The shock waves from November 8 continue to reverberate, but we’re not going to dwell on that here.
Well, maybe just a little. You see, an announcement was made last week that was indicative of the disquieting new world we’ve entered.
The Internet Archive is a kind of central internet library, a nonprofit that makes the digitized collections of libraries—including the Library of Congress, major university libraries, and even international libraries—available to anyone. It’s astonishing what you can find there, including precious historic documents and downloadable scanned copies of books that have been sitting forgotten and out of print since the turn of the last century. A quick perusal of the Archive’s home page reveals some impressive collections full of rarities. The Archive is also particularly well known for its Wayback Machine, which has been preserving web pages through the decades.
But in this new political climate, the folks at the Archive are seriously worried about the growing possibility of government control of the internet in the U.S. For that reason, they are now going to make a copy of the entire archive and house it safely in Canada. It’s going to cost a lot of money—they are asking for donations—but they feel that it is what must be done to keep the archive intact and protected. Founder Brewster Kahle says that “this 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.”
Those of us in publishing—and that includes agents, authors, editors, publishers, the works—all stand to be affected by recent events.
Perhaps naively, I always thought we were fairly safe from censorship in this country. First Amendment and all–right?
That might be changing.