As was reported today by the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM), the German government is apparently discussing the introduction of compulsory copies of websites and weblogs for storage in the National Library. According to BITKOM experts such a rule would lead to additional annual costs of about 115 million Euros for the companies affected by it.
Although the storage of web contents by the National Library is already stipulated since 2006 by the »Gesetz über die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek« law, this does so far not include any obligation on the part of website operators to submit such a copy to the National Library. So far the law has only ruled that electronic web contents may be »picked up« by the National Library. So far this has happened in the course of so-called harvest procedures which worked unbureaucratically and entailed no costs for companies.
And that is exactly the point criticised by BITKOM. The association says that in general it is not against archiving as such.
Nevertheless, the current discussion takes into consideration a disproportionate ruling which would make archiving an obligation on the part of companies which would entail enormous costs. If the state wants to store certain websites, then it also has to bear the costs involved. After all, the documents in question are easily accessible.