The KEEP project has organized a Europe-wide road show to promote its emulation framework (I blogged about the project and the workshop in The Hague earlier). If you have not had a chance to attend, there is one last opportunity in Cardiff 24-25 January; I can certainly recommend the project and the workshop if you are interested in preservation strategies other than migration – which is fine for simple objects but does not work for complex or composite objects.
However, there was a bit of disconcerting news at the workshop as well: legal trouble. Today I am finally keeping my promise to write some more about that. As reported in the earlier blog post, emulation is about emulating, or ‘recreating’ the hardware/software combination on which a digital object was created in order to be able to play it on a newer platform. This means that you need all the old software – not just the application, but the operating system, the browser, the plug-ins, the fonts, and whatever.
The KEEP team realized this would involve making copies of those software applications and that copyright issues might arise. So David Anderson of Portsmouth University took upon himself the unthankful task of digging through a tangle of national and EU laws and regulations to find out what was legal and what was not.
The result of his endeavours is modestly called a “Layman’s Guide to Keep Legal Studies” because David is not a certified lawyer and thus disclaimers apply. But David is to be commended for his painstaking work to unravel piles of tedious literature. The details are complex, but the overall message, according to David, is clear:
Once again the conclusion must be that organizational, legal and financial issues are much more difficult to crack than the technical ones. We’ve got our work cut out for us in 2012!
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