Questions on Library and Archives Canada Héritage Digitization Project
The Héritage Project is an ambitious initiative that involves the digitization of approximately 60 million pages of primary-source documents from the collections of Library and Archives Canada (LAC). The digitization would be done by the non-profit library consortium Canadiana.org which would be granted a 10-year exclusive right to monetize the collections. Each year 10% of the collections would convert into Open Access available free of charge to Canadians. At the end of the project term 100% will be Open Access.
Ariel Katz, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, last week outlined Some Questions on the Héritage Project on his blog:
"From a legal perspective, the decision to grant Canadiana.org a 10-year exclusive right to monetize the collections raises a few interesting questions: (a) can LAC monetize its collections; or (b) can LAC enter into an agreement with third parties for that purpose; and (c) can it do it by granting an exclusive right?"
"The short answer, in my view, is: (a) LAC does not have the power to monetize its collections; (b) LAC can allow (or indeed cannot prevent), others from providing services based on its collections and monetize those services; but (c) LAC cannot grant an exclusive right to monetize the collections."