Hadopi Says French National Library Needs Unprotected Works... To Put Its Own DRM On

from the locking-up-culture dept

In the past, many have noted that proprietary formats for content almost guarantee that certain works will be lost to history. Backwards compatibility becomes a problem, and before long content that could be accessed by tons of programs may be impossible to open just a few years later. For libraries and archvists this is a huge problem -- and it's made even worse when you add DRM to the mix. It appears that even the "anti-piracy" folks in France recognize this, but only to a limited extent.

According to the French publication, Numerama, Hadopi (the agency in charge of stamping out infringement in France), has published an opinion in which it suggests that content creators give the French National Library (Bibliothèque Nationale de France or BNF) works without any DRM on them. As they quite rightly note, in order to better make sure that the culture is preserved and that future archives are accessible, a lack of DRM makes much more sense. They even note that just providing a DRM'd copy with the keys to decrypt it, or with circumvention tools, really isn't sufficient for proper archiving.

That said, the report also then appears to fret about the BNF leaking these unprotected works out into the world. The suggestion seems to be that (wait for it...) the BNF then create its own DRM to lock up the unprotected works that it needs to keep them from getting locked up. In other words, the whole plan is pretty useless anyway.

This is just an opinion, and not binding in any way. So apparently the French government is still considering what sorts of requirements it intends to put on submissions to the BNF, but once again it seems like an overly aggressive "fear of piracy" may actually lead to some bad technical decisions for the sake of "protecting" some works against infringement.


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