2020/06/15 - legal
Just another drinking buddy for the court of public opinion.
In support of the Defendant
Tim Berners-Lee has expressed his remorse in “letting down the internet”. The modern rendition of the world wide web is a “web-standard” for displaying and communicating information across the web. Commonly notated by “www” at the beginning of the URL, indicating that the server endpoint uses widely accepted languages/formats/protocols such as HTML, CSS, HTTP. Nothing is more disappointing than using a bastardization of the USPTO to take down a historical monument (of data and creativity).
Part of Tim Berners-Lee’s contribution and ultimate failure is called “hyperlinks”. A hyperlink in today’s internet is a link to a website. It is usually indicated by blue text, in the middle of plain text. When you move your mouse over a hyperlink, a little hand shows on the screen, unless you are using a mobile phone. When you click or tap on a link you are redirected to a page that the author intended from the reference of the hyperlink. Usually a hyperlink contains some similar words as part of the title. Like writing the sentence “I very much enjoyed the movie The Matrix” where the words “The Matrix” would link to IMDb’s (Internet Movie Database) public page describing The Matrix movie. This gives the world wide web its web-like feature, linking from here to there to somewhere else and back again to the original text.
Here’s the failure part. Tim Berners-Lee intended hyperlinks to act more like a permanent book reference. Where you can see the information in the same context as the first page. An author should supposedly write the title of the page, copy the paragraph of text from the relevant second page, record the date and time, and the address to get to the second page. As we have discovered, permanence on the internet IS HARD. There are versioning systems, like Github and CVS, similar to the versioning systems used in legal documents. A versioning system creates a copy of the original content, and then supplements it with every future edit and change to the document. It also allows a person to go back in virtual time, and see how the document has changed over time. There are only a few authorities on this subject, Github, CVS, Wikipedia, and The Internet Archive all use a versioning system. Because page names change, identification numbers expire, and hyperlinked pages can disappear, this creates a web of "dead-links". A page is missing, or not available at all, this is the problem The Internet Archive solves for many people.
The Internet Archive should be a National Treasure. It has even reunited me with inspiration and creative pursuits. I have watched hundreds of bad actors participate in ruining my field of research. It’s completely demoralizing. I’ve watched billion dollar companies like Facebook pretend to be Hackers (their address is 1 Hacker Way). I’ve watched media companies use the internet to dismantle confidence in our country’s leadership, and get away with it scott-free. I’ve watched the devolution of subliminal messaging laws because the FCC has zero powers of enforcement (where are the Checks and Balances on government agencies? I’ll never know).
In 1996 the Supreme Court decided that it couldn’t interfere with a state’s sovereign immunity when North Carolina posted images and videos of a salvage company that IT PAID FOR. Maybe I am not understanding this correctly, but it would seem that if a state paid for something, it can’t be sued for sharing it. Nor could the supreme court decide if the state was allowed to share it, unless it saw some pattern of abusive behavior from the state’s officials.
It seems to me that The Internet Archive could be considered a massive piece of art that we have all knowingly contributed to. It even has the proper forms for complying with DMCA takedown requests. Declaring it a national treasure should be sufficient in making it judgement proof. Or at least give it some relief from crapyright infringement claims.
Debunking copyright AGAIN
This is not the first time The Internet Archive has been sued. The resources it devoted to defending itself should be considered as punishment enough, making this a ridiculous case of double jeopardy. Since they are apparently in jeopardy more than once.
The internet archive is not a primary source of information. I can’t remember one time linking directly to the internet archive from a search result. Every time I have used The Internet Archive was a last ditch effort to find some miniscule, but important piece of information. I’ve used it to find my own published content that I, myself, lost at some point in time. The Internet Archive saved my work, and I was grateful. I realize now that the world is nearly entirely devoid of any ethical behavior. No one the judicial system is capable of making an ethical decision. For some reason, doing what is best for society would make the court “biased”. It is apparently more important for the court to be “unbiased” than it is for society to try and preserve itself and it’s assets. Human nature is evidently self-destructive.
Every single time I see a copyright infringement case, I go through these mental gymnastics. First, I ask myself, who is the party with more power and money? Second, I ask myself, do the laws of supply and demand apply? Third, I remind everybody in the room that pirates are the biggest consumers of all. If I was a judge, and somebody with tons of money and power comes to me complaining about somebody with no money to spare, who’s hardly ever thought of, I would throw them out immediately and tell them to get a fucking life. This is what needs to happen here.
We in computer science, have proven time and time again, you can’t “steal” something that can be copied for free. If we freely copy a loaf of bread, Aladdin would never need to be arrested. If you could copy gold coins, Robin Hood would never be pursued by Prince John. The legal definition of stealing is “Permanently deprive a person”. The Internet Archive never deprived publishing companies, because the money we would have spent on books was not theirs in the first place. I feel like I’m not making myself clear enough.
If the complainer isn’t required to prove damages or ill intent on behalf of the defendant, are they even required to prove the documents were taken? Here is the part that really worries me. How is it possible for a knowledge mafia, such as enormous, conglomerate publishers, able to manufacture a case against an unknown violator of copyright? I use the words “unknown violator” intentionally. We can argue that the National Emergency Archive automatically published copyrighted content. Obviously, since strict liability laws are mostly bullshit, we don’t need to prove The Internet Archive intentionally broke copyright law.
I want to argue this further, a real zinger to send the point home, involving an old proverb, but let’s do a little math. The complainer is alleging The Internet Archive shared 1.7 million documents, and the fine is $150,000 per document. That totals $255,000,000,000. I guarantee no publishing company is worth $255 billion. I thought we had laws against cruel and unusual punishment? Since companies are treated like people, this is murder. It’s entirely unantagnozied so the publishers can’t even claim they are defending themselves. They are trying to murder The Internet Archive, while it has it’s back turned, and no weapons of it’s own (except maybe the ALCU and EFF).
“If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?” I would argue no, and even if it did, it doesn’t matter because no one was looking at it anyways. At the very least, the niggard publishing conglomerates should be required to prove that not only was the content stolen by The Internet Archive, but 1) another party came and downloaded the data. 2) the data was then reshared with other people. 3) the data was read and reused for financial gain. This, is my honest and not at all humble opinion would be the solution to all copyright infringement claims. Including using the “Report” buttons on websites like YouTube, but that is a separate matter.
This is the sound of me caring about Hatchette Collins Wiley Sons of Penguin Bitch House