier to entry of digital book publishing should mean an explosive renaissance of more diverse books than ever before, and safer opportunities to access them no matter where you live. Instead, the opposite is happening. Big Tech and Big Publishing monopolies are intent on locking down total control of digital books with licensing schemes, and turning reader data, not the book itself, into their product. 

If Big Publishing wins, they will continue their aggressive pursuit of a future primed for digital book bans and reader surveillance. And that is a future human rights experts are committed to resisting with all our might.”