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.
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:
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.
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.