The Department of Culture Media and Sport has advised Journalism.co.uk of some inaccuracies in this article by PaidContent. We are awaiting clarification and will update this post shortly.
paidContent reports this week the government has abandoned plans “that would have compelled publishers of content behind ‘paywalls’ to make that content available for free through Britain’s main libraries”.
The report refers to the government’s response to a consultation on plans to allow libraries to use both free and paid-for content in their archives, which appears to have been published this month.
Currently, the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 grants the British Library, the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales, and the university libraries of Oxford, Cambridge and Trinity College, Dublin, the right to receive and store one printed copy of each printed work available in the UK.
Last September, the government, acting on advice from the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel, which advises government on the Act, proposed extending this provision to offline digital publications and online publications. The libraries would run harvesting algorithms to grab and store the content. But paid-access web systems make this more difficult.
… But, in conclusion this week, it [the government] says: “In the light of the overall responses, and the lack of evidence from both libraries and publishers to support the case that the regulations do not impose a disproportionate burden, we do not believe that it is viable to go forward with the regulations as currently drafted unless we can find evidence of proportionality.”
paidContent said this is “a victory” for news publishers.