New measures needed to safeguard our heritage in the digital age

DAAs Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Technology I have brought forward new legislation aimed at safeguarding our national and cultural heritage in the digital age.

‘The Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Amendment Bill’ aims to introduce a new provision to capture and archive the content contained on the .ie web domain. The amendment requires the Government to report back within 12 months on the feasibility of a digital lead deposit scheme to serve as a web archive.

Many other countries already have legislation in place aimed at capturing the content on their country’s web domain. 20 of the 28 member states of the European Union have digital deposit schemes in place. Unfortunately Ireland is falling far behind our counterparts when it comes to protecting our digital heritage. The Bill I have brought forward aims to address this.

The impact of the Internet will be as significant on the course of history as the invention of the printing press. Societies have long sought to protect and archive printed works so that they can be enjoyed and studied by future generations. For centuries, archives, libraries and museums have safeguarded our national and cultural heritage. It’s important that they are empowered to continue with this tradition in the digital age.

The Government needs to recognise the importance of our digital heritage and take steps to extend legal deposit to online digital formats.  Despite popular opinion, content on the internet does not stay online forever. It is generally accepted that the average life of a web-page is less than 100 days. It’s important that we setup structures now to capture our digital heritage for future generations to study and enjoy.

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