Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine is a digital archive of
the World Wide Web and other information on the Internet created by the Internet Archive,
a non-profit organization, based in San Francisco, California. It was set up by Brewster Kahle and Bruce
Gilliat, and is maintained with content from Alexa Internet. The service enables users to see archived
versions of web pages across time, which the Archive calls a “three dimensional index.” The name Wayback Machine was chosen as a droll
reference to a plot device in an animated cartoon series, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. In one of that animated cartoon’s component
segments, Peabody’s Improbable History, lead characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman routinely
used a time machine called the “WABAC machine” to witness, participate in, and, more often
than not, alter famous events in history. Origins, growth and storage
In 1996 Brewster Kahle, with Bruce Gilliat, developed software to crawl and download all
publicly accessible World Wide Web pages, the Gopher hierarchy, the Netnews bulletin
board system, and downloadable software. The information collected by these “crawlers”
does not include all the information available on the Internet, since much of the data is
restricted by the publisher or stored in databases that are not accessible. These “crawlers” also respect the robots exclusion
standard for websites whose owners opt for them not to appear in search results or be
cached. To overcome inconsistencies in partially cached
websites, Archive-It.org was developed in 2005 by the Internet Archive as a means of
allowing institutions and content creators to voluntarily harvest and preserve collections
of digital content, and create digital archives. Information had been kept on digital tape
for five years, with Kahle occasionally allowing researchers and scientists to tap into the
clunky database. When the archive reached its fifth anniversary,
it was unveiled and opened to the public in a ceremony at the University of California-Berkeley. Snapshots usually become available more than
6 months after they are archived or in some cases even later, 24 months or longer. The frequency of snapshots is variable, so
not all tracked web site updates are recorded. There are sometimes intervals of several weeks
or years between snapshots. After August 2008 sites had to be listed on
the Open Directory in order to be included. According to Jeff Kaplan of the Internet Archive
in November 2010, other sites were still being archived, but more recent captures would only
become visible after the next major indexing, an infrequent operation. As of 2009 the Wayback Machine contained approximately
three petabytes of data and was growing at a rate of 100 terabytes each month; the growth
rate reported in 2003 was 12 terabytes/month. The data is stored on PetaBox rack systems
manufactured by Capricorn Technologies. In 2009 the Internet Archive migrated its
customized storage architecture to Sun Open Storage, and hosts a new data center in a
Sun Modular Datacenter on Sun Microsystems’ California campus. In 2011 a new, improved version of the Wayback
Machine, with an updated interface and fresher index of archived content, was made available
for public testing. In March 2011 it was said on the Wayback Machine
forum that “The Beta of the new Wayback Machine has a more complete and up-to-date index of
all crawled materials into 2010, and will continue to be updated regularly. The index driving the classic Wayback Machine
only has a little bit of material past 2008, and no further index updates are planned,
as it will be phased out this year.” In January 2013 the company announced a ground-breaking
milestone of 240 billion URLs. In October 2013 the company announced “Save
a Page” feature which allows any user to instantly upload and publish any webpage or a binary
file. This became a threat of abuse the service
for hosting malicious binaries. Use in legal evidence
Civil litigation Netbula LLC v. Chordiant Software Inc. In a 2009 case Netbula, LLC v. Chordiant Software
Inc., defendant Chordiant filed a motion to compel Netbula to disable the robots.txt file
on its web site that was causing the Wayback Machine to retroactively remove access to
previous versions of pages it had archived from Nebula’s site, pages which Chordiant
believed would support its case. Netbula objected to the motion on the ground
that defendants were asking to alter Netbula’s web site and that they should have subpoenaed
Internet Archive for the pages directly. However, an employee of Internet Archive filed
a sworn statement supporting Chordiant’s motion, stating that it could not produce the web
pages by any other means “without considerable burden, expense and disruption to its operations.” Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd in the Northern
District of California, San Jose Division, rejected Netbula’s arguments and ordered them
to temporarily disable the robots.txt blockage in order to allow Chordiant to retrieve the
archived pages that they sought. Telewizja Polska
In an October 2004 case, Telewizja Polska USA, Inc. v. Echostar Satellite, No. 02 C
3293, 65 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 673, a litigant attempted to use the Wayback
Machine archives as a source of admissible evidence, perhaps for the first time. Telewizja Polska is the provider of TVP Polonia
and EchoStar operates the Dish Network. Prior to the trial proceedings, EchoStar indicated
that it intended to offer Wayback Machine snapshots as proof of the past content of
Telewizja Polska’s website. Telewizja Polska brought a motion in limine
to suppress the snapshots on the grounds of hearsay and unauthenticated source, but Magistrate
Judge Arlander Keys rejected Telewizja Polska’s assertion of hearsay and denied TVP’s motion
in limine to exclude the evidence at trial. However, at the actual trial, district Court
Judge Ronald Guzman, the trial judge, overruled Magistrate Keys’ findings, and held that neither
the affidavit of the Internet Archive employee nor the underlying pages were admissible as
evidence. Judge Guzman reasoned that the employee’s
affidavit contained both hearsay and inconclusive supporting statements, and the purported webpage
printouts themselves were not self-authenticating. Patent law The United States patent office and the European
Patent Office, provided some additional requirements are met, will accept date stamps from the
Internet Archive as evidence of when a given Web page was accessible to the public. These dates are used to determine if a Web
page is available as prior art for instance in examining a patent application. Limitations of utility
There are technical limitations to archiving a website, and as a consequence, it is possible
for opposing parties in litigation to misuse the results provided by website archives. This problem can be exacerbated by the practice
of submitting screen shots of web pages in complaints, answers or expert witness reports,
when the underlying links are not exposed and therefore can contain errors. For example, archives like the Wayback Machine
do not fill out forms and therefore do not include the contents of non-RESTful e-commerce
databases in their archives. Legal status
In Europe the Wayback Machine could be interpreted to violate copyright laws. Only the content creator can decide where
their content is published or duplicated, so the Archive would have to delete pages
from its system upon request of the creator. The exclusion policies for the Wayback Machine
can be found in the FAQ section of the site. The Wayback Machine also retroactively respects
robots.txt files, i.e., pages which are currently blocked to robots on the live web will be
made temporarily unavailable from the archives as well. Archived content legal issues
A number of cases have been brought against the Internet Archive specifically for its
Wayback Machine archiving efforts. Scientology In late 2002, the Internet Archive removed
various sites critical of Scientology from the Wayback Machine. The error message stated that this was in
response to a “request by the site owner.” It was later clarified that lawyers from the
Church of Scientology had demanded the removal and that the actual site owners did not want
their material removed. Healthcare Advocates, Inc. In 2003, Harding Earley Follmer & Frailey
defended a client from a trademark dispute using the Archive’s Wayback Machine. The lawyers were able to show that the plaintiff’s
claims were invalid based on the content of their web site from several years prior. The plaintiff, Healthcare Advocates, then
amended their complaint to include the Internet Archive, accusing the organization of copyright
infringement as well as violations of the DMCA and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Healthcare Advocates claimed that, since they
had installed a robots.txt file on their website, even if after the initial lawsuit was filed,
the Archive should have removed all previous copies of the plaintiff website from the Wayback
Machine. The lawsuit was settled out of court. Robots.txt is used as part of the Robots Exclusion
Standard, a voluntary protocol the Internet Archive respects that disallows bots from
indexing certain pages delineated by the creator as off-limits. As a result, the Internet Archive has rendered
unavailable a number of websites that are now inaccessible through the Wayback Machine. Currently, the Internet Archive applies robots.txt
rules retroactively; if a site blocks the Internet Archive, like Healthcare Advocates,
any previously archived pages from the domain are also rendered unavailable. In cases of blocked sites, only the robots.txt
file is archived. However, the Internet Archive also states,
“Sometimes a web site owner will contact us directly and ask us to stop crawling or archiving
a site. We comply with these requests.” In addition, the website says: “The Internet
Archive is not interested in preserving or offering access to Web sites or other Internet
documents of persons who do not want their materials in the collection.” Suzanne Shell
On December 12, 2005, activist Suzanne Shell demanded Internet Archive pay her US$100,000
for archiving her website profane-justice.org between 1999 and 2004. Internet Archive filed a declaratory judgment
action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on
January 20, 2006, seeking a judicial determination that Internet Archive did not violate Shell’s
copyright. Shell responded and brought a countersuit
against Internet Archive for archiving her site, which she alleges is in violation of
her terms of service. On February 13, 2007, a judge for the United
States District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed all counterclaims except
breach of contract. The Internet Archive did not move to dismiss
copyright infringement claims Shell asserted arising out of its copying activities, which
will also go forward. On April 25, 2007, Internet Archive and Suzanne
Shell jointly announced the settlement of their lawsuit. The Internet Archive said, “Internet Archive
has no interest in including materials in the Wayback Machine of persons who do not
wish to have their Web content archived. We recognize that Ms. Shell has a valid and
enforceable copyright in her Web site and we regret that the inclusion of her Web site
in the Wayback Machine resulted in this litigation. We are happy to have this case behind us.” Shell said, “I respect the historical value
of Internet Archive’s goal. I never intended to interfere with that goal
nor cause it any harm.” Search engine links
In 2005, Yahoo! Search began to provide links to other versions
of pages archived on the Wayback Machine. See also
Heritrix Memory hole
Web archiving WebCite References External links
Official website Official mirror of the Wayback Machine at
the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

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