A recent Dan Gillmor blog entry calls attention to the vandalism perpetuated by greedy corporate types:
"The correct word for what has happened here is "theft" -- because the government has allowed private interests to steal from the public domain.
The claim that this was done to save money -- a paltry $200,000 a year -- doesn't even begin to pass the smell test. This was an arrangement on behalf of corporate interests, and an absolute thumb in the eye to the public."
The savings are so paltry and the utility so high. I simply don't understand how this could happen but Dan claims that it's because:
"America's government doesn't work for the people. It works for campaign contributors and corporate interests, for the rich and powerful who are getting just about everything they want from the government they've purchased.
What to do? Some public-minded foundation should immediately offer to put this back online, by covering the $200,000 cost. Or the collective brain out there should find a way to put the data up on peer-to-peer systems."
And from the original article:
""What we worry about is what's next," said Charles A. Hamaker, associate librarian at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte."
Things that are put in trust to the government because society thinks its worthwhile. The way private companies compete with the government is being innovative and value adding services. I can't see this as being any different. I've just started read Code I wonder how deeply depressing this will all get. To paraphrase from the first few pages of the book, if something is owned it can be controll, if it is not owned, control is much more difficult.