Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Digitization, lawsuits and the FBI

These days, I don't see much drama or angst in digitization programs, but then I saw this news story out of New Zealand about an archive that goes back into the 1800s.  The article begins:

Fairfax Media's decision to ship up to eight million historic New Zealand news photographs and negatives to Little Rock, Arkansas, for "digitising" has proved perilous. Two years on, the digital archiving is yet to be completed, an unknown number of the photographs have turned up on eBay.com for sale and Rogers Photo Archive (RPA), the company involved, is now in receivership facing at least 10 lawsuits totalling more than $94 million.
Later in the article, there is mention of the FBI getting involved. 

To me, this sounds like a contract that was not well thought out, and where no one was keeping a close eye on what was happening.  While shipping materials overseas for digitization can work well, the distance can hamper having a clear understanding of what is going on.  In addition, you're getting different legal jurisdictions involved (and different legal structures), which can be problematic.

Let's hope that this turns out well for Fairfax Media, however, they might define "well" at this time.

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