January 19, 2022

Report: “Library and Archives Canada Private Deal Would Take Millions of Documents Out of Public Domain”

UPDATE 3: June 14, 2013  Stop the Privatization of LAC Records (via CAUT)

UPDATE 2: June 13, 2013 Anger greets secret private Library and Archives Canada deal (via Ottawa Citizen)

UPDATE: Library and Archives paywall delayed until fall (via CBC)

Note: This is the Tumblr post referenced in the article.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

Library and Archives Canada has entered a hush-hush deal with a private high-tech consortium that would hand over exclusive rights to publicly owned books and artifacts for 10 years.

The plan is scheduled to be announced publicly on Friday and according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen, a gag order has been placed on everyone involved in the project until then.


LAC is partnering with Canadiana.org in what is being billed as The Heritage Project — digitizing 40 million images from more than 800 collections of publicly-held LAC material, much bought by Library and Archives over the years with taxpayers’ money.

The documents and images includes personal papers, census data, central registries, church records, and First Nations, government and military documents.

Under the agreement, digital images will begin rolling back into the free public domain — known as “open access” — as the 10-year exclusive rights expire.


The plan effectively means that Canadians will have to pay twice for timely access to material they already own, Deputy NDP heritage critic Andrew Cash told the Citizen Tuesday, shortly after raising the issue in Question Period with Heritage Minister James Moore.

The report also mentions that $1.71 million in startup funds have been committed to the project by 43 Canadian university libraries.

Read the Complete Report from the Ottawa Citizen

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.