So many misleading statements
- "The project certainly isn't Freetard friendly. In fact, it demands money for access to material that's free to view today in Colindale"
It will still remain free to view in Colindale. It's an added access, not replacing the old one. It seems like you prefer to wad through microfilm rather than use full text search and instant access to issues by date.
- "It's questionable whether the Library has the rights to the stuff it is digitizing"
The Library doesn't say it has all the rights to all the stuff. Hence the periods that are potentially in copyright are handled by them through negotiations with the publishers.
- "While it has a historical exclusive license, this doesn't cover online rights"
It certainly has no "historical exclusive license". That term doesn't even make sense. It holds paper and microfilm copies of historical newspapers that probably few other places in the world have. The content before 1860 is almost certainly in the public domain (written at 20 years old, author died at 100, copyright elapses this year). Anyone who has the paper copy can scan it, republish it, etc.
- "This is not simply being done for posterity, nor to make free access for library users easier, but also for commercial gain via a paid‐for website."
Free for library users directly (provided they go the BL reading rooms), free after 10 years for everyone. This sentence is just wrong.
- "The move is strongly opposed by major publishers"
The major publishers are the only ones who could potentially lose out. The small publishers (not to mention that a great majority of pre-1900 publishers don't exist anymore) are too small to do digitization and selling the back-catalog themselves. If the big publishers are opposed, then the BL will not digitize their in-copyright periods. However I even doubt that they are opposed. This guy makes so many false statements that I really doubt he actually spoke to the big publishers and got their answer as opposed to talking out of his behind.
- "Earlier this year the Library vowed to archive the UK web - again, a load of other people's stuff"
Apparently this guy doesn't like history or checking sources. Since there is constantly stuff disappearing from the web and since the web has de facto become an important medium in the life of people, the country and democracy, it's quite important that in 100 year's time researchers will still be able to retrace what happened in the world after 2000. Archiving doesn't mean it's made available to the internet 5 minutes later with a BL logo. It means saving the stuff so that it's still around when the original websites are not around anymore.
If the Library doesn't archive the web and keep it, it will disappear. Archive.org is an alternative, but too sparse in many instances. In any case, this guy is probably dead against archive.org as well.
- "There are many other alternative approaches that can benefit us punters as well as the creators, without creating permanent jobs for the bureaucrats. We'll explore some of these next week".
Oh. I'm certainly interested how you want to save 19th century newspapers from falling to dust and get them be more accessible to the public. If it's about yesterday's newspaper, I don't care.