No, I Still Don’t Have Anything To Do With The Publisher Lawsuit Against The Internet Archive

Given recent news, and given that any time such news tends to surface, it feels like it’s time for my semi-annual reminder that I have nothing to do with the lawsuit against the Internet Archive, which I said last year, and also, a whole bunch of times before that. To reiterate what I said then:

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 not support the lawsuit.

I recognize the convenience of having a single person to place at the bottom of the shit-funnel. But despite that convenience, I am not the person behind any of this, in any way. And as I’ve noted before, you’re helping publishers by making me the face of this. They skate. I catch hell. I recognize that it’s a lot easier to blame me, and that schadenfreude is a helluva drug. But I assure you, my Bad Tweet — which I posted during a very bad time, which is to say, at the start of pandemic lockdowns, when everybody felt like yellowjacket wasps at the end of summer — was not in any way a contributing factor to the publishing lawsuit. We were trapped in our houses. Things were weird. Everybody was nervous. Writers and artists and freelancers had no idea what was going to happen next. We were bleaching our broccoli and washing our hands bloody. It was fucked up. Sorry.

As such, there is this continued assertion that I somehow campaigned against the IA, or that I led this charge, and I assure you, I didn’t. I didn’t email my publishers. I didn’t “get the ball rolling.” Publishers don’t listen to me. My impact on their decisions is zero. I don’t control them, don’t influence them, don’t even factor into their plans (and if I was that powerful, I’d have a very different career right now). I joined a chorus and tweeted without thinking, because writers were upset and so I got upset, too. That’s sometimes how social media goes. I said it was a mistake a long time ago and I continue to say it was a mistake now.

Here, you’ll find Chris Freeland of the Internet Archive kindly noting that, again, I’m not involved.

Or, Jason Scott, also of the IA:

I understand you want this invaluable resource to remain, and the good news is, there are ways to continue your support of the Internet Archive that don’t involve me. You can find the full text of the Fight for the Future letter here, and you can also go to where the Internet Archive lists ways to help. One of those ways is donating, as I have done before and have done again, today, to support them. (And while we’re at it, support your local libraries, who are under assault from conservative forces in this country, same as schools are, for supporting LGBT folks and other marginalized communities. Further, libraries are also often quite fucked by publishers, so they need that help as often as you can give it.)

Anyway, if you support this IA?

Then this is how you help them. Signal boost them, give them time and, when possible, give them money. Going after me is the opposite — as Jason Scott notes, it does not make you an ally to the IA. You’re doing work for the other side. Go and support the archive. They are appealing, and need your help.

So, go help if you can.


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