The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

Various authors, Website, Sept 28, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The web has been abuzz this week with the release of a digital version of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the most ancient sources of religious writing, dating from the second half of the first century BCE. Given their age, I would expect copyright has expired on them, but the proprietors of the web site beg to differ, adding the following 'terms of use': "No part of this website may be downloaded, copied, or reproduced in any form, analog or digital, without the permission of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, with the exception of single copies for research or private study." Contra this notice, I assert that the Dead Sea Scrolls are part of the common heritage of humanity, free to copy or reproduce as we wish. And why would the museum want to restrict usage like that anyways?
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