Friday, 28 May 2010

Digital copyright rumbles on

At a time when News International are trying to extract as much commercial value as possible from their newspapers by removing them from aggregators, James Murdoch has criticised the British Library over the BL’s plans to digitise the national newspaper collection.

Murdoch’s argument is that public bodies should not decide how copyrighted material is exploited for commercial gain – his concern is presumably loss of revenue for News International, rather than access to information for the general public.

The British Library has announced that it is digitising a large chunk of the national newspaper collection archive. The partnership between the British Library and a company called “Brightsolid” will enable the digitisation of 4 million pages of newspapers over the first two years in a ten year agreement.

It is hoped that “in-copyright” content can be scanned in the future after negotiation with rightsholders. This archive would only be available online as a fee paying service, but it will be available online for the first time, increasing access to the material and helping to safeguard the content of this collection for the future.

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