Google’s Book Democracy?

A reader sent me this New York Times  article that explains Google’s book project, which recently had to settle copyright infringement lawsuits filed by authors. With the new Google service we will all have greater access to information, a lot of which is under copyright. However, the full service appears to be limited to subscribers. The loophole is that public libraries will have a terminal that allows visitors to access the database for free.

If you come across any interesting intellectual property controversies, please send them my way.

2 thoughts on “Google’s Book Democracy?

  1. Dave,

    I think the Google Library issue is an interesting one, and I’d like to hear more about it from you. As the other book-scanning projects have faltered, Google is left with the one that hasn’t, and as a result now has an index of millions of books which otherwise exist in the netherworld of information, not only otherwise undigitized, but in many cases out of print and hard to find. People are becoming increadingly uneasy as Google becomes the de facto monopoly on information access in this era of information.

  2. Zvi, I agree with your comments. I think speaking with librarians helps bring a very helpful perspective to the table. Libraries are important public gateways to the information that Google is consolidating. I’m sure libraries would have preferred to engage in the digitization revolution themselves had they had the capital and legal clearance to do so. Google has the capital and legal clearance (after muscling their way in and reaching a recent settlement with authors).

    As a side, one of the more interesting pieces of legislation currently being proposed is the 2008 Orphan Works Bill. This bill covers works which are still under copyright but where the author cannot be located. Some experts believe that the vast majority of works currently under copyright are orphan works. This bill, if passed, would reduce the risk of liability for use of orphan works.

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