We have seen this happen before in the U.S. (See, for example: The NARA/TGN contract as a bad precedent and GAO *did* sell exclusive access to legislative history to Thomson West) and Canada (Help save the Library & Archives Canada), but this seems like a particularly bad, unjustifiable example of privatization of public information.
- Library and Archives Canada private deal would take millions of documents out of public domain, By Chris Cobb, OTTAWA CITIZEN (June 12, 2013).
Library and Archives Canada has entered a hush-hush deal with a private high-tech consortium that would hand over exclusive rights to publicly owned books and artifacts for 10 years.
…LAC is partnering with Canadiana.org in what is being billed as The Heritage Project — digitizing 40 million images from more than 800 collections of publicly-held LAC material, much bought by Library and Archives over the years with taxpayers’ money.
…Under the agreement, digital images will begin rolling back into the free public domain — known as “open access” — as the 10-year exclusive rights expire.
Hat tip to InfoDocket!