Jason Scott is an American archivist, historian of technology, and filmmaker. He is the creator, owner and maintainer of textfiles.com, a web site which archives files from historic bulletin board systems. He is the creator of a 2005 documentary film about BBSes, BBS: The Documentary, and a 2010 documentary film about interactive fiction, GET LAMP. Scott works for Internet Archive and has given numerous presentations at technology related conferences on the topics of digital history, software, and website preservation.
Our first speaker today is Jason Scott and American archivist historian and historian of technology and filmmaker.
He’s the creator and owner and maintainer of text files calm a website which archives files from historic bulletin board systems which brought back memories for me.
He’s even made a film about BBs is BBs the documentary and he is a free range archivist at archive dot org the not for profit library of millions of free books, movies software music And websites and more and really his work is pushing the boundaries of 21st century copyright law and as loose prize yesterday, Julia was talking about her work at the architecture Museum in Finland and about how architecture has changed so everything is Digital and you can see how digital is taking over more more parts of our lives and we as museums will have to be responsible for collecting digitally and that brings up all these different questions.
Jason been here is really down to Seb Chan. So we have been working With this guy will really have to get him on board and having spent the last two days around conferencing, Jason. I think he’s someone who’s really interesting by being interested. He’s constantly been coming to the sessions and then add comments on them and I’m really looking forward to seeing you session. So please welcome Jason.
Hey, is this working. Yes it is working.
Oh, you know, it’s funny because I was listening to some of the talks yesterday and I was like oh man I talk at Five times this volume. What am I going to do. And the answer is, Matt, go for it anyway. So, um, first of all, just because I like to do highly customized talks. I don’t like just giving something the same time each time and then having it recorded and you get to sit all the spoilers beforehand, Um, how many people here have ever heard of me without having just looked it up on the website in the last couple days like what kind of there in for okay not bad. Um, and how many people here have heard of the Internet Archive in some manner or form as a piece you might have also heard of the Wayback Machine.
All right. Yeah. Oh, whoa. Is that too. Yes.
Alright, so I am a bombastic person. I’m going to paraphrase and say that I also acknowledge the peoples and the cultures that have come here before. Um, I come from a country where we do that Very well. So I appreciate anyone who’s making an effort in that in that range. I also acknowledge my privilege as a white male in America and as somebody who has gotten where he has gotten being lifted by many hands both visible and invisible to get me where I am and to act in any way Like skill merit and personal charisma is why I’m lucky to be a keynote somewhere in Australia would be completely stupid. So please. Thanks again for all those unknown people known and unknown for all that.
So I was asked to come in to speak at this conference, because its theme is risk and I live a life of some level of weird risk, especially in copyright and getting in people’s faces and doing projects that make people look at me sideways and say there are, there have been so many times I’ve stood in front of a door and someone said to me, do you think this is gonna be a good idea. And I’m like, No, I don’t have any idea and I go right in.
So I work at the Internet Archive as a free range archivist a title I gave myself and what that means is that I go around and I find groups that have materials primarily digital although sometimes analog and I interact with them and try to help them get things into where I work, and where I work is the Internet Archive where it’s basically a bigger version of where I used to live, which was text files calm now text files calm as Jim mentioned is a collection of bulletin board system. You’re a text files. Going back to the 1970s and actually and seeing the present predecessors and ancestors on the site as well. Everything from our TTY art, all the way through to HTML files and PDFs basically involving just people making stuff. And so if you go to text files calm, which has been around since 1998 it’s all sorts of bulletin boards and modems and phone lists and what are we going to do about technology and at the time I had been collecting it when I was 12 and I was collecting It when I was 12 because my parents got divorced and I felt like nothing was solid and I realized that if I didn’t set out to save something myself.
Nobody would this was the lesson that that divorce taught me so I’m very, very you know i gathering, it can sometimes move over into hoarding but we’ll Just act like it’s normal um when I worked on the bulletin board system collection I discovered that there were stories behind it and that’s how I ended up spending five years on BBs the documentary having finished that and opening it up Creative Commons and just giving it away I What can I do that’s even more obscure so I did one on text Adventures of the 1970s called get lamp.
It’s a high definition movie about text adventures and then after that I ended up doing a documentary about DEF CON the largest hacker convention in America and doing That with a massive crew and producing that so I’m still working on documentaries, the chip a documentary on the place of arcades because I very quickly discovered that artifacts and things and stuff and writings are not quite as meaningful if you don’t have the people along with them the stories you know Like you can end up with a pile of bones, but if you don’t know how those bones laughed and danced you you’re only getting a small percentage of the story.
Um, I’m also known for saying metadata is a love note to the future. I don’t you know I believe it but It’s just weird. I’ve watched a kid attribute it to me. So if you’ve ever heard that go by that this is that guy but the weirdest thing is sockington and sockington is this Twitter cat that I have and he has 1.4 million followers and this cat.
I’m just says stupid cat things every once in a while and has earned 1.4 million followers and an awful lot of marketing come ons and so the cat gets sent things from marketers and you can always tell how much a marketer thinks of you as A human being by if they address the cat or not.
So when someone sockington gets a male where they’re like old little sockington. Would you be interested in supporting the Purina the brand category
yeah anyway girl sockington this cat does not care about anything.
Um, and then so I work It Like I said archive dot org and too many people this is archive dot org it’s it’s archive dot org The website you go there it says wayback machine and then there’s a whole bunch of stuff with it and it is for free and it’s one of the Larger sites. It’s in the top 250 websites and it gets used by millions of people every day and I started working there in 2011 and I want to make clear that I was just hired in because in America. It’s very hard to get health insurance and as a contractor, I wouldn’t get The same health insurance and I was dying.
So we brought in this fully employment, which at the time, made the founders nervous because I’m kind of a loose cannon and I rewarded them by being a loose cannon and still though. I mean, I’ve got my blood pressure meds and I’ve got my Kidney Stone meds and I live a much better life thanks to it but I stress to you if you hear anything from me you don’t like the Internet Archive did not say it Jason Scott said it. That bastard and just please make that division for everybody’s happiness, the actual building looks like this.
Brewster purchased it in 2006 because quote unquote it like our logo which is very odd way to buy a building, um, which used to be a Christian Science church that had been dormant for years and years and as a result, our meeting room is very nice.
Nice meeting room. Very August and in the background you can see servers and each one of those servers is one petabyte of disk space.
Um, we have a working pipe organ like every website should have.
And if you work there for five years. They made a three years they make a little statue of you because as Brewster says we don’t have stock options so you get a little terracotta you so it’s kind of a weird thing I have mines got little angel wings. He’s a weird little guy. Um, And the Internet Archive Servers are both here and located elsewhere and as making the news, we’re putting up a mirror in Canada and so it’s petabytes and petabytes and petabytes 30 petabytes of data at the Internet Archive, which is pretty much all available for people to browse in varying degrees and this is me doing a light Painting it’s it this is exactly what it’s like all the time right here all the time, you can see you can read books, of course, because we’re a library so you get all these books, you can click on and you can read them.
We have partners who we have digitized books from from all over the world, you can go with our on site in page book reader or download the books. It’s got pretty good resolution, you can click down and look at the actual imagery. This is okay this is a violin. But if you get something like this. An old Cinderella book and you look at the level of detail, it’s It’s pretty solid right and it’s one of these kind of interesting thoughts that Brewster took in which was we do a good enough job to a lot of things instead of doing a perfect job to 12 things, but try to do it in a way that doesn’t hurt The thing right so we have a book scanner that uses two cameras and this thing can slam through a 300 page book in about three minutes so we are currently scanning 1000 books a day and putting them into the archive, but we’re not stopping with books. Here’s records Were actually 78 records we are providing those in the browser. So if you have a given album, you can actually play it right in the browser.
We have all sorts of open albums that people have uploaded to us provided for us from So many different sources we have movies, the archives are kind of well known for the fact that there are these interesting government public service announcements North American government service announcements.
He also has other weird government and army films, we have these old commercials, but we also have new stuff. We also have weird Saturday morning cartoons and really strange animated pieces of work or weird commercials and then we have software and that’s what I was brought in for I was brought in because Brewster said we can do it. You can read a book in the browser you can look at a movie in the browser can We have it that you can play software in the browser. It seems kind of weird that we have all this software and you can’t use it anymore.
It’s a little bit small, but you can see some of these have had hundreds of thousands of plays. We also have the Amiga, which I think is a fascinating machine. So we have an Amiga emulator. And we also sometimes just say let’s just put the whole CD ROM up.
So here’s the whole CD ROM, you can just download a 600 meg CD ROM image and we have thousands and thousands of these things and we’re adding many, many more and And I’m very agnostic now about this like I don’t try to find the best of so I’m like it’s a printer driver floppy from 1993, we’ll put it up if it’s a set of QuickTime example files from, you know, 1999, let’s put that up. Let’s just work it out. This is not an industry norm and We have these other gems that I think people are just kind of it’s weird because once they find out about it they flip out and we’re like we’ve been added for a while. I just think we, you know, as somebody who goes out and tries to spread the word about this great place. It’s kind of interesting. This is the TV news archive type in a phrase and it will tell you every time that phrase was said in North American news in the last nine years and let you click right on it and watch it because we’re recording all TV.
We’ve been recording 40 to 40 channels of satellite TV for about 10 years if you need it and we got it and people were like, that’s crazy Why aren’t you in jail right and you’re gonna hear more and more of that like you see these things you’re like You just put up what 2000 video games
and I’m like well you compile this thing with him script and and you put in and know how can you do that.
Who did you ask
the Wayback Machine, of course, is our most famous one right the Wayback Machine has been around Since 1998 and it came about because my boss his first job that got him the money to build what we think of as the Internet Archive came because he sold a company called Alexa internet, which was basically ratings for the web in terms of, you could go to a website on Alexa, and it would say it’s this popular. It uses these things here. It’s keywords. This is all 96. This is all pre Google and to do that. Brewster had to download all the websites to analyze them. So when he sold it to Alexa For a couple hundred million dollars.
He had a choice at that point. And I think this is a very critical important choice to understand he had $200 million.
He could have purchased a Hawaiian island and flown in endangered species to fight this fight to the death while he watched from A golden tower.
He could have done anything he wanted with that money right anybody who was mean to him in high school would just disappear from wherever they lived and instead he said I want to build a library.
I’ve always been saddened by the story of the Library of Alexandria, and I’ve always been amazed at the idea of what if there was a big human universal library and he has been dumping his personal fortune into it.
For decades, and we have all benefited including the way back, which turned out to be a hammer To Kill a fly. That was an elephant in the distance of. Let’s grab the web. So you type in a word and there’s the web. Now to some people. This is amazing. And again, other people have gone how Why can you do this
If you go into something like museum next dot org.
You can now see all the captures we’ve done so we’ve captured it 157 times between 2009 and February 2 and you’re able to go to the museum site museum next site and compare it to how it was to now so that’s that’s the fun. I mean For anyone who hasn’t seen the Wayback Machine. There you go. That’s it pretty powerful but there you go see old things.
Things aren’t like that anymore.
Click it a few times. Oh, they deleted this part. Oh, they added this part, but it’s also a settler of multiple lawsuits.
It is killed many patents, because there’s proof something existed. It has settled a lot of things and it has pulled out a lot of politicians leaders and other liars to show where they claimed one thing and they’ll say that never happened.
It’s an amazing miracle of the web. It’s called one of the crown jewels.
It’s a huge amount of stuff on the Internet Archive, like I said, tons of text documents movies, the software items are relatively new, and we’re at billions of web pages. Now going back and we’re just while I’m here this morning When I woke up at six I shoved 400 gigabytes of data into the Internet Archive that I had sitting that I need, I need to do something. So there you go. 400 gigs. Today we probably are pulling in something like 25 or 30 terabytes a day and we will occasionally pulling even more than that, as we get certain things right.
We just, you know, and again I’m I’m the Library and Archives world is primarily where this comes from. And I want to stress that I am not a trained librarian. I am not a trained archivist I am Not a trained museum curator. I am a filmmaker, I went to film school I almost failed that
I went there and I was in the radio station and I was in the comedy group and I did an animation for them and I did newspaper drawings and I you know I was like, life is full of interesting fun things and I don’t want to sit in a room while someone tells me something.
And so when somebody says, Jason. You know, we have a name for the thing you’re calling this I go wow neat.
What I have done though is that because I come from a showman background I am relatively okay at describing in an emotional manner things that people feel inside but aren’t very comfortable getting up in front of hundreds of people and shouting about how they are at the Internet Archive. We have existed. Now for 20 years and we are sitting like in a hot tub of risk and I also want to take a side moment to say that a lot of the weight of this talk, can be somewhat problematic in the context of this jackass right this womanizing moronic self diluted ridiculous lying jackass has now started to take over the country or as some people have described it world’s dumbest dog surprisingly caught world’s Most Powerful car.
And so we’re living in this nightmare of this idiot.
And so it’s very hard for me to go ooh, let’s discuss IP and copyright in the context of one of my paid one of my paid members of my stupid Golf Club pose with the nuclear football like he was at Disneyland kind of crap. So I asked you for one solid moment to ignore that. I come from a country where that’s happening and focus instead on America has many other flaws, Which I am now going to bring up because this talk is meant to be. And again, I haven’t cleared it with anyone in the organization organizers, which is a great amount of trust, which I appreciate, which is to speak to an Australian audience about an American experience of the copyright regime in America just is like kind of so what’s that like for you over there. You have fair use. It must be nice and instead I’m going to tell you that no it’s Awful.
It is absolutely awful from start to finish. It is so terrifyingly weird corrupt odd bizarre. It is so covered with like a little tiny patch that says I’m here for the content creator and instead is just this terrible overriding a machine that just consumes lives on the way to working with America’s top priorities right um so like, you know, yes, we all live in a world right where it’s just shiny and chrome I don’t how many people you’re seeing this seen. Have you seen this movie this guy the spray paints himself shining and Chrome.
He’s going on to Valhalla
in America. We have perpetual automatic copyright a lawyer in the room just tightened up and said, wait. But no, we have prepared. Okay. So if a bully punches you in the face every time you come out your front door.
You can either say I’m going to be punched in the face. Every time I go out the front door or you can say maybe this time I won’t be punched in the face when I go out the front door optimist realist. And the fact is, is right now we have life plus 70 years or life plus 95 years if you’re a corporation, do we really think that when it gets up again When Mickey Mouse is once again up that we’re not going to see it become 150 years it’s perpetual even worse it’s automatic. That means that if you make something it’s copyrighted everywhere copyright violation in America is worse than murder. It is approached harder and deeper And more locations than murder. It really seriously is because we have a lot of deaths in the country. And we also pursue copyright violation is is one of the top high crimes of the American state and copyright has gotten to the point That is actually superseded reality and I’ll explain what that means in a moment.
No copyrighted works in America reverted to the public domain in 2016. They were put there someone will say I wish for this to be in public domain or somebody licensed a creative commons or something new was discovered from years before that we now think of as the public domain, but a copyrighted item did not automatically become free in 2016 or In 2015, or in 2014 or in 2013 or 12 or 11 or 10. Since 1999 and until 2018 no copyrighted works will revert to the public domain in America.
We have now caused a generation of children to never know a time that works That played a part in the culture are free for them to use remix or utilize in other ways.
This is what we’ve done to them because America has to top imports exports. My apologies exports are or an Entertainment and we’re really good at both we are so good at both the fact that I could probably have a bunch of people here know in depth with me. The plot of Westworld tells you just how intense American culture just shows up everywhere. It is our top export and war.
It is a beautiful shining well made thing. Make no mistake. I mean, we produce some of the finest showstopper musical high budget creations ever I mean the beautiful pieces of work but somewhere along the line we decided that this was so important. We needed to change all of reality to ensure that a small group of people who own it would always own it and we created the idea of intellectual property and we created a regime that we Call digital rights management and we have let it own all of our existence.
Our cables watch you and if our cables think you haven’t done something right they reduce your resolution. That’s the HD CP magic.
It means that If there’s a slight electrical issue with your cable, it will punish you. Because it’s a cop in your plug the KB Lake CPU just came out built into it is DRM so that if you’re doing 4k Netflix and you’re not doing it right. It won’t let you use it and it will prevent any routine from being called in the CPU to make a copy of whatever’s going through the CPU it’s baked into the hardware.
There was something called the content protection for recordable Media one of the few victories, if you want to call it, there was a secret meeting going on between Toshiba Seagate IBM Matsushita where they were working to add a chip into every hard drive being manufactured anywhere in the world So that software could tell it that a file. This particular file can never be copied and it just happened to make some noise. Everyone got embarrassed and they scattered like cockroaches
Warner one day told all libraries that they can’t have any released works for 28 days you’re like, how do you do that the answer is not well libraries just went out to the stores and bought them but they tried they thought they could
One of the things is that the Motion Picture Association American likes to really They love to like buy a website that tells you. You’re awful and then forget to update it.
So every if you go to fight films. So I think it’s gone now.
But this was about the deadly life destroying idea of people holding up camcorders and movie theaters and recording them And producing super shitty versions of Finding Dory and then putting them out there and so they were like, what should we do about that. And the answer was, well, let’s make it the first time violators can get three years in prison and fined up to $250,000 turns out the way it’s written It actually works for screenshots.
If you take a picture of the screen you are technically in violation and you’re like well that’s stupid, of course, nobody would do that. Yes, they did. They pulled a woman out handcuffed her because she took a picture and once the officers. The police took her to the station, they called the Motion Picture Association of America to ask what to do next.
We did this to ourselves, we decided entertainment was the most vital important thing and we would change the way our equipment worked, we would change the way our laws worked and we would deprive a generation of the ability to know about fair use in the TP P which went up went down passages involving the description of a public domain or all stripped by American lawyers, just because they did not want those phrases to show up anywhere in the global discussion.
I have files
I have files. Um, so anyway, I’m not supposed to have these files you don’t you didn’t see these files, um, you didn’t see this slide, which is A I’ve obscured a bit because it’s not supposed to exist.
It’s a slide in which content creators hired the best minds to say digital is coming.
It’s 1993 modems are still in use.
How do we stop this.
What can we do. How much time do we have, and They said, Yeah, you have about four years and then people will start trading your stuff digitally.
And how will we do it. And again, this is going to sound like I’m making this up. You can either decide I’m making it up or not, but this was a model which they called defending against the peasants and in defending against the peasants.
They said, the best way to defend the crown jewels of the from the peasants is to hit them with multiple crazy defenses that there’s no magic word. There’s no magic you know encryption routine. There’s no magic law. There’s no magic phrase instead hit them with boiling oil that’s what that is warning of this alligators in here. Put a clear sign that they will be heard mount guards put up a parapet. In other words, change how the cables work change how the hard drives word change how the TV’s work make everything a multi hundred thousand dollar hits you can hit people randomly Sue people randomly and then declare A large education campaign in which you tell kids because this is this is a real campaign that exists. Explain to kids about the concept of intellectual property in simple primary colors they can understand and how it’s very bad To let their kids share things with others.
Anyway, Melbourne has an excellent coffee.
So by putting this three prong Attack, attack. That’s why Americans are really weird.
That’s why you see all these weird references to Oh my god. Can you do this or what’s the you can See it express itself and a whole variety of other items we ended up pushing in propaganda black boxes that you can’t get in and then adding a fear overkill. If I do this wrong. I will go to jail for I will go to jail because I made A copy of Sponge Bob because something about Sponge Bob was really funny and I’m I’m ashamed that this is where it’s come to like I love the things we make and I love that people once could make many different things and not have them immediately pulled into the theory that because you made something you also are to be protected by these $250,000 judgments and you buy into having hard drives modified and having computers locked down because you automatically get the copyright Every time but when everything is copyrighted nothing is copyrighted it’s meaningless. Right.
It means that every single thing I do this talk. I’m getting is copyrighted the arrangement of you all are copyrighted the fact that we have someone doing a scribble in there that’s ruble is copyrighted it ends up meaning whatever whoever has the most money wants it to me.
And that’s where we’re living right now that’s it so sorry about that. Spoiler that’s that’s kind of the world that they’re in. And So really we have really multiple choices here. Right.
One way is to go this is fine keeps things in line.
I can pay $10 I can get Netflix.
I’ll get to see the movies that I’m allowed to watch YouTube seems ok um And then we found a way to make it worse.
We added automatic content identification so automatic content identification was the devil’s bargain struck by Google and is now used elsewhere. And what that means is they build a database by rules that nobody knows with entities that people kind of know and those become a set of sounds and visual images that are now considered to be owned by people and endless robots at Google, watch everything that comes to YouTube and declares it good or bad, and they’ll take it down And there’s a routine. They’ll take it down. Look, if you would take down. Notice, they’ll take it down and you have X amount of time to respond, at which point they might put it up or they might not depending on what you put back at which point the original entity can do it again until you stop doing it.
Um, and even made it retroactive so if you all might know Twitch.
There was Twitch and there was something else called Justin TV and these were community streaming sites and they had been up for a number of years, um, Google bought them.
They took down Justin TVs, they just deleted one petabyte of user created data that’s gone because they only wanted the video game stuff. So the video game Stuff stayed up except anytime a video game recording used music that that company considered part of the content ID all of its soundtrack was deleted overnight automatically with no recourse. It just happened.
There was no okay I’m sorry. Get out get out of the boat. It was just now here’s all these silent creations. All of these observations. All of these works and you know we can play the whole game of, like, but it’s gamers. But still, that’s crazy and this robot Is perpetual it’s it’s untiring and even worse it’s inaccurate Muse open was a Kickstarter program, which was basically to me the kind of reasoned thoughtful idea that some people might have in more establishment areas, what this guy did was he said you know there’s No free recordings of Beethoven because they’ve all been recorded by like Sony and so if you want it, you know, even though it’s 300 year old music it’s it’s all copyrighted because it’s a copyrighted performance. So he started a Kickstarter To get 50 to $75,000 and hired a symphony in Czechoslovakia to record all of Beethoven symphonies and put them up along with all the stems, you know, the individual tracks, along with mixes in in superb flat form, we’re hosting it on the Internet archive. It’s beautiful. And this sounds fantastic right except it triggers off Content ID on YouTube because Sony has works that have Beethoven, so he would upload an example and it would get taken down and he would upload an example and it would get taken down and then anybody who uses this fully free went through all your dumb moves royalty free thing they’ll always be taken down on YouTube that distribution channel is dead to Beethoven, it’s owned and It’s happening thousands and thousands of ways perpetual tiring and they want more, they’re not happy.
In fact, they’re very specifically unhappy, they’re talking about how free, it is and how open it is and how people are pirating things left and right. They Want something called noticing stay down notice and stay down in America means not only does something get taken down but anything like that thing can never come back. And it’s deleted before it’s even made available so you can basically say I own this image of the Eiffel Tower. That was shot in this Woody Allen movie and he’s saying what can never come back.
You’ll just be rejected.
so anyway so archive dot org What does archive dot org do okay so let’s just talk About that, let’s talk about the regime and where we’re living with it and how it’s going. And, um, I will give a talk about archive dot org all Around the world about how great it is. And the first question will always be what about the computer.
Why don’t you in jail.
Let’s do this.
Hello, friends. Hello, brothers and Sisters to the world of the Internet Archive where we have everything you could want because we are asking the simple question what is a library or archive in the 21st century. That is the fundamental question what is A library. What is an archive and for here. What is a museum is it simply Netflix outside is it simply another PDF presented to you with a bunch of restrictions and a $5 charge. What is a library or archive and don’t go to establishment content creators to ask yourself what they want, because again, I am speaking as my own man and saying this book publishers kinda want libraries to die,
the kind of
content creators kind of want to turn museums into glorified theaters, where they are given a piece of something a license to work the science of CSI Pixar Cars that’s science II and then you pay X amount And for that, you get the right to have a T shirt in your T shirt.
While people walk through it and you convince yourself, you’ve added to the culture that’s the fundamental problem right if you don’t know what you are or if you go for The easy or if you go for it.
They’re just going to take more and more and they’re going to put stranger and stranger limitations on you and it’s going to get a little weird.
There’s a limitation in Kindle ebooks that you can’t read them out loud, that’s a separate right That you pay for. It’s called an audio right okay you’re like well that doesn’t sound very real. No, it’s real.
Same thing with the right to pass it to read it to your kids to have two people Looking at it at once. That’s not allowed in license in America. If you show an image on a screen bigger than 10 feet. You are a theater.
If you have software and you fail to register that software, you’re not just you’re completely at the mercy of that software deleting itself and deleting everything on your drive with no recourse that’s just kind of baked in there.
Oh, it’s kind of baked in there.
So unless you know what you are a content creator will create weird rights and nothing can be said More than that, than ebooks because ebooks are amazing ebooks are what happens when a book publisher says you can have anything you want. They’re like, okay, only one person can read this virtual book at once. I was so sad. I was at a library conference and someone explained To me that they had a copy of 50 Shades of Grey.
That was an E book that they could only afford one copy of because it was like 100 plus dollars because it was a library right and they had 250 women in line to read this book 250 people were waiting for a file bit To be flipped that was the thing.
Now you can say 50 Shades of Grey, but you can also say anything about textbooks, you can say the same thing about learning items. Right.
So it comes down to who cares about the content and at the archive we care about the content. Okay, so Here’s how it works in America. The way it works in America right now in 2017 is that there are professional groups who work for content companies and what they do is they do random Google searches of the names of things that they are being paid to look for Kanye Beyonce Beastie Boys, then they look for anything that is a search hit then they find out who owns it, and then they write them a letter and for this they’re getting 10s of thousand dollars a month and they have no idea what they’re doing.
If you have something called lollipops with Kanye if you have a Kanye remix if you have something that calls something Kanye you’ll still get the letter and then you write back if you’re somebody who is used to these and say, I don’t think you’re I don’t think you’re real and they’ll often disappear when we put up the arcade games I knew there was going to be a problem.
I want to see who got, you know, I wanted to see if I threw all of 1000 famous arcade games up on the beach on D day how many would make it to the bunker 1000 of them entered the shore screaming and playing and shooting and going waka waka waka and I’m happy to say that after two years 675 brave items have made it and are still up and 400 long forgotten the Warriors are gone And it was seven companies that came out of the woodwork Nintendo Atari Sega and uh and the hamster Corporation hamster Corporation hamster Corporation owns seven Japanese companies that died.
It’s just a random file cabinet somewhere in Japan that sends out letters anytime anyone puts up really obscure Japanese games Atari is for people in a file folder in New York, whose only job is to tell you that you can’t have centipede and you can’t have asteroids.
So you start to know them.
The lawyer from Atari, and I are on a first name basis and he was Andrea
and the Nintendo now. It’s also important to notice that like there are companies that are like
another reason why I’m not having this thing distributed because it’s not good to talk like this in public, um, Then there’s Nintendo and then there’s like every other company in terms of IP because Nintendo was nuts and in terms of writers, there’s Harlan Ellison.
And then there’s everybody else probably Nelson knows how to scream across a phone and he also claims rights. He doesn’t have, for instance, he made me take down interviews of him because he claimed that his interview answers were copyrighted works but with Harlan Ellison. It’s better to just push the whole thing into the fire because Harlan Ellison is crazy.
So I know when to pick my battles, um, in terms of music obviously music that is very popular right now tends to be approached by various groups, but nobody and this is I mean this is critical. Nobody’s dying nobody’s getting stabbed in the streets letters are flying and I think until you get your first cease and desist I think a lot of institutions, perhaps some people work in this room. A lot of people live in horror and And fear and of the risk of having materials up and not being 100% sure if its provenance I mean there’s there’s true honest recklessness and then there’s demanding that a beautiful piece of work in which a minor item plays one small Part be completely utterly cleared by whoever you can until you have exhausted all of your research people that instead of working to make a better display there, ensuring that one postage stamp sized picture of a video game is cleared.
I think that that’s something I think there’s ways around that. I think there’s ways to get much more quote unquote brave in that the archive gets 14 or 15 takedown notices a week we handle it.
I didn’t say that There is no benefit for us talking publicly about this.
Please don’t tweet it, I guess I should say there’s no benefit to talking about lawyers because lawyers are really not great people sometimes there’s good lawyers, there’s friendly cockroaches.
But you know any any given entity will be told that a little lawyer will always tell a company that there is no point in going the extra mile to make culture more available unless they can guarantee there’s money involved and a significant amount of money that’s that’s the that’s the point in America.
We live under that every single day.
But let me tell you something. Okay, so at the archive millions of people. I mean, millions of people every day. These are real numbers 3 million To 5 million people come and play our old radio shows they leave through computer magazines from the 80s that I’ve put up they’ve gone through really old technical manuals or science works there is a science book from the 30s that talks about electricity. This thing has had hundreds of thousands of downloads and all I can think is this must be so many underprivileged persons first electrical engineering class like it’s all just happening there it’s so worth the fight to know what we’re doing has an effect on human lives, that’s what gets us up in the morning, if we have to get a few letters that tell us that we suck.
I think we can do it right there was such beauty in the world, um, by the way, just as a side note, it’ll surprise you. Who the most fervent
defenders of their works are woodworking magazines
I swear to god ham radio magazines And the BBC um so the reason why by the way is because woodworking and knitting items are evergreen they have nothing but great use the manual for the operation of a 1930 sump pump has gone past its expiration date.
In other words, I’m.
I’m. We are now living in a world where at the archive.
We’re just back to let it god damn was in the 60s of future Few people care a bunch of people don’t care and we apologize a little like that’s literally what it was before 1976 when we passed this ridiculous automatic copyright law and we we we screwed up our chance to have what would have been a registrar I mean, you know, people are like, well, Jason. What kind of regime would you have gone for I’m like fine make it 50 years and make it that at 50 years if you re register and pay your 10 bucks you can keep it another 50 you hero because That would cause only a small increment decimal percentage of culture to be locked away like it is now we are now in a drought of 20th century culture that I don’t think people really realize like it is so much easier to go ahead And find a folio from the 1800s and do all the things you do with it than it is to walk into a 1960s radical magazine and not be terrified that you’re going to get sued out of into oblivion.
That’s where we’re living right now and it’s going to hurt us a lot because we did some things in the 20th century.
They were relatively violent.
They were relatively interesting too.
And we’re not going to allow people to treat it in the same way that we learn about previous generations.
This by the way is an example of Just a fun thing this guy’s name is Neil Segura he’s also called the lemon demon he’s made three three albums one’s called mouth sounds mouth moves is another one and he takes these are straight up mash up albums, so he’ll have 14 or 15 commercial songs wrapped into One song where they’re making commentary on each other. So it’s nothing but guitar solos, or it’s just the the this one that has an overlay of 500 miles.
The song 500 miles with a recording of a woman loading the amazing capacity a CD ROM, so she’s talking about 600 megabytes 300 megabytes. And then other guys are going 500 miles.
It’s fun, it’s harmless nobody’s gonna die.
It’s just nice and we have millions of these things going on right.
So my question to you is, like, what’s your next move here right the archive is living this life right now and it’s weird to me that we’re just kind of out there. There aren’t many other places. Every once in a while I’ll see an institution. There was one institution Just recently that put out 300,000 pictures.
There’s another organization that has been scanning and putting up all of their items so you can play with them in 3d print them. And I think that’s what I’m most worried about I’m when I get yelled at by professionals, because I do what I I used to get I used to feel bad fix that I used to feel bad because I didn’t understand why they were angry at me and the reason they were angry at me was because I had all of this agency and I didn’t deserve it because I’m just some idiot with no degree, But people who out there who have been training and if you’re somebody who runs things people under you who have been training, who have secret Twitter files, where they express their frustration because they can’t make any choices.
I’m worried that there’s this amazing pool of people in the world who don’t have agency to try new things and That organizations will occasionally do one radical idea and then force everybody into the radical idea as a you know kind of default like let’s all work together on my brilliant out of the box idea, but don’t fall out of the box that I built of my new idea and i think That that is rampant that’s from an outsider. But that’s I feel it’s rampant and it causes all of the skill to be lost. And meanwhile, a millionaire somewhere in California is laughing everybody in terms of making things available by just putting the neck out a little bit.
I think institutions.
I mean, I recognize that in the talks. I’ve heard so far, people in these institutions, know that they’re pillars of these communities their, their boxes and buildings and they’re there is glorious locations that are that are like could be the community center and maybe if they make a choice It’s for a good reason. And if somebody disagrees. The reason with them.
I think that’s a position that in America is almost gone because of fear of copyright. They all want the magic spell. They all want me to use a word. Oh, it’s a fiver fall and if they say that to Sony that nobody will sue them and it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist. The best word I guess is, I’m sorry.
It probably won’t happen again. Close the spell I got and I want to make clear that what the Internet Archive is doing what I’m doing is not Really bravery.
It’s not bravery is being the only library in your town and you’re arguing with one of the city council members about having a Judy Blume book in your library because you think young girls should read it and one person disagrees and your job is on the line that’s bravery bravery is sitting with a woman who’s 80, years old, just trying to help her for two hours on how to click on links because she can’t quite see it and you’re helping her figure out settings on her laptop so it’s big enough that she can read it. That’s bravery, You know, letting somebody browse something that’s really untoward and figuring out to say, okay, that’s their gig. Let’s put them this way aim to this way, let’s not have their screen be the first thing is, and give it to them and let’s adapt us because that’s the needs of our community, whether We like it or not, that’s the needs of our community like that’s bravery to me so I never ever ever want to say what I’m doing is bravery. All I’m doing is having fun every single morning I wake up and I’m like what am I gonna archive today and I go to bed going. That was a lot of archiving and
in my dreams. I’m like, I’m archiving these things and I’m dancing on them.
It’s a very fun life.
I appreciate it every single day.
Um, it’s a it’s a risky life by some standards. Sure. Occasionally occasionally get weird suits weird lawsuits weird things I had a Guy sue me for $2 billion once great great story I’ll have to get that some other time.
You know, life’s life isn’t life is a life is not a something you should get to the end of and get into your bed as your hearts failing and say, Well, at least I didn’t make a fuss.
It really is.
Please take a little risk do something different. Have a lot of fun. Thank you for listening shiny and pro
if somebody has a question that’s not a soliloquy about themselves. I would love to hear it.
Thank you very much, Jason. Yes, I am pad after heady from American University and I also consult with the Internet Archive, and I cannot admire enough on your spirit and the work that Internet Archive is done, but I am absolutely puzzled about representing what you’re doing As implying at least in some way it’s it’s violating copyright because overwhelmingly as you know I think the Internet Archive has been an absolute on model of how to employ fair use or exception in the service of archiving as well as employing on as well as using good judgment about orphan works right and and managing and what I know to be the constant flow of complaints from copyright holders theory reasonably because the lawyers really do understand fair use, And Brewster has just been such a model about that that I that I would just like to flag that night and I kept waiting for you to point out that the Internet Archive is not in fact in violation of American law. So here’s the thing.
Um, I know you’re Correct, which is why. First of all, I always make clear I me Brewster’s said you are you are you make me feel like I probably make the Library of Congress field is the way he phrases about me because I’m a little nuts. I’m a little off The thing because I I’m I want the world in a certain way and I’m very loud and brash and the Internet Archive as a whole respects copyright and respects fair use.
Um, but the problem is is that in America people tell you you’re violating Copyright went even when you’re not right. That’s what I’m where I’m going with that I’m not really mean maybe I’m not answering it right but I’m telling you that I’m Brewster, and the way that we have approached all the things from our Open Library site to how we produce things to how we respond to People, we don’t go running at the first try. We don’t run away from people accusing us of things we we reason with them we show them what we are. We make a point of losing money every time you click we’re like if you’re really angry at us keep reading arm and we’re not putting up ads. We’re not providing a monetary incentive and this is all very you know on a lawyer Lee way and I am not a lawyer, but what bothers kind of the point of my talk when I’m talking about is how much all of this is being done in a solitary manner by the archive and how few institutions in the US that aren’t SAMHSA that organized group of volunteers exist for us. And I really wish there were more that’s kind of it was that right I can always tell my they’re
Okay, here’s the thing I have talked to pat on and off for now for two days I super respect Pat and and i any just because I’m standing on a friggin stage and she’s in a chair. That doesn’t mean I’m not the student here I am, I want to I want to admire the on the courage that it took to employ fair use in a digital environment and correctly because that’s what i think i think the model that it has set is so important because somebody has to make that first step and many many our librarians and archivists and museums would love to do that but need for somebody else to get out there first, because their own trustees and poor don’t want them to be first right and so it gets my, I think it’s important To make sure that people understand that what’s being done is not illegal. Well, that’s the only point I wanted to add very grateful to you. Thank you. Okay. No, I just that’s important because I want to make that distinction too because unfortunately We live in a world of words. Words have meanings pictures of pretty by sound good, but yeah. Okay, good, good, good, good, good, good, good, good.
Yes, go ahead. I can hear you and I’ll repeat the question
can We defend fair use, because we have a benefactor can afford it. Yes, yes.
Whenever I see a content creator sitting and saying like you’re ruining my book I want more hard laws. I’m like, you are a mouse standing on the shoulder of a lion arguing about Which antelope to take down, it is incredibly expensive to mount a copyright violation suit against somebody else and it’s a years long terrible experience that may or may not work in your favor and will cost you time it does not favor. Anybody who isn’t Doing copyright enforcement on a or IP enforcement on a industrial scale and there’s these weird little dailies that exists. I sometimes find out. For instance, a talk shows if you watch American talk shows like the band will play a song like by The Beatles or by somebody else for like a couple seconds when someone comes on stage.
There is a $250,000 per year negotiation between all the record labels and all of the TV stations to just have a kind of whatever plays for a few seconds on your talk shows is okay, we don’t get That we don’t have that there’s a lot of those. And so people observe them and they don’t know what they’re running up against when they find out that there’s these other weird collisions and back so know the kind of copy kind of content creators who are out there who are creating items are often working against so like I like I said I created a documentary and I listened to Creative Commons and I pre sold it because you can’t bought you can’t pirate a thing that doesn’t exist and I licensed it Creative Commons because it was Going to be copied, so why not be a hero and it worked out.
It worked out so nicely that when my next movie came out one piracy group refused to release the bonus features saying he’s such a cool guy and they released it wrong, like it was It was an interactive so it had tracks and they put it in the wrong order and I opened a blog entry going to the creep you know to this you pirated it wrong. You did tracks 1257, please do 1572 and this sold me 3000 copies and people go on Jesus Christ with weird. And so, so I think that realizing what world you’re living in and dealing with it. Some authors will release things as cereals like they’ll release a chapter than a chapter within a chapter, because you can, but a lot of The world keeps changing and I think adapting to that is something people should do.
That’s a theme that’s in this conference already that’s no bravery of me To say anybody else or everything we almost done. I think we have one more question.
Jim gives a good one question face Hello wild waiver.
Oh, let’s Try again. So yeah, thank you. Um, you mentioned that the Internet Archive has been building this recording of television programs in North America. Yes, to create essentially a kind of cultural record which some European to and other things as we can get it but yeah yes I’m in recent years, and I have a small bit of experience of this. You mentioned the perpetual untiring robot copyright takedown algorithm thing be up. Although your talk was Very, very inspiring. Do you actually feel and I don’t want to put words in your mouth but with their own tiring robot algorithm that we’re not going to get any of this stuff from the last 10 years and after that it’s we’ve We’ve kind of lost well for this moment. Bear in mind that the Internet Archive tells those robots to eff off right we don’t have a black box provided to us by a company that watches everything that comes in YouTube does that was their negotiation. That’s also why there’s No Google Books.
By the way, and Google Books is essentially not really a functioning project like it used to be, because they can’t make money off it to justify all the work. They’d have to do so it’s kind of a dormant dead project arm and I would say that there’s a corpus of material up there, like it’s that that’s very useful material and that’s why we haven’t aimed at TV news because TV news is kind of a good public good.
I would love to do infomercials I would love that we’ve done it Also for political ads.
So we’ve actually got some really awesome stuff and this is this is this depresses me so badly again because we had some amazing people from the Sunlight Foundation and other partners and we put together this amazing way to analyze all of the issues of the last election And then it just turned into a shit show it had nothing to do with facts are translating or it just became a big character, it proved once again that a fully prepared woman can be overcome by an idiot guy who wins it and that’s what was it that that that anthem. And it was So sad because there were tools in there that would show you which lines from the debates were cited in the most news programs amazing analysis and when we have a real election, it’s going to come in really nicely, but that kind of stuff is going on. If you go to the archive dot org slash 911 trigger warning you can watch all of the news that played the week of 911 and see how each station responded to it for a week and it’s very insightful and up on the top, it tells you what’s happening in real Time and you can find out like how different places reacted.
It’s an amazing tool and people find out that exists in there like that’s amazing.
So the answer is. Yeah, I mean, if we were to like dump it on youtube youtube would yank it down in seconds, but it’s not on YouTube.