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 6: IT contracting

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

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


In the course of digital preservation of business processes, it is not only simple digital documents which need to be archived. Computer programs capable of reading such documents are as necessary as the information itself. It is obvious that digital documents depend on the availability and accessibility of specific software required for their interpretation. As regards software, the variety of, and the constant changes caused by, software developments have decisive significance. Components of computer systems age even faster than data media. Nowadays, information media have a life expectancy of decades, or even only of years. It is well known that computer programs and digital data can only be preserved if they are constantly copied and frequently migrated from one generation of computing systems to the next. The technical approaches to long-term preservation are essentially divided into two categories. First, there are approaches simply aiming to preserve documents in their original state, along with systems that are capable of reproducing them in their original format. In the second category, there are approaches which aim at transforming digital documents into the formats of state-of-the-art rendition systems. In terms of copyright, it needs to be considered whether, and to what extent, these different approaches are legally permissible. Since the use of software, and especially its scope, is primarily determined by the parties in contracts, legal analysis needs to focus on licence agreements as the basic applicable provisions on this issue.

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