Yet another digitization contract limits free access to public records
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has announced a draft "non-exclusive agreement with The Generations Network, Inc. (TGN) to digitize and further expand public access to archival holdings in NARA's custody." The contract restricts free public access for five years.
- DRAFT PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
Posted for comment: March 10, 2008
Comments due: April 9, 2008
Send comments to: Vision@nara.gov or by fax to 301-837-0319
The contract specifies that NARA will receive digital copies of all holdings that are digitized as part of this agreement and "[a]s with all of NARA's digitization agreements, there will be no charge for researchers at any time to access the digital copies in any of NARA's research rooms" and that users will have "the opportunity to purchase copies of the documents in digital format" [emphasis added].
As the NARA announcement notes, projects like this "will enable the public to have electronic access to textual and microfilm records sooner than NARA itself can provide." Once again, lack of funding for public accessibility ends in a two-tier access: free if you get to a reading room, fee if you want to use the Web.
The proposed agreement puts restrictions on redistribution of the digitized records by NARA for five years.
For a period of five years following the donation [TGN "donated" copy of the Digitized Materials to NARA], NARA will not sell, make available for downloading, or otherwise provide in electronic form, the entire contents of the Digitized Materials or a major file segment thereof. During this five year period NARA's use of the Digitized Materials will be limited to (i) access by staff and researchers at NARA locations; (ii) production for a fee of digital images of a microform publication or a portion of a series of original records, with a minimum complement of metadata to enable the purchaser to describe, identify, locate, retrieve, and manage the images; 2 (iii) display of sample images on NARA's website or elsewhere to promote awareness of NARA's services and activities or for noncommercial educational purposes, and (iv) to reproduce portions of the Digitized Images on offline storage devices that are not accessible via Internet such as DVDs or CD-ROMs, with metadata created by NARA only, for sale to the public at rates established by NARA. In the case of (ii) and (iv) above, license restrictions on the materials as issued by NARA will limit their use to prohibit resale, distribution or republication of the Digitized Material in any format or media by the original customer or successive owner of the media.
After five years from the date TGN donates Digitized Materials made from original records, NARA will have full and unrestricted rights to use them, including the right to sell, make available for downloading, or otherwise provide in electronic form, the entire contents of the Digitized Materials or segments of them. [emphasis added]