Monday, June 12, 2006

British Library Warns Against Restrictions

The British Library's cheif executive, Lynne Brindley has warned against creeping restrictions resulting from Digital Rights Management systems that are quietly tightening copyright permissions.

“We at the British Library use DRMs to manage our collections and we recognise they can be a valuable tool,” said Lynne Brindley. “However, while protecting rights holders against infringement they can prevent copying of material for fair dealing purposes. Digital material generally comes with a contract, and these contracts are nearly always more restrictive than existing copyright law and frequently prevent copying, archiving and access by the visually impaired.”

From a small sample of 30 licences offered to the Library from publishers, only two were as generous in terms of access as statutory fair dealing. Other than these only two allowed archiving of the material and not one permitted copying of the whole work by the visually impaired.

Read the full account report, with links to two reports on the impact of digital rights management
in the eGov monitor: