Legal Aspects of Digital Preservation

Legal Aspects of Digital Preservation

Thomas Hoeren, Barbara Kolany-Raiser, Silviya Yankova, Martin Hecheltjen and Konstantin Hobel

This important book illustrates the implications of preservation actions on intellectual property rights and data protection. These can include: Potential violation of data protection laws through the storage of personal data, and potential infringement of a copyright-holder’s exclusive right to reproduce and store their copyright protected data. The book considers the scope of protection under both IP and data protection rights, and offers strategies on avoiding potential infringement. Further IT contracting issues and selected existing legal obligations to preserve data are described with a particular emphasis on digital preservation.

Chapter 3: Copyrights

Thomas Hoeren, Barbara Kolany-Raiser, Silviya Yankova, Martin Hecheltjen and Konstantin Hobel

Subjects: law - academic, information and media law, international commercial law


In the past, a preservation process was performed by using large mountains of paper, often by storing books and file folders in bookshelves and filing cabinets. Depending on the company or the bureau that was archiving data in the form of analogue records, kilometres of filing cabinets were stuffed with paper. In those days, copyrights did not have a huge impact on the archiving of documents. But this has changed substantially. The digital revolution and the almost ubiquitous and still increasing use of digital files have created a situation in which it is highly important to consider whether copyrights may be infringed by any planned storing operation. Nearly every digital preservation activity, even where an already existing digital file is merely moved to another digital folder within the digital preservation system, can touch areas of copyright law. Therefore, it is important to take a closer look at possible and necessary activities of a digital preservation system for business processes and services and the impact of copyright law on the admissibility of these actions. A holistic preservation of all business processes and services entails the additional challenge of the diversity of the kinds of data. Business processes and services do not only consist of single documents, such as papers, images, photographs, construction plans, etc., but also include software (e.g. for programming, control software for production machines, etc.) and perhaps also databases.

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