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EU Warns About Digital “Dark Age” Risks From Private Sector Management Of Cultural Archives

by Naresh Sarwan on January 17, 2011

As reported last week on Read Write Web, the European Union (EU) has warned that cultural and heritage archives at a risk of being lost with the result being a digital “dark age”:

We are of the opinion that the public sector has the primary responsibility for making our cultural heritage accessible and preserving it for future generations,” the report argues. “This responsibility for and control over Europe’s heritage cannot be left to one or a few market players, although we strongly encourage the idea of bringing more private investments and companies into the digitisation arena through a fair and balanced partnership.” [Read More]

The article notes that this is a reference to Google’s cataloguing of books and other IPR plus their exclusive agreements with some publishers.  An obvious risk with this type of arrangement is the locking out of any other potential archive option and the possible knock-on effects should Google and other aggreators later decide to cease maintaining a content repository because it ceases to be commercially viable.

The full report is available from http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/digital_libraries/doc/reflection_group/final-report-cdS3.pdf

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