Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Digital Preservation In India Needs Reforms

Digital Preservation (DP) in India has not received the attention that it deserves. There is neither a regulatory framework for the same nor is it pursued with any seriousness under the national e-governance plan (NEGP) of the department of information technology (DIT), India. In the absence of ICT policy of India, digital preservation has still to cover a long gap.

The only solace is that a national digital preservation programme (NDPP) of India has been launched by Indian government. However, the NDPP seems to have stagnated with no development happening in this regard.

The DP initiatives of India are facing many road blocks that are preventing them from materialising in India. For instance, intellectual property rights (IPRs) are commonly found conflicting with DP initiatives. Further, with the rapid advancement of technology day by day, old applications and methods are becoming obsolete. We need to upgrade them from time to time. We also need to change form of various IPRs protected works from one form to another. This sometimes results in IPRs violations.

In short, IPRs issues in the digital era and cyber space are difficult to manage and we need both good policies and laws to manage the same effectively.

According to Praveen Dalal, advocate Supreme Court of India and leading cyber law expert of India, "DP issues would become more complicated with the enactment of laws like Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 1998 (DMCA). Efforts are in the pipeline for adoption of an efficient Digital Rights Management (DRM) system in India. This seems to be a step in the direction of protecting fast-growing Indian digital entertainment and media industry. However, in the absence of good ICT Policy and effective legal framework, these initiatives may not produce the desired results, suggests Dalal.

The stagnation of the NDPP cannot be removed till the government of India takes some active steps in the direction of utilising the services of experts who are familiar with this aspect. Till now no such serious efforts have been undertaken by Indian government.