Ronda Hauben on 14 Feb 2001 04:31:38 -0000

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Re: <nettime> Usenet archives sold?

"jon lebkowsky" <> wrote:

>Um, deja has evidently gone away, Ronda. ebay's acquired the
>'Precision Buying Service,' and Google acquired the usenet archives.  
>Google would not have acquired the archives without the intention of
>making them accessible.  Because Google's search technology is (arguably)
>better than deja's, this is a good thing.

It may be better, but the problem is that a business can't
recognize the obligations and responsibility of a public 
treasure and resource like the Usenet archives. That is
what the petition of over 3000 people to shows.

A different kind of entity than a business with bottom line
objectives is needed to take up the responsibilities of 
such an archives and to provide the research support that
the archiving requires.

See the story at
on this.

Google posted this info:

>"Due to time and technical constraints, it is not feasible for Google to
>maintain the interface and feature-set to which you are accustomed. We
>have been working hard to make this beta service available while we
>transition to a more full-featured offering. We appreciate your
>understanding and patience as we add the features you expect (including
>posting and better browsing)."

This is what you would expect them to say but the bottom line
is that they aren't continuing the access to the archives  at
this time and they they claim they own it and it is their
intellectual property.

This is a dilemma for the Usenet community and for the Internet

>Nobody owns usenet. Anybody could archive the newsgroups. Deja built its
>business on such an archive, but its business failed. It had every right
>to sell the archive that it had collected and indexed and offered as a
>core service for years.  If some public or academic institution wants to
>archive usenet, it should certainly do so, but IMO it has no inherent
>'right' to the archives that deja accumulated.

This is the problem that's sale of the archives to google
presents to the Usenet community. In their press release announcing
their purchase, google says:

"Google Inc today announced that it has acquired's Usenet
Discussion Service. this acquision provides Google with Deja's 
entire Usenet archive (dating back to 1995) software domain names
including and, company trademarks, and ohter
intellectual property."

It isn't appropriate for anyone to consider the Usenet archives their
intellectual property.

The problem is that didn't feel it had any obligations back
to the Usenet community to provide the archives with an appropriate
home when it would not longer make it available. Instead it was
an object to sell to another company. This is what is wrong with
any company taking over the archives and considering it theirs.


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