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The Internet Archive risks being blocked in Russia over copyright suits

The Moscow City Court recently ruled in favor of those alleging an infringement, ordering the Internet Archive to stop allowing access to the audiobooks in question.
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The Internet Archive is a US-based digital library that contains a massive collection of online content, such as software, books, and music, including the Wayback Machine, that captures the archive of the web.

But if the anti-piracy outfit AZAPI has its way in Russia, access will be permanently blocked to this essential digital resource, TorrentFreak writes.

In the United States, the Internet Archive and its Archive.org have been able to cope with the problem of hosting copyrighted material by invoking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that affords it protection under the safe harbor principle.

The DMCA, a piece of legislation now over 20 years old, is often criticized but has also come up with this provision that has largely shaped the internet the way most of the world knows it today.

This safe harbor rule protects ISPs and other service providers – including giants like Facebook and Twitter, but also, countless other sites, from liability for possible copyright infringements by designating them as merely passively hosting content.

But that’s the law in the United States – while the internet is a much bigger space – and at the same time, one that is getting ever smaller as it gets fragmented along national and political fault lines.

And so in Russia, DMCA protections don’t apply, and that’s why the Internet Archive is now finding itself in trouble with two lawsuits brought on by rights holders of two audiobooks that are hosted on the site, TorrentFreak writes.

The Moscow City Court recently ruled in favor of those alleging an infringement, ordering the Internet Archive to stop allowing access to the audiobooks in question.

The report says that a Russia-based digital rights group, Roskomsvoboda, that is representing the Internet Archive, has appealed the decision.

But in the meantime, the anti-privacy group, AZAPI, has moved to ask for the Internet Archive to be permanently blocked “by all ISPs in Russia.” However, this motion has not been granted yet because the group has not proved that the rightsholder it represents actually holds the copyright to the books.

The Moscow court will decide on the fate of access to the Internet Archive in Russia next month.

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