Mainspring Press Newsletter • June 2020, Part 2 — Major Publishers Sue Internet Archive / New John Bolig Discographies / Phono-Cut 2.0

June 2020, Part 2


Four Major Publishers Sue the Internet Archive
for Mass Copyright Infringement


In Part 1, we reported that American Record Producers and Companies, to which Mainspring Press holds exclusive copyright and publication rights, was recently copied and posted illegally by Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive. It was removed from the site following issuance of a takedown order, with legal action now pending.

And so it was with a great sense of satisfaction this morning that we learned four major publishers — John Wiley & Sons, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Penguin Random House — are suing Internet Archive to recover damages arising from IA having posted scores of allegedly infringed works. (Thanks, Ryan, for the early heads-up on this).

You can read the details and back-story in an excellent report just posted on the National Public Radio site.

Kahle claims that the books IA scans are supplied by public or institutional libraries — but that’s a lie, at least in our case. The copy of ARCP that IA posted illegally was Brewster’s own copy, with his personal bookplate affixed to the fly-leaf, as this screen-shot from the IA site shows:



However, whether IA obtains the books it posts from libraries, or from Mr. Kahle’s living-room, is something of a side-issue. The major issue here is that these books are protected by copyright, the infringement of which is a criminal offense under law. These cases are nearly always a slam-dunk for the infringed party, as will be the case here.

Civil suits to recover monetary damages can be stickier, but can be successfully attacked from several angles, including unfair competition, and infringement of the author’s or publisher’s ownership of exclusive publication rights (an issue distinct from copyright). Nothing makes one’s point quite like a well-landed blow to your opponent’s bank account.

If you are a published author, I urge you to inspect the Internet Archive site ASAP to see if your books have been illegally posted. If you find they have been, file a formal takedown order immediately. You don’t need a lawyer for that, nor do you need to pay for the filing, or for the form itself. There are any number of legitimate websites that provide the basic template and detailed advice on filing and following-up, free of charge (but avoid those that want you to pay).

The DMCA Takedown Order template is a good place to start. Although the template is structured primarily for infringement of online content, it can be easily modified for infringement of printed works.

Here is one of the best free resources if you need to file a takedown order (although sponsored by an attorney, there is no charge for the form, or for the excellent instructions; please note that we have no connection with Ms. Hawkins and are posting this link purely for informational purposes):

Sara F. Hawkins, Attorney at Law


“What Internet Archive is doing is no different than heaving a brick through a grocery store window and handing out the food — and then congratulating itself for providing a public service. It’s not a public service to violate the rights of thousands of hard-working authors, most of whom desperately need the income.”
Douglas Preston (President, The Authors Guild)



Opera Fans, Rejoice: Two New John Bolig
Are on the Way

Any day we’re offered a new John Bolig publication is a day for celebration. On a day when we’re offered two, we’re over-the-moon.

We won’t spoil the surprise by revealing the subject matter just yet, but we can tell you the first drafts are in-house, and you’ll pleased (we certainly are). As with all of our new publications, these will be available for free personal download on the ever-growing Mainspring Press Online Reference Library.




The Phono-Cut Discography, 2.0

I anticipated that some blog followers would supply a few additions to the recently posted Phono-Cut Preliminary Discography, but little did I expect the response would be so overwhelming, and of such high quality.

I’d especially like to thank Robert Coon and Mark McDaniel, who have already taken the time to send us solid discographical data on a substantial number of Phono-Cuts for which we had missing, incomplete, or erroneous data (not too much of the latter, thank goodness, but it happens). Others of you have e-mailed letting us know that your data will soon be on the way. Once that’s all in-house, we’ll begin tackling Version 2 and will get it posted ASAP. Thanks so much to all who are pitching in — you’re the best!


Allan Sutton
Publisher, Mainspring Press