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Wayback Machine

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 nonprofit organization, based in San Francisco, California, United States The Internet Archive launched the Wayback Machine in October 2001 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"

Since 1996, the Wayback Machine has been archiving cached pages of websites onto its large cluster of Linux nodes It revisits sites every few weeks or months and archives a new version Sites can also be captured on the fly by visitors who enter the site's URL into a search box The intent is to capture and archive content that otherwise would be lost whenever a site is changed or closed down The grand vision of the machine's creators is to archive the entire Internet

The name Wayback Machine was chosen as a droll reference to a plot device in an animated cartoon, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show In one of the animated cartoon's component segments, Peabody's Improbable History, lead characters Mr Peabody and Sherman routinely used a time machine called the "WABAC machine" pronounced way-back to witness, participate in, and, more often than not, alter famous events in history


  • 1 History
    • 11 Origins
    • 12 Storage capabilities
    • 13 Growth
  • 2 Use in legal evidence
    • 21 Civil litigation
      • 211 Netbula LLC v Chordiant Software Inc
      • 212 Telewizja Polska
    • 22 Patent law
    • 23 Limitations of utility
  • 3 Legal status
  • 4 Archived content legal issues
    • 41 Scientology
    • 42 Healthcare Advocates, Inc
    • 43 Suzanne Shell
    • 44 Daniel Davydiuk
  • 5 Search engine links
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links



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 Usenet 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-Itorg 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 six months after they are archived or, in some cases, even later; it can take twenty-four months or longer The frequency of snapshots is variable, so not all tracked website updates are recorded Sometimes there are 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 become visible only after the next major indexing, an infrequent operation

Storage capabilities

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 the "Save a Page" feature which allows any Internet user to archive the contents of a URL This became a threat of abuse by the service for hosting malicious binaries

As of December 2014, the Wayback Machine contained almost nine petabytes of data and was growing at a rate of about 20 terabytes each week


Between October 2013 and March 2015 the website's global Alexa rank changed from 162 to 208

Wayback Machine growth
Year Pages archived billion
2005 40
2008 85
2012 150
2013 373
2014 400
2015 452

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 robotstxt file on its website that was causing the Wayback Machine to retroactively remove access to previous versions of pages it had archived from Netbula's site, pages that Chordiant believed would support its case

Netbula objected to the motion on the ground that defendants were asking to alter Netbula's website and that they should have subpoenaed Internet Archive for the pages directly An employee of Internet Archive filed a sworn statement supporting Chordiant's motion, however, 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 disable the robotstxt blockage temporarily 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 ND Ill Oct 15, 2004, 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 At the trial, however, 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 ie, the Telewizja Polska website were admissible as evidence Judge Guzman reasoned that the employee's affidavit contained both hearsay and inconclusive supporting statements, and the purported web page printouts were not self-authenticating

Patent law

Main article: Internet as a source of prior art

Provided some additional requirements are met eg providing an authoritative statement of the archivist, the United States patent office and the European Patent Office 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 such as 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 as violating 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 may be found in the FAQ section of the site The Wayback Machine also retroactively respects robotstxt files, ie, pages that currently are blocked to robots on the live web temporarily will be made 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


See also: Scientology and the Internet

In late 2002, the Internet Archive removed various sites that were critical of Scientology from the Wayback Machine An error message stated that this was in response to a "request by the site owner" Later, it was clarified that lawyers from the Church of Scientology had demanded the removal and that the 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 attorneys were able to demonstrate that the claims made by the plaintiff were invalid, based on the content of their website 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 robotstxt 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

Robotstxt 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 its creator as off-limits As a result, the Internet Archive has rendered unavailable a number of websites that now are inaccessible through the Wayback Machine Currently, the Internet Archive applies robotstxt rules retroactively; if a site blocks the Internet Archive, such as Healthcare Advocates, any previously archived pages from the domain are rendered unavailable as well In cases of blocked sites, only the robotstxt file is archived

The Internet Archive states, however, "Sometimes a website 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

In December 2005, activist Suzanne Shell filed suit demanding Internet Archive pay her US $100,000 for archiving her website profane-justiceorg 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 would also go forward

On April 25, 2007, Internet Archive and Suzanne Shell jointly announced the settlement of their lawsuit The Internet Archive said it "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" 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"

Daniel Davydiuk

In 2013–14 a pornographic actor was trying to remove archived images of himself, first by sending multiple DMCA requests to the Archive and then in the Federal Court of Canada

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
  • WebCite
  • Web archiving


  1. ^ "Archiveorg Site Info" Alexa Internet Archived from the original on 3 August 2016 Retrieved 18 June 2016 
  2. ^ "WayBackMachineorg WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info – DomainTools" WHOIS Retrieved 2016-03-13 
  3. ^ "InternetArchiveorg WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info – DomainTools" WHOIS Retrieved 2016-03-13 
  4. ^ "Internet Archive launches WayBack Machine" Online Burma Library 2001-10-25 Retrieved 2016-03-13 
  5. ^ "The Internet Archive: Building an 'Internet Library'" Internet Archive 2001-11-30 Archived from the original on November 30, 2001 Retrieved 2016-03-14 
  6. ^ "Archiveorg or Wayback Machine" cachedpagesnet Retrieved 2 December 2014 
  7. ^ Green, Heather February 28, 2002 "A Library as Big as the World" BusinessWeek Retrieved 2007-07-29 
  8. ^ TONG, JUDY September 8, 2002 "RESPONSIBLE PARTY – BREWSTER KAHLE; A Library Of the Web, On the Web" New York Times Retrieved 15 August 2011 
  9. ^ Kahle, Brewster "Archiving the Internet" Scientific American – March 1997 Issue Retrieved 19 August 2011 
  10. ^ Cook, John November 1, 2001 "Web site takes you way back in Internet history" Seattle Post-Intelligencer Retrieved 15 August 2011 
  11. ^ "Internet Archive's Wayback Machine" SEJ Retrieved 2016-02-26 
  12. ^ "Internet Archive FAQ" Archiveorg Retrieved 2014-04-16 
  13. ^ Archiveorg forum thread with response by Jeff Kaplan, last update November 07, 2010
  14. ^ Mearian, Lucas March 19, 2009 "Internet Archive to unveil massive Wayback Machine data center" Computerworldcom Retrieved 2009-03-22 
  15. ^ Kanellos, Michael July 29, 2005 "Big storage on the cheap" CNET Newscom Archived from the original on 2007-04-03 Retrieved 2007-07-29 
  16. ^ "Internet Archive and Sun Microsystems Create Living History of the Internet" Sun Microsystems March 25, 2009 Retrieved 2009-03-27 
  17. ^ "Updated Wayback Machine in Beta Testing" Archiveorg Retrieved 19 August 2011 
  18. ^ "Beta Wayback Machine, in forum" Archiveorg Retrieved 2014-04-16 
  19. ^ "Wayback Machine: Now with 240,000,000,000 URLs | Internet Archive Blogs" Blogarchiveorg 2013-01-09 Retrieved 2014-04-16 
  20. ^ Rossi, Alexis 2013-10-25 "Fixing Broken Links on the Internet" archiveorg San Francisco, CA, US: Collections Team, the Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2014-11-07 Retrieved 2015-03-25 We have added the ability to archive a page instantly and get back a permanent URL for that page in the Wayback Machine This service allows anyone – wikipedia editors, scholars, legal professionals, students, or home cooks like me – to create a stable URL to cite, share or bookmark any information they want to still have access to in the future 
  21. ^ The VirusTotal Team 2015-03-25 "207241226190 IP address information" virustotalcom Dublin 2, Ireland: VirusTotal Archived from the original on 2014-07-14 Retrieved 2015-03-25 2015-03-25: Latest URLs hosted in this IP address detected by at least one URL scanner or malicious URL dataset 2/62 2015-03-25 16:14:12 /Renegotiating_TLSpdf 1/62 2015-03-25 04:46:34 /CBLightSetupexe 
  22. ^ Advisory provided by Google 2015-03-25 "Safe Browsing Diagnostic page for archiveorg" googlecom/safebrowsing Mountain View, CA, US: Google Retrieved 2015-03-25 2015-03-25: Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 138 times over the past 90 days What happened when Google visited this site Of the 42410 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 450 pages resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent The last time Google visited this site was on 2015-03-25, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2015-03-25 Malicious software includes 169 trojans, 126 virus, 43 backdoors 
  23. ^ "Internet Archive Frequently Asked Questions" Retrieved 2015-01-17 
  24. ^ "Archiveorg Site Info" Alexa Internet Archived from the original on 2013-10-28 Retrieved 2013-10-29 
  25. ^ "Archiveorg Site Overview" Alexa Internet Archived from the original on 2015-04-09 Retrieved 2015-04-09 
  26. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2005-12-31 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  27. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2006-12-28 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  28. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2007-12-28 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  29. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2008-12-24 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  30. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2009-12-20 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  31. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2010-12-30 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  32. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2011-08-30 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  33. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2012-12-31 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  34. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2013-12-31 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  35. ^ michelle 2014-05-09 "Wayback Machine Hits 400,000,000,000!" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2014-08-26 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  36. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2015-02-13 Retrieved 2015-03-25 
  37. ^ a b c LLoyd, Howard October 2009 "Order to Disable Robotstxt" PDF Retrieved 2009-10-15 
  38. ^ Cortes, Antonio October 2009 "Motion Opposing Removal of Robotstxt" Retrieved 2009-10-15 
  39. ^ Gelman, Lauren November 17, 2004 "Internet Archive's Web Page Snapshots Held Admissible as Evidence" Packets 2 3 Retrieved 2007-01-04 
  40. ^ Howell, Beryl A February 2006 "Proving Web History: How to use the Internet Archive" PDF Journal of Internet Law: 3–9 Retrieved 2008-08-06 
  41. ^ Wynn W Coggins Fall 2002 "Prior Art in the Field of Business Method Patents – When is an Electronic Document a Printed Publication for Prior Art Purposes" USPTO 
  42. ^ "Debunking the Wayback Machine" Archived from the original on 29 June 2010 
  43. ^ German lawyer about the Wayback Machine in a law paper, Journal of Internet Law: JurPC
  44. ^ Bowman, Lisa M September 24, 2002 "Net archive silences Scientology critic" CNET Newscom Archived from the original on 2012-05-15 Retrieved 2007-01-04 
  45. ^ Jeff September 23, 2002 "exclusions from the Wayback Machine" Blog Wayback Machine Forum Internet Archive Retrieved 2007-01-04  Author and Date indicate initiation of forum thread
  46. ^ Miller, Ernest "Sherman, Set the Wayback Machine for Scientology" LawMeme Yale Law School Archived from the original Blog on 16 November 2012 Retrieved 2007-01-04 
  47. ^ Dye, Jessica 2005 "Website Sued for Controversial Trip into Internet Past" EContent 28 11: 8–9 
  48. ^ Bangeman, Eric August 31, 2006 "Internet Archive Settles Suit Over Wayback Machine" Ars technica Retrieved 2007-11-29 
  49. ^ Some sites are not available because of Robotstxt or other exclusions
  50. ^ How can I remove my site's pages from the Wayback Machine
  51. ^ a b Internet Archive v Shell, 505 FSupp2d 755 at justiacom, 1:2006cv01726 Colorado District Court 2006-08-31 “'April 25, 2007 Settlement agreement announced' Filing 65, 2007-04-30: 'therefore ORDERED that this matter shall be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE'”
  52. ^ a b Babcock, Lewis T, Chief Judge 2007-02-13 "Internet Archive v Shell Civil Action No 06cv01726LTBCBS" PDF Archived PDF from the original on 2014-01-25 Retrieved 2015-03-25 1 Internet Archive's motion to dismiss Shell's counterclaim for conversion and civil theft Second Cause of Action is GRANTED, 2 Internet Archive's motion to dismiss Shell's counterclaim for breach of contract Third Cause of Action is DENIED; 3 Internet Archive's motion to dismiss Shell's counterclaim for Racketeering under RICO and COCCA Fourth Cause of Action is GRANTED 
  53. ^ Claburn, Thomas 2007-03-16 "Colorado Woman Sues To Hold Web Crawlers To Contracts" New York, NY, US: InformationWeek, UBM Tech, UBM LLC Archived from the original on 2014-09-04 Retrieved 2015-03-25 Computers can enter into contracts on behalf of people The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act UETA says that a 'contract may be formed by the interaction of electronic agents of the parties, even if no individual was aware of or reviewed the electronic agents' actions or the resulting terms and agreements' 
  54. ^ Samson, Martin H, Phillips Nizer LLP 2007 "Internet Archive v Suzanne Shell" internetlibrarycom Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions Archived from the original on 2014-08-03 Retrieved 2015-03-25 More importantly, held the court, Internet Archive's mere copying of Shell's site, and display thereof in its database, did not constitute the requisite exercise of dominion and control over defendant's property Importantly, noted the court, the defendant at all times owned and operated her own site Said the Court: 'Shell has failed to allege facts showing that Internet Archive exercised dominion or control over her website, since Shell's complaint states explicitly that she continued to own and operate the website while it was archived on the Wayback machine Shell identifies no authority supporting the notion that copying documents is by itself enough of a deprivation of use to support conversion Conversely, numerous circuits have determined that it is not' 
  55. ^ brewster 2007-04-25 "Internet Archive and Suzanne Shell Settle Lawsuit" archiveorg Denver, CO, USA: Internet Archive Archived from the original on 2010-12-05 Retrieved 2015-03-25 Both parties sincerely regret any turmoil that the lawsuit may have caused for the other Neither Internet Archive nor Ms Shell condones any conduct which may have caused harm to either party arising out of the public attention to this lawsuit The parties have not engaged in such conduct and request that the public response to the amicable resolution of this litigation be consistent with their wishes that no further harm or turmoil be caused to either party 
  56. ^ Canada: Copyright Implications Of A "Right To Be Forgotten" Or How To Take-Down The Internet Archive
  57. ^ Davydiuk v Internet Archive Canada, 2014 FC 944
  58. ^ Gary Price September 18, 2005 "Yahoo Cache Now Offers Direct Links to Wayback Machine" Search Engine Watch 

External links

  • Official website
  • Official mirror of the Wayback Machine at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina
  • Tool to retrieve a backup from the Wayback Machine

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