Why are some archive.org files marked "unavailable"?
September 6, 2022 2:56 PM   Subscribe

The marvelous website archive.org is now marking more and more files "unavailable?" Why?

For years I've enjoyed archive.org, a splendid treasury of all kinds of media. I use it mostly for books, but I love the old movies and radio shows also. The site enables readers to borrow the media, for one hour or in some cases, 14 days. In recent weeks, more and more files are labeled "unavailable". Does anyone know why this is happening?

Many thanks!
posted by ragtimepiano to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Are they unavailable because someone else has checked them out?

The Internet Archive is facing a massive lawsuit from several publishers who object to their lending policy. Right now, they are doing everything by the book.
posted by scruss at 3:03 PM on September 6, 2022 [6 favorites]

Yes, the lawsuit seems the most likely cause. It’s a massive case, and IA is potentially facing troubles ahead. As a librarian and user, I have found their policies helpful. As a writer who has seen small-to-medium-big writers and publishers lose income to IA, I hope they are forced to behave as if copyright exists. Whether this case could result in the closure of IA, I don’t know, but if I regularly relied on them for storage of files I access regularly, I might start thinking about a backup solution.
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:10 PM on September 6, 2022 [3 favorites]

Yep I work with the Archive on a few projects and while I have no official knowledge of this, I have also noticed it and I suspect it's because the work they are doing on the back end (possibly in service of making sure the lawsuit proceeds smoothly, perhaps complying with takedown requests) may not be quite accurately synced with the content on the front end (i.e. what you can find in a search). It's a huge machine and there are a lot of moving parts.
posted by jessamyn at 4:46 PM on September 6, 2022 [6 favorites]

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