scotartt on 14 Feb 2001 11:36:08 -0000

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Re: <nettime> Usenet archives sold?

On Tue, Feb 13, 2001 at 08:07:30PM -0500, Ronda Hauben wrote:
> "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.

I must say that I find this reasoning spurious. As is pointed out by
someone else, anyone can start a usenet archive. Its not a 'closed'
system. So Deja's archive is deja's, I don't see it's a matter of public
policy. A matter of public policy might be whether the government was to
fund a public organisation of some kind to archive usenet. What Deja or
Google does is up to Deja and Google. 

Second, a petition of 3000 people represents a tiny fraction of Usenet
users (readers and writers), probably even a tiny percent of just Deja

> 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.

I don't disagree, but i don't think the "public" (meaning; 3000 people who
signed a petition, or some other way to measure it?) has much right to
tell the liquidator of how they may or may not dispose of their
remaining assets (outside of course the general rules for these things
which may be layed down beforehand).

The issue i *do* see is the selling of many millions of person's
copyrights (Usenet posts) without compensation. But then, there *is* a
legal copyright in *compilations* of data, whether you think that's right
or wrong, that's the legal position.


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