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Is the Wayback Machine down? Internet Archive suffers mysterious outages

Treasure trove of altered or deleted websites brought offline after power cut as it fights legal appeal against decision which forced the removal of 500,000 books

The Wayback Machine, a time capsule of old, altered or deleted webpages, has been hit by outages as its owner fights a critical legal case over a copyright ruling that forced it to remove 500,000 books from its online library.

The service works as an eternal record of embarrassing mistakes or information many would rather forget. It is used by journalists and researchers to dig up content that companies or individuals removed from their pages or social feeds.

Over seventeen hours ago, users reported an outage on the website. The Internet Archive, which own operates The Wayback Machine, wrote a message on X which said saying that its services were "wobbly" due to a power outage at a datacenter.

It later announced that both sites were up, "except for a couple of nodes", although they were still down in the UK this morning at the time of publication, showing an error message upon loading.

It seems that these outages have been ongoing A few days ago, frequent users claimed to have seen a HTTP 302 response at crawl time error when trying to load pages they had saved.

The Internet Archive is currently embroiled in a legal case against four publishers. Last year, a New York court found the platform guilty of committing copyright infringement, ruling that it could not scan books and lend them out.

It has now removed half a million books from its lending library following the publishers' lawsuit, which it is currently appealing. A judgement on the appeal is likely to be issued later this year.

The ongoing case has left many supporters concerned about the future of the Internet Archive and Wayback Machine.

"It’s incredible that such a critical service to the Internet, like history books for humans, is not backed by all states and companies," wrote tabulaltouch, a contributor to a Hacker News thread on the outages.

"Without and WayBack machine we are at the mercy of disappearing servers, domains, intentional removals… that’s what is happening. It is like burning books," they added.

Earlier this year, the Internet Archive suffered a DDoS attack, which had led to an outage on all its services.

See also: ‘Evil’ botnet unleashes ‘record-breaking’ DDoS attack