Thursday, September 02, 2010

#Dilbert and restricting access to problematic texts

who can claim copyright
The Dutch National Archive is busy digitising newspapers. They make them available on the Internet. For most newspapers this is not that controversial. These newspapers are a sign of the times, they reflect the opinions that were prevalent in those days. For some newspaper it can be controversial.

Dilbert, September 2 2010
Before and during the second world war, the NSB was the Dutch Nazi party. There were NSB newspapers before the war and during the war who made propaganda for a nazi and fascist ideology. As the National Archive received a large subsidy to digitise the heritage of the war, and as a scientific advisory committee selected the "wrong" newspapers as well these NSB newspapers will be digitised as well.

The Dutch justice system warned the National Archive about the legality of publishing the NSB papers. As a consequence many pundits gave their opinion. In the end it is agreed by most that the National Archive allows people to do a faithful study of the period only because these newspapers are published.

The nazis and fascists will indeed be able to find these sources but they are there also for everybody else. Given that they prefer to quote out of context, the publication may even be a blessing in disguise for those who fight fascist propaganda.
Thanks,
       GerardM

For more information see the Q&A of the National Archive about this issue (in Dutch).
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