images.jpgThat’s the title of an article in the Guardian:

The European Union and its member states must take more responsibility for the digitisation of Europe’s cultural heritage if it is to avoid a “digital Dark Age,” according to a new report written for the European Commission

The report, the work of German national library head Elisabeth Niggeman, advertising chief Maurice Levy and Belgian author Jacques de Decker, recommends much greater focus on the EU’s online library Europeana and the fostering of competitors to Google, which currently dominates the digitisation agenda. “Can Europe afford to be inactive and wait, or leave it to one or more private players to digitise our common cultural heritage? Our answer is a resounding ‘no’,” the trio say.

Specifically, the report recommends that Google’s exclusivity agreements on the material it has digitised from the EU’s libraries be brought down from the current 15 years to just seven years. Despite the anxiety over Google, the report adds that “we strongly encourage the idea of bringing more private investments and companies into the digitisation arena through a fair and balanced partnership” with the public sector.

More info in the article. Thanks to Michael von Glahn for the heads-up.


  1. Government has a role in taking steps that Commercial Business cannot or will not undertake. It also has a legitimate role in encouraging competition and commercially unfeasible actions by using incentives.
    outside that I believe the government and the EU should stay out it.

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