No, I Am Not Suing The Internet Archive

I tweeted this thread today (and you are free to reshare it if you’re so inclined) to reiterate what I am about to, um, re-reiterate here:

I am not involved in the publisher lawsuit against the Internet Archive.

I am not leading the lawsuit.

I did not inspire the lawsuit.

I am not its ringleader or its kickstarter.

I did not influence the lawsuit.

I have never been a part of it. At all.

I do have books published by three of those publishers, but I have never consulted with them on this, they are not taking orders from me, they have (as corporate entities) very little regard for me and do not listen to me at all. And I know they don’t because if they did, my fellow authors would be paid better, I would be paid better, people who work inside publishing would be paid better, and the publishers would provide better rates to libraries when it came to e-book licensing/lending fees. Turns out, they don’t heed my requests.

I am a fan of libraries and librarians. They do wonders for this world. I used to work for the public library here in Bucks County for a number of years.

I do not support the lawsuit.

Yes, I once overzealously tweeted at NPR about the emergency library the IA set up, calling it “piracy,” and yes, I regret calling it that. It was in March 2020, when after all, we were all stuck inside and going a little stir crazy as a pandemic was just starting to rise. We were bleaching our vegetables and acting the fools in many a way, and I apologized then and apologize now for that overzealousness.

I wasn’t going to say anything about this during this go-round, though it has been “going-round” for literally the entire breadth of this pandemic. And I see this misinformation (and in some cases, straight-up disinformation) sometimes break out of containment into the general populace, suggesting that I am suing the Internet Archive, that I am the instigator, that I am the sole name and brand behind the entire thing. And I need you to understand that not only is this some kind of deranged parasocial fanfiction about me, but further, you’re actually carrying the publishers’ water on that one, because if they can do this but you’re mad at me about it instead, a guy who is not involved in it, then you’re helping them, not the Archive. So it felt necessary to reiterate, two-plus years later, that I’m not the person. It’s not me. It’s not authors. It’s the publishers. They’re the ones doing this. Go be mad at them. I’ve been mad at publishers many times. It’s an authorial tradition, honestly. (Though I make note here I also like most of the people who I work with inside publishing, because these teams are full of people who like books. Individuals are not corporate entities, after all.)

Jason Scott, who works on and for the Internet Archive, has asked people to leave me out of this.

If you want to support the Internet Archive, I suspect your best bet is not harassing me or other authors and, instead, committing money toward the cause, which you can do right here. I did, you can too. You can also support your own local libraries both politically and financially, as I assure you, they need it.

12 responses to “No, I Am Not Suing The Internet Archive”

  1. Love to you, and I’m sorry this damn thing is still occasionally popping up on your plate. As if you didn’t have better things to do. Still, hearing you address it so succinctly, and calmly — thank you.

  2. I’m certainly not the first to say this: this post’s opening photo is incredible! Thanks for these regular sanity shares. They’re enjoyable to read, even when the underlying topics are less than cheery.

  3. I donated. Knowledge is needed. With the current state of prevalent stupidity more knowledge is essential. It’s sad we can’t store common sense in the cloud

  4. Lawsuits aside, I find the notion that professional authors should be supporting – or at least be okay with – internet piracy… interesting.

    To me this seems to be less about the IA, and more about yet another case of “unemployed jealous creative lashes out against famous writer in a failed signal boost attempt”.

  5. Random typo if you’d like to fix
    “ Though I male note here I also like most of the people …”

    I presume it was meant to say make note

  6. I was recently researching something and wanted books I can’t afford that the Internet Archive doesn’t have, so I started trekking around to libraries and was horrified by what I discovered.. Honestly, the closest library was never good, but 20 years ago every shelf was packed. Now each shelf is less than half-full, most of the tall ones were replaced with half-shelves, few books are over 30 years old, and a massive section was gutted and replaced by computers. Hit a few other libraries and found a similar poor selection. I subsequently ran searches of titles that I know my childhood library had — classics I’d checked out like Oz and Raggedy Ann — and discovered these books are mostly gone. I always perceived libraries as a repository of history, but history appears to have been discarded en masse. I sincerely hope this b.s. lawsuit blows over cuz the Internet Archive is providing stuff that you can’t find in actual libraries anymore.

    • It’s true, though to be clear, it also means we need to support our local libraries more too so they have the resources, people and space to provide the richness of information people require.

  7. Thanks! Know a lot of people are dragging your ass on Twitter, responding with a level head like this was mighty decent of you.

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