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Mentioned in a comment here, but the Internet Archive lost a decision regarding the hosting of digital copies of books. I know that I will often link to one of their books for answers for the power of "you can check out a free copy of it here to verify that this is the right answer" and I will also often use it to source quotes from books I don't own. I do also recognize that the typical library model does assume a limited lifetime for a book (natural wear and tear and all that), necessitating occasionally buying a new copy. I think that some of these companies enact draconian policies regarding how many times a licensed digital work can be loaned out. On the gripping hand, sadly, the Internet Archive is also a bit of a hotbed of digital piracy since it's hard to track everything coming in, although they also don't make the reporting process easy.

Anyhow, posting this as a discussion point, and also to note that we might wind up with some broken links in the future.

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  • 10
    This is absolutely terrible news to hear! A step back in the fight for media preservation…
    – fez
    Apr 12, 2023 at 18:13
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    I've been loosely following this, and the decision is terrible. There are a lot of books on OL that aren't in print anymore, and if you want original versions to compare back to there's practically no other comparable resource. E-book licensing models for libraries are ridiculous; a book can be lent out as few as a dozen times before a new license is required at a cost higher than a printed version.
    – DavidW
    Apr 12, 2023 at 18:41
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    Fixed: I have mixed feelings. A book I wrote 30 years ago was posted on Archive.org by someone who apparently lives outside of the United States. I went through the process to have it removed and tried to reach the right people several times. No response. What bothers me is that no one contacted me or the publisher to ask permission; I'm easy to find. If they had asked I would have said yes. I believe in an open marketplace of ideas. I publish fan fiction on AO3 and support their work. This is a consent issue. If someone says no, I respect that limit. They should, too.
    – user160795
    Apr 14, 2023 at 12:20
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    @PatWagnerDenver: Agreed. I'm okay with the books they specifically scanned, and loan out via the system the only allows one to go out at a time. But they also have a lot of other material, uploaded by individuals, that is basically outright piracy. And the reporting system isn't great.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Apr 14, 2023 at 13:05
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    @FuzzyBoots - Thanx! I've been on all sides of the issue regarding books: Author, small press publisher, book editor, nonprofit bookstore manager, book reviewer, library consultant. I believe individuals and institutions should be able to engage in contracts with each other, and other people should respect those contracts. Sure, I get pissed off when those contracts put up paywalls for books and data that were once free or created with tax dollars. I also think we haven't figured out the digital book/library licensing issues. It's a mess, but basic courtesy is a good starting place.
    – user160795
    Apr 14, 2023 at 18:20

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