Copyright Strikes Again: No Online Access To UK Internet Archive

from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept

Last week we wrote about how Norway had come up with a way to provide online access to all books in Norwegian, including the most recent ones, available to anyone in the country. Here, by contrast, is how not to do it, courtesy of publishers in the UK:

The UK is preparing to launch its official internet archive without internet access, after the publishing industry put restrictions on its release.

The archive was held up by a decade of negotiations between publishers and the British Library, meaning that regulations permitting the library to perform its first archive copy of every UK website were not passed until April this year, more than 20 years since the World Wide Web took off and 10 years since Parliament passed a law making it possible.
In my post about the Norwegian system, I joked about what form a typical copyright maximalist approach to providing online access to a nation's heritage might take:
available in a specially constructed room deep in the basement of the National Library on a (small) screen, and with guards stationed either side of it to ensure that no unauthorized copies were made.
Little did I suspect that reality was way ahead of me, as the story in Computer Weekly quoted above explains:
The British Library gave the first demonstration of the UK internet archive to publishers last week, to demonstrate how it would meet their restrictions that the only people who could see it were those privileged few people eligible for readers' passes at one of the UK's six major academic libraries -- and only then one at a time, in person, at a terminal in the library.
What's particularly tragic here is that the ten years of foot-dragging and obstructionism by the British publishers has resulted in a loss of countless millions of older Web pages that are now probably gone for ever -- and with them, a key part of the UK's early digital heritage. Once again, we see that contrary to the dogma, copyright does not always promote culture, but can destroy it, too.

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Filed Under: access, copyright, internet archive, uk

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  1. identicon
    anonymouse, 17 Dec 2013 @ 12:58pm


    Remember the hard drive with pirated content as art. i will just take one small sentence from the article for everyone's enjoyment ...

    "The most valuable data is a collection of ebooks from 2003-2011, a 133GB haul which the artist claims has a value of $300,000."

    If anything i suspect there is a file with every book ever published , broken up into a few parts for everyone to download, seriously when the publishers do silly things with their monopoly they do not take into account the ramifications of ignoring what people want in return for that monopoly, the same as has happened with music and movies where everyone or almost everyone downloads movies free on a daily basis, or a few a year if they only want to download decent movies.

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