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Archive.org donations are currently matched by a generous supporter 2-to-1 (archive.org)
494 points by aw3c2 on Dec 13, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 74 comments

I like archive.org. I've mirrored thousands and thousands of their math/science ebooks into my apocalypse drive right next to the copy of wikipedia/wiktionary/wikispecies/etc and every binary/src package for the two distros I enjoy the most.

>> into my apocalypse drive

I've often thought of what humanity would due given an apocalyptic scenario, and individually what I would do. I've never thought about creating an apocalypse drive, but am now considering making one! I'd be curious to see/ compare peoples full apocalypse drive.

Mine so far is the ebooks/wikis/distros/every console video game + emulators. And I'm barely at like 750 gigs.

In theory I'm sitting on most of humanities basic hard knowledge and every significant piece of Linux source code. If for example a solar flare took down the grid for a couple years I could help setup local communication networks with solar and low power computers with long range wifi with web/ftp/irc/etc servers pretty easily.

Just curious: what are the two distros?

Arch and Ubuntu. I'm a long time Ubuntu user and fell in love with Arch the last few years. I'd only be running Arch if I had a little more free time. I just split my system this year into two computers. For the last 3.5 years I've been running Arch as my base system to manage VMs and the storage fabric with my primary desktop being an Ubuntu VM instance with GPU passthrough for accelerated graphics. The setup was pretty slick, my desktop could see a single raw drive for example that was actually a well managed NVME cache accelerated triple layer encrypted mirrored logical volume.

Can anyone explain to me how Archive.org is exempt from DMCA? For example you can download a lot of copyrighted old console ROMs from them. Not abandonware. How come no one goes after Archive.org? I mean TPB founders went to jail even tho they don't even host anything. How is Archive.org different?

I'm not a lawyer or an expert, but looking at the Wikipedia page for the DMCA [0] there appears to be protection for retro games:

"An exemption was made for 'Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access.'"

EDIT: Actually archive.org posted an article about exactly this [1]

[0]: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright...

[1]: https://archive.org/about/dmca.php

The thing about DMCA anticircumvention exemptions is that they don't last: they have to be constantly renewed, and the one you mention has in fact lapsed.

Plus, they only get you out of the "anticircumvention" provisions, not regular old copyright law or the more familiar DMCA notice-and-takedown procedure. In other words an exemption may allow you to legally remove or break DRM or other copy protection, but it doesn't give you any rights to make copies or display works.

As best I can tell, they seem to be operating on a "see what we can get away with" model, which appears to be working out pretty well for them.

This was discussed here extensively a few months ago.

I think Archive Team (a separate effort that utilizes and contributes to the Internet Archive) downloads stuff but doesn't always make it conveniently available online. This is a neat hack around the DMCA (and hosts that are beholden to it) because copyright holders are less likely to file a takedown than they would if the web pages were restored in their original format (same to a lesser extent with Wayback Machine) but requires some effort to make use of the data. https://archiveteam.org/index.php?title=Frequently_Asked_Que...

Maybe in the distant future there will be a Geocities Museum that has all Geocities pages because enough generations have passed that putting Geocities sites online by default isn't a privacy concern.

The publishers of these games might not be terribly into making trouble.

Copyrighted music and video however (stuff that MPAA is interested in) is not available online, and you actually have to go to the physical Archive in SF to access them. In that sense it works kind of like a library.

I mean we are talking about Sony and Nintendo here. You can download the full PS1 and PS2 catalog. Or N64 and Gamecube. I just don't understand how is that possible when Nintendo goes after every single ROM site

I don't know :) But I do have one of their "GAME NOT OVER" shirts from when they launched emulation of old games in the browser. Played Prince of Persia in Firefox with Brewster Kahle :)

It's a library. They explicitly define themselves as a library.

It's a really awesome place to visit if you ever get the chance!

Just a wild guess, but in those cases, "nonprofit" means a lot. There are often different copyright laws for nonprofits.

I just wish they wouldn't partner with orgs who restrict the downloading of material, it doesn't feel like the spirit of archive.org there are other places for content providers who want to be neurotic.

can you elaborate on those orgs? any story to read?

I am not the op, but maybe s/he is referring to the fact that you can rent drm'd ebooks. It was quite jarring when I discovered this, but I was able to get hold of a rare out of print book.

Apparently it's about these: https://archive.org/details/last20 (only 60 books)

Article with rationale: https://blog.archive.org/2018/01/24/digital-books-on-archive...

That sound pretty awesome to be honest.

> The digital protection allows books to be lent via downloads that disappear (or become inaccessible) when the loan period ends (e.g. two weeks). For users who prefer to read their ebooks directly in a browser, the same thing happens. The book becomes inaccessible at the end of the loan period, and the next reader in line has a chance to borrow it.

That's just how it works in a "normal" library so why would it be any different? Sure, DRM is bad and all that but if they would just give books out for free indefinitely it wouldn't be considered a library where you have access to a certain number of titles for a period of time.

It's either these books not being available for online lending at all or within the same constrains as a "real" library just easy and online. What's bad about that?

> That's just how it works in a "normal" library so why would it be any different?

Because these are not physical books. You can give access to them to as many people as you want at the same time.

That not unlimited people can rent the same title at the same time is probably a licensing issue (as they only purchases x copies for lending).

The DRM in this case is mostly about the time limit on the rental though. If you would get access to the title indefinitely it would be giving away not renting?

The whole project is about preserving information for current and future generations, so what place does limiting the availability of it have in history? It’s more likely it’ll just be lost due to DRM when no one can figure it out in the future. It’s the digital equivalent of losing the books, though due to someone being more concerned about their pocket book today than for future generations.

Would you prefer that the Internet Archive not make these books available at all? That was likely the alternative possibility.

I assume that the Internet Archive is holding onto the original, DRM-Free master copies. That's a job I trust the Internet Archive with, even if ideally I wish the data was more distributed.

I would actually, because it sets a bar that if you’d like your book to be preserved then you need to make a choice, is your book so valuable that it should be free? If not, there’s plenty of other places for DRM books. What they’re doing instead is trying to have it both ways.

They are having it both ways. A non-encrypted copy is preserved digitally within the Internet Archive, and that copy is made available, now, in the only way it legally can be. Once that copyright expires, the Archive can make the content freely available to all, having already been digitized.

In some cases the content doesn't belong to the person restricting it however, they're effectively copyrighting the digital medium, do you think that's right for them to DRM it?

e.g. clearly the authors of these texts aren't around any more: http://blog.archive.org/2018/10/04/worlds-largest-collection...

> In some cases the content doesn't belong to the person restricting it however, they're effectively copyrighting the digital medium, do you think that's right for them to DRM it?

No, I don't think it's right for a separate entity to usurp this kind of authority, but that's not really a battle the Internet Archive can win.

They are doing their best within the restrictions placed on them. If you'd like to lobby for more sane copyright laws, please go ahead, I'll be behind you 100%. That does not negate the good being done by the Internet Archive right now.

It's not copyright law or authority, the Internet Archive can just say no. They can't be forced to take material.

I don't even consider DRM to be "bad" when it's clear that the purchase (or free service?) is rental-only.

I dislike DRM because I don't want to loose access to my content if I switch platforms, or servers go down, or I'm away from internet. If I'm renting something for a couple weeks, none of these problems really apply.

(Yes, you could argue that legally all digital purchases are "rentals", but that's not how most products are portrayed to consumers, and the prices in use are higher than what I expect a rental to cost.)

Yeah, it's standard if annoying for libraries. The alternative is either not making it available at all, or going full scihub and trying to stay ahead of law enforcement pulling your domains.

The legal framework here appears to be quite complex. A bunch of specific detail: https://controlleddigitallending.org/whitepaper

And some notes on Controlled Digital Lending from the Internet Archive that clarify how they want to use the legal framework -- specifically, to connect patrons everywhere with libraries everywhere so if a copy exists which is available for loan, it can be loaned out: https://blog.archive.org/2018/11/13/wasted-a-case-study-for-...

I was going to donate, but now knowing that some of those donations will be used to pay publishers that support DRM, I will not.

The donations are not used to pay publishers.

Rent DRM'd books from whom?

I said rent, I should have used the word borrow.

Note that the donation form is in USD, though it doesn't seem to say so. A bit confusing for those of us in other countries with "$"; the form knew I was in New Zealand.

Canada too. It's one of many Americanizations that we have to tolerate daily online. And if you think it's bad for the Kiwis or Aussies, because Canada is in America we are regularly grouped into "America" or "North America" for things like online store region. Leads to confusions on a regular basis.

A common problem for Australians too.

Thanks for pointing this out! An oversight on our part, we'll get it fixed.

It's a better cause than buying a $500m boat.

What’s the story here?

Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, spent his liquidity event funds on starting the Internet Archive instead of on what some might consider waste.


If you make end-of-the-year donations, giving to Archive.org is an outstanding choice. Brewster and his team are focused on things that mattered in the past, are important now, and will form the structure which supports the future.

I hate to think what will be lost when Twitter goes belly up.

I don't buy into donation matching. I think if those wealthy people and organizations who are matching donations want to donate, they can just go ahead and donate. If they care and have the money and are going to refuse to donate it unless people of limited means donate, I don't want to encourage that behavior. I also want to donate to the cause that I feel is most important for me to support, not to who has the best deal.

Edit: searched for articles about it, found this: https://blog.givewell.org/2011/12/15/why-you-shouldnt-let-do...

It's not about the large donor making a fixed sum donation - they're using the large donor to encourage even more donations with the matching, getting them more money than they otherwise would have in a single lump sum.

It's quite possible that the large donor has said I'll match up to $X even if it takes a while to reach that goal - effectively the same as a lump sum.

Especially if they're able to use this to establish recurring donations or reach out to more potential donors when they're fundraising, it can really pay off down the line.

Other people have said maybe this is a way for the large donor to optimize their donations, but personally I doubt it, there would be limited benefit at best to that, it'd only find the most popular charities, not the most worthy and those numbers are trivial to look up. If I had to guess, this is probably something the charity suggested when they were offered a large donation because they can make more from it in the end.

The large donor may even have donated a lump sum up front and have agreed they can announce it to be used for matching, and then at the end, they can just keep the balance.

I’ve been that donor and done it that way (not archive.org, so no idea if this is their case).

I gave a disproportinately large amount, was asked if I would be willing to do it as matching. I understand the marketing value and am OK with having my donation leveraged, but can’t be bothered with the actual process of matching. So I donated with the legal stipulation it must be used for matching, and then after the matching, they could keep the balance.

Matchers may not know what needs their help the most. If you were a wealthy person and wanted to donate, but weren't sure what a good cause was, you could match what other people donate. Person A and B could come to you, and ask you to match their donations to charity C and D. Without knowing anything more about the people or the charities, matching acts as a proxy for which one is more important. The person who spends more is likely a better use of your money.

From a company point of view, it's advantageous to match. If two employees want the company to donate to their pet charity, then matching is a way to not accidentally play favorites.

> The person who spends more is likely a better use of your money.

I don't buy this, at all. There's so much money being 'donated' to organizations that decline climate change, or lobby against net neutrality, that those who spend more might actually be the worst use of your money.

Not to mention the many cases of abuses within charities, see a random example here https://www.charitywatch.org/ratings-and-metrics/cancer-fund...

It's a way to leverage their money. If by matching up to $1M they can get the group to raise $1.5M, that's better than outright donating that money.

Exactly. Organizations offer matching for the same reason donors like to have their donations matched. Both parties leverage each other.

I just became a recurring monthly donor because of this. It's a good way of raising awareness and making others contribute to the cause.

You're free to pass on this "deal".

Also, what makes you think that the anonymous donor did not throw in some amount unconditionally as well? We don't know that.

All the sibling threads make fine points about why donation matching is helpful, or why you like it, etc.

But to echo and add to parent: "matching" donation campaigns make my "regular" donations feel less valuable.

I've set up monthly donations to a number of organizations I want to support. I set the donations at a level that I feel I can afford. Those same (great, worthy) organizations often send out solicitations for special "double" or "triple" matching promotions. I try not to pay attention, because I've already set up a regular donation for the amount I can afford.

But it makes me feel like I'm doing it wrong. Should I cancel my regular donations and put the money aside waiting for a special promotion on donations? Should I choose recipient organizations based on how good their promos are? Maybe I think org A has 130% of the impact of org B per dollar, but org B has a 3X match while org A only has a 2X match this year, so I should choose org B??

I can't logically fathom that my regular donations really are worth less than "matched" ones, but all the hoopla makes me feel like they are.

You can at least be reassured in the fact that ongoing regular donations allow an organization to better plan long-term future outlays. Matched donations/special promotions are great for funding shorter-term projects, making up for shortfalls in expected donations or building a reserve for future expansion of their mission. Both are valuable to the organization.

I wouldn't worry about it - many of these special offers are basically just the charities trying to leverage big donors into getting more little donors on board. Your donations are just as effective - the matching typically has a limit so it'll only ever reach a certain value.

There are several good reasons to do this. I mean for rich donors.

For example, you may want to donate, but not decide which organisations get donations. You may think that ordinary people should have more power and rich people less, and so your allow small donors to decide your donations for you.

Or you may think that the receiving organisation ought to focus on small donors and its users.

> "If they care and have the money and are going to refuse to donate it unless people of limited means donate, I don't want to encourage that behavior."

People of limited means judge wealthy people and organizations no matter how much they donate. The wealthy also know that there is diminishing efficacy from throwing money at a problem. So therefore linking it to public interest is the compromise.

I think you and others looked at it backwards, where the public interest is tied to the matching and why it shouldn't be.

This has nothing to do with the motivations of the wealthy matcher.

All parties exist together in an ecosystem.

My understanding is most of the time when the donor says they'll match up to $X, they're unlikely to actually give a smaller amount, regardless of the outcome of the drive. It's mostly just a manipulative, but rather effective advertising technique.

I have a couple friends who work in non-profit fundraising, and this is generally what happens. Or someone is already going to donate X amount, and then they use that for 'matching' after working with the donor. The donors usually don't mind, because the end effect is that the non-profit they were already support is even better off.

I don't think it's necessarily bad. It's also a way to donate to a cause many others cared enough to donate. Letting others "vote" but acting to magnify the contribution.

Either way they are donating when they could easily donate nothing.

So, lots of opinions and critics. But: Did you donate? I did :-) And I did it because of the donation matching being done. This way my donation results in 50USD instead of 25USD.

> I don't buy into donation matching.

Think of it not as "donating", but as crowdfunding for an enterprise that both you and other people might care about. If you donation match, you incent others to pitch in for the effort, because they can "leverage" their own donation. And of course, this incentive effect is a kind of leverage from your own POV as well. (There used to be a _formal_ proposal for a 'fully decentralized' form of donation matching as crowdfunding for public goods at https://snowdrift.coop, but I'm not sure if that effort is going anywhere...)

There are different kinds of donation matching. I think the kind that stores do where they advertise it or products that advertise it are doing it for positive publicity (especially if the "charity" they are donating to is just some "BigCorp Foundation" that they themselves set up).

But if it is something like an npr pledge drive where they say "for the next hour all pledges will be matched"or like this then I don't look at it so cynically.

I've had 2 cases where I had already donated, and was asked if the charity could count my donation toward a matching campaign. I.e. I would be in the group that matches new donations. (The charities weren't archive.org)

One had already cashed my check. One hadn't. If that matters.

While the conclusion matches yours, I don't think the article you link supports your argument. I agree with the article in that I dislike the manipulative aspect of donation matching even if it's mild and for a good cause. However, it's not necessarily the case that a wealthy donor is donation matching instead of donating the flat amount to avoid donating more. It could be that a donor who is donation matching up to some amount X only ever intended to donate X, but wants to encourage others to help contribute a total amount of X+Y. If Y is below expectations, the donor can still donate the full X.

Whether this plays out like this in practice is different, and you would likely never hear about it because it would devalue the influence of donation matching if people know the donor will donate the full amount anyway.

> I think if those wealthy people and organizations who are matching donations want to donate, they can just go ahead and donate

Seems like trying to encourage other people to donate to a cause they find worthy is a thing worth doing. It's one thing if they're making the same donation anyway - as the article points out, that's dishonest. But if they do tie the donation to the received donations, how is it a bad thing?

> also want to donate to the cause that I feel is most important for me to support, not to who has the best deal

Of course - that's up to the donator in all cases. You donate to what's important to you. But things like this can move someone from "I keep meaning to donate to them" to "Now's a good time to donate to them".

The Givewell article makes a good case for it being a bad thing. This article goes further into it: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/a2gYyTnAP36TxqdQp/...

"Carl and Denise, who each have a fixed charity budget of $1. Carl and Denise are effective altruists, and want to maximize total utility with their charity budgets.

Charities A creates 3 utils per dollar, and charity B creates 2 utils per dollar. By default, Carl and Denise will each give to charity A, creating 6 utils.

Charity B approaches Carl with the idea that he make a match offer. Carl jumps at the opportunity to cause $2 to be given to charity B, creating 4 utils, one more than he'd have saved before. Denise finds out about the match offer, and switches her donation to charity B, on the same basis. But the total amount of money moved to charity B is not the "doubled" $2+$2=$4, but just $2, resulting in 4 utils. This is less than before!"

Yes, the donors ultimately make the decision in both cases, but the matching complicates it somewhat. The donors aren't being forced, but are only being subtly tricked into making their decision based on illusory matching rather than making it based on which charity they think is best.

The part about coordination matching is interesting: it's pretty much what Snowdrift [1] hopes to achieve at a larger scale. Unfortunately it appears it will always be vapourware, but still...

[1] https://snowdrift.coop

Maybe they want that people realize that the project in question depends on donations. If they just give them a bunch of money, many people won't notice.

I'm often quite cynical but this is really cynical even by my standards. The idea is to use the large, generous donor to encourage many more, much smaller, generous donors to donate. Of course they can just go ahead and donate, but this way the recipient will essentially get 50% more as a result of people who can only donate small amounts.

They're using their money as a force multiplier to maximise effect towards their goals, rather than just using it directly. It's the kind of thing you do almost automatically if you're the kind of person with serious money, because in one form or another it's the only way to make serious money.

>I don't buy into donation matching.

I'm not sure what this means. You don't buy into it as a donor whose donation will be matched? Or as the one doing the match? Or as a charity? What is there to buy into?

>I also want to donate to the cause that I feel is most important for me to support, not to who has the best deal.

I understand the sentiment. I do not, however, see this as any different from an influential person donating and telling the world they donated, in order to raise awareness of an organization/cause. In both cases the goal is to advertise an organization that they think is worthy of donations. And yes, both are manipulative behaviours. As is any kind of persuasion technique. I know many of us don't like the ad industry these days, but persuasion by itself is not immoral, and can be quite positively moral.

>If they care and have the money and are going to refuse to donate it unless people of limited means donate,

If it means that on average the organization gets more donations than without this technique, I'm OK with this aspect of it. At the end of the day, if I like a charity, I want to maximize the amount of money it can receive. If I have $100K and I set up a 1 for 1 matching, and individuals like you and me give a total of $60K, then yes, I gave only $60K and not $100K. That leaves me with $40K to give to some other charity (preferably with a similar deal). The net effect, though, is that the first charity got more money because of my match than if I had just given them $100K. And now another charity will get more money than had I just given $100K.

As a donor (wealthy or otherwise), I've set aside money I intend to donate. Whether I give it all to one organization or split it up across organizations is the same to me. I want to donate to them because I like them. And because I like them I want to maximize how much money they can get.

I really don't see this as any different from me posting on Twitter that I strongly support Archive.org and everyone should support them. Except I may be wealthy and not famous. So I'll use a tactic more appropriate for my situation.

I think your concern may be that poorer donors will now prioritize a matching arrangement for donations than non-matching. Perhaps - I would like to see a study showing it. While I do know people often donate when a match is announced, I've yet to find someone who goes shopping for matching arrangements. I'm sure such people exist, but they are probably in an extreme minority. If archive.org had been a mere 1:1 match, my instinct isn't "Let's see which charity out there has an even better match!" It's "Cool! I like archive.org and should have donated a while ago. Let me just do it now."

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