Controversy And History Inside The Internet Archive


The Internet Archive was launched in 1996 by Brewster Kahle, who also created the Alexa web crawling website. The aim of the non-profit Archive was to build up an extensive library in digital form, and to attempt to both store items permanently and offer free access to the general public.

Internet Archive Headquarters

The headquarters of the Internet Archive is in San Francisco, California, and it has several data centres throughout California, including San Francisco. The Internet Archive is a member of the American Library association.

A Diverse Collection

The Archive contains several million books, which are in the public domain and whole websites. The Archive also contains music, film and still images. Members of the public can both add to the Archive through uploading material, and they can also download existing material free of charge.

Web Pages

In addition to its archiving Internet material and making that material freely available, The Internet Archive also supports a free Internet globally, and one that is open to all. The bulk of the Internet Archive is made up of its pages from the world wide web.

Radio Shows and News Reports

Archived audio on The Internet Archive doesn’t just include recordings of music artists and audio books, but also of old radio shows and news reports – thus underlining The Archive’s importance in saving items of historical significance.

Future Ambitions

The Internet Archive includes collections of digitized books that have been collected from libraries from all over the world. The Archive adds to its book collection by around a thousand books a day, and has scanning centres in several countries. Internet Archive founder Kahle aims to get a copy of every book ever published – a task that even he admits is unrealistic, but it shows that his enthusiasm for The Internet Archive is far from waning.


There have been several controversial issues surrounding the Internet Archive site, most notably regarding American rock band The Grateful Dead in 2005. Several members of the group had concert recordings of the group removed, though another member, Phil Lesh, distanced himself from the action. The Grateful Dead were known for their generous nature, and, after an uproar from many fans, the concerts were made available again. Another case, also in 2005, involved Suzanne Shell, who took The Internet Archive to court as she claimed her site had been archived without her consent. The case was settled amicably.

Internet Archive Removal Policy

The Internet Archive now has a policy of removing all archived material from any website that suddenly decides to block The Archive’s crawlers. Any website owner who wishes their material to be excluded from The Internet Archive can also do so by denying permission.

Blackout Protest

One example of The Internet Archive’s determination to keep the Internet free and open was when it took its site offline for 12 hours early in 2012. This action was in protest against the Stop Online Piracy and PROTECT IP acts, which The Archive claimed would impact negatively on the freedom of The Internet.

Adrian Harrison wrote this post on behalf of Document Options. Visit for services including professional document management in Brighton, Sussex.

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