Publisher: Google book settlement flawed, but essential

30 06 2009

The settlement between Google and book copyright holders has been examined by everyone from librarians to the US Department of Justice. Most of the issues identified by outside parties have focused on two issues: the market power it cedes to Google, and the ability of the public to access the knowledge that is contained in out-of-print works. The latest organization to weigh on the settlement is Oxford University Press, which occupies an interesting position, as it’s both a publisher of copyrighted works and has a mission of disseminating knowledge. As such, the position taken by the head of its US division is quite nuanced: the deal is flawed, but may be essential for maintaining the public’s access to knowledge.

Tim Barton, the head of OUP USA, discussed his views on the settlement in an essay that appeared at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Google book settlement has librarians worried

5 05 2009

The deal Google cut with publishers to settle their copyright infringement suit would give a green light to the search giant’s book-scanning services and turn it into a retailer of out-of-print books. But resistance to the deal has been growing, as a variety of parties are realizing that the settlement gives both Google and the Book Rights Registry created by the deal enormous power over the dissemination of the scanned material. The latest groups to weigh in represent research librarians, who are worried about the deal’s privacy implications and the lack of guarantees of current and future access. The solution, in their view, is to structure the settlement in a way that guarantees the court the right to intervene in the future.

The groups involved—the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries—have sent the court that is conducting hearings on the settlement an amicus brief in which they voiced their worries. The judge had previously rejected the Internet Archive’s attempt to become a party to the case, but had indicated he would accept various forms of input on the settlement, including amicus briefs.

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Challenges to the Google Book settlement, and a connection to Microsoft

20 04 2009

The New York Times noted Friday that some challenges are being raised to the Google Book settlement; my colleagues at The Recorder are more interested in the fact that some of the opposition is funded by Google’s rival, Microsoft. One of the New York Law School professors whose research is funded by Microsoft is James Grimmelmann. I’ve never spoken to him, but his lengthy analysis of the Google Book settlement, published in November, is the most insightful thing I’ve read about it. After reading the post, it really struck me how important this settlement will be to the future of reading as we know it.

Grimmelmann is also a former Microsoft employee, and wrote a great essay about working for the company back in 1997.

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Internet Archive wants book copyright indemnity like Google

19 04 2009

The Internet Archive, perhaps best known for its website archive the Wayback Machine, has let a federal judge know that it would like to be covered by same the copyright liability protection that Google will enjoy as part of its settlement with The Authors Guild. On Friday, the Internet Archive submitted a letter to Judge Denny Chin requesting permission to intervene in The Authors Guild v. Google, arguing that the proposed settlement of the case would hinder it from competing against Google.

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Sun-Times on Copyright

10 03 2009

The Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg had an interesting column in the Sunday edition about his acceptance of a class action settlement involving Google Books.  As an author, Steinberg is glad to see the settlement which he sees as a good balance of access to a wide variety of works and compensating the authors.  Steinberg explains that as an author and a newspaper columnist he needs access to research tools and, therefore, is glad to see tools like Google Books created.  But as an author, he also wants  to be paid when his books are used which the class settlement accomplishes according to Steinberg.  Steinberg goes on to predict that we will see other internet-based copyright issues resolved in similar manners over time.  Steinberg may be right and he hits on advice I often give about copyrights:  if you want to use something ask, copyrightholders are generally glad to share their work and often only request a small payment in the form of money or even just acknowledgment.


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Mimi Calter – Google Book Search Settlement Agreement – A Perspective from Stanford University Libraries

2 03 2009

New perspective on the proposed Google Book Search Settlement Agreement from Mimi Calter, Stanford University Libraries at
http://fairuse.stanford.edu/commentary_and_analysis/2009_02_calter_google_settlement.html


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New tool for evaluating copyright use by libraries – a quick interview with Michael Brewer

30 01 2009

The Stanford Copyright & Fair Use page just added a new tool to its Charts and Tools page, the “Section 108 Spinner.”

Minow: Tell us about the new Section 108 spinner. How does it work and what is its purpose?

Brewer: The “Section 108 Spinner” was actually the first tool we created, but because at that time the Section 108 study group had still not released their findings, we held off on releasing this tool and instead developed and released the “Digital Copyright Slider” first.  Once it seemed clear that Section 108 was not going to change any time soon, we decided to go ahead and release the Spinner. The Spinner is focused more on educating and serving the needs of librarians, library staff and archivists.  Basically it is there to help them determine when a reproduction of a copyrighted work would be covered by Section 108, the Library and Archives exemption in US Copyright Law.  We are focused on promoting the online tool, but we do have some copies of the print tool that we’re handing out at conferences or other events.  If we hear from people that having access to the print tool would be valuable for their institutions (for their staff in ILL, Special Collections, Collection Management, Public Services, etc.), we might consider making the print tool more broadly available as well.

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Kenneth Crews on WIPO study on library exceptions to copyright law

22 12 2008

Here’s a quick interview with Kenneth Crews, who prepared the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives for its Seventeenth Session in Geneva, November 3 to 7, 2008.

Minow:  What sparked your interest in studying library exceptions to copyright law around the world?

Crews: I was invited by the World Intellectual Property Organization to undertake this study.  I had the pleasure of sharing a program in the United Arab Emirates with an official from WIPO, and she put in the recommendation that I do the project.  I had long been interested in the issues.  They are central to much of my work for libraries and universities, and I have written about the U.S. library provision in some of my publications.  The chance to do a major worldwide study was an invitation I was quick to accept.

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EU opens digital library to public with over 2 million works

20 11 2008

The EU has finally launched Europeana, a digital online library that hosts more than 2 million books, maps, recordings, photographs, paintings, and documents from cultural institutions in its 27 member states. The EU hopes to have 8 million more works added by 2010.

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Google copyright deal moves forward

19 11 2008

In a settlement announced today, Google will pay 5 million to authors and publishers affected by its Google Print service.

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