Author archives

Andy Oram's homepage. Andy Oram: - Three Decades of Computing, Communities, and Critiques. This memoir can be downloaded as a PDF. It’s commonly understood that computers, data, and the Internet did much to create the world of 2020 in which I am currently writing. These human contraptions resulted from engineering, financial, and ethical decisions made over many decades. Few people knew about these decisions at the time, and fewer remembered them later—but an understanding of the options available and the choices ultimately made can help us understand where we stand in our own time. This is a memoir of 28 years spent in the computer field at the company known first as O’Reilly & Associates, then O’Reilly Media. I chronicled and often debated the decisions being made by programmers and their managers over those critical years, and I want the public to understand this history.

Fenced-off culture, the privatized Internet, and why book publishers lean on a 30-year-old doctrine

The Internet Archive (IA) “is a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies & music, as well as 624 billion archived web pages.” The IA offers users unrestricted access to its expansive ecosystem of knowledge and educational resources from the public domain. Andy Oram, prolific author, editor, publisher, and technical expert on all aspects of computing, undertook an extensive examination of a game changing case, Hachette v. Internet Archive, that may dismantle this unique, invaluable digital library. In this article Oram examines what the publishers are trying to protect and why they have to wield a large and heavy cudgel to protect it. His inquiry leads to a look at how culture has been privatized as it has become digitized—an effect quite opposed to the hopes of most public advocates who maintain the view that the Internet and the World Wide Web should remain focused on public access, not private sector monetization.

Subjects: Archives, Congress, Copyright, E-Books, Internet Resources, KM, Legal Research, Legislative, Libraries & Librarians, Publishing & Publishers (Legal), Search Engines, United States Law, Virtual Library