While UK politicians are arguing over a ridiculous and unnecessary change to copyright law as part of the Digital Economy Bill, it appears there's a much bigger problem with UK copyright law that isn't getting very much attention at all. Slashdot
points us to the news that due to the way copyright law currently works in the UK, archiving websites without permission is illegal
. Yes, even for the British Library and other institutions who are designated by law to keep a copy of every printed
publication. But when it comes to the web, the Library needs to get permission from every website that it wishes to archive. Obviously, that greatly limits the archival activity that the Library can be involved in -- and, as a result, the public suffers greatly. This is a clear case where fair use should cover the issues, but current law does not adequately handle this. Making fair use work better should be a priority -- but instead we have politicians trying to prop up Hollywood's business model by pushing copyright law in the other direction.