Internet Archive

Coordinates: 37°46′56″N 122°28′18″W / 37.782321°N 122.47161137°W / 37.782321; -122.47161137

Internet Archive
Internet Archive logo and wordmark.svg
Type of business 501(c)(3) nonprofit
Type of site
Digital library
Available in English
Founded May 12, 1996; 24 years ago (1996-05-12)[notes 1][1]
Headquarters Richmond District
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Chairman Brewster Kahle
Services Archive-It
Open Library
Wayback Machine (since 2001)
NASA Images
Prelinger Archives
Revenue Increase $20.3 million (2018)[2]
Employees Increase 168 (2018)[2]
Alexa rank Increase 203 (August 2020)[3]
Launched 1996 (1996)
Current status Active
Current headquarters

The Internet Archive is an American digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge."[notes 2][notes 3] It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and millions of books. In addition to its archiving function, the Archive is an activist organization, advocating a free and open Internet. The Internet Archive currently holds over 20 million books and texts, 3 million movies and videos, 400,000 software programs, 7 million audio files, and 463 billion web pages in the Wayback Machine.

The Internet Archive allows the public to upload and download digital material to its data cluster, but the bulk of its data is collected automatically by its web crawlers, which work to preserve as much of the public web as possible. Its web archive, the Wayback Machine, contains hundreds of billions of web captures.[notes 4][4] The Archive also oversees one of the world's largest book digitization projects.


Mirror of the Internet Archive in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Archive is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating in the United States. It has an annual budget of $10 million, derived from a variety of sources: revenue from its Web crawling services, various partnerships, grants, donations, and the Kahle-Austin Foundation.[5] The Internet Archive manages periodic funding campaigns, like the one started in December 2019 with a goal of reaching donations for $6 million.[6]

Its headquarters are in San Francisco, California. From 1996 to 2009, headquarters were in the Presidio of San Francisco, a former U.S. military base. Since 2009, headquarters have been at 300 Funston Avenue in San Francisco, a former Christian Science Church.

At one time, most of its staff worked in its book-scanning centers; as of 2019, scanning is performed by 100 paid operators worldwide.[7] The Archive has data centers in three Californian cities: San Francisco, Redwood City, and Richmond. To prevent losing the data in case of e.g. a natural disaster, the Archive attempts to create copies of (parts of) the collection at more distant locations, currently including the Bibliotheca Alexandrina[notes 5] in Egypt and a facility in Amsterdam.[8] The Archive is a member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium[9] and was officially designated as a library by the state of California in 2007.[notes 6]


2008 headquarters

Brewster Kahle founded the archive in May 1996 at around the same time that he began the for-profit web crawling company Alexa Internet.[notes 7] In October 1996, the Internet Archive had begun to archive and preserve the World Wide Web in large quantities,[notes 8] though it saved the earliest pages in May 1996.[10][11] The archived content wasn't available to the general public until 2001, when it developed the Wayback Machine.

In late 1999, the Archive expanded its collections beyond the Web archive, beginning with the Prelinger Archives. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software. It hosts a number of other projects: the NASA Images Archive, the contract crawling service Archive-It, and the wiki-editable library catalog and book information site Open Library. Soon after that, the archive began working to provide specialized services relating to the information access needs of the print-disabled; publicly accessible books were made available in a protected Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) format.[notes 9]

According to its website:[notes 10]

Most societies place importance on preserving artifacts of their culture and heritage. Without such artifacts, civilization has no memory and no mechanism to learn from its successes and failures. Our culture now produces more and more artifacts in digital form. The Archive's mission is to help preserve those artifacts and create an Internet library for researchers, historians, and scholars.

In August 2012, the archive announced[12] that it has added BitTorrent to its file download options for more than 1.3 million existing files, and all newly uploaded files.[13][14] This method is the fastest means of downloading media from the Archive, as files are served from two Archive data centers, in addition to other torrent clients which have downloaded and continue to serve the files.[13][notes 11] On November 6, 2013, the Internet Archive's headquarters in San Francisco's Richmond District caught fire,[15] destroying equipment and damaging some nearby apartments.[16] According to the Archive, it lost a side-building housing one of 30 of its scanning centers; cameras, lights, and scanning equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars; and "maybe 20 boxes of books and film, some irreplaceable, most already digitized, and some replaceable".[17] The nonprofit Archive sought donations to cover the estimated $600,000 in damage.[18]

In November 2016, Kahle announced that the Internet Archive was building the Internet Archive of Canada, a copy of the archive to be based somewhere in Canada. The announcement received widespread coverage due to the implication that the decision to build a backup archive in a foreign country was because of the upcoming presidency of Donald Trump.[19][20][21] Kahle was quoted as saying:

On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change. For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase. Throughout history, libraries have fought against terrible violations of privacy—where people have been rounded up simply for what they read. At the Internet Archive, we are fighting to protect our readers' privacy in the digital world.[19]

Since 2018, the Internet Archive visual arts residency, which is organized by Amir Saber Esfahani and Andrew McClintock, helps connect artists with the archive's over 48 petabytes[notes 12] of digitized materials. Over the course of the yearlong residency, visual artists create a body of work which culminates in an exhibition. The hope is to connect digital history with the arts and create something for future generations to appreciate online or off.[22] Previous artists in residence include Taravat Talepasand, Whitney Lynn, and Jenny Odell.[23]

In 2019, the main scanning operations were moved to Cebu in the Philippines and were planned to reach a pace of half a million books scanned per year, until an initial target of 4 million books. The Internet Archive acquires most materials from donations, such as a donation of 250 thousand books from Trent University and hundreds of thousands of 78 rpm discs from Boston Public Library. All material is then digitized and retained in digital storage, while a digital copy is returned to the original holder and the Internet Archive's copy, if not in the public domain, is borrowed to patrons worldwide one at a time under the controlled digital lending (CDL) theory of the first-sale doctrine.[24] Meanwhile, in the same year its headquarters in San Francisco received a bomb threat which forced a temporary evacuation of the building.[25]

Web archiving

Wayback Machine

Wayback Machine logo, used since 2001
Mark Graham

The Internet Archive capitalized on the popular use of the term "WABAC Machine" from a segment of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon (specifically Peabody's Improbable History), and uses the name "Wayback Machine" for its service that allows archives of the World Wide Web to be searched and accessed.[26] This service allows users to view some of the archived web pages. The Wayback Machine was created as a joint effort between Alexa Internet and the Internet Archive when a three-dimensional index was built to allow for the browsing of archived web content.[notes 13] Millions of web sites and their associated data (images, source code, documents, etc.) are saved in a database. The service can be used to see what previous versions of web sites used to look like, to grab original source code from web sites that may no longer be directly available, or to visit web sites that no longer even exist. Not all web sites are available because many web site owners choose to exclude their sites. As with all sites based on data from web crawlers, the Internet Archive misses large areas of the web for a variety of other reasons. A 2004 paper found international biases in the coverage, but deemed them "not intentional".[27]

A purchase of additional storage at the Internet Archive

A "Save Page Now" archiving feature was made available in October 2013,[28] accessible on the lower right of the Wayback Machine's main page.[notes 14] Once a target URL is entered and saved, the web page will become part of the Wayback Machine.[28] Through the Internet address,[29] users can upload to the Wayback Machine a large variety of contents, including PDF and data compression file formats. The Wayback Machine creates a permanent local URL of the upload content, that is accessible in the web, even if not listed while searching in the official website.

May 12, 1996, is the date of the oldest archived pages on the WayBack Machine, such as[30]

In October 2016, it was announced that the way web pages are counted would be changed, resulting in the decrease of the archived pages counts shown.[31]

In September 2020, the Internet Archive announced a partnership with Cloudflare to automatically index websites served via its "Always Online" services.[33]


Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive talks about archiving operations

Created in early 2006, Archive-It[34] is a web archiving subscription service that allows institutions and individuals to build and preserve collections of digital content and create digital archives. Archive-It allows the user to customize their capture or exclusion of web content they want to preserve for cultural heritage reasons. Through a web application, Archive-It partners can harvest, catalog, manage, browse, search, and view their archived collections.[35]

In terms of accessibility, the archived web sites are full text searchable within seven days of capture.[36] Content collected through Archive-It is captured and stored as a WARC file. A primary and back-up copy is stored at the Internet Archive data centers. A copy of the WARC file can be given to subscribing partner institutions for geo-redundant preservation and storage purposes to their best practice standards.[37] Periodically, the data captured through Archive-It is indexed into the Internet Archive's general archive.

As of March 2014, Archive-It had more than 275 partner institutions in 46 U.S. states and 16 countries that have captured more than 7.4 billion URLs for more than 2,444 public collections. Archive-It partners are universities and college libraries, state archives, federal institutions, museums, law libraries, and cultural organizations, including the Electronic Literature Organization, North Carolina State Archives and Library, Stanford University, Columbia University, American University in Cairo, Georgetown Law Library, and many others.

Internet Archive Scholar

In September 2020 Internet Archive announced a new initiative to archive and preserve open access academic journals, called the "Internet Archive Scholar".[38]

Book collections

Text collection

Internet Archive "Scribe" book scanning workstation

The Internet Archive operates 33 scanning centers in five countries, digitizing about 1,000 books a day for a total of more than 2 million books,[39] financially supported by libraries and foundations.[notes 28] As of July 2013, the collection included 4.4 million books with more than 15 million downloads per month.[39] As of November 2008, when there were approximately 1 million texts, the entire collection was greater than 0.5 petabytes, which includes raw camera images, cropped and skewed images, PDFs, and raw OCR data.[40] Between about 2006 and 2008, Microsoft had a special relationship with Internet Archive texts through its Live Search Books project, scanning more than 300,000 books that were contributed to the collection, as well as financial support and scanning equipment. On May 23, 2008, Microsoft announced it would be ending the Live Book Search project and no longer scanning books.[41] Microsoft made its scanned books available without contractual restriction and donated its scanning equipment to its former partners.[41]

An Internet Archive in-house scan ongoing

Around October 2007, Archive users began uploading public domain books from Google Book Search.[notes 29] As of November 2013, there were more than 900,000 Google-digitized books in the Archive's collection;[notes 30] the books are identical to the copies found on Google, except without the Google watermarks, and are available for unrestricted use and download.[42] Brewster Kahle revealed in 2013 that this archival effort was coordinated by Aaron Swartz, who with a "bunch of friends" downloaded the public domain books from Google slow enough and from enough computers to stay within Google's restrictions. They did this to ensure public access to the public domain. The Archive ensured the items were attributed and linked back to Google, which never complained, while libraries "grumbled". According to Kahle, this is an example of Swartz's "genius" to work on what could give the most to the public good for millions of people.[43] Besides books, the Archive offers free and anonymous public access to more than four million court opinions, legal briefs, or exhibits uploaded from the United States Federal Courts' PACER electronic document system via the RECAP web browser plugin. These documents had been kept behind a federal court paywall. On the Archive, they had been accessed by more than six million people by 2013.[43]

The Archive's BookReader web app,[44] built into its website, has features such as single-page, two-page, and thumbnail modes; fullscreen mode; page zooming of high-resolution images; and flip page animation.[44][45]

Number of texts for each language

Number of all texts
(December 9, 2019)
Language Number of texts
(November 27, 2015)
English 6,553,945[notes 31]
French 358,721[notes 32]
German 344,810[notes 33]
Spanish 134,170[notes 34]
Chinese 84,147[notes 35]
Arabic 66,786[notes 36]
Dutch 30,237[notes 37]
Portuguese 25,938[notes 38]
Russian 22,731[notes 39]
Urdu 14,978[notes 40]
Japanese 14,795[notes 41]

Number of texts for each decade

XIX century
Decade Number of texts
(November 27, 2015)
1800s 39,842[notes 42]
1810s 51,151[notes 43]
1820s 79,476[notes 44]
1830s 105,021[notes 45]
1840s 127,649[notes 46]
1850s 180,950[notes 47]
1860s 210,574[notes 48]
1870s 214,505[notes 49]
1880s 285,984[notes 50]
1890s 370,726[notes 51]
XX century
Decade Number of texts
(November 27, 2015)
1900s 504,000[notes 52]
1910s 455,539[notes 53]
1920s 185,876[notes 54]
1930s 70,190[notes 55]
1940s 85,062[notes 56]
1950s 81,192[notes 57]
1960s 125,977[notes 58]
1970s 206,870[notes 59]
1980s 181,129[notes 60]
1990s 272,848[notes 61]
XXI century
Decade Number of texts
(November 27, 2015)
2000s 579,905[notes 62]
2010s 855,253[notes 63]

Open Library

The Open Library is another project of the Internet Archive. The wiki seeks to include a web page for every book ever published: it holds 25 million catalog records of editions. It also seeks to be a web-accessible public library: it contains the full texts of approximately 1,600,000 public domain books (out of the more than five million from the main texts collection), as well as in-print and in-copyright books,[47] which are fully readable, downloadable[48][49] and full-text searchable;[50] it offers a two-week loan of e-books in its Books to Borrow lending program for over 647,784 books not in the public domain, in partnership with over 1,000 library partners from 6 countries[39][51] after a free registration on the web site. Open Library is a free and open-source software project, with its source code freely available on GitHub.

The Open Library faces objections from some authors and the Society of Authors, who hold that the project is distributing books without authorization and is thus in violation of copyright laws,[52] and four major publishers initiated a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive in June 2020 to stop the Open Library project.[53]

List of digitizing sponsors for ebooks

As of December 2018, over 50 sponsors helped the Internet Archive provide over 5 million scanned books (text items). Of these, over 2 million were scanned by Internet Archive itself, funded either by itself or by MSN, the University of Toronto or the Internet Archive's founder's Kahle/Austin Foundation.[54]

The collections for scanning centers often include also digitisations sponsored by their partners, for instance the University of Toronto performed scans supported by other Canadian libraries.

Sponsor Main collection Number of texts sponsored[54]
Google [1] 1,302,624
Internet Archive [2] 917,202
Kahle/Austin Foundation 471,376
MSN [3] 420,069
University of Toronto [4] 176,888
U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library 150,984
Wellcome Library 127,701
University of Alberta Libraries [5] 100,511
China-America Digital Academic Library (CADAL) [6] 91,953
Sloan Foundation [7] 83,111
The Library of Congress [8] 79,132
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign [9] 72,269
Princeton Theological Seminary Library 66,442
Boston Library Consortium Member Libraries 59,562
Jisc and Wellcome Library 55,878
Lyrasis members and Sloan Foundation [10] 54,930
Boston Public Library 54,067
Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group 51,884
Getty Research Institute [11] 46,571
Greek Open Technologies Alliance through Google Summer of Code 45,371
University of Ottawa 44,808
BioStor 42,919
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library 37,727
University of Victoria Libraries 37,650
The Newberry Library 37,616
Brigham Young University 33,784
Columbia University Libraries 31,639
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 29,298
Institut national de la recherche agronomique 26,293
Montana State Library 25,372
Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center [12] 24,829
Michael Best 24,825
Bibliotheca Alexandrina 24,555
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Alternates 22,726
Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences 21,468
University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries 20,827
Environmental Data Resources, Inc. 20,259
Public.Resource.Org 20,185
Smithsonian Libraries 19,948
Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society 18,781
NIST Research Library 18,739
Open Knowledge Commons, United States National Library of Medicine 18,091
Biodiversity Heritage Library [13] 17,979
Ontario Council of University Libraries and Member Libraries 17,880
Corporation of the Presiding Bishop, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 16,880
Leo Baeck Institute Archives 16,769
North Carolina Digital Heritage Center [14] 14,355
California State Library, Califa/LSTA Grant 14,149
Duke University Libraries 14,122
The Black Vault 13,765
Buddhist Digital Resource Center 13,460
John Carter Brown Library 12,943
MBL/WHOI Library 11,538
Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ernst Mayr Library [15] 10,196
AFS Intercultural Programs 10,114

In 2017, the MIT Press authorized the Internet Archive to digitize and lend books from the press's backlist,[55] with financial support from the Arcadia Fund.[56][57] A year later, the Internet Archive received further funding from the Arcadia Fund to invite some other university presses to partner with the Internet Archive to digitize books, a project called "Unlocking University Press Books".[58][59]

Media collections

Media reader
Microfilms at the Internet Archive
Videocassettes at the Internet Archive

In addition to web archives, the Internet Archive maintains extensive collections of digital media that are attested by the uploader to be in the public domain in the United States or licensed under a license that allows redistribution, such as Creative Commons licenses. Media are organized into collections by media type (moving images, audio, text, etc.), and into sub-collections by various criteria. Each of the main collections includes a "Community" sub-collection (formerly named "Open Source") where general contributions by the public are stored.

Audio collection

The Audio Archive includes music, audiobooks, news broadcasts, old time radio shows, and a wide variety of other audio files. There are more than 200,000 free digital recordings in the collection. The subcollections include audio books and poetry, podcasts, non-English audio, and many others.[notes 64] The sound collections are curated by B. George, director of the ARChive of Contemporary Music.[60]

The Live Music Archive sub-collection includes more than 170,000 concert recordings from independent musicians, as well as more established artists and musical ensembles with permissive rules about recording their concerts, such as the Grateful Dead, and more recently, The Smashing Pumpkins. Also, Jordan Zevon has allowed the Internet Archive to host a definitive collection of his father Warren Zevon's concert recordings. The Zevon collection ranges from 1976 to 2001 and contains 126 concerts including 1,137 songs.[61]

The Great 78 Project aims to digitize 250,000 78 rpm singles (500,000 songs) from the period between 1880 and 1960, donated by various collectors and institutions. It has been developed in collaboration with the Archive of Contemporary Music and George Blood Audio, responsible for the audio digitization.[60]

Brooklyn Museum

This collection contains approximately 3,000 items from Brooklyn Museum.[notes 65]

Images collection

This collection contains more than 3.5 million items.[62] Cover Art Archive, Metropolitan Museum of Art - Gallery Images, NASA Images, Occupy Wall Street Flickr Archive, and USGS Maps and are some sub-collections of Image collection.

The Cover Art Archive is a joint project between the Internet Archive and MusicBrainz, whose goal is to make cover art images on the Internet. This collection contains more than 330,000 items.[notes 66]

The images of this collection are from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This collection contains more than 140,000 items.[notes 67]

The NASA Images archive was created through a Space Act Agreement between the Internet Archive and NASA to bring public access to NASA's image, video, and audio collections in a single, searchable resource. The IA NASA Images team worked closely with all of the NASA centers to keep adding to the ever-growing collection.[63] The site launched in July 2008 and had more than 100,000 items online at the end of its hosting in 2012.

This collection contains creative commons licensed photographs from Flickr related to the Occupy Wall Street movement. This collection contains more than 15,000 items.[notes 68]

This collection contains more than 59,000 items from Libre Map Project.[notes 69]

Machinima archive

One of the sub-collections of the Internet Archive's Video Archive is the Machinima Archive. This small section hosts many Machinima videos. Machinima is a digital artform in which computer games, game engines, or software engines are used in a sandbox-like mode to create motion pictures, recreate plays, or even publish presentations or keynotes. The archive collects a range of Machinima films from internet publishers such as Rooster Teeth and as well as independent producers. The sub-collection is a collaborative effort among the Internet Archive, the How They Got Game research project at Stanford University, the Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences, and[notes 70]

Mathematics – Hamid Naderi Yeganeh

This collection contains mathematical images created by mathematical artist Hamid Naderi Yeganeh.[notes 71]

Microfilm collection

This collection contains approximately 160,000 items from a variety of libraries including the University of Chicago Libraries, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Alberta, Allen County Public Library, and the National Technical Information Service.[notes 72][notes 73]

Moving image collection

The Internet Archive holds a collection of approximately 3,863 feature films.[notes 74] Additionally, the Internet Archive's Moving Image collection includes: newsreels, classic cartoons, pro- and anti-war propaganda, The Video Cellar Collection, Skip Elsheimer's "A.V. Geeks" collection, early television, and ephemeral material from Prelinger Archives, such as advertising, educational, and industrial films, as well as amateur and home movie collections.

Subcategories of this collection include:

  • IA's Brick Films collection, which contains stop-motion animation filmed with Lego bricks, some of which are "remakes" of feature films.
  • IA's Election 2004 collection, a non-partisan public resource for sharing video materials related to the 2004 United States presidential election.
  • IA's FedFlix collection, Joint Venture NTIS-1832 between the National Technical Information Service and Public.Resource.Org that features "the best movies of the United States Government, from training films to history, from our national parks to the U.S. Fire Academy and the Postal Inspectors"[notes 75]
  • IA's Independent News collection, which includes sub-collections such as the Internet Archive's World At War competition from 2001, in which contestants created short films demonstrating "why access to history matters". Among their most-downloaded video files are eyewitness recordings of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
  • IA's September 11 Television Archive, which contains archival footage from the world's major television networks of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as they unfolded on live television.[notes 76]


The Archive has a collection of freely distributable music that is streamed and available for download via its Netlabels service. The music in this collection generally has Creative Commons-license catalogs of virtual record labels.[notes 77][64]

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources is a digital collection at This collection contains hundreds of free courses, video lectures, and supplemental materials from universities in the United States and China. The contributors of this collection are ArsDigita University, Hewlett Foundation, MIT, Monterey Institute, and Naropa University.[notes 78]

TV News Search & Borrow

TV tuners at the Internet Archive

In September 2012, the Internet Archive launched the TV News Search & Borrow service for searching U.S. national news programs.[notes 79] The service is built on closed captioning transcripts and allows users to search and stream 30-second video clips. Upon launch, the service contained "350,000 news programs collected over 3 years from national U.S. networks and stations in San Francisco and Washington D.C."[65] According to Kahle, the service was inspired by the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, a similar library of televised network news programs.[66] In contrast to Vanderbilt, which limits access to streaming video to individuals associated with subscribing colleges and universities, the TV News Search & Borrow allows open access to its streaming video clips. In 2013, the Archive received an additional donation of "approximately 40,000 well-organized tapes" from the estate of a Philadelphia woman, Marion Stokes. Stokes "had recorded more than 35 years of TV news in Philadelphia and Boston with her VHS and Betamax machines."[67]

Other services and endeavors

Physical media

A vintage wall intercom, an example of another "archived" item

Voicing a strong reaction to the idea of books simply being thrown away, and inspired by the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Kahle now envisions collecting one copy of every book ever published. "We're not going to get there, but that's our goal", he said. Alongside the books, Kahle plans to store the Internet Archive's old servers, which were replaced in 2010.[68]


The Internet Archive has "the largest collection of historical software online in the world", spanning 50 years of computer history in terabytes of computer magazines and journals, books, shareware discs, FTP web sites, video games, etc. The Internet Archive has created an archive of what it describes as "vintage software", as a way to preserve them.[notes 80] The project advocated for an exemption from the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act to permit them to bypass copy protection, which was approved in 2003 for a period of three years.[notes 81] The Archive does not offer the software for download, as the exemption is solely "for the purpose of preservation or archival reproduction of published digital works by a library or archive."[69] The exemption was renewed in 2006, and in 2009 was indefinitely extended pending further rulemakings.[70] The Library reiterated the exemption as a "Final Rule" with no expiration date in 2010.[71] In 2013, the Internet Archive began to provide abandonware video games browser-playable via MESS, for instance the Atari 2600 game E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.[72] Since December 23, 2014, the Internet Archive presents, via a browser-based DOSBox emulation, thousands of DOS/PC games[73][74][notes 82][75] for "scholarship and research purposes only".[notes 83][76][77]

Table Top Scribe System

A combined hardware software system has been developed that performs a safe method of digitizing content.[notes 84][78]

Credit Union

From 2012 to November 2015, the Internet Archive operated the Internet Archive Federal Credit Union, a federal credit union based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with the goal of providing access to low- and middle-income people. Throughout its short existence, the IAFCU experienced significant conflicts with the National Credit Union Administration, which severely limited the IAFCU's loan portfolio and concerns over serving Bitcoin firms. At the time of its dissolution, it consisted of 395 members and was worth $2.5 million.[79][80]

Controversies and legal disputes

The main hall of the current headquarters

Grateful Dead

In November 2005, free downloads of Grateful Dead concerts were removed from the site. John Perry Barlow identified Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann as the instigators of the change, according to an article in The New York Times.[81] Phil Lesh commented on the change in a November 30, 2005, posting to his personal web site:

It was brought to my attention that all of the Grateful Dead shows were taken down from right before Thanksgiving. I was not part of this decision making process and was not notified that the shows were to be pulled. I do feel that the music is the Grateful Dead's legacy and I hope that one way or another all of it is available for those who want it.[82]

A November 30 forum post from Brewster Kahle summarized what appeared to be the compromise reached among the band members. Audience recordings could be downloaded or streamed, but soundboard recordings were to be available for streaming only. Concerts have since been re-added.[notes 85]

National security letters

A national security letter issued to the Internet Archive demanding information about a user

On May 8, 2008, it was revealed that the Internet Archive had successfully challenged an FBI national security letter asking for logs on an undisclosed user.[83][84]

On November 28, 2016, it was revealed that a second FBI national security letter had been successfully challenged that had been asking for logs on another undisclosed user.[85]

Opposition to SOPA and PIPA bills

The Internet Archive blacked out its web site for 12 hours on January 18, 2012, in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act bills, two pieces of legislation in the United States Congress that they claimed would "negatively affect the ecosystem of web publishing that led to the emergence of the Internet Archive". This occurred in conjunction with the English Wikipedia blackout, as well as numerous other protests across the Internet.[86]

Opposition to Google Books settlement

The Internet Archive is a member of the Open Book Alliance, which has been among the most outspoken critics of the Google Book Settlement. The Archive advocates an alternative digital library project.[87]

Nintendo Power magazine

In February 2016, Internet Archive users had begun archiving digital copies of Nintendo Power, Nintendo's official magazine for their games and products, which ran from 1988 to 2012. The first 140 issues had been collected, before Nintendo had the archive removed on August 8, 2016. In response to the take-down, Nintendo told gaming website Polygon, "[Nintendo] must protect our own characters, trademarks and other content. The unapproved use of Nintendo's intellectual property can weaken our ability to protect and preserve it, or to possibly use it for new projects".[88]

Government of India

In August 2017, the Department of Telecommunications of the Government of India blocked the Internet Archive along with other file-sharing websites, in accordance with two court orders issued by the Madras High Court,[89] citing piracy concerns after copies of two Bollywood films were allegedly shared via the service.[90] The HTTP version of the Archive was blocked but it remained accessible using the HTTPS protocol.[89]


On October 9, 2016, the Internet Archive was temporarily blocked in Turkey after it was used (amongst other file hoster) by hackers to host 17 GB of leaked government emails.[91][92]

National Emergency Library

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which closed many schools, universities, and libraries, the Archive announced on March 24, 2020 that it was creating the National Emergency Library by removing the lending restrictions it had in place for 1.4 million digitized books in its Open Library but otherwise limiting users to the number of books they could check out and enforcing their return; normally, the site would only allow one digital lending for each physical copy of the book they had, by use of an encrypted file that would become unusable after the lending period was completed. This Library would remain as such until at least June 30, 2020 or until the US national emergency was over, whichever came later.[93] At launch, the Internet Archive allowed authors and rightholders to submit opt-out requests for their works to be omitted from the National Emergency Library.[94][95][96]

The Internet Archive said the National Emergency Library addressed an "unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research material" due to the closures of physical libraries worldwide.[97] They justified the move in a number of ways. Legally, they said they were promoting access to those inaccessible resources, which they claimed was an exercise in Fair Use principles. The Archive continued implementing their Controlled Digital Lending policy that predated the National Emergency Library, meaning they still encrypted the lent copies and it was no easier for users to create new copies of the books than before. An ultimate determination of whether or not the National Emergency Library constituted Fair Use could only be made by a court. Morally, they also pointed out that the Internet Archive was a registered library like any other, that they either paid for the books themselves or received them as donations, and that lending through libraries predated copyright restrictions.[94][98]

However, the Archive had already been criticized by authors and publishers for its prior lending approach, and upon announcement of the National Emergency Library, authors, publishers, and groups representing both took further issue, equating the move to copyright infringement and digital piracy, and using the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to push the boundaries of copyright (see also: Open Library § Copyright violation accusations).[99][100][101] After the works of some of these authors were ridiculed in responses, the Internet Archive's Jason Scott requested that supporters of the National Emergency Library not denigrate anyone's books: "I realize there's strong debate and disagreement here, but books are life-giving and life-changing and these writers made them."[102]

The operation of the National Emergency Library is part of the lawsuit filed against the Open Library project by four major book publishers in June 2020, challenging the copyright validity of the program.[53] In response, the Internet Archive closed the National Emergency Library on June 16, 2020, rather than the planned June 30, 2020, due to the lawsuit.[103][104] The plaintiffs claimed in their lawsuit that the Internet Archive's actions constituted a "willful mass copyright infringement". Additionally, Senator Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), chairman of the intellectual property subcommittee on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a letter to the Internet Archive that he was "concerned that the Internet Archive thinks that it — not Congress — gets to determine the scope of copyright law".[105] The lawsuit trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in November 2021.[106]

Ceramic archivists collection

Ceramic figures of Internet Archive employees

The Great Room of the Internet Archive features a collection of more than 100 ceramic figures representing employees of the Internet Archive. This collection, inspired by the statues of the Xian warriors in China, was commissioned by Brewster Kahle, sculpted by Nuala Creed, and is ongoing.[107]

Artists in residence

The Internet Archive visual arts residency,[108] organized by Amir Saber Esfahani, is designed to connect emerging and mid-career artists with the Archive's millions of collections and to show what is possible when open access to information intersects with the arts. During this one-year residency, selected artists develop a body of work that responds to and utilizes the Archive's collections in their own practice.[109]

2019 Residency Artists: Caleb Duarte, Whitney Lynn, and Jeffrey Alan Scudder.

2018 Residency Artists: Mieke Marple, Chris Sollars, and Taravat Talepasand.

2017 Residency Artists: Laura Kim, Jeremiah Jenkins, and Jenny Odell

See also